17 Ways To Use Potato Chips In Recipes

There are reasons why it's so tempting to grab an impulse bag of potato chips when checking out at the grocery store. They're crunchy, salty, fatty, and intensely satisfying to snack on. But this is more than an indulgent snack. There are plenty of ways you can use potato chips in recipes. This secret ingredient can make both savory and sweet breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and appetizers go from bland to crave-worthy. A satisfying crunch adds texture to the mix, while the flavoring can be a great substitute for the salt shaker. Both in chip form and crushed up into potato chip dust, they are a recipe addition that should be considered across the board. 

However, potato chips can't be added to just any recipe. There are certain flavors that tend to pair best with popular snack food. In addition, there are plenty of potato chip hacks and techniques that should be considered when adding potato chips to recipes rather than just tossing them in. To get the most from your new favorite ingredient, it's best to maintain their friable texture.

Add a savory element to your sundae bar

Ice cream lovers know there's no better sight than a loaded sundae bar. All of your favorite flavors of the frozen dairy delicacy are surrounded by endless toppings, including fruit, candies, nuts, and sauces. Most sundae bars just happen to contain a surprise element that helps balance all that sugar — a section of savory and salty treats. Pretzels, salted peanuts, olive oil, and flakey sea salt are all welcomed additions, but if you come across a sundae bar with potato chips, then you know that you've hit the jackpot.

Potato chips are an elite way to upgrade your ice cream sundae because not only do they contribute to that salty-sweet contrast that lights up our tastebuds, but the crunch of the potato chips creates even more diversity within each bite. Grab a handful of potato chips and crush them in your hands before adding them last to your pile of toppings. Choose salted, unflavored chips, and consider using kettle-cooked for additional crunch. 

Layer them into your crunch burger

We live in a time when burgers are more than just beef patties layered onto buns with few fixings. Toasted bread, tangy aiolis, pickled vegetables, and savory sweet jams have all made their way onto the scene, elevating America's favorite cookout sandwich. The medium has changed, too, with smash burgers, stuffed burgers, and crunch burgers now easy to find. Even Chef Bobby Flay adds a snack food ingredient to his signature burger: potato chips.

This technique isn't precious. Start by making your favorite burger recipe, and when you're ready to load up on those toppings, grab a handful of potato chips and layer them right in with your patty, cheese, sauces, and veggies. The potato chips will add a textured element that makes the burger sear stand out, accentuates caramelized notes, and doubles up on the butteriness of the bun. The additional salt will add a kick of flavor, and nobody will complain about that enhanced fried, greasy mouthfeel.

Top your mac and cheese

There's no way mac and cheese can get any better, right? It's buttery, ooey-gooey, creamy, and loaded with our two favorite ingredients, cheese and pasta. Like burgers, there are plenty of variations and also endless toppings that can elevate a bare-bones mac and cheese recipe. Try using potato chips in all of their flavors and variations to elevate your mac and cheese. Sour cream and onion chips are a style that can add a stimulating, tangy flavor. Instead of loading your mac and cheese with pulled pork, try barbecue-flavored potato chips. Take advantage of all those specialty flavors out there, and give your mac and cheese some pizzaz. 

The salty and oily components of the potato chips mimic those in the dish itself. However, while mac and cheese are notorious for being silky smooth, potato chips offer a welcome crunch to the top. This is why mac and cheese casseroles are often loaded with buttered bread crumbs, but we think potato chips do it best, especially since there are so many flavors to choose from. 

Crumble them over cookies

Humans have been pairing salty and sweet foods throughout history, but this dream team is still trending upward. Maple bacon as a garnish for cupcakes, chocolate-covered pretzels, and Devils on Horseback are a few popular picks, but we love a good cookie loaded with a potato chip crunch. This salty addition does very well with just about any cookie flavor, from chocolate chip to sugar and cinnamon, but there are a few that balance the savory and salty notes well.

Chocolate, in general, tastes amazing with salt and, therefore, with potato chips. Consider a chocolate salted caramel thumbprint cookie recipe, and instead of adorning it with flakey sea salt, use some crushed-up potato chips. Speaking of caramel, this is one sweet that welcomes snack food as a crunchy topping; consider the flakey texture as a foil for the hard stickiness of caramel cookies or pudding. In addition, a basic sugar cookie or Snickerdoodle needing an extra element of flavor should be considered for this out-of-the-box topping suggestion. A higher-quality brand usually works best in a dessert capacity, especially one that uses flakey sea salt. 

Make a coating for chicken

We've seen fried chicken breaded with plenty of alternatives, from cornflakes to buttered crackers to panko. Though each and every one of these coatings and batters can elevate a bland old chicken breast, we think that there's another ingredient that deserves a chance to shine. The snack food that's key to super crispy chicken tenders happens to be that irresistible form of spud, potato chips.

Crush potato chips up to add to your existing breading, or use them exclusively. This is a particularly important ingredient if you don't plan on deep frying your chicken but still want it to have a greased and brittle crunch. Use salted and crushed potato chips when baking chicken or using your air fryer without all of that hot oil. Brands with thinner, more delicate chips tend to produce the best texture. Don't forget that they are already quite salty, so your chicken will likely only need herbs and spices for flavoring. It also makes a fantastic gluten-free alternative for those who love fried chicken but would rather not tangle with gluten. 

Who says nachos have to use corn chips?

Don't fix what ain't broke, right? It's easy to agree with this statement, but we also acknowledge that there is always wiggle room when it comes to culinary creativity. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't love a good plate of nachos. But the beauty of nachos is that they can be dressed up in so many unique ways. And although it's usually the toppings that test the flavor boundaries, we're ready to try something new all around. A flavorful way to dress up potato chips is by making them into nachos. Homemade potato chips and kettle chips tend to hold up best as they are classically heartier, while classic Lays tend to be a little too delicate to carry such heavy toppings. And when it comes to size, the bigger the better. 

Use classic nacho topping ingredients, or change things up with toppings like pulled pork or blue cheese. Because so many nacho toppings are inherently salty, consider using a lower-sodium chip. Go slightly lighter on the toppings than you might for corn tortillas, as even the heartiest potato chips can't hold quite as much weight. 

Top your green bean casserole

Green bean casseroles are a potluck classic. In fact, it's hard to find a dinner party, especially in the Midwest, where the famous vegetable side dish isn't featured. Nobody is complaining here! The combination of creamy mushroom soup and tender green beans is timeless when baked to perfection and topped with onion strings. If you're short on a container of French's fried onions, why not switch up your green bean casserole game and try a new topping? Swap in potato chips.

This gluten-free alternative can make a fantastic addition to an easy green bean casserole recipe with ingredients you probably have already. A one-for-one swap will work, or you can opt to use both the classic crunchy onions alongside potato chips. When it comes to topping your green bean casserole, we recommend crushing the potato chips, though the whole chip aesthetic nearly turns this into a dip. Choose a classic sour cream and green onion flavor to replicate that of crispy onions. 

Add a flakey layer to your shepherd's pie

There's nothing like a simple shepherd's pie recipe to warm up a fall day. The combination of mashed potatoes, lamb, onion, tomatoes, peas, and corn all together and baked into a casserole dish is supremely comforting. Thought that there was no possible way to make shepherd's pie even better? Think again. While there are many variations of shepherd's pie, like gardener's pie, cottage, and farmer's pie, there are also a few new-age shepherd's pie-inspired dishes that use ingredients like tater tots.

A nice way to add a modern flair to a classic without reinventing the wheel is to use a tried-and-true recipe with a new, special statement ingredient. For shepherd's pie, consider crushing up potato chips to use as a topping. Give those mashed taters a little extra oomph in the flavor and texture department without having to start from scratch.

Top scalloped potatoes or au gratin potatoes

When a dish calls for slow, cheese-covered baking potatoes, the only way to truly enhance it is by adding even more potatoes. We love a good old-fashioned scalloped potato recipe, but when given the opportunity to add a textured and salty topping, the leap to potato chips is short. After laying your scalloped or au gratin potatoes to perfection, add a layer of potato chips for a crusty topping. 

Instead of crushing them up as you'd do for most casserole recipes, lay the full potato chips to give your recipe a uniform and classic look. Choose potato chips that tend to be flatter, rather than kettle cooked. Who doesn't like a deep-fried snack-food addition to an already starchy and cheesy indulgent recipe? It makes the perfect contrast. Alternatively, you can layer the potato chips right into the uncooked potatoes for a thinner, saline layer of tuber texture variation. The chips almost read as cheese-like and can make for a deluxe mouthfeel.

Enhance chocolate turtles

The reason we love chocolate turtles is twofold. First and foremost, they are delicious with their salty-savory combination of nuts, chocolate, caramel, and flakey sea salt. Second, the textural diversity is unmatched by most desserts and candies. An extra element of salty, frangible with potato chips is the perfect contrast to silky smooth and meltable chocolate, tacky and chewy caramel, and the buttery soft yet woodsy nuts. One ingredient helps create a complex mouthfeel.

Start with your basic chocolate turtles recipe, and instead of using flakey sea salt to top it all off, try using potato chips. Choose between using crushed and whole chips. When selecting what kind of potato chips to use, choose a brand known to be extra firm, like Cape Cod, or a style of kettle-cooked chips. These tend to add the most substance to the dessert by providing a distinguished snap.

Crumble over your cob salad

Salads are supposed to be healthy, right? Well, it really depends on the type of salad you're making. Cobb salads, which are loaded with bacon and cheese, don't always fit into the wellness category. That doesn't mean we shouldn't indulge in the delicious, multifaceted meal. It has such flavorful and well-loved ingredients, after all. However it is that you decide to load up your classic Cobb salad, potato chips merit consideration as a topping in place of croutons.

Just think about each ingredient in a common Cobb salad. Bacon, blue cheese, eggs, avocado, and tomato all find themselves next to the spud in many capacities across the culinary world. And when you add a deep-fried anything, including slices of spud, it's hard to resist. After you've dressed and tossed your Cobb salad, crumble salt and pepper-flavored potato chips over the top. This is the best way to ensure that the chips don't get too soggy during the eating process but instead form a binder for the rest of your salad ingredients.

Add it to your pie crust

If you know how to make your own flakey pie crust, then you likely also understand that there are plenty of ingredient variations that can make quite a difference in the outcome. A classic pie crust can be used for both sweet and savory pies, while a gram cracker or Oreo crust is typically used for desserts. An ingredient that you can add to any pie crust, sweet or savory, is potato chips. 

When used in a dessert capacity, potato chips add a salty-sweet combination of flavor that is highly desirable. Be sure to use plain potato chips so as not to compete with the complexity of this contrast. When used in a savory capacity, adding potato chips helps to enhance the flavor of your quiche, savory galettes, or pot pie. You can even opt for flavored chips, like cheddar and sour cream, to add additional layers of flavor. Just be sure that you're using unsalted butter and omitting any additional salt from the recipe, as potato ships are sodium-heavy and contribute quite a bit as it is. Any potato chip will do, as it's best to crush them up finely or even into a powder before mixing them right into your dry ingredients. 

Include a salty crunch on top of your chowder

Oyster crackers and soup go together like peanut butter and jelly, and there's a reason we love sprinkling them over our steamy chowders and bisques. Like a salad with croutons, they add a variance of texture, which changes depending on the method you use to incorporate them. Some people crush them up and sprinkle them on top, others let them float so they remain crispy, and some like to drown them so that they have a chance to soak up the soup. Instead of oyster crackers or saltines, try using potato chips to bring your soup to the next level.

Potato chips work particularly well as a topping for corn chowder and other creamy soups, especially if they already contain potatoes. Use them for a vegan corn chowder or an intensely rich finish for an otherwise creamy New England clam chowder. Lobster and tomato bisque both work as a mix of acidic flavors that can be balanced with a touch of extra salinity, but feel free to give it a try on your other soups, too.

Use them as an ingredient for mashed potatoes

Yes, mashed potatoes are famous for being whipped and silky smooth. But there are those out there that prefer lumps, skins, and even a little crunch. This is why you should try adding potato chips to your mashed potatoes. Puncture a hole in your bag of chips and let the air out. Use a rolling pin or even a wine bottle to crush the chips into small pieces. Sprinkle the chips right into your cooked, mashed, and ready-to-eat mashed potatoes. Omit any salt, salted broth, or salted butter from the recipe, and let the chips bring the sodium.

Alternatively, serve your mashed potatoes with a bowl of crushed chips on the side. This way, your guests can use them as a crunchy topping, and choose whether they'd prefer silky smooth spuds or if they want to take a walk on the wild side with a little extra crunch.

Crush over crabcakes

There are plenty of seafood recipes that would pair beautifully with potato chips, as they are buttery and delicate. In fact, using potato chips as a breading for fried fish is prime, but there is another capacity in the seafood world where potato chips should make more of an appearance, and that's with crab cakes.

Next time you make classic Maryland crab cakes, consider including crushed potato chips. You can do this by mixing them right into the cakes themselves for an even distribution of texture and flavor or by rolling your uncooked cakes in the crushed snack food before cooking them. This works for baked, air-fried, or even fried crab cakes and can add a flavorful and salty exterior that beautifully complements the chewy sweet crab. Before adding crushed potato chips, consider tossing them with a little old bay seasoning or seeking out a salt and vinegar chip for additional flavor.

Make a crunchy topping for chili

Whether you love a steaming pot of three-bean chili, or you'd rather stick to your meaty and rich no-bean chili recipe, we can all agree on one thing: It's all about the toppings. There's nothing like melted cheddar cheese, freshly chopped green onion, cool and creamy sour cream, and sweet and crunchy red onions adorning a steaming bowl of chewy chili. The beauty of a toppings bar is that you can feel free to experiment with unique ingredients, like potato chips.

Tortilla chips have dominated the scene when it comes to chip-related chili toppings, but we believe that potato chips deserve their day in the limelight. In fact, the addition can add a unique buttery and crispy mouthfeel that differs quite a bit from the classic corn chip, while still delivering a similar crunch and variance of texture. Potato chips pair beautifully with classic chili toppings, so let them work together to create something unique and delicious.

Enjoy over an omelet

If you've been keeping up with the hit series, "The Bear," then it's likely that you've fantasized about the famous Boursin potato chip omelet a time or two. Who could resist all of those fresh herbs, the creamy cheese, the whipped eggs, and, of course, the out-of-the-box surprise garnish: potato chips? Make your omelet from scratch, and top with minced chives and freshly crushed potato chips. This unlikely pairing is incredibly satisfying and can elevate your breakfast.

Even if omelets aren't your thing, consider crushing potato chips over your other egg-tastic breakfasts. You can use them over soft and fluffy scrambled eggs, over easy eggs, and even an egg bake or casserole. For sunny-side-up eggs, consider adding them to the pan first and then cracking the egg over the top. This way, the cooked side of the egg will have extra flavor and crunch, and the top can stay nice and gooey soft.