Looking at Microwave Potato Chips

Anatomy of a Recipe

Making a batch of super crispy, low-fat potato chips in the microwave is still one of our very favorite ways to take care of a late-afternoon snack attack. They're so easy to make, and it's fun to jazz them up with spices, vinegars, and oils! Do you have a favorite way of making microwave potato chips?

The method for making these potato chips is pretty simple, but needs to be adapted to the wattage and power of your particular microwave. You cut potatoes as thin as possible, then microwave them on paper towels or a microwave tray in short bursts until they're perfectly crispy. You can read about our first attempts here and get the recipe that was our original inspiration from the Jugalbandi site here.

Anatomy of This Recipe

We primarily use our microwaves for re-heating leftovers and boiling water, and it never occurred to us that it could be used in this way! Microwaves work by energizing the water molecules in food. The water molecules then heat up the cells and structures around them, thus heating our food. If activated enough, the water molecules evaporate.

Normally we're heating things that have so much water in them that we barely notice the water evaporation. With thin slices of potato, however, there is so little water that the molecules quickly heat, cook the surrounding tissue, and evaporate. What's left behind is a dry shell of cooked potato. In other words, a potato chip!

The chips need to be cooked in bursts because one continuous cooking session would make this process happen too rapidly and you'd wind up with a handful of scorched potato chips. Cooking at a lower power setting also helps prevent the chips from cooking too quickly. Adding the extra step of flipping the chips helps them cook evenly.

Ways to Modify This Recipe

Reading through the comments on our original post, we saw some really excellent suggestions for tweaking and playing with the original potato chip idea! Here's a round-up of ideas:

Different Vegetables - Any vegetable that can be sliced thinly is a potential candidate for making into a chip! Sweet potatoes make an especially good change from regular potatoes. Also try other varieties of potato, beets, parsnips, and carrots. We even wonder if eggplant slices might work well with this method!

Different Fruits - There's no reason why vegetables have to get all the glory! One commenter suggested trying apple slices, and we'd also like to experiment with thinly sliced peaches, bananas, pears, and mangoes.

Add Salt and Spices - Sprinkle the raw slices of potato with your favorite spices before microwaving them. We like using chili powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika!

Coat the Slices - Dip the raw slices in vinegar or other tasty liquid before microwaving them. We also like brushing the slices with a little extra-virgin olive oil for a richer flavor.

Soaking - Several commenters also recommended soaking the raw slices in ice water and then patting them dry before baking them in the microwave. This helps to get some of the starch out of the chips and ensures even cooking.

Have you been experimenting with chips in the microwave? What modifications have you tried?

Related: Dorm Living: How to Cook Eggs in the Microwave

(Image: Emma Christensen)

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