Here's Why You Should Never Throw Out Potato Peels

Tips from The Kitchn

This plate is stacked high with crispy, chewy snacks that fall somewhere between potato chips and French fries — and it's all because I didn't throw out my potato scraps. Yes, my potato peels — the ones I made while peeling spuds for mashed potatoes.

Now that I know this snack trick, I'm never throwing out my potato peels again, and here's why you shouldn't either.

Potato peels! Nothing special, right? Wrong.

We're entering prime potato-peeling season, what with the buckets of mashed potatoes and platters of potato gratins destined for the Thanksgiving table.

When you peel potatoes for those essential fall dishes, what do you do with the peels? Do you throw them out? Compost them?

Let me offer a third way: Roast them.

3 Reasons Why You Should Roast Your Potato Peels

It only stands to reason that potato skins — long a staple of bars and tailgate parties — are delicious in just about any form. Even if they don't have much (or any) potato flesh left on them, the skins alone are full of potato goodness, and, once roasted, taste something like a potato chip or a French fry, but with even more flavor.

Here are three reasons why you should try this out.

  1. Because they are delicious. Plain and simple. Throw some potato peels in the oven, and they crisp up into delicious bites.
  2. No waste! It's delightful to take a food scrap that would have been thrown out or composted and find, instead, that it's not only worth saving, but really delicious.
  3. They are the perfect pre-dinner snack: If you're just now peeling potatoes, it means that dinner still has a little while to go before it's on the table. Since potato peels take a short amount of time to roast, you can give your guests or family an easy snack while you finish cooking. The roasted peels also are quite light and don't fill you up.

A hot, easy, delicious pre-dinner nibble that saves you from wasting space in the trash can? How much better does it get?

Potato peels going into the oven.

How to Roast Potato Peels

Here's how I roast potato peels. It's super simple. I've only roasted russet potato peelings (since that's what I use for mashed potatoes) but I think this would work with other potato varieties as well.

Two notes I would emphasize: Get these in the oven immediately after peeling your potatoes, as potato peels will quickly turn pink (which is nothing to worry about, but it does look strange); and if you leave them too long, they will get brown and mushy. Also, avoid any green peels; they may contain solanine, which is a toxin that is not (I repeat not) usually an issue in potatoes, since potatoes simply don't contain enough of it to bother most people. But small children can be more sensitive, and just to be on the safe side, I would discard any really green peels.

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F: Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat, if desired.
  2. Toss the peels with oil and seasonings: I used a light drizzle of olive oil, and some pepper and smoked salt. Toss so that the peels are thoroughly coated.
  3. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once: Stir halfway through roasting, and remove them once they're done to your liking.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and scallions! If you like you can sprinkle these little bites with cheese and green onions, or eat them straight off the baking sheet.

Eat immediately with ketchup, hot sauce, or some other delicious dip.

Do you make these delicious snacks too? Am I the last one to the party? If you use your potato peelings like this, tell us your favorite way to season them!

(Image credits: Faith Durand)