It wasn’t until I was working on Real Snacks, a cookbook about making my favorite junk food at home, that it occurred to me that I could make my own potato chips. Of course, no junk food cookbook could be complete without them, but my first few attempts were pretty sad... dark brown on the edges and still soggy in the middle. Luckily, perseverance won out, and now I wonder how I ever thought they were hard.
The key to the perfectly crispy chip is the mandolin. You need to get the potatoes really, really thin, so unless you have the knife skills of a ninja, the mandolin is the way to go. You don’t need a fancy one... a simple $20 slicer works great. Just make sure you get one with a guard, and don’t worry that you can’t use that last little chunk at the end of each potato... just set it aside for soup, and save your fingertips!
If frying isn’t your thing, you’ll love the microwavable version of this recipe, which makes a small batch of super crisp chips in about 2 minutes.
These chips are great with a sprinkle of sea salt, but even better with the homemade “Baked Potato” seasoning mix, which makes these chips taste like Tato Skins.
I like Russet potatoes best for frying, but this method also works great for sweet potatoes, yams and lotus root. —Lara
Watch This Recipe
Homemade Potato Chips
1 large bowlful
Homemade Potato Chips
Sea salt or Baked Potato Chip Seasoning (recipe follows)
Slice the potatoes into very, very thin rounds with a porcelain slicer or mandolin (always use the guard!). I use a 1.3mm setting. Place the slices in a large bowl. Cover with cold water, swish and then drain.
Place the slices in a single layer on a towel, and then gently roll it up to lightly dry them. Keep the slices rolled up in the towel as you cook off batches to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown.
To fry the chips, heat a pot of safflower or canola oil to 350F (180C), and fry the dried chips in small batches. Be careful not to overfill the pot, or your chips will stick together and have soggy spots. Fry for just a minute or two, using a chopstick to flip each chip once, until they are a light golden brown and the oil bubbling calms. If there is still frantic bubbling going on, there is still moisture in the chips, and they will be soggy. Remove the chips with a slotted spoon, and place on a wire rack to drain.
To microwave your chips instead, spray the chips with an oil baking spray and place in a single layer on a microwave safe plate (sprayed with a bit more baking spray) or on a microwave bacon dish. Cook on full power for about 1 to 2 minutes, depending on how many chips fit on the plate. You’ll likely need to do this in many small batches. Be careful when you remove the plate because it will be very hot.
Toss your crisp chips into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt or your seasoning, swirling and flipping to coat. These chips are best eaten the day you make them, but will keep for a day or two in an airtight container.
Baked Potato Chip Seasoning
Place all the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix to combine. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Powered buttermilk should be easy to find in your grocer's specialty grains section. Bob's Red Mill makes a version that is 100% buttermilk with no added preservatives and it tastes great.
Lara Ferroni is a former tech geek turned food geek who spends her days exploring the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. As a writer and photographer, you might spy her digging through bargain bins for the perfect prop, or dreaming up delicious new ways to use teff, or eating and drinking her way through Portland's vibrant food culture. Her photos have been featured in websites and magazines such as Epicurious and Edible Communities, as well as over 10 cookbooks, including her own, Doughnuts (Sasquatch Books) and Real Snacks: Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without all the Junk (Sasquatch Books), as well as a food photography how-to book, Food Photography: Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting & Shooting (Pixiq). You can find more of her tasty photos and recipes on her blogs, CookandEat.com and StillLifeWith.com.