How To Cook Perfect Irish Chips

Irish chips are simply delicious, soft and tender on the inside and just slightly crispy on the outside.  Their thick cut is perfect for absorbing the bitter-sweet goodness of malt vinegar drizzled on top.

Let’s straighten up our terminology here:  In Ireland chips are french fries.  A typical American chip is called a crisp, a cookie is a biscuit and a biscuit is a scone.  I could go on and on, but that’s a topic for another day.  It sure can get confusing!!!!

So just so we are straight, we are cooking french fries Irish style today!

American french fries are thinner than an Irish chip, which is thinner than an American steak fry.  They are not as crispy on the outside as most American fries and definitely don’t receive any extra seasonings – just plain, fried, potato goodness.

Cooking the perfect Irish chip is not as simple as chopping a few spuds and plunging them straight into hot oil.  This just doesn’t work – by the time the inside of the chip has softened, the outside is just too crispy and burnt.

My trick for cooking the perfect Irish chip is parboiling.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • Sea salt
  • 6 pints of canola oil for deep frying.

Peel the potatoes.

Here’s how I cut them to get the right size.  Halve the potato lengthwise, then quarter it lengthwise.  Cut each quarter in half lengthwise, then each eighth size piece in half again.  Each potato should yield 16 long chips.

Yikes!  That sounds like a crazy math lesson!!!  Confused yet????

Here is my pile of chips.  Now, recipes for perfect french fries call for soaking the cut potatoes in water for hours before cooking.  This reduces the starch.  The next step involves pre-frying the fries in oil at 300 degrees.  Later, when ready to serve, the pre-cooked chips are fried once again in super hot oil.

This method involves way too much planning for me.  When I want chips I usually don’t realize it until an hour or two before dinner, and planning all that pre-soaking just takes too much time for me.  I also think cooking in oil at a lower temperature only allows the chip to soak up too much fat.

My solution is to parboil the sliced potatoes to help remove some starch and to start the cooking process before final immersion in hot oil.

So toss the sliced potatoes into a large saucepan and cover the chips with water.  Season with some salt at this stage.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for just 4 minutes.  Don’t overcook the chips or they will fall apart before frying.

Drain the chips into a colander and just let them sit there for 5 to 10 minutes.  They will steam away, drying out in the process, making them perfect for dipping into hot oil.  Dry fries minimizes a crazy, sizzling ‘oil meets wet chips’ frying reaction.

In addition, I like this steam drying process.  It eliminates the need to pat the fries dry with paper towels or dish towels – much less mess.

Pour the oil into a large dutch oven or deep frying pan, bringing the level to a little under half full.  Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

When frying with hot oil be very careful.  Keep the pot on the back burner so little ones don’t get splashed or burned.

Lower the parboiled chips into the hot oil.  Be prepared for the sizzle!

Don’t put too many chips into the pan at once or they will stick together.  My dutch oven is big enough to cook two potatoes worth of chips at the same time.

Cook them until they are just turning golden.  This takes about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how many chips are in the pot together.

Carefully remove them from the oil with a metal strainer, and place them on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.

Serve with burgers, chicken or my favorite – beer battered fish and mushy peas.  Look at those beautiful Irish chips, cut thick with a soft center and a lovely golden, slightly crispy finish.

They are just crying out for a sprinkle of malt vinegar and a little shake of salt.

Here is the printable recipe:

How To Cook Perfect Irish Chips

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Region British
Irish chips are simply delicious, soft and tender on the inside and just slightly crispy on the outside. Their thick cut is perfect for absorbing the bitter-sweet goodness of malt vinegar drizzled on top.

Ingredients

  • 4 Large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 pints canola or vegetable oil (for deep frying)

Directions

Step 1 Peel the potatoes. Halve each potato lengthwise, then quarter it lengthwise. Cut each quarter in half lengthwise, then each eighth size piece in half again. Each potato should yield 16 long chips.
Step 2 Add the sliced potatoes into a large saucepan and cover the chips with water. Season with salt. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for just 4 minutes.
Step 3 Drain the chips into a colander and just let them sit there for 5 to 10 minutes to steam dry.
Step 4 Pour the oil into a large dutch oven or deep frying pan, bringing the level to a little under half full. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5 Lower some of the parboiled chips into the hot oil. Don’t put too many chips into the pan at once or they will stick together. Cook in 2 to 3 separate batches.
Step 6 Cook them for 8 to 10 minutes until they are just turning golden.
Step 7 Carefully remove them from the oil with a metal strainer, and place them on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
Step 8 Serve hot with burgers, chicken or beer battered fish and mushy peas.

Happy chip making!!

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom


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Comments

  1. Hi Mairead,
    A plate of chips with a bit more than a sprinkling of malt vinegar and salt is one of life’s simple pleasures.
    They are also one of the few universal eats to keep everyone happy, haven’t met a kid yet that’ll turn down a nice crispy chip/frie. I enjoy your stories, everyone’s perspective is formed by their life experiences, and your unique view on things Irish and American is really entertaining and informative.
    Thanks,
    Brian

    • Hi Brian – My kids love chips and like their Dad they drown them in vinegar. I will have to share my recipe for curry sauce – you know how much Irish people love their chips and curry sauce after a few pints.

      Thanks for visiting my site, and for your lovely comments. Your site looks wonderful. I’ll check it out in more detail later when I get a few moments to myself later. I am looking forward to your great information about Ireland.

      All the best!

      Mairead

      • Have you ever decided to share your curry recipe? I’m not Irish, and I’ve only been to Ireland once for a couple of weeks, but one of my top ten all time favorite foods is curry chips. After not knowing what to order one night I told the waiter to surprise me with something good. He brought me curry chips and I fell in love … I ordered 5 more times before leaving Ireland. Well, there are no Irish pubs close to where I live, so I would love to try out your recipe!

        • Sarie – I love chips and curry sauce. I’m planning to make colcannon next, since it is a traditional Halloween dish in Ireland, but I will make some chips and curry sauce after that. I have to schedule my cooking when my kids are at school, otherwise cooking and taking photos gets a little hectic around here. I’ll make them next week then it will take me a few days to edit my photos and write the post.
          Thanks for stopping by and checking out my recipes.
          Mairead

  2. I’m in the middle of making these right now! I’ve been eating them up as I cook the batches. I hope I leave some for the rest of the family. These make a great treat for those days when oven fries just won’t do.

    I pinned it on Pinterest!

    • Janice – I fully understand how irresistible freshly cooked chips can be. As I cook the batches, I too just can’t help myself nibbling as I go. I usually have to cook a whole extra potato to account for all the sneaky fingers in my house. So glad to hear you like this recipe and thank you for sharing it on Pinterest.

      Best wishes!

      Mairead

  3. In Ireland we do not par- boil our chips – they go straight into the oil and they will not burn if they are cut to correct size. Crispy outside, perefectly cooked inside. Doused in lashings of vinegar – preferably white vinegar and not that brown watery stuff… a sprinkle of salt – to die for!

    • Angela – My mouth is watering thinking of Irish chips, doused in vinegar just as you describe. In Ireland there is no need to par-boil – the spuds are great for chips. Here in America I had a lot of trouble getting that crispy outside and floury inside. The big difference is the type of potato available. I found that par-boiling russet potatoes was the only way to go here in America, to cook a chip someway close to the chips of my childhood memories. There are no “floury” spuds here in the States.
      All the best, and thanks for stopping by.
      Mairead

  4. I know this is really a long time later to be commenting but I’m excited to try this. I have been craving chips with curry sauce something fierce and you cannot get them in Minnesota. I’m just making the curry sauce right now and I’m getting ready to start the chips. I can’t wait! Yum! Chips and curry! Woot! Thankyou. :-)

    • Alice – I love to hear from readers, no matter how long it takes. I keep the comment section open on my blog, so that readers can reply at any time. I hope my curry sauce helped satisfy your cravings for chips and curry. It really is a taste of home I often just have to have, and this recipe does the trick for me.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

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