Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Sweet potato chips beat potato chips by a mile.  I hadn’t cooked these in years, which is a real shame—so many missed opportunities for pleasure! Sweet potato chips are dense, flavorful, nutritious, and compulsively eatable. They all but jump into your hand without your being aware of it. I mean look at them.  Are they not a picture of fall’s beauty? They were to Donna, who, spotting them as I cut up the roasted chicken they accompanied and got off this quick hip shot before they cooled.

So good, so easy.

How to cook sweet potato chips (points of deep-fried root vegetable finesse):

  • 1 pound/500 grams (or more) sweet potatoes, well-scrubbed and sliced a little under 1/8th of an inch, thin as a large coin.
  • 1 quart/liter canola oil
  • fine sea salt
  1. Use a big heavy pot; I use a 7-quart Dutch oven.  I like to get the oil pretty hot, 350 to 375 degrees, because the chips will cool down the oil quickly as the water steams out of them.  Work one potato at a time.  When the oil is getting up to temperature, slice the first sweet potato (it’s really really helpful to have a mandoline; I recommend the Benriner mandoline;  if you don’t, it makes a great gift idea!).  When the oil is hot, deal the chips quickly into the oil so they don’t stick to one another. You can try dumping them all in and stirring vigorously to separate them—this sometimes works.
  2. While they’re cooking, slice the next potato.  Line a large bowl with paper towel.  Stir and flip the chips.  They should take between five and ten minutes to cook, but don’t go by time.  When their bubbling settles and they look done, fish one out, let it cool a moment, then taste.  If it’s soft, keep cooking them.
  3. When they’re done scoop them out.  I use an Asian basket strainer, sometimes called a spider, a fantastic tool for all deep frying. Try to get them all up at once, let them drain a moment.  Then dump them into the towel lined bowl.  Lift the salt container with your dominant hand and sprinkle the chips lightly while shaking and jumping the chips in the bowl. This is critical for chips and fries: the immediate shaking while salting.  It shakes off excess oil, ensures an even salting, and it prevents the chips on the bottom from steaming under the weight of the others and becoming soggy.

The result: crisp salty beautiful chips.

If people are in the kitchen with you, set them out to eat immediately while you cook the next batch.  If you’re serving them with a meal, put the bowl in a 200 degree oven while you do the next batches.

Finesse points:

  • Hot oil in a big heavy pot.
  • Don’t crowd the chips, give them plenty of oil to swim around in.
  • Shake the bowl of chips while salting, immediately after they come out of the oil.

These are real treats.  So try to make them as much as possible before you die.  I’m forty-seven and I’m starting now.


48 Wonderful responses to “Sweet Potato Chips”

  • Paul

    Not only are they delicious but you have lots of varieties to sample the subtle differences … all the way from the “white” sweet potato, which is actually cream or light yellow, up through the orange and into the red varieties. I cannot ever imagine them uneaten enough to get to the 200 degree oven.

  • E. Nassar

    I love these things. To guild the lilly, dust them with a little cayenne in addition to the salt and serve them with a fondu dip made with gorgonzola. Heavenly.

  • Mari

    Mmm. I like to sprinkle mine with both sugar and salt, or sometimes I mix it up and use seasoning salt. I just got some fresh-from-the-farm sweet potatoes yesterday, maybe I’ll have to pick up some oil for frying this afternoon…

  • Cookin' Canuck

    I agree that sweet potato chips trump regular chips any day of the week. I have a sneaking feeling that I wouldn’t be able to stop eating these.

  • Kyla Eaglsham

    We always shake them in a paper bag with fine sea salt. I am definitely going to try the lemon peel and chopped oregano…sounds delicious!

  • michele

    they’d be nutritious if they weren’t cooked in canola, which is not healthy. did you happen to experiment with any other fats?

    • Laura

      Do you think that cold pressed unrefined sesame oil might have a high enough smoking point to fry these chips? Coconut oil and olive oil are the only other really healthy choices, but they do have a pretty low smoking point. What about palm oil? I’ve been reading a lot about healthy oils and you are right that canola is a very unhealthy industrial seed oil.

      • Carri

        You can deep fry in olive oil, I do it all the time. Use the lighter stuff and you can take it up to 375 without smoking. It’s stable enough to reuse over and over, just strain through a coffee filter.

    • ruhlman

      canola oil is fine, as skip points out below. but you can use veg, grapeseed, peanut oils as well. I don’t like to deep fry in olive oil.

    • Mantonat

      What’s wrong with canola compared with other high-temp frying oils? How often do you need to deep fry things at home before you have to start worrying about the relative health benefits of various oils?

  • Amber

    Ever tried making them in the microwave? I’m averse to frying because I always mess it up and/or get burned and/or leave a huge mess on my counter. But if you take the same thin-sliced potatoes (haven’t tried sweet ones yet!) and lay them out on an oiled microwave-safe plate (I just use the turntable) and then brush some oil on top of that, you can get crispy, awesome chips without any of the deep-frying fuss. My friends go bananas over them.

  • Bunnee

    Kenji on Serious Eats did a Food Lab on potato chips and he recommended cooking the potato briefly – a parboil – then letting them dry as a way to remove some of the moisture before cooking in oil. It worked really well on russet potatoes (my husband said the chips were the best he had ever eaten) – wonder if it would work on sweet potatoes?

    • ruhlman

      wld probably work but unlike potato french fries, which really benefit from the blanch method, these go from raw to crisp beautifully

  • Luanne

    We make them all the time sprinkled with a bit of granualted garlic and sea salt…nom nom nom

  • Richard

    I don’t know if this is necessary for sweet potato chips, but when I make potato chips from russets, I always give the potatoes a rinse in cold water to get rid of the excess starch. They then take a spin in my salad spinner and get sandwiched between layers of paper towels. Only then do they hit the hot fat. I’ve found that doing them this way greatly reduces the surface moisture, and results in a crisper chip. It also causes less spattering of the fat, which makes for easier clean-up as well. It may seem anal-retentive, but it works for me.

  • Marie

    I’m a little surprised, I guess, that you want to slice and fry so quickly, without any chance to dry out some of the potato’s moisture. When I make a white potato frittata, I usually wring my chopped potatoes in tea towels so they crisp up more easily. Are sweets different?

    • ruhlman

      yes, they seem to have less water. if i were grating, i’d need to wring out, but with chips, not necessary, the water cooks out fast enough.

  • Bryan Gallant

    I make these all the time with a homemade spicy mayo for dipping. Sweet potato chips and spicy chipotle mayo = heaven.

  • richn

    This is sort of off topic but I make a mean sweet potato chip for my lab who’s allergic to everything. He can’t chew bones or enjoy normal dog stuff. I used to buy them from the vet for a stupid price but soon started making my own. Just slice the potatoes 1/8 inch thick on a mandolin and bake them on a rack over a 1/2 sheet pan at 250 until they are brown and crispy. (it takes an hour or so) My dog loves them, yours will too.

  • luis

    Bro I am totally with you and then some. From the freezer take the “Alexia” sweet potato fries or cut your fave sweet potato into frie’s shapes… dust with salt, Mist with great Olive oil such as a “Carbonell” 1866 or such…. in the new wave oven pan with as someone already mentioned your fave spice or heat..whatever.. at four inches height and let it rip until crispy and carmelized.(don’t forget to turn half way through the process…..)
    This is something the disciple wants to share with the master. Try it… delicious and nutricious. Unbeatable. Eat out of the oven while hot…wish they would keep so I could pack them for dinner at work… but they are best out of the oven. Cheers… This and yours and sweet potatoes are a winner.

  • luis

    OBTW… I bought a “Misto” olive oil spray pump and I love it so far. I can put nothing but olive oil into it and pump it up and spray a fine mist. No longer do I have olive oil puddles around in the pans. But you could do similar with a simple olive oil paint brush…. either way no puddles of oil please.

  • Allen

    I am a big fan of the microwave idea, I make your broccoli recipe in a pyrex container in the microwave –
    5min to boil water, add broccoli for 1min while tap water runs cold, drain in colander and shock under cold running water while butter melts in warm pyrex then toss with lemon juice and coarse sea salt, comes out perfect everytime and uses less energy.
    Can’t wait to try sweet potatoes brushed with oil – I like chipotle powder with my sweet potatoes, something about sweet and hot with a little smoke, my mouth is watery already…

  • Tory

    One of my favorite brunch stops in the Dallas area serves sweet potato chips dusted in sea salt and chili powder — I tried it a couple of weeks ago at home and it was a hit! Couldn’t fry them fast enough. Thanks for the frying instructions!

  • Lyndsay

    I am making these tonight. My son is home from school and we’re watching movies. Was trying to come up with some kind of inceredible snack and these look perfect. Thank you for the easy to follow instructions.

  • Tags

    If you look at the picture, you can just make out a tiger/dragon mask coming down in a forty five degree angle from the top right corner. If you look intently enough you can see it move and hear the firecrackers as the dancers snake their way through Chinatown.

  • Anna Johnston

    Thanks for the tute…, not sure what I was doing wrong in my 1 time trying these out, think maybe I was crowding them a touch…, your right though, these things are addictive huh.

  • allen

    Tags, those are sweet potatoes chips not payote chips. I tried the microwave method: fail grade in my kitchen, I played with it they were lightly coated with oil and they came out either soggy, not done enough, or what in tarnation cremation done. Soggy chips are just blasphemous, unless I’m doing something wrong I’ll break out the oil and heavy pot next time.

  • Jessica

    I love that these were done with skins on, the color contrast is gorgeous (or is that just a sign of a wonderful photographer?). Will try this with some of my Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.

  • luis

    Yes, nice photo…wonder if she has worked out a way to print art gallery type prints from these photo’s?. I think there are specialty places that take a photo and turn it into a large beautifull portrait.
    Seen some in New Mexico and La Jolla San Diego.
    They can make them big as a mural.

  • luis

    Guys microwave doesn’t work here. However the NuWave and probably the Flavor Wave class ovens will do the job. They incorporate convection, radiant and infrared cooking elements.
    I do mine in the NuWave and believe me from freezer to crunchy and caramelized in under 20 minutes for real.

  • Lynn

    Oh man, my hubby is going to love me when I break in my new deep fryer with these! Many great dusting and oil use ideas. Can’t wait!

  • Tim N.

    Ever since having these years ago at a North Dallas, TX restaurant I have made them sprinkled generously with Chile Powder along with salt. They are fantastic this way!

  • Erik Schwartz

    I’ve sliced them thin and baked them in the oven at low temperature for a long time, basically dehydrating them. Really tasty, buch less fat. The only hard part is making the salt stick.

  • Jason Donoho

    I have tried to make these several and they always burn. At 325 burnt
    350 burnt 375 even more burnt. What gives?
    Im following the instructions exactly and am in a professional kitchen with a slicer and commercial fryer. We have also tried local “just dug” sweet potatoes and also ones from our produce company. I’m ready to give up….Help please. We have also tried thinner/thicker and rinsing them first and drying them. HELP!

    • JC

      I actually would suspect that the temps may not be what you think they are. Have you tried using a candy thermometer to verify?


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