Why the Chip Butty May Be Your Next Great at-Home Snack

This British fare is a simple combination of chips (fries, in the U.S.) and bread, with minimal seasonings and condiments—but its potential is nearly endless.

The last few years have shown us some pretty unexpected food combinations—ice cream fruit roll-ups, pickle in a blanket, pickle pizza, and rat snacks, anyone?—but few combos compare to the chip butty, a sandwich developed in the nineteenth century that might just be the tastiest dish you’ve never heard of.

Chip butty sandwich with bread and chips or fries

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The chip butty, officially, is a sandwich made with white bread slathered in tons of salty butter, a filling of thick-cut chips (aka French fries in the U.S.), and dashings of vinegar. No meat, no cheese: just bread, fries, and some butter and vinegar for flavor.

This delicacy (?) originates in Lancashire, England, but is very popular in other areas of England and Ireland, too. The term butty is British slang for sandwich; it comes from the shortened version of saying “bread and butter,” and the chip butty itself dates back to 1863, a time when fish and chip shops and cafes were sprouting up all over Ireland and England for the first time.

Chip butty Sandwich on White Bread
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How to Make a Chip Butty at Home

First, you need to consider the type of fries you’re using. No one wants to use crispy, thin-cut fries for this sandwich, because the point is to taste the meaty, soft potatoes with just the perfect amount of slight crispiness in the skin. In America, think of these as steak-cut fries, but in the U.K., they’re pretty much always what you’ll get when you request chips.

Next, slather two pieces of white bread in as much butter as you can find. Traditionally, this sandwich is served on soft bread, but grilling or toasting the bread can help give your chip butty a grilled cheese–style flavor and texture. Ultimately, though, the decision to grill or toast your bread before assembling your chip butty is up to you. Once the bread is buttered, you can choose your seasonings and condiments.

This sandwich is traditionally served with tons of table salt on the fries and malted vinegar, but if you’re so inclined, you could also slather the fries in a drizzling of ketchup. Some chip butty connoisseurs even give the chips a healthy dusting of parmesan goodness to add a cheesy flavor to the otherwise salty combination.

The TikTok account @caughtsnackin has even more hacks to make different versions of the chip butty: You can add hot gravy with a dusting of cheese to the buttered bread if you’re into a more poutine-style sandwich. And finally, for probably the most endearing type of chip butty yet, the account suggests replacing ketchup or gravy with curry sauce and loading up the chips around that.

If you’re not a fan of beer or drinking, or are just taking a dry approach to St. Patrick’s Day, you can celebrate by whipping up a few chip buttys for you and your friends. Set up a build-your-own chip butty station where you have heaps of chips, different condiments, cheese, and of course lots and lots of table salt.

This supremely British dish sits somewhere between a snack and a meal on the food quantity spectrum, making it the perfect recipe to try the next time you’re craving something a little unexpected. Cook up some chips, grab a butter knife, and prepare to eat something unlike anything you’ve tried before.

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