Thinly sliced sweet potatoes fried until crisp are a bright and fun take on potato chips. A bit sweet, and very orange, their flavor is perfected with just a sprinkle of salt―or chili powder for those who like things spicy.
The key to success with these chips is two-fold: first, the sweet potatoes should be as evenly sliced as possible. A sharp knife, keen eye, and steady hand will do the trick, but a kitchen mandoline will make it all much quicker and easier; second, the temperature of the oil needs to be hot but not too hot—around 350 F is perfect. Is it worth getting a thermometer to measure that temperature? Yes because too-cool oil will yield soggy chips, and those are gross; while too-hot oil will burn your chips (especially possible with the high sugar content of sweet potatoes) before they're cooked, which is its own brand of yucky.
- Sweet potatoes
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Salt and/or chili powder (as you like)
Peel the sweet potatoes thoroughly. Slice them evenly and as thinly as you like. Thick-cut homemade sweet potato chips are fabulous, so don't get too obsessed with thinness: evenness (so the chips cook evenly) is the key here. If you have a kitchen mandoline, this is the time to use it, but a good sharp knife and a steady hand work just as well.
Rinse the sweet potato slices and then soak them for about half an hour in cold water. This step rinses off any excess starch and will help the chips crisp up.
Drain the sweet potato slices and dry them thoroughly on a clean kitchen towel or with layers of paper towels. Water on the slices will make the hot oil splatter, so it's worth the effort to dry the sweet potato slices thoroughly.
In a large, heavy pan or pot (the high sides of a pot keep the oil from splattering), heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable, canola, grapeseed oil or lard to about 350 F. If you don't have a candy/frying thermometer, don't worry. Just drop a dried slice of sweet potato in the oil, if the oil sizzles immediately but gently around the slice of sweet potato, the oil is the right temperature! If it doesn't sizzle immediately, pull it out and wait for the oil to heat up a bit more; if the oil sizzles violently around it, pull it out and let the oil cool off a bit before trying again.
Add a single layer of sweet potato slices to the oil—only add as many slices as fit in a single layer; any more and the chips won't get fully sizzled all around by the oil and will have soggy spots, plus too many slices at once will cool down the oil too much. Fry the sweet potato slices until they just start to darken on the edges, about 3 minutes per batch.
Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the sweet potato chips to layers of paper towels or a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle with salt or other seasonings, if you like, and let cool completely before eating (they crisp up as they sit). Repeat frying in batches until all sweet potatoes are cooked.
- Serve sweet potato chips the same day they are made or store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days.