I never used to make veggie chips at home. All the peeling, slicing, oiling, baking, and flipping just seemed too intimidating and time-consuming. Why wouldn’t I just go to a store and pick up a bag of veggie chips instead?
Well, that’s exactly what I intended to do for a dinner party my husband and I hosted a couple of weeks ago. Except that as I browsed through the healthy aisle of the grocery store (looking for baked rather than deep-fried veggie chips, ya know), all I could find was a little tiny bag of veggie chips filled with air that cost $6!
So I headed back over to the produce section , picked up a few different veggies – beets, sweet potatoes, yams, Brussels sprouts, and kale – and made my own veggie chips at home. I’ve done a lot of experimenting with these veggie chips to achieve a crisp chip-like texture and can assure you that they are delicious! They definitely stand up to any gourmet store-bought variety for a fraction of the cost. And have I mentioned they are also healthy?
Tips for Crispy Beet, Sweet Potato, and Yam Chips
If you’ve ever tried making veggie chips at home, you probably know that it’s a bit tricky to achieve a crisp chip-like texture.
This is especially true when it comes to beets. Beets contain a lot of water and tend to turn out soggy once baked. If you try to bake them longer in order to get the right texture, they often burn, even under low temperature. However, it is possible to make even beet chips perfectly crispy by following the guidelines below.
- Slice them thin – the thinner they are, the easier it will be to get them crisp. Water needs to reach the surface in order to evaporate. So the larger the surface (more area for the water to evaporate) and the lower the volume (less water overall), the better.
- Soak them in water – this technique works surprisingly well for the sweet potatoes. You simply soak the potatoes for about 10-20 minutes to help release some of the starches into the water. The starch in potatoes hinders moisture from evaporating and prevents the potatoes from getting crispy. Just keep in mind that the longer you soak the potatoes, the more nutrients you lose. So soak them briefly, swirl them around, and give them a good rinse.
- Get as much moisture out as possible – moisture plays a big role in how crispy the veggies get. It’s difficult to get anything crispy if it contains a lot of water. That’s why dehydrators work so well. So pat the soaked veggies dry with a paper towel.
- Sweat – sweating in culinary lingo means to cook something on a very low heat to release the moisture. But according to Sommer from Spicy Perspective, you can use salt to achieve the same result. So toss the sliced veggies with salt and let them sweat to release any excess moisture.
- Use a parchment paper or an oven rack – both parchment paper and oven rack work well because they allow water to escape. On the other hand foils or waxed surfaces (e.g. baking sheets) trap water and the veggies steam instead of crisping up.
- Space them out – make sure the veggies aren’t touching. If you crowd them, there will be too much vapor surrounding them and they’ll steam rather than bake into crispy chips.
- Use low temperatures – oven temperature is probably the trickiest part. My experience is that the lower the temperature, the better. They might take a little longer to bake, but at least you don’t get any burnt pieces. I bake the chips at 200 °F first and then increase the temperature to about 220 °F. You can achieve crispy chips with higher temperatures, but it usually means a lot more browning than baking at low temperatures. While some browning is inevitable, browning usually equals carcinogens.
- Rotate – whether surface you’re baking the chips on, rotate it half way through baking so the veggies crisp up evenly. There’s no need to flip the chips.
- Cool for a few minutes – cooling the chips after they’re out of the oven helps them firm up even more. A few minutes is all that’s needed.
Tips for Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Kale Chips
- Keep the pieces large – this step obviously applies only to kale. But the reason you want to tear the kale into large pieces is that it will shrink quite a bit when baking. Also, the smaller the pieces are, the easier they’ll burn.
- Wash – the best way to wash leafy greens is to get a bowl of water and let the veggies soak for a few minutes. This will allow for any dirt to sink to the bottom of the bowl.
- Dry thoroughly – once washed, place the veggies onto a dry paper towel and pat them dry. Remove as much water as possible. If there’s any excess water, the water will steam the veggies while baking.
- Massage – rather than just coating the veggies with some oil, massage the oil into the leaves to ensure that every piece of the vegetable is evenly coated. Not only does oil help the Brussels sprouts and kale cook more evenly and crisp up in the oven, but it also adds a rich flavor.
Baking & After Baking
The same steps from root vegetables apply.
Crispy Veggie Chips
The recipe below is very flexible. You can add more salt, use different spices, or dress them any way you like. I keep them plain because my 2-year old daughter appreciates the natural sweetness of the veggies. So a little bit of salt goes a long way.
Whether you decide to follow the recipe exactly or change things up, these crispy veggie chips won’t last long! I dare you to eat just one of these homemade chips. This is a downright addictive snack that you can feel good about eating. You don’t even have to be a veggie lover to love these chips.
If you try this recipe, please, leave a comment below and let me know how you liked them.