Smoky Paprika BBQ Potato Chips

Yes, homemade potato chips are great, but if you don’t feel like deep-frying, instead try spicing up a few bags of store-bought chips. The quality of the spice is the most important thing, so make sure your paprika is fresh and intensely fragrant. (I like to use the very smoky Spanish paprika called Pimentón de la Vera.)–Michael Chiarello

LC Cheaters' Chips Note

Why fancy up store-bought plain potato chips when you could instead buy them already seasoned? Uh, because you can, for starters. And because once you taste these unforgettable paprika-tinged potato slices, you’ll be ruined forever in terms of generic “barbecue chips” or “bar-b-q chips” with their “natural flavors.” And so will your guests. We call this little party trick cheaters’ chips.

Smoky Paprika BBQ Potato Chips Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 8

Ingredients

  • Two 10-ounce bags best-quality plain salted potato chips (such as Kettle Chips)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoky paprika
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • 2. Place the chips on the baking sheets and scatter in a single layer. Bake until hot, about 5 minutes. When you can smell the chips, it’s time to take them out of the oven.
  • 3. While the chips are baking, dump the sugar and salt in a blender, spice grinder, or mini food processor and process until finely ground but not powdery. In a small bowl mix the sugar, salt, paprika, and garlic powder.
  • 4. As soon as you pull the chips from the oven, carefully dump them into a bowl. Pour the spice mix into a sieve, sprinkle it over the hot chips, and gently toss the chips to coat them with the spices, being careful not to break any. Serve the chips warm or at room temperature. Don’t forget napkins—lots and lotsa napkins.
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Comments
Comments
  1. [Jackie G.] These are the best BBQ chips we’ve ever had. They weren’t at all greasy and salty, the way that many processed flavored chips are. That being said, I should probably add that we don’t buy BBQ potato chips. Actually, we don’t, as a rule, buy potato chips at all. That can be a slippery slope. Potato chips, if they’re good, aren’t something that I can be well disciplined around. And if I did buy them, I’d never buy BBQ-“flavored” chips. After making these chips, I still wouldn’t purchase BBQ chips, but I sure would make them myself. I did use the very smoky Pimentón de la Vera, which I’m quite fond of. I blitzed the turbinado sugar and the sea salt until finely ground. I didn’t use the garlic powder. For me, it has a very metallic, unnatural taste. I only made half a recipe, not wanting 20 ounces of potato chips sitting around the house. The only problem I had with the recipe was getting the seasoning mixture to evenly distribute on the warm chips. I used a very broad bowl, thinking that there’d be more potato chip surface area for the mixture to cover. That might’ve helped a bit, but not much at all. The seasoning ended up clinging to some chips, and not to others. I can’t imagine doing that with twice the amount of chips. There’d be too many chips not getting any coating at all. I think that it would’ve been better to sprinkle the seasoning onto the chips while they were still spread out on the sheet pan. More chips would’ve gotten some coating. I’d also like to see if putting them into a paper bag with the seasoning mixture and shaking everything up would’ve worked a bit better. I did go into the kitchen a few minutes ago and tasted some of the chips, for research reasons only, of course. I needed to see how they fared the day after they were made. Unfortunately for my waistline, they were every bit as good as they were yesterday.

  2. [Helen Doberstein] I went into this test not really expecting much. I was wrong to expect so little. For a minimum of effort we had the best potato chip I’ve had in years. (I don’t normally like potato chips.) They were smoky and salty with a little hit of sweet in the background. In short they were a big hit, better than anything purchased. And so easy to do. I used a plain low-sodium Kettle Chip. Since bags here are sold by grams, I used a 227-gram bag, which is about 8 ounces, so I only used half of the seasoning mix. It didn’t take long for them to disappear. I have a second bag put away so I know I will be doing this again later this week. Now my tasters are thinking about different taste combinations—onion powder, hot paprika, cumin, etc.—and how we can use them.

  3. [Suzanne Fortier] Potato chips are my downfall. Barbecue potato chips are my real guilty pleasure (who knows what lurks in that bright red coating?). This is light years away from commercial barbecue potato chips, and a recipe I’ll definitely make again. I didn’t want to make the large amount of chips in the recipe, so I used one 7-ounce bag of Trader Joe’s Hawaiian-style chips (they didn’t carry 10-ounce bags of chips). It took exactly 5 minutes to heat the chips through till you could smell them, as the recipe describes. Baking them on parchment makes it easy to dump them into a bowl. For the spice mixture, I halved the amount of Pimentón de la Vera, garlic powder, organic cane sugar, and kosher salt called for. The grains were fine enough to fit through my flour sifter, which worked like a charm to distribute the spice mixture on the warm chips. The finished product was very smoky from the paprika, pungent from the garlic, and salty-sweet. My taster and I ate the entire bag in one sitting after we added a tiny bit more sugar. I’d up the sugar in the full recipe to 2 teaspoons, which should be plenty to balance the flavors.

  4. [Robert M.] I used a very nice Spanish paprika that I had on hand. I decided to go with the garlic powder, and I think this added a little extra zip to the flavor. I realize that you can buy just about any flavored potato chip at the grocery store, but I really like the idea of having some control over the flavoring ingredients. It seems that with the flavored commercial chips you start getting a long list of very strange, artificial ingredients. Even though I used a plain chip, it was fairly salty, so I think the amount of sea salt was too much…tasted good, but just a little too salty for some. I actually left the chips in the oven for a couple of extra minutes; with the additional time, they started to brown just a little. I can see this being good with other types of flavoring, such as curry, Chinese five spice, and many dried herbs. I think these will make great little snacks this summer, to go with cocktails, beer, or wine on a hot evening on the patio. I did use a light brown sugar, but I wonder how much difference the type of sugar makes. Wonderful when served warm, but great the next day (if there are any left over)!

  5. Ling Teo says:

    Pimentón de la Vera! I have 2 cans of the stuff in my pantry. Does this recipe spell serendipity or DOOM for me?!

  6. I love potato chips. These sound right up my alley!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Let us know what you think when you try them, Abbe! You may also want to try out this other trick for fancying up store-bought chips. I’ve done it dozens of times and guests always go crazy for it! So here goes… Melt 4 tablespoons of your favorite garlic butter (see below if you’re bereft of a recipe) and drizzle it over 10 ounces plain salted potato chips (preferably thick-cut). Bake them in a 350°F (175°C) oven until fragrant and golden, 4 to 7 minutes. The chips can be tossed with butter several hours ahead of time, then heated at the last minute.

      Quick Garlic Butter
      5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
      4 to 7 teaspoons minced garlic
      Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

      1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic has softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, scrape the garlic into a small bowl, and let sit until it cools to room temperature.

      2. Add the remaining butter to the bowl and whisk until it’s light and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Boom, you’re done.

  7. Judy says:

    Oh, dear. This whole post and thread are dangerous. But I am not afraid! We have a really good local brand of chips made the old way–in lard, and I’m getting some tomorrow to use with this.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I just went wobbly in the knees reading your comment, Judy. Enjoy! (As if you need to be told that….)

  8. Donna says:

    I made these the other night. Have never really cared for BBQ chips, but these are great! Sweet and smoky, not spicy. Will never eat store-bought, chemical-coated chips again!

  9. Yes, I made them. Yes, they were very good. Very dangerous, but very good. And now you are teasing me with garlic chips. How dare you!

  10. ruthie says:

    BBQ chips are one of my favorites! But I only eat them with Mom’s classic Smokey Tuna Dip. What can I say? Creamy, smoky, and salty-sweet. MMMM.

    Now you have liberated me from the slavery of Lay’s! (Another kind of freedom. ;) I can buy just one kind of chips and make my own! This is really big for someone who only buys one bag each of regular and BBQ chips a year and still has leftovers. Heh. I can buy the snack size and doctor a bag up to my tastes quickly enough to still have a spur of the moment dip and chips. Thank you, Tom for the recipe and thanks, David/Renee for posting this. Yay!

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