Barbecue Potato Chips

Barbecue potato chips are one of those things everyone indulges in but no one talks about. This is just wrong because these are the best we’ve ever had and we want to tell everyone how to make ’em.

A carved wooden bowl filled with barbecue potato chips.

These barbecue potato chips are smoky and salty with a little tinge of sweet and, quite frankly, they’re the best darn barbecue 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. Not ever. –Renee Schettler

Barbecue Potato Chips

A carved wooden bowl filled with barbecue 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 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.
Michael Chiarello

Prep 5 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 20 mins
8 servings
396 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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  • 2 (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.
Print RecipeBuy the Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire cookbook

Want it? Click it.


*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.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 396kcal (20%)Carbohydrates: 39g (13%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 26g (40%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 778mg (34%)Potassium: 1220mg (35%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 862IU (17%)Vitamin C: 13mg (16%)Calcium: 22mg (2%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

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 barbecue 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 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.

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 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)!

Originally published May 22, 2013


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  1. 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.

  2. 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.”

  3. 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!

  4. 5 stars
    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!

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