Using an air fryer to make potato chips is an undeniably healthier way to enjoy what we’d typically describe as “junk food.” But there’s an important step you might be missing out on to get the most out of your spuds.
As someone who’s tried to make air fryer potato chips several times and ended up with either floppy or totally burnt results, I was intrigued when The Kitchn shared their technique. It all seemed pretty similar to my own methods, but with one crucial step I would have never thought of: Soaking the potato slices in cold water for 20 minutes before cooking.
Food editor Meghan Splawn explained, “Soaking brings out a lot of starch in the potatoes, which helps them cook up extra crispy in the air fryer.” She also recommended laying the slices out on paper towels and letting them dry completely after draining.
I tested this out with a medium-sized sweet potato on hand. I grabbed my trusty mandoline (Buy on Amazon, $16.99) to get the slices super thin and then dunked them into a bowl of cool water. When my timer went off 20 minutes later, I did my best to dry them off in batches. In fact, the whole process involved a lot of working in batches.
I spritzed the slices with olive oil and sprinkled on some seasoning (salt, pepper, and garlic powder). Then it was time to lay out as many as I could in a single layer in my air fryer. Depending on the size of your appliance, this will get pretty repetitive, but it’s important to not overcrowd the spuds.
The recipe says to heat them at 370 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 18 minutes, checking on them every four minutes or so and flipping them to distribute the heat evenly. However, I found that just doing two rounds of cooking for about five minutes each at that temperature was enough for my potato slices to turn into chips.
I also came up with a trick of my own: Instead of placing the slices in my air fryer basket per usual, I sprayed a little oil on the base underneath it and layered the potatoes there. I then sprayed the bottom of the basket and put that on top. Again, depending on the type of air fryer you have, this might not be possible, but it kept my slices from flying around while they cooked and getting stuck together.
It took at least 10 batches for me to get through cooking all of the slices (and I definitely snacked on each new batch along the way), but the results were exactly what I hoped for: super crispy and yummy sweet potato chips! No disappointingly floppy or scorched ones in sight.
The process might seem tedious, but I got into a rhythm of swapping out batches while I prepped and cooked my dinner — and then I had a healthy post-dinner snack to enjoy! I also really loved being able to control how much salt goes on the chips and mixing up whatever other seasonings I want rather than relying on whatever bags I find on the grocery store shelves.
Give a try with your air fryer and you might never go back to pre-made potato chips again!
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