Ah, the potato! Most glorious of all root vegetables! Crown prince of carbohydrates!
Tater-heads like me know that potato dishes truly shine when they’re homemade. Home cooks can precisely dial in their ideal potato proportions and seasonings, then serve them fresh from the kitchen.
This goes for potato chips, too. Sure, they’re easy and cheap enough to grab at any old gas station, but making them at home is something special.
You can certainly do it the old-fashioned way, by deep-frying potato slices on the stove like Served from Scratch does. Delicious, to be sure, but a bit laborious if you’re pressed for time. And messy, as frying often is!
Did you know you can make potato chips in the microwave instead? Yep — and you can do it with or without cooking oil.
Whatever your feelings about the oil, you’ve got to start with some really thin potato slices. A mandoline is the preferred kitchen tool to get those tubers super thin and at a uniform size.
If you don’t have a mandoline, use the sharpest kitchen knife you’ve got. Make sure the slices are as thin as you can get them — the thicker the slice, the harder it is to get the necessary crispness.
Another crispy tip: Unless you’re in a big rush, it helps to soak the potato slices in cold water for at least 30 minutes before proceeding. The water helps rinse off a little starch, resulting in a crispier chip. (Make sure to get the chips as dry as possible after their bath.)
If you’re going the oil-free route, you can move on to arranging the potato slices on a microwave-safe plate, Keep them in single layers, and don’t let the slices touch — they’ll stick together. Season the chips in whatever way you like.
To add oil: Place potato slices in a gallon storage bag with 1 tablespoon oil, plus your desired seasonings. Shake ‘em up, then arrange them on a plate.
Fire up the microwave and heat until the chips are lightly browned — only browned chips will crisp when they get cool. If you spot a chip that’s browning too quickly, stop the oven and grab it with tongs, then restart.
Prepare all your slices in batches, then let them cool and crisp up. Next thing you know, you’ve got a fresh, homemade bowl of chips!
This potato chip recipe from Allrecipes.com offers detailed instructions on how to make the chips with oil, or you can go to The Kitchn for an oil-optional recipe. You may wish to experiment with oil types, seasoning, methods and timing to get your chips exactly right.