How to Make the Crispiest Vegetable Chips at Home
Skip the deep fryer and opt instead for the oven
While walking down the snack aisle of my local grocery store, it was astounding to me how many different types of chips are now available. It seems these days anything can be made into a chip. Long gone are the days of simple potato and corn chips, it’s time to look beyond into the expansive world of sweet potato chips, beet chips, taro chips, and more.
There’s something alluring about vegetable chips. Maybe it’s the vibrancy of the colors—a medley of pinot noir purples and sunset oranges, like an impressionist painting. Or maybe it’s the sheer fact that vegetable chips, at least the homemade kind, promise an almost guiltless path from the potato chip’s reputation as a junk food item. And what’s not to love about that?
Whatever the reason why we’re drawn to them, one fact remains: Making vegetable chips is a fun and easy way to sneak more vegetables into your diet. So if you suddenly have an extra salty, carb-filled craving, consult your pantry instead of the snack aisle—you’ll be surprised by what you can make right in your own kitchen.
The best vegetables for chips
Although you can technically make chips out of any vegetable, root vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, yams, carrots, and beets work best. Other vegetables worth mentioning and experimenting with are zucchini, plantains, squash, and eggplant.
Slice them thin, real thin
The thinner the slice, the easier it will be for water to evaporate and help you end up with paper-thin crunchy chips. Using a mandoline will guarantee your chips are all uniformly sized, perfectly thin, and, last but not least, it will save you a lot of time. If you don’t have a mandoline at home, a very sharp knife will also work, though it will be a bit more arduous and you’ll have to be patient as you slice.
To soak or not to soak?
There are a lot of recipes out there that skip soaking the slices before baking, but in my experience, the soak is imperative. For starch-heavy veg like potatoes, soaking will help release some of the starch so that they crisp up gloriously in the oven; too much starch will weigh down your chips and result in something limp and gluey.
To soak your veg correctly, simply toss your slices into a bowl of ice cold water and let them sit for approx. 20 min. Be sure to drain very well and pat the babies dry with a paper towel to remove any excess water. We want to remove as much moisture as possible before baking!
Flavor them up
This is where the fun begins. Unlike the store-bought varieties, when it comes to flavoring your own veggie chips, you have complete control. Are you craving something tart and spicy? Toss the veggies in a chipotle-lime salt. Looking for something more traditional? Sea salt and vinegar is a classic flavor that always satisfies. Reach for whichever flavors inspire you, but don’t forget to generously lather oil (I’m team olive, but any cooking oil will do) all over the veggies so the spices have something to cling to.
The right temperature for crisp chips
Set your oven at 150°C/300°F. It might seem low but what we’re doing is dehydrating the vegetables rather than baking them. Cooking at a low temperature will slowly suck the moisture from your veggies until they are the crispiest and crackliest they can be without the fear of burning to a crisp.
Arrange the vegetable slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking rack and bake for about 30 min., flipping halfway through. Remember that all vegetables have different starch and water content, so if arranging a variety of vegetables, keep an eye on them to prevent accidental any burns.
Don’t forget your leafy greens
Kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and spinach also make great chips. Use your hands to massage your greens with plenty of olive oil and toss them into the oven for delicate, crunchy leaves to snack on, or crumble over salads and grain bowls.
Some recipes to get you started
Published on March 28, 2020