Making your own potato chips is quite a chore, but after one bite you’ll agree that all the work was worth it. When you make your own potato chips, they're totally customizable. They can be fried 'til just barely cooked, or left in the oil 'til a deep, amber brown. You can use your favorite variety of potato — it’s plenty easy to find chips made from Russets and Yukon Gold, but how often do you see Inca Gold or Purple Viking chips at the supermarket? You can make them as salty as you want, plus you’ve got a great excuse to break out the fancy salt that makes everything taste just a bit more special. You can get crazy with the spices and seasonings, too, mixing and matching until you finally discover the magic formula for the potato chip of your dream. Here's what to do.
Wash and Peel
Wash the potatoes well and, if you’d like, peel them. Peeling is certainly not mandatory when making your own potato chips, unless you’re using something with a particularly tough skin, like sweet potatoes. Keeping the peel on can add a bit more flavor, and gives the chips a rustic, homemade appearance. Plus, it’s easier, and who isn’t a fan of that?
Get to Slicing
Next, slice the potatoes thin. You can use a mandoline for this, but if you don’t own one, or are justifiably scared of using one, you can absolutely do this by hand — just try to keep the slices the same thickness so that all the chips fry evenly. Another good method is to use the slicer attachment on your food processor.
If you need to, cut the potatoes in half or in quarters lengthwise to make them fit down the feeder tube. Your chips won’t be perfect circles, but half-moons and pie shapes are good, too!
Rinse the sliced potatoes well in a colander, then put them into a large bowl or pot full of cold water, swish them around very well, and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. This soaking process helps remove many of the excess starches from the cut potatoes that will make your chips soggy or gummy.
If you want crisp potato chips, do not skip this step.
Drain and Dry
Drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly. This is another extremely important step, as every drop of water that goes into the hot oil will spatter, which could result in burns or worse. The best way to make sure you’ve removed as much water as you can is by using a salad spinner, drying a handful of potato slices at a time. You can also blot the potatoes with cloth or paper towels, or lay them out on a drying rack for 20 minutes or so until they’re bone dry.
Fill a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven with at least 2 inches of oil — the higher the sides, the less of a mess the spattering oil will make. Choose a high heat oil like vegetable, canola, or peanut, which can reach the high temperatures needed to cook the potato chips without breaking down and creating any “off” flavors. Clip a frying thermometer to the side of the pot, turn the heat to high, and bring the temperature of the oil up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add a handful of potato chips to the oil, and gently stir them around with a slotted spoon or fry spider to make sure they don’t stick to each other.
Resist the urge to throw a bunch of chips into the pan at once, because this will drop the temperature of the frying oil, which causes soggy, greasy chips.
Continue frying, moving around a bit now and again, for about two to three minutes until beautifully golden, then transfer the chips from the hot oil to a cooling rack set over a paper towel-lined sheet tray. Sprinkle with salt.
Take note of the temperature registered on your frying thermometer, raising or lowering the heat as needed to bring the oil back to 350 degrees.
Repeat this step with a new batch of potatoes, then keep repeating until all the potatoes have been used up.
Let the potato chips cool to room temperature before eating, as they get crispier as they cool down. If, miraculously, don’t eat all your potato chips right away, you can store them in an airtight container for up to two days.