Food for Thought: How are Potato Chips Made?

how are potato chips made

Vending machines all over the United States are full of all manners of sugar and simple carb delights. In fact, these machines sell more than 100 million snacks and drinks every day.

Inside these pieces of machinery lies the greatest snack ever made, the potato chip. These fried delights are one of the most American snacks around.

But some people are still unfamiliar with the classic potato chip. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How are potato chips made?”, then this article is for you.

How are Potato Chips Made?

When potatoes first arrive at the chip plant they are tested and examined to ensure that they are high quality. Workers have to sort the potatoes choosing which ones are good enough for their chips.

Then the chosen potatoes will move down a conveyor belt to the next stage of manufacturing.

At this point, the potatoes are peeled using an automated machine and then washed with cold water.

Next, the potatoes are sliced to varying widths depending on the chips being made. They are then washed for a second time to remove additional starch from the final product. This creates a crunchier chip.

Next, the potatoes are submerged in a chemical bath that corrects their color, pH, hardness and makes the chips all appear more uniform.

Now it’s time for the chips to hit the fryer. The oil for potato chips is generally kept between three hundred and fifty and three hundred and seventy-five degrees.

Paddles are used to stir they oil to ensure the slices are cooked evenly and then the slices are removed to tumble dry in a tub where they will be sprinkled with salt.

Next, the chips are cooled and any overcooked chips are discarded before the chips move on to packaging.


Even more unique than the process for making potato chips, packaging them is the real challenge.

In order for a bag of chips to make it from their production to the end consumer without being exposed to moisture or damage, they have to be packaged very carefully.

Potato chip packaging needs to be easy to open, yet still durable enough for handling during transportation. The materials also have to be food safe and the package design needs to be interesting and informative.

The layers that make up a potato chip bag are very specific. First, there are some food safe layers of polymers, but the outermost layer of the bag is the most important. It is made of a material called Surlyn that sealers can use to seal the bag shut.

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Potato chips are one of America’s favorite snacks and it’s easy to see why. They’re salty and delicious, what a happy accident!

Now that you have an answer to the question, “How are potato chips made?”, you’re ready to bite into your next bag with renewed understanding.

For more interesting and educational articles, check out our blog today.


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