I love the bags of sweet potato chips from the store, but I don’t love the calorie count or the price. I have been working on my own baked version for months now, with various levels of success. I have made leathery chips, shattering chips and many, many burned chips. I finally am to the point that I am consistently making crunchy chips with a nice sweet potato flavor, and without burning most of them.
I tried high heat in the beginning, thinking to treat the chips like oven fries. No go. I managed to burn most of the chips blacker than charcoal; only saving about six edible chips. Then I tried very low heat, which did make sort of crispy chips, while they were hot. When they cooled they were leathery and hard to chew. Not a pleasant eating experience when you are expecting crispy chips. I think sweet potatoes have a bit of a Goldilocks syndrome, liking it not too hot or too cold. I used moderate heat and they were just right, crispy without a hint of chewiness, lightly browned and full of sweet potato flavor.
It is important to slice the potatoes thin enough. Too thick and you will never get them crispy before they burn. I have a mandolin that works beautifully. If you don’t have one, use a food processor. You can use a knife, but it is hard to get them consistently thin enough. My slices were almost see-through and were certainly thinner than I could get them with a knife.
This is not a recipe to make when you are distracted with too many things. You can’t throw them in the oven and walk away until the timer goes off. Trust me. You need to be in the kitchen to make sure you aren’t incinerating your beautifully sliced sweet potatoes. You don’t have to pull up a chair and watch them through the oven door’s window, but you do need to be in the same room while they are baking so you can smell if they are getting too brown. You can certainly do these while you are making dinner. Or while you wash dishes or organize the pantry or whatever kitchen chores suit your fancy.
One sweet potato, sliced very, very thin makes a bunch of chips. Now I am even more amazed at how much a bag costs in the store, since it probably contains about a potato and a half. Leave the expensive bags of fried chips at the store and bake some of your own. And then eat them, warm from the oven, licking salt from your fingers and patting yourself on the back for making a healthy snack.
Baked Sweet Potato Chips
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 3-4 cups chips
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.
Peel, if desired, and slice sweet potato into very thin slices. I use a mandolin set on the thinnest setting – the slices are less than 1/16th of an inch thick. You can also use a food processor with the thinnest slicing blade. A knife will work, but you need a very sharp blade and patience.
Arrange the sweet potato slices on the greased baking sheets. You can overlap them, but try to keep only the edges overlapping. The sweet potatoes will shrink when you bake them, leaving plenty of room later. If you end up with any half slices or extra thin slices, double them up so they won’t burn.
Drizzle the slices with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and turn slices over. Yes, you need to turn them all over. It is tedious, but it helps them to crisp. Move the browner edge slices to the middle of the pan and move the middle slices to the edges. Return to oven for 15 more minutes. Stay in the kitchen. If you start to smell brown sweet potatoes, check the pans immediately.
After 15 minutes, remove pans from oven. Remove any chips that are crispy and browning. Yes, take them off now. Don’t think they will be fine while the other chips cook. They won’t. They will burn. Take them off the pan. Return any limp chips to the oven for five more minutes. Stay in the kitchen. Repeat until all chips are crispy.
Cool on pans or on a plate. Chips will get slightly crispier as they cool. Store in an airtight container for a few days, or eat them warm from the oven until they are gone.