File Under: totally frivolous but potentially cool kitchen gadget.

When I first heard of the Mastrad TopChips Maker, I was really excited about the possibility of making some of my most favorite snacks -- apple chips and sweet potato chips -- fat-free and oil-free at home. And in the microwave, no less? Genius!

When the TopChips Maker arrived, my kids and I were mesmerized by the cool, rubbery black tray and wondered just how this thing would work.... Well, after washing, peeling, and slicing two apples and a sweet potato that was nearing its destiny in my friend Faith's compost heap, we placed the super-thin slices (thanks to the very nice bonus mandoline included in the package) on the TopChips Maker and placed it in the microwave.

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We followed the cooking times printed in the instructions, but found we had to cook the fruits & veggies much longer than indicated, even though my 1300w microwave is, in theory, stronger than the 1000w suggested cooking times. After a while, we did get some crispy sweet potato chips and a couple of apple chips, which actually came out tasting more like the dried fruit crisps we sometimes buy at Costco.

In the end, there was quite a bit of work and a lot of time spent for not too great of a reward. However, I will definitely continue the trial-and-error process with the TopChips Maker, because I know there are some delicious snacks ahead, as long as I have a little patience.  The TopChips device can also be used to make potato, carrot, pear, and mango chips, so I will plan to test some of those out in the near future.  It's a great idea for making healthy snacks, and in the end it's certainly cheaper than buying pre-made, packaged chips, so I will continue to experiment and see if I can come out on "top" of this one!

Mastrad Top Chips Maker (19.95) available at,, and other retailers.


Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm.  You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.