Are Domino’s Loaded Tots Good?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind. Domino’s has been advertising their first potato product heavily over the past few weeks, so my curiosity has been growing (i.e., their advertising is working). What struck me about the advertising campaign is that they’re very upfront about the challenge of offering fries/tots in a delivery focused business. Steam kills, and no one wants soggy potatoes. I took it upon myself to order a couple variations in order to test their claims about solving the soggy tot issue and to assess whether they were worth the hype. There are currently three variations available. I purchased the Cheddar Bacon and Philly Cheese Steak versions, but I’ll note that I did not try the Melty 3-Cheese option.

As a preface, here are a couple of universal notes. I decided to order the tots for carryout instead of delivery. That was a decision mostly made out of frugality, but it also eliminated a variable of delivery times. The Domino’s location I ordered from was a 10 minute drive from my house, and I picked up the tots about 3 minutes after they came out of the over. This might approximate a delivery experience for some, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that time crept up to 15-20 minutes instead. Also, the tots are currently $6.99 in my area. That seemed a little expensive for an oven baked tot (how different could it be from what you can buy at the grocery store?), but I kept an open mind.

Cheddar Bacon Loaded Tots

The Cheddar Bacon Loaded Tots are smothered in a blanket of mozzarella and cheddar, sprinkled with chopped up bacon, and ribboned with a garlic parmesan sauce. In my opinion, the pizza box presentation takes away from the appeal. You can tell that this was a frozen sheet of tots that they ran through the pizza oven and then covered in stuff. I put them on a fancy plate so that they’d photograph a bit better, but it obviously doesn’t change the flavor.

There were a few naked tots around the perimeter, and they were crispy and hot. The convection pizza oven did a nice job of approximating a fried texture (I’m sure they were par fried and then shipped to the store), and even after the 10 minutes in the box/car they were a reasonable temperature to consume. The cheese blend on top was beautifully browned. I also thought that the stripes of garlic parmesan sauce added a lot of visual appeal to the dish.

Overall, these were delicious. The garlic parmesan sauce did a lot of heavy lifting, but it reminded me of a well executed white sauce pizza, just with some tater tots. The bacon added a bit of smokiness and texture as well, but didn’t stand out as anything noteworthy. The tots around the perimeter were the most crispy…things get mushier the closer to the center you get. This is something that I would order again if I was in a situation where I was already buying stuff from Domino’s. Strong recommend.

Philly Cheese Steak Loaded Tots

These were not as successful as the Cheddar Bacon, and I have a few theories for why that might be the case. Let’s start with the cheese. Either due to a difference in how this was sent through the ovens, or due to the combination of other ingredients, the cheese on the Philly Cheese Steak tots did not brown. It was fully melted, but the crispy crust on the other one was much more satisfying. I suspect that it could be due to the additional moisture from the onions and peppers (which also failed to cook thoroughly), or maybe it was the alfredo sauce? The tots themselves were also disappointing with the majority remaining in a mushy mess. Again, this could either be due to the collective moisture/steam of the ingredients, or it just needed another 3 minutes in the oven.

The steak itself wasn’t good. It was almost flavorless. Same with the alfredo sauce. And the onions, and the peppers. It was just a bland, mushy, sad plate of food. I wanted more of a pronounced black pepper flavor from the steak, and the veggies really only work on a cheese steak sandwich when they’re fried up in the steak juices on the flattop. This dish is not worth your time.

Closing Thoughts

The loaded tots were better than I expected. If you’re going to order them, order the Cheddar Bacon, or gamble with the Melty 3-Cheese (I didn’t try it). Definitely skip the Philly Cheese Steak.

What I’d like to see next are some more interesting flavor combinations. Give me that same mozzarella/cheddar blend, but throw some pepperoni and jalapeno on it. Provide the parmesan garlic sauce on the side and let me drizzle it on at home. These should be kept fairly simple, but I believe they can be successful if the steam issues don’t get in the way.