Homemade Potato Chips on National Potato Chip Day
Not only is tomorrow Pi Day (and therefore a perfect excuse to eat pie), it’s also National Potato Chip Day. March 14 might be the most delicious day of the year, second only to Thanksgiving.
While you could go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of potato chips to devour, we have a better idea. Try making homemade potato chips instead. With the right tools, they’re easier than you might think — and far more delicious than the bagged variety too.
Homemade Potato Chips: Key Tools
We’ve sung the praises of the mandoline slicer many times before. If you don’t yet own one, perhaps we can convince you now. Used properly, a mandoline like the one from OXO in the video below, is the safest and simplest way to slice vegetables.
No matter how good your knife skills may be, a mandoline will create thinner, more even slices with less risk to your fingers.
Plus, a mandoline can slice potatoes so thin, you may not even bother to peel them. However, if you do opt to peel your potatoes, try this set of three Y-peelers from Kuhn Rikon with carbon steel blades.
Homemade Potato Chips: Soak or Boil Before You Bake or Fry
We all have personal preferences where it comes to our favorite foods, including potato chips. But we’d bet nobody loves those few dark brown chips you find in nearly every bag.
The Food Lab on Serious Eats investigated how various prep and cooking techniques affect the color and taste of homemade potato chips. You can use their findings to help ensure your own chips turn out exactly the way you like them.
From right to left, here’s how the chips above were prepared:
(Far right) Fried right after potatoes were sliced
(Middle right) Fried after potatoes were sliced and rinsed in water
(Middle left) Fried after potatoes were sliced and parboiled in water
(Far left) Fried after potatoes were sliced and parboiled in water and vinegar
In short, pick the potato chip color you like best, and prepare your potatoes accordingly.
Homemade Potato Chips: Recipes for Fried Chips
After learning from Serious Eats how to tweak our potato prep based on personal preference, of course we have to feature their chip recipe (below). Don’t skip any of the rinsing or soaking steps, in addition to parboiling in vinegar water. That helps remove starch from the potatoes, so you can cook them until they’re crisp, with little to no browning.
We also like this recipe from Munchies (below), which calls for soaking the potato slices in a cold water bath. Change the water a couple times to get rid of the excess starch. We might try adding vinegar to the water bath to see if we can get the same effect Serious Eats did with parboiling.
No matter which recipe you choose, watch the chips while they’re frying. The bubbles you see are water escaping from the potatoes. As long as there are bubbles, keep frying. If you remove the chips too soon, they will be soggy due to the remaining water.
Finally go easy on the salt — less is more. You may find with homemade chips, you don’t need as much seasoning.
Homemade Potato Chips: Recipes for Baked Chips
Oprah knows all the best of everything, so we couldn’t pass up her recipe for baked chips (below). Once you check it out, you’ll see why. Rubbing the baking sheets with fresh garlic and then warming them before arranging all the potato slices? Genius! We’re not sure why she doesn’t call for soaking the potatoes before baking the chips; that’s the only change we’d make to this recipe.
We’re also intrigued by this recipe from Cook the Story (below) that calls for baking the chips on a pizza stone. It makes sense, when you think about it. Plus, toss the potato slices in oil before baking them on the stone for extra crunch. Christine does soak her potatoes in water before baking, but we’d probably double the soaking time and change the water at least once.
Either way, baking your potato chips is more health-conscious and less messy than frying them. Then again, National Potato Chip Day only comes around once a year. Celebrate however you prefer!