How can I reuse or recycle leftover chips?

Mari has emailed asking about leftover chips – as in English chips eaten hot, thick fries not potato chips/crisps – saying her family nearly always have “eyes bigger than their bellies” when they order fish’n'chips and end up with some leftovers:

Good thick chips not just tiny hard scraps. It’s such a waste. Can anything be done with them?

Obviously the first thing here is to reduce the amount she & her family buy in the first place – but I realise chip portions are a variable thing. I read about a study recently that found that portion sizes could vary from between 250g (half a pound) to 1kg (2.2lbs!) depending on the shop and server. I think most families would have leftovers even if they bought just one bag of the latter!

Whenever my father (not) in law has leftover chips, he wraps them back up in their paper again and freezes them for a snack at a later time. I’m not sure how he defrosts/reheats them (and admittedly, he’s not got particularly high standards when it comes to cooking) but it might be worth experimenting with if you have them leftover regularly.

At the end of the day though, they’re just leftover fried potato – and can be reused like any other leftover potato. Mash up the softer ones – they could be used in fish cakes or a hash/bubble & squeak. The little hard ones could be chopped up and used as a crispy coating/topping.

Here, they’d go in our “misc stuff for the chickens” pile.

What would you do with leftover chips?

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12 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle leftover chips?”


  1. carol says:

    Mostly they wind up in the chicken coop, the hens love them. But in the past I have used then to layer in a casserole. A layer of fries, TVP/ veggie layer and top with some cheese. Bake 30 minutes or so.
    These are home made fries, don’t ever buy the fast food kind.

  2. Andrea says:

    There was a restaurant that I frequented in high school that served burritos stuffed with beef and french fries/tater tots. Sounds weird but it was so so good.

  3. Jack w says:

    If you absolutely need warmth rather than food, most all potato chips I have encountered burn for very long and at high temperatures, perfect for getting a larger fire going. I have used as little as half a handful to light kindling to log sized dry wood. Every camper should bring along a bag of leftover chips just in case!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’d just put them in the fridge and microwave them later for a snack. Now, if I heated them in the oven instead, I’m sure they’d be much better, but I’m lazy. Not that I often have leftovers-when I get french fries, it’s usually a fairly small amount.
    I know you can make hash browns out of leftover baked or boiled potatos, maybe it’d work with the chips, too. Put in egg and cheese and what have you for a frittata sytle meal?

  5. Ana says:

    Don´t miss the simplest way: Spanish omelette. Just add eggs, toss in a hot frying pan (some oil, please) and make as slower as you can, before turning upside down.
    Que aproveche!

    • BoB Underwood says:

      Also great for leftover Chinese food!

      I call it Egg Foo Breakfast.

    • Gill says:

      Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! I’ve been searching ideas for ages, and even though our chooks would love them, I’d rather incorporate our leftover chips into tonights dinner, and a Spanish omelette sounds perfect!!

  6. deeby says:

    I always buy a large portion of chips and freeze what’s left over for another time. This way I can take just a handful out for each meal to make them go further (and supplement with bread and butter if necessary). Put the chips in a frying pan on a LOW heat with a sprinkle of oil so they don’t burn, and toss from time to time. You may find a lid will help.

  7. Frank says:

    I’m with Ana,
    The Spanish Tortilla (Omelette) is the best way to re-use chips.
    Fry some onions and peppers with it, mix it with eggs and a bit of milk, fry with olive oil and voila!!
    One of the easiest and yummiest Spanish dishes :)

  8. supergeeky says:

    I am Minnesotan so I tend to save them, store them in a bag in the freezer and make tater tot hotdish with it. You need a good 2 bags of tater tots so if you substitute some left over french fries in there you can use less tater tots. I sometimes just keep the bag going until I have enough for a whole batch. Sure, it might technically be tater tot hotdish but it tastes great! = D

  9. Forest Law says:

    I call this left-over hash. I usually make it when I have leftovers from one or more these ingredients.

    1. Fry up the french fries & any kind of meat, sausage/bacon/hotdogs (really any kind of left over meat).
    2. Remove from the pan,
    3. Add veggies such as onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, fry until golden.
    4. Add the french fry/meat back to the pan. Mix together.
    5. Add salt & pepper to taste.
    6. You may also wish to add some tomato sauce, and chilli powder.

    Serve immediately.

  10. Angela says:

    Old chips can be recycled into a great hotpot topping/crunchy potato side dish! Inspired by some of these suggestions, I just chopped up some leftover chips into smaller pieces, tossed them in a tiny bit of sunflower oil and bunged in a baking tray. They made lovely crunchy potato chunks, and you wouldn’t guess that they started off as chips! I served them with a mince & veggies mixture, so it was like a crunchy hotpot topping. It worked really well – I’ll definitely do it again, but next time would add maybe some finely sliced onion or a few cloves of garlic, and some herbs, and claim they are Spanish or French!



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