Manchego Potato Chips

Manchego Potato Chips

Smoked olive oil has a bold flavor that I love—you can smoke your own olive oil or buy it—but you can use other oils with these potato chips. To make the thin potato slices needed for great potato chips, you need a mandoline. Even if you have very good knife skills, it’s time-consuming to do the task with a knife. An inexpensive Japanese mandoline does a fine job.–Michael Chiarello

LC Cheater, Cheater, Potato Chip Eater Note

Magnificent. Marvie. Munchable. Manchego-y. Mmmm. That’s what we think about these glammed-up Manchego potato chips. And we swear these ever-so-slightly uppity, wine-friendly, beer-loving, commotion-starting potato chips are a cinch to make. That said, if you’re already groaning about having to drag out your mandoline or hand-held slicer, we’ve got an easier version for you. Here’s our cheater, cheater, potato chip eater version: Dump your fave store-bought kettle chips (plain, natch) on a rimmed baking sheet, slide in a 350°F (176°C) oven until hot, and then shower with the Manchego and olive oil. That’s it. Just don’t forget to pass the napkins and gracefully accept compliments. And hey, speaking of napkins and fancy schmancy makeovers for store-bought potato chips, you’re gonna wanna take a gander at this slightly less uppity but still soulful rendition of barbecue potato chips. Bet you can’t eat just one.

Manchego Potato Chips

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 8

Special Equipment: deep-fry thermometer

Print RecipeBuy the Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • 6 large (about 1 1/2 pounds) Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and, if desired, peeled
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons smoked olive oil* or regular olive oil (or substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons truffle oil)
  • 1/2 cup grated aged Manchego cheese
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. With a mandoline, shave the potatoes into paper-thin slices. Soak the slices in cold water for 30 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, pour enough peanut oil into a large, deep pot to reach a depth of 4 inches. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait until the oil registers 375°F (190ºC) on a deep-fry thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  • 3. Drain the potatoes and pat the slices completely dry with paper towels. When the oil is holding steady at the desired temperature, carefully add a handful of potato slices to the oil. Cook until the potatoes turn golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. With a fry basket or slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the towel-lined baking sheet and add another handful of potatoes to the hot oil. Repeat until all the potato slices are deep-fried.
  • 4. Sprinkle the cooked potatoes with half the smoked oil or truffle oil, half the cheese, and half the salt and pepper. Gently toss and then sprinkle with the remaining oil, cheese, and seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Smoked Olive Oil At Home

  • To smoke olive oil at home, place 2 big handfuls of wood chips in a bowl or bucket of water and let them soak for about 30 minutes while you start the fire.

    Ignite the charcoal in a grill with a cover. When the coals are ready, spread them on the grill. Fill a roasting pan half full with water. Pour 6 cups extra-virgin olive oil into a second roasting pan and add 1 tablespoon juniper berries, rind from 1 orange, 2 bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme. With your hand, take the soaked wood chips out of the water and flick them to shake off some excess liquid. Add the wood chips to the coals.

    Close the grill and let it fill with smoke. Open the grill, and put the water-filled pan on the grill rack. Rest the pan filled with oil and aromatics on top of the water-filled pan. Close the lid and let it smoke for 5 to 7 minutes for a subtle smoke essence or 10 to 15 minutes for a smokier oil. (If it becomes too smoky for your taste, simply dilute it with a little more olive oil.) Take both pans off the coals and set them aside to cool.

    When the oil is cool, pour it through a paper coffee filter or fine-mesh sieve into a glass jar. Cover tightly and store in a cool, dry place. The smoky flavor will dissipate over time, but it will hold for a good month.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Well, I took the cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater route on this one—and it’s a winner! I used store-bought kettle chips from Trader Joe’s, and purchased the smoked olive oil as well. I followed the cheater’s directions partway, warming the chips in the oven until hot, but I showered them with cheese before placing them in the oven and then sprinkled the oil and black pepper on after removing the chpis from the oven. The chips were already plenty salty, and the Manchego is a bit salty as well, so we used freshly ground black pepper but not any additional salt. There’s no doubt I used more smoked olive oil, Manchego cheese, and freshly ground black pepper than the recipe called for—and the chips were terrific. There wasn’t so much as a single broken chip left over! I served them straight from the oven so the chips were warm at the outset, but cooled to room temperature while we were still eating, and either temperature was good, as would be any temperature in between. This would work just fine with unsmoked olive oil or truffle oil, but was great with the smoked olive oil—well worth either the investment of money to purchase it or the investment of time to make it.

What a great way to “dress up” potato chips! I used the cheater method and warmed my store-bought potato chips in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes. From there the preparation goes very quickly. It took about 10 minutes to toss the chips with the oil, cheese, salt, and pepper. I couldn’t find hard Manchego cheese, so I used regular Manchego. It didn’t adhere to the chips as well as the hard cheese would’ve. (In lieu of hard Manchego, grated Parmesan would be great.) I also used black truffle oil instead of the smoked olive oil, and it was delicious. Use the pepper; it gives the chips wonderful depth. Black or white truffle salt used in place of the coarse sea salt sends these chips over the top.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Upload a picture of your dish