Appetizers & Snacks, Kid-Friendly, Side Dishes

Loaded Air Fryer Tots

  • Prep 10 mins
  • Marinate 10 mins
  • Total 1 hour
  • Easy
  • Serves 6

Everybody gets excited for tots! They are great on their own but it turns out they are also the perfect blank canvas for the spicy, rich, creamy, smoky, salty, queso appetizer of your dreams. Think of yourself as the Picasso of Queso. The King of Crisp. The Sultan of Spicy. The… well you get it.

Tip: Prepare the queso ahead of time and keep in a thermos. It will keep it piping hot with no risk of breaking.


  • Contains Milk/Dairy

Tip: Allergy Advice

This dish contains the following allergens: Milk/Dairy

Cooking mode

Step-by-step instruction without your screen going to sleep


  • 2 dried pasilla peppers, deveined and deseeded
  • 16 ounces prepared cheese product, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 cup fresh pico de gallo

For the Tots

  • 1 bag (28 ounces) frozen tater tots
  • 1 medium jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices cooked thick cut bacon, chopped

Toppings (optional)

  • Diced green chiles
  • Crema or sour cream
  • Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Cheese
  • Pickled red onions


  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups
  • Small Bowl
  • 8 x 8 Baking Dish
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Large Skillet
  • Step 1

    Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium, then dry toast the peppers for about 30-60 seconds per side, or until fragrant. Move the toasted peppers to a cup of warm water to rehydrate for 10 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Remove the pasilla peppers from the water and pat dry. Roughly chop the chiles and move them to a metal 8×8 baking pan. Add the cubed and shredded cheese and cover with foil. Use a small knife to add 10 small slits to the top of the foil – this will allow the smoke to flavor the queso. 

  • Step 3

    To install the grill grate, position it flat on top of the heating element and gently press down until it sits into place. Add the pan of queso to the grill plate.

  • Step 4

    While holding the smoke box lip open, use the pellet scoop to pour pellets into the smoke box until filled to the top. Then close the smoke box lid.  

  • Step 5

    Turn dial to SMOKER. Set temperature to 350F, and set time to 15 minutes. When the queso is done cooking, remove from the grill and stir to combine. Add the pico de gallo and cover to keep warm while you air fry the tots. 

  • Step 6

    Place the Air Crisp Basket onto the grill grate. Turn dial to AIR CRISP. Set temperature to 400F and set time to 20 minutes. When unit beeps to signify it has preheated and ADD FOOD is displayed, open hood and place tots in basket. Cook for 20 minutes or until very crisp.

  • Step 7

    When cooking is complete, open hood and remove tots from basket. Place the tots into a serving tray in a single layer. Pour the queso onto the tots and top with the bacon and jalapenos and your favorite nacho toppings. Serve warm.