Are TikTok's Bubble Potato Pillows Just Fancy Tater Tots?

Potatoes are the dirty vegetables that everyone loves. You may stiff-arm a side of French fries with your sandwich or pass on a scoop of mashed potatoes with gravy at Thanksgiving but never because you don't like the taste of potatoes because it's impossible! A smear campaign against the tuber began when people removed carbohydrates and starches from their diets, like cancer. In reality, spuds are as nutritious as they are versatile, providing potassium, vitamins C and B6, and other micronutrients that give the body and brain the energy needed in a healthy diet.

Like any other food, the cooking method controls its nutritional value. Although so tasty, fried foods should be consumed in moderation (duh). Potatoes can be cooked in countless ways, including smashed, mashed, whipped, roasted, oven-baked, twice-baked, French-fried, homefries, and hashbrowns. As a side, these meal workhorses complement any dish, from cold-weather comfort foods like beef bourguignon to creamy chowders and soups. As the star of the show, potatoes (and sometimes with ricotta too) are the primary ingredient in potato gnocchi, one of the great Italian 'pasta' dishes. 

Those light, pillowy dumplings inspired a new potato recipe responsible for making almost ten million TikTokers drool. Described as a cross between gnocchi and tater tots, Bubble Potato Pillows are the indulgent comfort food you can make a meal from.

Bubble Potato Pillows

Food blogger and professional TikToker Ms. Shi created bubble potato pillows and believes they taste like fried gnocchi, which makes sense since they are prepared similarly. Bubble potato pillows begin by boiling russet potatoes until tender. To avoid a waterlogged, fall-apart mess, a simple trick makes peeling boiled potatoes a snap. Score each potato around the circumference, piercing the skin without cutting it too deep. Cover the spuds with water and bring them to a boil. Once fork tender, drain the potatoes, then shock them in an ice bath. Magically the skin will release from where you cut it in two pieces.


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Mash the cooked potatoes using a ricer or, as Shi demonstrates, a garlic press to avoid lumps or a gummy texture which happens with overmixed potatoes. Combine the riced potatoes with glutinous rice flour (often used in Asian cuisine), cornstarch, salt, and pepper, and knead into a dough. All-purpose flour can be substituted; however, glutinous rice flour provides a chewy texture and is gluten-free despite its name. Roll the dough into a log, then portion and shape them into tater tot-sized pieces. Although unnecessary, a fork creates a design on each pillow, similar to gnocchi.

Each pillow is double deep-fried like french fries. The first fry is at a medium temperature to cook the potatoes through, and the second fry is at a high temperature to brown and crisp the outside. Season the pillows and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.