April 9, 2022

Recipe: Saratoga chips

Homemade potato chips

There’s a legend around Saratoga Chips. It starts in 1853 with a snooty, snotty guest at Moon’s Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York and a complaint for the chef. This summer resort didn’t really have a chef. It had George Speck—a surly cook with a disdain for snooty, snotty guests. It’s said that the guest was none other than transportation magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt and he complained that his fried potatoes were too thick and not salty enough. One reason George was surly was that Vanderbilt couldn’t remember his name and called him “Crum”. So George shaved some potatoes, deep-fried them and personally presented the tycoon with a basket full of crispy, paper-thin chips accompanied by a sneer and a salty “Thin enough for ya?” Cornelius was amused. Not to be left out of a snooty, snotty trend the guest at the next table asked if he could have his potatoes done like Mr. Vanderbilt’s. Having pulled a fast one on a captain of industry and the other pretentious patrons, the next day George fried up a bunch, popped them in paper cones and—wanting the chips to seem unworthy of the wealthy—left them at the bar with a sign that said “Help Yourself”. And everyone did. In 1876, as the legend goes, Oscar Wilde gave them the name potato chips. (Hate to shoot down a perfectly good legend, but “crisps” had been around in England since 1817.)

Despite the popularity of Lay’s selling 200 million bags of cold, salty potato chips in the US annually, there’s nothing like warm, homemade Saratoga Chips dripped in warm sauce. Might replace fries as your go-to potato.


  • Plump Idaho Russet Potatoes
  • Oil for frying (Peanut recommended, unless allergies are an issue)


I recommend a deep fryer like this Presto. They’re cheap, include a convenient basket and give you precise temperature control when frying. And a mandolin slicer like this from Chef’n that slices potatoes incredibly thin and stores easily.

  1. Heat oil to 290º.
  2. Set your slicer on the thinnest setting and slice the potatoes. Watch fingers.
  3. Put about a dozen slices into the fry basket before placing it in the hot oil.
  4. With metal tongs, stir the chips in the oil a few times to make sure they’re adequately separated.
  5. Fry for 30 seconds to a minute depending on how dark and crisp you want the chips.
  6. Remove the basket and dump the chips into bowl with a paper towel on the bottom.
  7. Salt Lightly.
  8. Eat immediately.

Tip: Barbecue sauce is great for dipping, but I recommend this recipe for dipping sauce

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