Food & Drink

I Tried 40 Bags of Plain Potato Chips (Yes, 40!) and These Were the Best Ones

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I often don’t give an excessive amount of thought to potato chips. I both keep on with the go-to manufacturers I’ve been consuming since toddlerhood or purchase no matter’s on sale. In spite of everything, aren’t all of them just about the identical? Nope! Though all potato chips are good (I imply, they’re salt, fats, and carbs in crispy kind, how might they not be?), some manufacturers have found out obtain greatness. I ought to know as a result of I just lately spent per week tasting greater than three-dozen totally different baggage.

You see, with summer time picnics and yard barbecues on the horizon, my household and I made a decision it was excessive time to seek out out if there was actually one explicit potato chip that was higher than all the remainder. So I rounded up practically each model I might discover, in a variety of classes, and set myself and a gaggle of (socially distanced) discerning tasters to the essential job of consuming each single one. Seems there are various, many manufacturers of potato chips on the market, even while you’re simply plain ol’ salted chips.

How We Chosen and Examined the Potato Chips

There are additionally tons of various textural potato chip iterations — we’re speaking wavy, kettle-cooked, stacked, puffed, baked, and traditional. I purchased each single bag of plain potato chips I might discover (at just a few totally different shops, which I used to be headed to anyway). I then divided them into classes that made sense: baked, traditional, kettle, and so forth.

We had so many chips, it took a number of days for my official crew of testers to style by way of all of them. Palate fatigue is a really actual concern when consuming excessive portions of salt and fats. To fight this, we’d style by way of one class, choose the highest three, and style these once more the subsequent day to verify the winner. It’ll most likely be some time earlier than I crave potato chips once more, however for the remainder of you, listed below are the stand-outs. 

Greatest Traditional Potato Chip: Higher Made Unique

We’re undecided what their secret is, however this 90-year-old Detroit brand makes potato chips which are so extremely skinny and light-weight, that it’s virtually like consuming crisped air. And but, someway, the flavour of those chips is extra potato-y than some thicker-cut manufacturers we tried. They’re magic, and positively value searching for out on-line, as they’re not accessible in all elements of the nation. Fortunately our runnerup within the Traditional class is extra extensively accessible: Dealer Joe’s Ode to the Traditional Chip was completely seasoned, splendidly skinny and crisp, and a very stable selection. After all, iconic Lay’s didn’t disappoint, however they had been a lot saltier than the opposite choices (which you’ll like, relying in your tastebuds!).

Purchase: Better Made Original, $3 for 10 ounces at Goal

Greatest Kettle-Model Potato Chip: Kettle Model Potato Chips Sea Salt

Clearly, the U.S. loves its kettle potato chips. (This was the most important class we tasted, with 13 choices within the combine.) Some manufacturers we tried had been both too thick, too laborious, too greasy, or missing taste, however Kettle Brand provided the kettle-chip platonic supreme. The chips had been sturdy however with an excellent shattering crispness. The flavour was sturdy and potato-y they usually had been well-salted however not over-the-top and never overly greasy. Trader Joe’s Dark Russet Kettle Cooked Potato Chips had been additionally a favourite, however in a category by themselves. These chips are cooked for therefore lengthy they flip brown, which appears to boost the earthy taste and caramelize the pure sugars, leading to one thing akin to candy potato chips, however not. 

Purchase: Kettle Chips Sea Salt, $4.50 for 13 ounces at Thrive Market

The Greatest Wavy Potato Chip: Higher Made Krinkle Lower 

While you consider wavy chips you most likely consider Ruffles. A minimum of I do. However any more I’ll be fascinated by these magical chips from Detroit, Michigan. They’re not accessible in all places, however they need to be. These chips provided a deeper, hearty, russet potato taste that not one of the different chips had. However as earthy as they tasted, the feel was extremely mild and ethereal. And the aftertaste was paying homage to mashed potatoes, somewhat than grease. What’s to not love? Our second selection was the extra simply accessible Boulder Canyon, made with avocado oil, which gave the chips a wealthy, buttery taste.

Purchase: Better Made Special Krinkle Cut Potato Chips, $3 for 10 ounces at Goal

Greatest Baked Potato Chips: Ruffles Baked Unique

Baked chips have that “higher for you” well being halo and, sadly, a slight “one thing scrumptious is lacking” form of taste. Whereas I’m often not a fan, I can see their function. Ruffles Baked Original chips have 70 p.c much less fats than common chips — clocking in at 120 energy and three grams of fats per 1 ounce, in comparison with 10 grams of fats of their common counterpart. However the fats content material isn’t the one factor that’s totally different. Amongst all of the baked chips we tried, we couldn’t assist however discover a slight “cereal-like” style. With this in thoughts, if you would like a salty, skinny, and crispy chip analog with out all of the fats content material, Baked Ruffles ought to hit the spot. These had crunch and barely extra savory taste profile than different baked variations we tasted.

Purchase: Ruffles Baked Original, $3.29 for six.25 ounces at Goal

Greatest Low-Salt Potato Chips: Lay’s Flippantly Salted

With 50 p.c much less salt than common chips, we anticipated to be underwhelmed by this class. Seems, the chips we tried had been all deliciously seasoned, which fits to point out simply how aggressively salty most common potato chips might be. The Lay’s Lightly Salted (with 65 milligrams of sodium versus 170) had been a standout for his or her traditional, well-seasoned potato chip taste and skinny, mild crunch. If you happen to love Traditional Lay’s, you’ll love these. Actually, I now favor these to Traditional Lay’s as a result of they had been loads salty as is. Nevertheless, if it’s important to comply with a no-salt weight loss plan, search for Higher Made model No-Salt-Added chips. They had been too under-seasoned for us, however their super-thin, mild and crispy texture was distinctive.  

Purchase: Lay’s Lightly Salted, $3.59 for 7.75 ounces at Goal

Greatest Puffed Potato Chip: Lay’s Poppables Sea Salt

If you happen to’re craving a potato chip that has a bit extra dimension to it, a puffed model is the way in which to go. Lay’s Poppables hit the spot for his or her enjoyable, toss-in-your-mouth form, akin to Chex Combine. One of the best ways to explain this innovation is think about that your favourite potato chip grew up and married popcorn. The flavour reminded us a little bit of Funyuns, however with out the onion powder — a wonderful mash-up of salty, savory, and a bit bit candy.   

Purchase: Lay’s Poppables Sea Salt, $3.59 for five ounces at Goal

Greatest Tube of Potato Chips: The Good Crisp Traditional Unique

Stacked chips, with their sturdy but ethereal crunch and without end attention-grabbing processed taste and texture, are their very own particular beast. Pringles owns the class, however we couldn’t assist however fall for the underdog right here. The Good Crisp chips seize the depth and earthiness of baked potatoes and potato skins, which made them a fan favourite. They’ve a satisfying crunch, due to palm oil (which the corporate sources sustainably). 

Purchase: The Good Crisp Original, $3 for five.6 ounces at Walmart

Did your favourite potato chip make the checklist?

Danielle Centoni


Danielle Centoni is a James Beard Award-winning meals author, editor, recipe developer, and cookbook creator primarily based in Portland, Oregon. Her newest cookbook is “Fried Rice: 50 Methods to Stir Up The World’s Favourite Grain.”

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