Potato

The Best Way to Make Potato Chips Involves Zero Frying

It's speedy and mess-free, too.

April 29, 2019

Welcome to 30 Days, 30 Ways to Green, where we're sharing all the little (and not so little!) things we do to live eco-friendlier every day. Stick with us all month long for a lineup of handy tips—from composting do's and don'ts to which reusable products really light up our lives.


I have a lifelong devotion to snacking that "some" would say borders on obsession. (To which I'd reply: Stop hovering over my shoulder as I taste-test various cheesy crackers.)

So when we asked our 25,000 Cookbook Club members for their eco-friendliest kitchen tips a few weeks back, one suggestion in particular caught my eye. It came from Nancy Sobel Butcher, who wrote:

I just peel my potato in pretty large strips, let dry a little if wet, moisten with a bit of olive or avocado oil, salt and pepper, and bake.

Calling all potato peel scraps. Photo by James Ransom

It sounded too good to be true: baked potato chips that take less than 20 minutes and use barely any oil? I had to try it for myself.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The baked peels did come out crispy but I wouldn't compare them in any way to potato chips and they couldn't be used for dipping - just too delicate. The taste was earthy and it was an interesting experiment but I'll probably skip a repeat of this and continue to send my peels to the compost pile with my coffee grounds and apple cores. ”
— Gardener
Comment

Not only does the basic method work—letting potato peel scraps air dry, tossing them with oil and seasonings, and baking them until crispy—but it yields some of the lightest, most snack-able specimens I've produced in my kitchen. And all with minimal mess.

Baked potato peel chips are thin, crispy, and want you to eat 100 of them. Photo by Bobbi Lin

How to Make Potato Peel Chips

After testing it at various oven temperatures and with all sorts of seasonings and potatoes (waxy! starchy! small!), here's the "recipe" I've settled on:

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After peeling potatoes for another use, let the peels sit out at least 20 minutes until no longer glistening, or up to a few hours—the drier, the better. (You can also pat them with a kitchen towel to aid drying.) Length and width of the peels doesn't matter; longer strips crisp up just as well as shorter, blunter ones.
  • Toss the peels with a high heat–friendly oil (like avocado oil), plus your favorite seasonings. Simple salt and pepper is delicious, as is onion powder and salt, or garlic-salt and cayenne pepper.
  • Bake for about 9 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them. They'll get nice and crispy, and you'll know they're ready when little bubbles start popping up on their surfaces. Note that depending on the size of the strips and how long you've let them dry, they might take more or less time, and you should feel free to adjust oven temp as needed. (Nancy's original method is baking her peels at 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 to 8 minutes—for fresher peels, I found the higher starting temperature works best.) You can always take one out to taste if you're not sure whether it's crispy all the way through.

And that's it! Eat plain, or serve with dip. Sharing is completely optional.

What's the most clever way you use kitchen scraps? Let us know in the comments!

30 Comments

Yvonne April 30, 2019
After reading so many comments, I'm getting the impression that some people are using ONLY the outsides of potatoes, that part which I normally throw away. When it comes to parsnips, I continue to NOT use the outermost layer, but peel the whole parsnip as much as possible! (Though sometimes avoiding the harder interior core.). I guess I misinterpreted Ella's recipe - seems like she's only using the outside peels! Since I don't like potato peels, I think I will skip that and stick to my friendly parsnip interiors!
 
Gardener April 30, 2019
By coincidence I was peeling potatoes to mash and so I gave this recipe a go. The baked peels did come out crispy but I wouldn't compare them in any way to potato chips and they couldn't be used for dipping - just too delicate. The taste was earthy and it was an interesting experiment but I'll probably skip a repeat of this and continue to send my peels to the compost pile with my coffee grounds and apple cores.
 
Anni April 30, 2019
This looks like such a quick and easy and tasty recipe! Well done for contributing that to humanity Ella! I have to know how to make that brilliant looking dip in the photo though, you can't just put there without giving the recipe.
 
susan April 29, 2019
don't you get enzymatic oxidation (browning from exposure to air) on the potatoes?
 
Paul W. April 29, 2019
Will an air fryer pro work for this too.
 
Claudia N. April 29, 2019
Can you freeze potato peels and bake them afterwards?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. April 29, 2019
Hi Claudia,

I haven't tried this—in my testing with the fresh peels, it's been key to get them dry before baking. I am curious to hear what happens if you let them dry, then freeze.

Ella
 
Yvonne April 29, 2019
I do a similar recipe with parsnips. But I mix them with butter, salt & a bit of brown sugar and so do not use quite so high heat. Just watch them carefully and maybe turn after a few minutes.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. April 29, 2019
Ooh, that sounds so excellent. Will have to try.
 
Yvonne April 29, 2019
I've become quite attached to them! (And it's a good way to get children to try a new veggie). So far I have avoided the temptation to eat them with a dip (wow, that would expand the waistline!), but they are great on top of salads or soups, or just to nibble alongside mashed potatoes. Last week I tried making actual round chips by using a mandolin. That did not work very well since the middles did not get crunchy. So I shall just happily keeping my hand on the veggie peeler!
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. April 29, 2019
Love the idea of using them as a soup topping!
 
mtully May 5, 2019
Use a Romesco or other high-vegetable, low fat dip/spread. Yum!
 
jo April 29, 2019
Sorry this is not new. Growing up in a family of 13 food had to stretch. When we peeled potatoes, we fried the peels in bacon grease. DELICIOUS
 
J April 29, 2019
Nobody said it was *new* and the article details letting them air dry and baking them, not frying them in bacon grease. I'm not sure why commenters feel the need to be rude to the authors here.
 
Matt H. April 30, 2019
I like how you said "this is not new" and then proceeded to talk about a completely different recipe with different ingredients and a different cooking method.
 
jpriddy May 5, 2019
I don't think this comment was rude at all. *Using* rather than tossing peelings was how Jo saw the article. It is a reasonable comment. I never peel potatoes and never toss vegetable scrapes of any kind—they go into the freezer until I have enough for stock.
 
smartin April 29, 2019
Could you share the recipe for the dip too? Looks so Yummy!!!
 
Eric K. April 29, 2019
Here you go! https://food52.com/recipes/8902-caramelized-onion-dip
 
Tim April 29, 2019
I assume the peels need to be placed in a pan without (as much as practical) touching?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. April 29, 2019
Hi Tim! It's a pretty forgiving method--less touching is better, but no need to be overly sparse on the pan.
 
Yvonne April 29, 2019
I agree with Ella. Given the quantity you get with a vegetable peeler, you're bound to have a lot. What I do is separate as much as possible, but then turn them every 5 minutes or so. This is not a "put in the oven and forget" recipe - it's a baby that needs constant attention.
 
Lynn R. April 29, 2019
Ummmm. Couldn't you just "peel" the entire potato?
 
Yvonne May 6, 2019
That's what I would do!
 
Kate R. April 29, 2019
These look yummy Ella but I do have a couple of questions. Which potato did you feel worked best? Also, don’t the potatoes turn black upon getting oxygenated? Many thanks for your assist!
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. April 29, 2019
Hi Kate,

Every potato I tested worked great! I don't think you can go wrong, here—just use whichever scraps you have. :)

My potato peels did not turn black in testing.

Ella
 
Kate R. April 29, 2019
Thank you Miss Ella! I’ll give it a whirl this week! They look delish and I have a yummy avocado ranch dip I’ve been dying to try.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. April 29, 2019
Sounds delicious! Would love to hear the recipe for the dip :)
 
Kate R. April 29, 2019
2 large ripe avocados pitted
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons lemon juice...I also add the zest from the lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

All goes in a food processor to be blended thoroughly! Easy peasy!
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. April 29, 2019
Thank you!
 
susan April 29, 2019
what you are referring to is called enzymatic oxidation. The enzymes in the raw potato react with the oxygen in the air to change color (short explanation of the chemical process).
https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/45/8/article-p1150.xml