04/20/2012 09:11 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make Homemade Potato Chips

If the Neelys' quick demonstration didn't leave you with indestructible confidence in homemade potato chip making, read on for some further explanation -- and don't feel bad, you're not alone.

Deep frying can create a lot of anxiety. It involves a ton of hot oil (which has the bad habit of jumping out at you). And then, there's the high expectations you have to meet since store-bought potato chips are so good. Is it really worth the time and effort to make them yourself? Well, there's a reason people bother cooking them up. Once you produce a (successful) batch, you'll understand why. Potato chips are infinitely tastier, and much healthier, when made in your own kitchen.

There's one thing we want to make clear before we begin. You don't need a fancy deep fryer or mandoline to make these crisp potatoes at home. All you need are some good potatoes (which is crucial!), a knife, a bit of oil (preferably peanut oil) and a cooking method (whether that's a fryer, frying pan, oven or microwave). With those basic tools, the best potato chips are yours to achieve.

Now it's time for potato chip making.
You'll need:
1-2 medium Yukon Gold or Idaho potatoes (1 will make roughly 3-4 servings)
A mandoline, knife or potato peeler
2 cups canola or peanut oil (if frying) or 3 tablespoons oil (if baking)

  • Slice the potatoes about 1/8 of an inch thick using either a mandoline, potato peeler or knife.
  • Soak the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. This step releases the excess starch from the potato and helps it get really crispy when cooked.
  • Once done soaking, dry the potatoes completely. Too much water left on the potatoes can cause the oil to spit.
  • If you're going to fry your chips, heat the oil to 375 degrees. Carefully place a handful of potatoes into the fryer, and allow them to turn golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Make sure that there's not too much crowding so that the chips can properly crisp. Take them out and let them drain on paper towels.
  • If you're going to bake the potatoes, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the potatoes in the 3 tablespoons of oil. Bake them until golden brown (about 12-15 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool and crisp up even more.
  • It you're going the microwaving route, coat the potatoes with oil or cooking spray. Spread the chips in a single layer on a microwavable plate. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes (until properly browned).
  • Once your chips are cooked, season them to your liking. Salt is always a good way to go, but you can also add garlic powder, cheese powder, paprika or curry powder for a little more excitement.

The chips will keep in an air tight container for three days, though we doubt they'll last longer than an hour.