Potatoes are well known for being an incredibly versatile food that is able to be cooked in many ways. If you are dealing with russet potatoes or Hasselback potatoes, making preparations for the air fryer, or whipping up potatoes au gratin, properly knowing how to cut and prepare your potatoes is the first step to a delicious meal.
Potatoes can be cooked whole or cut up into chunks and smaller pieces. However, a trickier method is carefully cutting them into thin slices when the recipe calls for it, such as for scalloped potatoes, baked potatoes in an oven, or potato chips cooked in an air fryer with olive oil.
So, what are the best ways to slice potatoes into chips without losing a finger? Thankfully, this guide has the answers to any questions that you may have.
Before picking up any sharp objects, you must first decide if the recipe or personal preference requires removing the potato skin. If you want to keep the skin on, then go ahead and wash the potato under running water to get rid of all the dirt.
If you decide that you must remove the skin, you can wait to wash them because they become slippery, and you’ll end up having to wash them all over again. It also makes it a little bit harder to do when the potato is wet because the peels stick to the utensils more often.
The best way to remove it is with a potato peeler. Hold it in one hand and move the peeler away from you with enough pressure, just breaking the skin. Rotate and repeat until all the skin has been removed, then proceed to rinse it under running water.
If you can’t locate a potato peeler, an alternative is carefully using a small, sharp knife. It will cut into the potato a little more but still remove the skin. Use the same technique of cutting away from your body.
Kitchen Gadgets Such as a Mandoline or Vegetable Slicer Can be Used to Create Thin Slices
Let’s look at some good ways to help us with slicing thin potatoes like a pro!
A mandoline slicer is a popular kitchen item that makes slicing potatoes a breeze. The design makes it easy and safe to get perfectly sliced potatoes with minimal effort. It’s a flat tool - similar to a cheese grater - that can be placed over a bowl to catch the potato slices. You move the potato back and forth like slicing deli meats for customers at a grocery store.
Most mandoline slicers also have a couple of sizing options. You utilize these options to make your potato slices bigger or smaller. Simply choose the smallest slicing size and you’ll be slicing potato chip sized potatoes like a pro.
But what if you don’t have a mandoline readily available? Even though it is a handy tool, it is unfortunately absent from many kitchens.
So, how did people cut potatoes into thin little slices before the mandoline was invented, saving countless fingertips?
The easiest and fastest way would be to use a small, sharp knife. Since potatoes are round and oblong shaped, a freshly washed, bald potato is slippery and will slide across your cutting board. The best way to ensure this does not happen is to cut a slice from one side, then place the potato flat, creating a solid base for slicing chips.
Start by holding the potato in your hand and applying pressure to ensure it stays on the cutting board. Proceed to cut off a slice a few centimeters in by holding the knife at a 45-degree angle before applying a bit of pressure forward and bringing it back to you as it evens out and lands on the cutting board.
Remember not to discard that piece because it is your first slice. The rest of the slices should be about that size, too. Place the potato down on the flat side and position it to where the length is perpendicular with your knife when you are ready to cut.
Grab the potato while your fingers remain curled so you will not accidentally chop off your fingertips. You can also rest the knife against your first set of knuckles if you do it correctly. Proceed to cut the potato into chip slices using the same technique from which you made your base.
Use a Sharp Knife to Create Precisely Thin Slices
If you somehow find yourself in a kitchen without a knife, don’t worry because there are a couple more ways that you can achieve your potato-slicing needs. The first one is using the same potato peeler from earlier, except now you need to apply more pressure while moving the utensil away from you.
This way can be a crude method that takes more time than the mandoline or knife. One major drawback is that the potato will become harder to handle and control the smaller it gets, increasing the chances of injury.
Potato peelers also tend to cut the potato extremely thin. While you may be aiming to achieve this size, such thin slices may easily break. If done right, you’ll achieve paper thin potato pieces that will be perfect for making potato chips.
Another option is to use a cheese planer. It is probably the worst option on this list because it takes time and is not as sharp. It would require you to firmly hold onto the freshly washed potato while applying a lot of pressure onto the planer in order to get a thin slice.
If a kitchen doesn’t have a mandoline, likely, it won’t have a cheese planer, either.
These alternative methods take time and, depending on your proximity to the nearest grocery store, will probably end up being longer than it would if you were to make an emergency trip to buy a kitchen knife.
Another lesser-known method for cutting potatoes into thin slices is to use a food processor. It can be an effective method, but it also requires more preparation time and might feel a bit redundant because you are using the knife that you can use to simply continue slicing them by hand.
If you still want to try this method, you need to begin by cutting the potato in half lengthways. Once you have managed to do that, it is time to find the correct slicing blade and select the pulse function on the machine.
Turn the switch to the “on” position and feed the potato into the processor. You will probably need to switch it on and off every few seconds while adjusting the frequency accordingly.
Using this method you can get thinner slices that are ideal for potato chips. By adjusting the settings on the food processor, you can get larger cuts of potato which could be used for french fries.
Whichever Method You Prefer, Thinly Sliced Potatoes are Easy to Achieve at Home