These barbecue potato chips are smoky and salty with a little tinge of sweet and, quite frankly, they’re the best darn BBQ potato chips we’ve ever had. Bet you can’t stop at just one.

And if you just don’t have it in you to stand at the stove and fry batch after batch of chips, no worries. Just grab a few bags of plain salted store-bought potato chips and make this recipe. What results is still so good you’ll never go back to the flavored packaged barbecue potato chips.

Barbecue Potato Chips FAQs

Can I use ridged chips to make this recipe?

You can, but the seasoning may settle into the ridges (which might not be a bad thing). Try it with whatever may be your very favorite store-bought plain, just salted chips.

What is pimentón de La Vera?

Like pesto, Champagne, or Cheddar, this particular kind of paprika comes from only one place in the world—La Vera in Extremadura, Spain.

Paprika comes from many places but pimentón de La Vera is outstanding with an earthy, deeply smoky flavor. Sometimes sweet (dulce) or hot (picante)  but always, always smoky. This is achieved by slowly smoking peppers for up to 15 days over an indirect oak fire before spending another 3 days in a slightly warmer oven, before being ground down to the rich red powder you’re familiar with.

What is turbinado sugar?

Turbinado sugar is partially refined sugar that retains some of its natural molasses, which gives it a slightly brownish hue. While the color is similar to light brown sugar (due to the molasses content), turbinado is drier and less fine. In this recipe, it’ll add a bit of sweetness and a little more crunch to your already crispy chips.

Can I make these with homemade fried potato chips?

Definitely! This easy recipe for homemade potato chips will work splendidly.

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A carved wooden bowl filled with barbecue potato chips.

Barbecue Potato Chips

5 / 6 votes
Yes, homemade potato chips are great but if you don’t feel like deep-frying, instead try spicing up a few bags of regular 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.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories396 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 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, (such as the Spanish variety called Pimentón de la Vera*)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • 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.
  • 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 (if using).
  • As soon as you pull the chips from the oven, carefully move them to a large bowl. Pour the spice mix into a strainer and sprinkle it over the hot chips as you gently toss them to coat them with the spices. (We'd caution you not to break any chips but if you do then you should just nosh on them because heaven forbid you serve a broken chip to guests.)
  • Serve the barbecue potato chips warm or at room temperature. Don't forget napkins—lots and lots of napkins.
Michael Chiarello's Live Fire Cookbook

Adapted From

Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 396 kcalCarbohydrates: 39 gProtein: 5 gFat: 26 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gTrans Fat: 1 gSodium: 778 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Michael Chiarello. Photo © 2013 Frankie Frankeny. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I went into this homemade BBQ chips recipe not really expecting much. I was wrong to expect so little. For minimum effort, we had the best barbecue potato chips 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’ll 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.

Potato chips are my downfall. Barbecue potato chips are my real guilty pleasure (who knows what lurks in that bright red coating?). These are light years away from commercial BBQ potato chips. I’ll definitely make this recipe again.

I didn’t want to make the large number of chips in the recipe, so I used a 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 BBQ chips seasoning 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.

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 a sweet tea cocktail, beer, or wine on a hot evening on the patio.

I did use 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 leftover)!

These are the best homemade BBQ chips we’ve ever had. They weren’t at all greasy and salty the way 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 barbecue 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.

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Peppery Cheese Straws

For these easy homemade cheese straws, the rich, peppery bite of cacio e pepe is married with flaky puff pastry to create an unforgettable hors d’oeuvre.

35 mins

Shrimp Toast

Crispy, golden, sesame-topped shrimp toast that’s just like what you’ll find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

50 mins

Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

Everyone’s favorite spicy, creamy, cheesy, crispy finger food, conveniently made in the air fryer. Perfect for Super Bowl or any time a snack craving hits.

25 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Belated thanks for this recipe! I use the lightly salted Kettle Chips and made bags of these for Christmas gifts. Such a fun project with little effort and terrific results.

  2. 5 stars
    I can’t get over how wonderful these are and so easy to make. The Pimentón de la Vera is a big key. I ordered it on Amazon and it puts other paprika to shame. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  3. Why has this recipe been around for 3 years and I have never heard of it? Read it last night and thought it would be fun to try and then Hubby brought home a small bag of chips with lunch so I scaled down the recipe so we could try it. Oh dear, never knew we could like store-bought chips. Hubby’s qoute:” Oh, we will have these for the next football gathering.”

    1. Mary Joan, I’m grinning ear to ear at your reaction, that’s sooooo lovely to hear! Many, many thanks for taking the time to let us know!