The Best Temperature For Crispy Oven-Baked Potato Chips

With an oven, a few russet potatoes, and an hour of free time, you can swap the Lays for homemade potato chips. Since you can adjust the seasoning to your preference, with a deft hand, they can be infinitely tastier than the store-bought stuff.

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Oven-baked potato chips are simple: thin-sliced potatoes tossed with seasoning and baked in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes until they're golden brown. But what's difficult about this snack is that you need to get the baking recipe just right. The temperature won't just affect the cooking time — it will also impact the final state of the chips when they come out of the oven. As the potatoes are very thinly sliced, you'll find that they burn very easily.

Generally speaking, you'll get the best results between 375 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. But depending on a lot of different factors — from how thinly you slice the potatoes to the specific model of your oven to the altitude of where you're cooking – the sweet spot will differ. We recommend starting at around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then, depending on how the potato chips turn out, adjust as needed with the next batch and so on.

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Why your potato chips are burning

If you set your oven's temperature a bit too high, the potato chips will burn, as expected. Try again with a lower temperature setting than the one you just used for the next batch — about 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit should do.

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However, do note that the temperature knob isn't always responsible! For instance, if you forgot to soak the potato slices before you put them into the oven, they'll burn a lot faster than you thought. This is because russet potatoes have a lot of starch. Although this starch contributes a lot to the browning (hence their popularity for making chips,) it can also cause the chips to burn prematurely. That's why most recipes will tell you to soak the potatoes for at least 30 minutes before you put them into the oven. That way, all the excess starch is washed out and the chips don't burn before they're cooked.

The second potential reason is that you left them in the oven for too long. Cooking time can vary on a lot of factors, like altitude and humidity. So, if this is your first batch, keep a close eye on the chips as they bake. Preferably, you should check on them at the 10-minute mark and then every three minutes thereafter. Once the slices curl up and get that lovely golden brown tone, write down the time for later use and take them out of the oven.

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And what if they're coming out limp and soggy?

You want those chips to have that lovely crispy bite, but if they come out of the oven limp and soggy, then you're dealing with a completely new problem – the potato chips aren't getting enough heat. The sogginess is from all the remaining moisture still stuck in the potatoes. For them to crisp up and turn into potato chips, all that moisture inside the potatoes has to boil away first. Try a higher temperature setting, about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If that doesn't work, you can punch it up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Remember how we mentioned soaking the potatoes is a crucial step for non-burning potato chips? Just as crucial is the drying step afterward. You should use paper towels and pat down the slices as they sit on the tray so that they're as dry as possible. Too much moisture and instead of baking, the potato chips will steam, and we're not after steamed potatoes here.

A third potential reason is that you brushed a little bit too much cooking oil onto it. The oil can promote browning in small amounts, but too much and the oil-soaked potato chips will have a hard time crisping up, if at all!

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