Time to raise your chip game.

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Air-fried pasta chips are all the rage right now. And deservedly so. These crisp-tender alternatives to one-dimensional corn or potato chips are easy to make, filled with flavor, and, with a little perusing of your grocery store's pasta and spice aisles, simple to change up.

Read on to learn now to make pasta chips by utilizing your air fryer, the pasta and spice sections of your local market, and a customizable recipe with 10 flavor ideas. No air fryer? I'll also tell you how to bake pasta chips instead.

How to Make Air Fryer Pasta Chips

To make these chips, you only need a few ingredients: pasta, oil, spices or sauces, grated cheeses (optional), and a little salt or sugar, depending on whether you're going savory or sweet.

Best pasta shapes to use?

After experimenting with a number of different pastas, I found that short, wide, and flat shapes — anything you can get a grip on — work best. These include farfalle, rigatoni, penne, or even medium-size shells. If you love to dip, twisty rotini or fusilli drag up a lot of sauce with their crevices. And if you're looking for color, by all means choose beet, carrot, and spinach pastas.

platter of air-fried farfalle pasta coated with Italian seasoning.
Credit: Jen Karetnick

Which oils work best?

One of the elements that makes air fryers so attractive is that they require very little oil in recipes. But because pasta chips are cooked at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), the oil you choose should have a high smoke point. Olive oil tops out at 400 degrees F, so while it's fine for small pasta like farfalle that fries up quickly, it's a better idea to employ canola, grapeseed, or avocado oil, especially if your air fryer runs hot (all air fryers differ) or you're going to fry for a long time (see the lasagna ideas, below).

Also, while you can simply toss a tablespoon of oil into two cups of pasta, an oil mister gives you better control and more even coverage. I actually keep two on hand. Both are filled with avocado oil, but one has a few additional drops of infused lemon, garlic, chili, and rosemary oils. The latter combination gives several of the pasta chips below (Italian Farfalle, Greek Rigatoni, and Jerk Rotini) an extra kick.

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set of two aluminum oil spray misters
Credit: Amazon

Misto Oil Sprayer

These reusable, refillable oil spray misters can be filled with your choice of oil for an easy way to quickly coat salads, breads, cooking surfaces, and more.

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Air Fryer Pasta Chips: How-to and Tips

Using this customizable recipe that you can tailor to taste, here are 10 ways to make and flavor homemade pasta chips.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shaped pasta (such as farfalle, rigatoni, rotini, penne)
  • 1 tablespoon canola, grapeseed, or avocado (or other oil with a 400-degrees F smoke point or higher)
  • 2 teaspoons spice, spice or seasoning blend, sauce, or mixture of seasonings and sauces
  • ½ cup finely grated cheese(s) (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (for dessert recipes, substitute sugar, cinnamon, or both)

Directions

  1. Boil the pasta in salted water to an al dente texture. The air fryer cooks it further, so you want to leave it a little firm. Do not rinse it after draining.
  2. Preheat your air fryer* to 400 degrees.
  3. Transfer the pasta to a bowl. Spritz or add the tablespoon of oil and toss gently to coat.
  4. Add the spices, sauces, cheeses, and salt (or sugar). Toss gently to coat.
  5. Add a single layer of pasta to the air fryer basket. Don't overcrowd the basket, especially with larger pastas.
  6. Cook for 2–3 minutes. Shake the basket and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Shake and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Pasta is done when golden-brown and toasty.
  7. Transfer to paper towels to drain and repeat with another batch until all pasta has been cooked.

Cook's notes:

  • Most pasta shapes take about 7 minutes to toast in an air fryer.
  • If the pasta shape doesn't roll or flip when you shake the basket, turn it with tongs.
  • Larger pastas like lasagna require longer cooking times — about 10 minutes — and need to be turned over manually.
  • Pasta will continue to crisp a bit as it cools.
  • If pasta gets soggy, reheat it for a minute or two in the air fryer.

*How to bake pasta chips if you don't have an air fryer:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Use the convection setting if you have it.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cooked pasta on it in a single layer.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden-brown. Check the pasta at about halfway through the bake time and turn it over if it's not cooking evenly. Drain on paper towels.

10 Pasta Chip Flavor Variations to Try

array of different kinds of homemade pasta chip flavors with dipping sauces
Credit: Jen Karetnick

1. Italian Farfalle

This classic trends on TikTok for a reason: It's tasty! After you add oil, dust farfalle with Italian seasoning blend (or dried basil and parsley if you can't find it), garlic powder, salt, and Parmesan. Then pair the air-fried farfalle with a marinara dipping sauce. Tip: You can take this dish to the next level by replacing the garlic powder with minced garlic, regular salt with truffle salt, and marinara with Alfredo sauce.

2. Buffalo Bowties

This recipe uses all the flavor components of classic Buffalo chicken wings except for the chicken. Add a teaspoon of Buffalo sauce, a teaspoon of celery salt, and crumbled blue cheese to the pasta, then toss to cover. These zesty chips give you notes of blue cheese on the first bite. Then the heat follows. They're ideal dipped into ranch or blue cheese dressing, or, if you're a real fan of tang, some extra hot sauce. Tip: If the blue cheese crumbles are too large, reduce them with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Don't run them through a food processor or they'll become gluey.

3. Everything Bagel Rigatoni

"Everything Bagel" is one of those can't-live-without seasoning blends that used to be unique to places like Trader Joe's and is now so popular it's available in your neighborhood grocery store. Which is a great thing, because it makes a wonderfully crunchy, multi-seed-and-allium topping for rigatoni chips. Try this recipe for Everything Seasoning if you want to make your own blend. Tip: These chips are savory enough to eat on their own, but if you're looking for a little textural contrast, dip them into cream cheese, whether it's plain or embellished with veggies or smoked salmon.

4. Greek Rigatoni

Feta is another cheese that you can buy crumbled, saving you a step. I like to use the feta that's already flavored with tomato and basil, but if that's not available, just add a teaspoon of tomato sauce and a teaspoon of dried basil (not fresh, because fresh doesn't work in an air fryer) to the pasta and oil along with the cheese. This rigatoni is practically a religious experience when dipped into tzatziki, which you can also buy at the market or make at home. Try this recipe for Authentic Greek Tzatziki.

5. Furikake Rotini

Furikake, a Japanese blend featuring nori, sesame seeds, and bonito flakes, is another product that you can find in specialty or regular markets. You can also order it online (buy it: $5.00; amazon.com) or make it yourself. I've been known to crumble up the seaweed snacks my kids like to eat and mix them with sesame seeds — it's a great shortcut. Any way you get ahold of it, try tossing it with rotini and oil before air-frying it. The subtle sea flavors hit you flat in the center of the umami portion of your taste buds, and you'll crave them long after they're gone. For even more flavor, dip the the fried rotini into eel, teriyaki, or soy sauce.

6. Tri-Colored Jerk Rotini

Seasoning like Jamaican jerk works wonderfully on tri-colored pasta because, while the flavors pop, the spice mix itself isn't that visually vibrant. Plus, two out of three colors of this pasta are on the Jamaican flag. I like to pair this with a simple sour cream mixed with snipped cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Try this recipe for homemade Jerk Marinade Seasoning Rub.

7. French Onion Soup Penne

You might be familiar with using dehydrated French onion soup to make a dip with sour cream. This idea is a take on that. Incorporate any dry soup mix — French onion, mushroom, potato-and-bacon — with penne or another tubular pasta. Then, after air-frying them, dip them into sour cream or plain Greek yogurt garnished with chopped scallions.

8. Asian Curry Shells

So many curry blends, so many air-fried pasta opportunities! Indian, Thai, or Caribbean. Green, red, or yellow. Paste or powder. It doesn't matter. It all tastes amazing, and the options are limitless. I coated medium-size shells with oil and a piquant red Thai curry paste (buy it: $9.50; amazon.com) , air-fried them, and dipped them into sweet chili-garlic sauce. But you can also finish them with a fish sauce or raita, or go pan-Asian with Korean barbecue sauce or Chinese duck sauce.

9. Lasagna Nachos

These lasagna pieces are fun to make when you're feeling stressed out because the first thing you do is break the uncooked pasta into halves and quarters. Okay, fine, you can also cook the lasagna noodles whole and then cut it neatly into quarters with kitchen shears. Either way, coat the pieces with oil and taco seasoning (or sauce) as well as shredded Mexican cheese that you get from refrigerator section at the market. Then air-fry them. These take a little longer to cook, about 10 minutes, so keep shaking them and turning them over in the basket. Serve with a trio of guacamole, queso, and pico de gallo or salsa. You can also break out some chili or refried beans with these heartier chips. Tip: For another serving suggestion, try this recipe for Skillet Lasagna Dip with Pasta Chips.

10. Chocolate Lasagna

You know that packet of hot chocolate mix you always seem to have in a cupboard somewhere? Now you have a use for it. Add it to pieces of cooked lasagna noodles (make sure you use a very neutral oil for this one) and then fry these up into fabulous chocolate-flavored pasta chips. They're terrific when spread with a fruit butter or jam, a jar of which is also always hanging around the pantry. They're also not overly sweet or rich, so you can feel free to add a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar or dip them in Nutella afterwards.

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