Dehydrated Spicy BBQ Sweet Potato Chips

This recipe really needs a different name – it’s title reads like ingredients to the recipe.

Dehydrated Spicy BBQ Sweet Potato Chips Yam Sweet Potato Preserving Recipes

We do a lot of dehydrating in the winter.  It’s a fantastic time to make a lot of the “powders” and flakes we cook with – onion, garlic, beet, celeriac and more.  It doesn’t hurt that the excess heat from the dehydrator escapes into our apartment and turns our cozy den into a tropical paradise – all for the energy and cost that it takes to power a lightbulb.

Dehydrating is a favorite technique for our food as the flavors of the final product remain close to that of it’s ingredients.  It’s funny to think that a lot of our hot water bath canning results in condiments that are used ‘on top’ of a meal while drying often creates ingredients which are cooked ‘inside’ of our meals.

When creating pickles, jams and other preserves, we add ingredients which change the flavor (often with delightful results).  When dehydrating, the goal is often (but not always) to do as little as possible to the items that go into the process.  Creating fruit leathers, candied fruits, granola and yogurt are all examples of using a dehydrator to transform the original input into something different.  Such is the case with these sweet potato chips.

Here’s the process:

  • Peel some yams or sweet potatoes (do not cut off the small ends – you’ll need them to hold onto in a few steps)
  • Cut the yam in half (not down the middle – you should have two tall halves when the yams are place upright – not two ‘islands.’)

Dehydrated Spicy BBQ Sweet Potato Chips Yam Sweet Potato Preserving Recipes

  • Use a mandoline to cut super thin slices.  I wouldn’t do this recipe without one – they need to be shaved and identical to promote even drying.  A $15 hand unit will do.
  • Toss the chips in a bowl and add:
    • a bit of oil (you can use olive, we used soya to keep it in Ontario)
    • salt (what’s a chip without salt – we used coarse for texture)
    • even amounts of paprika, chili powder, onion powder and cayenne.  I recommend being liberal.  Put as much as you think you can stand and then add a bit more.  This should make you slightly uncomfortable (especially if you rub your eyes)
    • mix in a bit of honey; enough that each chip will get a little sweet love (this is probably a few tablespoons)
    • liquid smoke.  I thought I ruined ours when a mental lapse led to shaking this stuff like it was Worchester in a pot of chili.  I would have never put this amount intentionally – and I will continue to do so from now on.

  • If you’re nervous about all of those ingredients, you can taste your chips raw.  It’ll give you a pretty good idea of the end product.
  • Spread them out evening on your dehydrator trays and dry at 125 degrees until solid, brittle (keep in mind that they will get crispier once they cool down).  This could take 4-8 hours, depending on the thickness of your chips.
  • Leave on the counter for a day (if you can resist.  This will help them get a little crisper.
  • Store in fridge because of the oil content – if you have any left to store.

Are they exactly like potato chips?  No.  There is something slightly different about them – but they are fantastic.  And they`re not far off eating `real` chips.

A final piece of advice – these may drip a bit at the start.  If you’re drying other things at the same time, make sure these are at the bottom or line your last tray with parchment paper.  This will impede air flow and could slow this batch – and others with it – down.

Any other favorite seasoning combinations out there?

We’d love to have you join us on Facebook as we’re trying to get things rolling there as well.  Join our group and add your own comments and shares here.


  1. I haven’t branched out into dehydrating yet, but this could inspire me. Potato chips are a huge weakness.

    I have no idea what the ingredients would consist of, but Hawaiian barbecue and Old Bay are faves of mine.

    In addressing the local oils issue, have you considered revisiting beef tallow or lard products?

    • Jackie,

      Being from Canada I don’t even know of Hawaiian or Old Bay….think I may be missing somethiing…

      We are really blessed with traceable local oils. Canola, soya, sunflower and more. Tallow and Lard are going to need some research as I have limited experience. We just gave a vat of deer fat to a good chef friend and she is going to do some experiments to share with us what we are able to do with it as a start. Would love any pointers if you have any…


  2. omg!

  3. why did i forget about how warm the dehydrator gets?! thanks for the tasty looking reminder that i could be heating the cold spots in the living room by making chips et al with the dehydrator that i cursed all summer long!

    • Regina,

      the heater in our entire building broke in the middle of a recent cold streak 2 weeks ago… We boiled water all weekend and forgot about the dehydrator – when I broke a sweat on the weekend we realized what we’d forgotten and kicked myself hard. :) We actually laughed a lot about it.


  4. Yummy! I think I need a dehydrator now!

  5. this sounds like a great reason to pull out our dehydrator.

    however, we have a honey allergy… I was wondering what a reasonable substitute might be?

    • Anita,

      LIike rebecca I would try maple syrup or brown sugar… it might work without a sweetener but it is a nice contrast to have sweet. Let us know if you try it :)

    • You could also use Agave Nectar – it tastes just like honey, but is made from the agave root. Added bonus is it has a negligible glycemic index! It’s very slightly thinner than honey, but I haven’t noticed a need to alter any recipes for consistency.

      I have a dehydrator and LOVE chips! Sweet potato chips are SO expensive to buy! I’m going to try this one! LOVE it! I can see SO many variation possiblities! :-) Thanks!

  6. Brooke - in Oregon says:

    This sounds amazing! I seem to only try peppers and tomatoes, now I am going to have to hunt for more great drying ideas :)

  7. @anita: Maple syrup would be a good substitute and goes well with sweet potatoes.

    @Joel: I made kohlrabi chips back in the summer when we were inundated with them. I sprinkled them with Old Bay and they were very tasty. Unfortunately, they had to be eaten right away because they went soft after a day. Putting them in the oven for a few minutes recrisped them but kind of defeated the purpose energy-wise. I didn’t toss them with oil before dehydrating. Do you think this is the secret to retaining crispness?

    • Rebecca,

      ours are still pretty crsip 2 days in and left on counter. I think the key is the dry air of the house – humidity would likely be an enemy which would make sense in the summer. Oil may also help but we won’t know for sure till summer :)

      • Our house is definitely dry now! The cat winces every time we reach to pet him because he knows he’s gonna be a victim of the Static Avenger! I’m pulling some sweets out of storage to make chips. Right after I make the single malt blood orange marmalade! ;-)

        • laughing, too funny. 4 days later and they are still decently crisp…they were never fully like chips but they haven`t lost much of anything since the weekend – and maybe gotten better – sitting in the open air. :)

  8. Joel,

    Are the sweet potatoes raw? or cooked?



    • hi Luther, they indeed were raw :) would be tough to slice if cooked I would think (they’d go to mush) but if you experiment, let us know. :) j

  9. Another reason I need a dehydrator.
    (No, “want”, not need. WANT! Maybe need a little.)

    • Ahhh Andrea, perhaps flipping a coin would help…laugh…we put a ling in todays post (we shared it on facebeeok a day or two ago as well) on things to consider if you`re buying one…. :) Sounds like you waneed one…. :)

  10. I think I need to pull my dehydrator out. These sound yummy!

  11. Tried these yesterday (when the temperature outside was -20C !). Forgot to buy liquid smoke, so just upped the amount of spices. Ours took about 5 hours. Verdict was definitely two thumbs up from my family members!

    • awesome Sandra! Thanks so much for letting us know that the family liked them – love hearing that people are trying things – and love to hear your customization of them as well. :) Amazed that this worked outside in the frigid air (we actually trued snowshoeing in the cold)… I’d have thought it would not have gotten hot enough…. cool (or ccccold) to know.

  12. This is awesome. My family loved it. Thanks.

  13. I was wondering – do you think putting the final product in the oven for a while at like 250 or something would help them to get that final crisping more like a deep fried chip?

  14. Carmenchu Maraggi says:

    I am from San Rafel, Argentina and I can read English but sometimes I find it difficult.
    Could any one explain to me what the expression “liquid smoke” means? Thanks. Carmenchu.

  15. Kiwichubs says:

    I just like them plain! Believe it or not! ;) They are almost like a dessert to me! :) BUT my husband is NOT a raw foodie nor is he anywhere near wanting to eat healthy, so I’m gong to try your recipe and try to convert him! ;) This first batch is mine, tho. Lol. Just plain. I’m gonna eat the whole batch as soon as it’s ready (it’s in there now). Yum! ;) Next batch I’ll branch out and use your recipe. Excited to maybe convert him! ;) Yaaay! :) Thnx! :)

  16. I dehydrate plan sweet potatoes every week for my dog but now I’m going to make a batch of these for us humans!

    • Awesome Amanda!

      Let us know what you think. I’m generally not a fan of ‘fake bad food’ – I’d rather skip it altogether or just give in and enjoy the decadence. These are a total exception though – they are different than the ‘real thing’ but in every good way. Really enjoy them. :)


  17. Laurie Barboza says:

    My husband and I just finished building our own electric food dehydrator. I wanted badly to do a test run, making some barbeque sweet potato chips and found your site and used it as a reference for the time to run the chips in the dehydrator. I had already mixed up my spice blend for this venture before finding your page. Our dehydrator is a behemoth thing and when I read your comment “It doesn’t hurt that the excess heat from the dehydrator escapes into our apartment and turns our cozy den into a tropical paradise – all for the energy and cost that it takes to power a lightbulb” it made me smile, because I had commented to my husband a day or so ago that we could put ours in the bedroom at night in the winter months for that very reason. =)

    Btw, for anyone interested, a good substitute for liquid smoke is bacon boullion cube broken up. I’m an expat living in Uruguay and it’s quite difficult finding MANY things here that I took for granted back in the States. I get a strange look when asking if anyone knows where I can get liquid smoke. But this morning I saw a small box of the bacon boullion and on it was printed a reference to using it for barbequed beans (the company that manufactures the boullion is from the US), so I thought “hmm, I wonder?” I tried it in my spice mix this morning for BBQ chips and it’s a perfect substitute! You have no idea how thrilled I am!

  18. I really wish you would have left measurements….. those are all very strong spices and flavors so it would be very easy to use too much!

    • Hi Jenalee,

      Here’s how I’d approach it:

      How much cayenne are you comfortable with? If a recipe calls for a teaspoon do you add that much, less or more? Then you can base everything off that (i.e. 1 teaspoon of the others)…

      The problem with giving measurements in something like this is that I LOVE spice. So, had I given measurements, it would likely be far too strong for most. You can taste this raw so start with a teaspoon of each, if it’s not enough for you after mixing just add more….

      Hope that helps? :)



  1. [...] had great success with dehydrated sweet potato chips. I had read that you could do a similar thing with potatoes but they would go starchy.  Knowing [...]

  2. [...] a variety of spices to sweet potatoes before dehydrating them turned them into BBQ chips that were outrageously good.  There are other similar recipes to this online but this was an [...]

  3. [...] for BBQ flavor chips that you could use instead of cayenne with this recipe), check out our Dehydrated Sweet Potato Chip Recipe. Rate this: Share this:Share on FaceBookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

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