Air Fryer Fail | Sweet Potato Chips | Queer Cooking | Clara & Cole


Air Fryer Fail, sweet potato chips, and bonus dollar tree mandolin fail. below lettering: an air fryer with sweet potato slices layered in the fry basket.

The Ability to Make Chips Escapes Me

I thought an air fryer would solve this problem. It seems to have increased the difficulty.

I read recipes in preparation, and even purchased a Dollar Tree mandolin. After waiting a year from purchasing our air fryer, I was finally ready to take the plunge and try chip making. 

When the mandolin caught and bent on the potato, I figured a plantain might be just soft enough to cut. I was wrong. 

Image description: Step 1:  PREP The Dollar Tree mandolin bent under the strain of potato and plantain. I used a vegetable peeler.  Step 2:  FRY I layered slices of produce on the bottom of the air fryer basket, and experimented with time and temperature. Step 3: ANALYZE Every minute or so, I removed a chip to taste.

Rounds 1 & 2

I use a vegetable peeler in place of a mandolin. 

My confidence returns when my use of the vegetable peeler provides me with thin and even strips of potato. 

image description: bowl of ice water filled with thin slices of sweet potato

When the cutting board fills with potato strips, I toss them in a bowl of cold water to soak for at least 30 minutes. Each time my cutting board fills, I add slices to the bowl of water. 

Every recipe I read told me to use oil, but I go out on a limb and just toss a few in the air fryer to experiment with cooking time. 

Every minute or so I open the fryer to take a look. After 3 minutes, I take one out and test it. Rather uncooked with slightly burnt edges. After another minute, they’re all charred and burnt. 

At this point, I should have tossed some in oil. Instead, I put more in and turn the temperate down to 300. This time they take a solid five minutes and in the last 30 seconds go brown and burnt. 

I cut my losses, grab a pot, and toss my remaining potato slices (water and all) in the pot to cook into mash. 

image description: sweet potato slices placed on a clean green towel in a single layer to dry. in the corner there is a yellow bowl with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

After some time away, I find renewed vigor in my chip journey and decide to give it one more whirl, this time with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. 

After my slices all soak for a good 30 minutes, I lay them out on a clean towel to dry before I dunk each side of every slice in oil. 

Rather than dump the whole lot in the air fryer at once, I start with a single layer in the bottom of the air fryer. The first peak I take reveals a pile of folded slices.

image description: a clump of half cooked sweet potato chips in the upper right corner of a red air fryer basket.

7 minutes in at 300 F, they are still a huge clump. I grab a test chip and it comes apart from the pack quite easily so I set the temp to 400 F for 3 minutes for a final crisp. After about a minute, I do a final check and decide to call it a win.

Just shy of perfectly crisp.

image description: white royal dalton by Gordon Ramsay plate with unevenly cooked sweet potato chips.

The 3rd and Final Round

With the success of my second batch, I barrel ahead with confidence.

My trial batch I did as a single layer in the air fryer. Satisfied with their crisp and cook, I take the liberty of haphazardly laying the remaining potato slices in multiple layers in the air fryer. 

Within the first minute, they also clump. This time I decide to separate them out, assuming that the increased number of slices will require additional intervention. I repeat this routine five times, every minute or two, for seven minutes total.

image description: air fryer basket close up shot of mostly burnt sweet potato chips tangled together in air fryer.

Remembering the slight under-crisp of my test batch, and balancing a puppy requesting attention, I decide to let these go for three minutes at 400, my original plan. Two minutes longer than my test batch. I figure the increased number of slices will impact overall cook time.

They turn for the worse so SO quickly. 

I was very wrong. I’m thinking 400 F for 3 was too high and too long. Next round I am going to go for 375 for 2 min. 

image description: uneven cooked sweet potato chips on a dinner plate (royal dalton by Gordon Ramsay).

“Chips turn for the worse so SO quickly.”

This all reminds me of meringues and the delicate nature of whipping egg whites. I still have yet to reliably make meringues. Every once in a while I bake a great batch. 

Quality over quantity?

Clara & Cole Queer couple living a block from the beach.  Planning the ultimate queer DIY wedding.  Alt-left, feminist atheists who think science is really cool.  Guardians to two majestic dogs, Ocean and Forest. We love homegrown adventures, beach days, queer gardening, and other shenanigans. We try new things. DIY projects, travel, etc.

Forest & Ocean Forest: 3 year old brindle Pit Bull and Chihuahua mix from Palo Alto, California. At 35 lbs, she makes her presence known despite her short stature.  Ocean: 8 month old American Staffordshire Terrier from Rhode Island. Also 35 lbs, she is almost double the height of her sister!