Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Chips: A Few Crucial Notes for Success

Only a short while ago, I posted about sweet potato chips. I have lately been thoroughly enamored by them and have been making a batch nearly every day in order to feed my obsession. So I was surprised when my dear friend, who is also a great cook and a sweet potato aficionado told me that she'd tried them several times (once with her mother-in-law who is also a great cook) and that they hadn't worked out yet. Oh dear. I was at her house at the time. There was a sweet potato. There was a knife. There was an oven. We gave it a go and I realized how a few variables (such as a darker pan) could change things up.

Below you'll find a couple more tips to make your sweet potato chips a little more sure fire. And you really must give them a go. They're just so good.

1. You can make these without oil, but it is a much trickier thing to do and you must have very thin slices of sweet potato to do it. I have been making mine with oil. You can use olive oil or canola or probably coconut (oh, now, there's an idea--coconut and sweet potato are soul sisters) or any other vegetable oil you wish. I do mine by greasing my pan (drizzle a Tbsp or so on and just spread it around with your hand). 

Then I put my slices of sweet potato on and use a pastry brush to brush oil onto each chip. It sounds neurotic, but it takes less than 1 minute.

Alternately you could probably throw the sweet potato discs in a bag with oil and shake them.

2. You can slice these very thin and bake them at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. But if they are not super super thin (1/16 of an inch or thinner), they will take longer. My food processor got them very thin, but it also (because it is junky) left a bunch of scraps--mauled sweet potato bits that I couldn't use. So I've taken to cutting the slices very thinly with a knife.

They take a little longer to bake, but I can totally forgive this as my clean up does not involve a pesky appliance and there's no wasted food. Also, you really need to get them 1/8 inch or thinner. If not, they will cook up into yummy sweet potato discs, but it will be hard to get them into crispy chips without burning them or drying them out. 

3. Unless you are the world's most perfect slicer in the world (and I'm pretty good if I do say so myself, but still not good enough), you will have some slices thinner and some thicker. Thus you will want to check your sweet potatoes at 15 minutes. Remove any thin ones that are looking done and leave the others on. After that, check every 5 minutes or so until they're all done. It's a little pesky, but if you're in the kitchen anyway, it's not too big of a deal. Here's how mine look at various stages:

20 minutes (you'll notice some are kind of brown--they're not burned, they still taste sweet. Another minute, however, and they would have been). 

25 minutes

30-35 minutes

4. If you're using a dark pan, you will need to flip these halfway through their cooking time. I know that's obnoxious, but it's true. I use a silver pan and do not ever have to flip mine, but my friend's pan was darker (not super dark, but not silver) and hers started getting too brown on the bottom before the chips were crispy. To avoid this, just give them a flip halfway through. It's also helpful to flip them if your slices are a bit on the thicker end of the spectrum. Flip them at about 20 minutes.

5. Let them sit for a few minutes to cool a bit and crisp up. This is the hardest part, and not just because you want to eat them immediately. Sometimes they are not perfectly crispy when you take them out. You don't want them to feel soft and squishy like a sweet potato fry would--those aren't done yet. But if you wait until they're perfectly perfectly crisp, they may end up over-cooked. Take them off the pan when they're crispy or darkened at the edges even if the middle is a little floppy. (Click on the pictures above to enlarge them if you need a better idea of how they should look.) Let them sit for a minute or few on a paper towel to cool just a bit. They'll crisp right up as they cool.

6. They won't be as perfectly crispy as a store-bought potato chip, but they should have a definite crispy edge to them. When you bite into them, they'll crunch and it's a very satisfying snack in that way.

7. Oven rack should be in the middle.

8. Preheat your oven (350 degrees).

9. These can be made with the skins on or off. I like to leave them on. Occasionally this makes for a bit of skin chewy in your teeth, but not often enough for me to care.

10. These are good the next day too. Not quite as perfect, but very very good.

In closing: Maybe it will take a batch or two of experimenting, but it really is worth it to get them right. I crave them every day.


  1. Mmmm I have been wanting to try these, but can never get my sweet potatoes thin enough? suggestions?
    Thank you for linking up on Successful Saturdays!

    1. Do you have a good knife? Or a food processor? Those are probably the only two methods. If you do have a good knife, you might just need a little practice, but you'll get it. If you don't have a good knife, you should get one:) because they're really nice to have.

  2. Thank you, this was helpful. I always end up burning mine!

    1. I'm so glad. They're so good, it's a shame to burn them.



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