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A while back I tried baking my own sweet potato (yam) chips and I ran into some problems. Here's what I did on my last attempt:

  1. Using a mandolin, I sliced the potato into one-eighth of an inch size medallions.
  2. I placed those medallions on a baking sheet that had been covered with a greased sheet of tinfoil.
  3. I set the oven to 350 (it was a total WAG in terms of temperature) and placed the baking sheet on the middle rack.
  4. I watched as the potatoes began to curl and shrink. "Hooray!" I thought to myself. "I should flip these suckers over just to be safe".
  5. I flipped the chips over (still soft) and returned them to the oven.
  6. After another 5 min or so I took the chips out of the oven. They were hot, some were burnt, but none were crispy or chip-like.

My question is: What was my fundamental flaw? was it temperature? timing? What is the fundamental secret to getting them to be crisp without frying?

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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The dense nature and high sugar content of sweet potatoes can make them difficult to turn into crisp crunchy chips without burning, even when you ARE frying them. This is the reason so often sweet potato fries are soft rather than crisp.

I have never tried baking them into chips but your method seems to be very sound. Any higher temp is going to burn them even more quickly and a lower one is going to just turn them to mush by the time you cook them longer to try crisping them.

Here's a slightly adjusted method: Try slicing them closer to 1/16th of an inch and then place them between two pieces of greased foil or parchment paper. Preheat two baking sheets in the oven for about 15 minutes so that they're hot when the sheet of potatoes goes onto it. Put the sandwiched sheet of potatoes on the first hot pan and place the second one on top to "press" them so that they're essentially "oven frying" between the sheets of paper/foil. This still may not work as the steam will be trapped but pressing them between two preheated pans may help.

My primary suggestion: Fry them and don't eat the whole batch. OR Fry AND eat the whole batch and don't do it too often.

Many times it's just best to do things the traditional way and enjoy it, than to try substituting and having a less than ideal result.

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Wonderful suggestions. What about regular potato chips? Same methodologies but with crisper results? –  Levi Hackwith Aug 5 '10 at 4:06
    
Yes, you'll have better luck doing regular potato chips this way. I used to do a garnish for entrees by sandwiching parsley leaves between two VERY thinly sliced pieces of russett potato and baking as described. –  Darin Sehnert Aug 22 '10 at 6:18
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