Light & Crispy Homemade Potato Chips

Super-thin potato chips made by hand. By this hand, specifically.

On a whim yesterday I made these delightfully light and crisp potato chips. They exceeded my own expectations, and I urge you to give it a whirl. Last year I read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, which posits that you can eat as much junk food as you like as long as you make it yourself! This recipe is perfect for those who try to live (somewhat) by Pollan’s suggestion. Yes, you’re frying and eating some oil. But the yield is so low it’s hardly comparable to eating a whole bag of Lay’s. And it’s all natural. And it’s kinda fun. And these chips are so fresh and delightful you’ll be incredibly proud of yourself.

To really make decent chips at home, you’ll need a tabletop fryer or a good fry thermometer and a deep, heavy pot. Don’t even attempt this recipe unless you’re comfortable with frying. I also recommend a salad spinner and sharp mandolin for slicing. I used a small ceramic-bladed mandolin; it cuts very thin slices and was about $15 at Sur La Table.

Dry the potatoes very, very well. A salad spinner helps make the job easier.

Peel three russet potatoes and slice them as thin as you can on a mandolin. As you work, place the fresh slices into a bowl filled with cold water. When you’re done slicing drain the potato slices and fill the bowl again with fresh cold water. Let the potatoes soak for about 15 minutes. And then drain and refill the bowl with water again. I flushed my potatoes three times. You want to make sure you’ve gotten all the loose starches from the slices; the water will run clear and the potato slices will have buckled a bit when they’re ready for the fryer.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. Now set your fryer up. I used vegetable oil, but peanut or corn oil are fine as well. You’ll want your oil at a consistent 335 degrees F. Set to one side of the fryer another strainer to put the cooked chips into; this will allow some of the excess oil to drain off.

Golden, light chips are fragile and delicious.

Using the salad spinner, spin any remaining excess water off the slices. You’ll probably have to do this in batches. When very dry, you’re ready to fry!

Fry chips in batches. I think I did mine in three batches. As they fry turn them and stir them with tongs or a metal spider so they cook evenly. The chips are done when they are golden brown and they’ve stopped bubbling (the bubbling is water moisture being cooked out of the chip).

While still hot, season the chips with some fine salt. I used some Australian pink salt from Murray River, but any decent salt will do. Eat up and enjoy!

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