ByMolly Delmore/Updated: April 1, 2022 12:39 pm EDT
The United States leads the world in potato chip consumption, according to data from ResearchAndMarkets.com (via BusinessWire), so we might as well declare chips as an American delicacy at this point. All jokes aside, it is no secret Americans love chips, so we decided to take 20 chip brands and rank them to make your grocery shopping experience that much easier. Choosing a bag of chips is not a decision we take lightly. Our Tasting Table taste testers dove headfirst into the chip section to compare every ruffle, spice, and crunch, so you do not have to.
Take this round-up as a guide next time you're stocking your cart for a bigSuper Bowl party, need a vessel for a new dip you're trying, or are quickly grabbing a bag of chips at checkout for your next picnic at the park. We rounded up America's best chip brands and ranked them to ensure you only spend your hard-earned cash on the best on the market.
The best thing about Herr's is their extreme variety and striking flavor differences. These chips genuinely taste unique compared to one another. The Baby Back Ribs flavor makes us feel like we're at a barbecue, Cheddar & Sour Cream is the perfect combination, and Fire-Roasted Sweet Corn takes us back to the smells of our local county fair. Herr's potato chip dates back to 1946 and ranks highly in our most flavorful category.
While the flavor packs an incredible punch, the chip size and quality inconsistency forced Herr's lower on our list. When reaching into a bag of Herr's, it is a rarity to grab two chips of the same size. We love grabbing a handful of chips at a time, so we were disappointed to find more broken pieces than whole chips in the bag. Although Herr's tastes excellent, we have to pass on these crumbs for now.
19. Food Should Taste Good
The name does not lie: Food Should Taste Good. The founder worked in restaurants his entire life and recognized food tastes best when crafted with natural ingredients. We snagged a Multigrain Tortilla chip bag to test out these healthier chips made with flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds.
As the website suggests, it is the perfect snack to be dipped into your favorite dip like hummus. While we cannot protest a delicious vessel for hummus, we do not feel this one satisfies the needs many of our other chip brands do in the grand scheme of chip rankings. If you want a chip that offers better ingredients, Food Should Taste Good is a great option. On the other hand, if you want an authentic tortilla or potato chip, look elsewhere. We would not reach for this bag if we wanted to dive into a bowl of guacamole or indulge at a sport's viewing party.
Did you know Terra crafts its chips from vegetables? This came as a surprise to the Tasting Table team, so we knew we had to grab a bag and see if the hype was real. Over the last two decades, Terra has made chips using real vegetables to create a unique snacking experience. You might be thinking, vegetable chips, I'll pass. Terra's vegetable chips provide a unique and unexpected crunch.
The "Blues," aka Terra's chip made from blue potatoes, sparked our interest. These chips are a vibrant blue-purple color and offer hints of nuts when biting into a chip. The ingredients are simple: blue potatoes, oil, and salt. Overall we liked but did not love these potato chips. In comparison to the other potato chips on our list, these did not satisfy quite the same. In terms of passing our crunch test, however, these Terra chips do back a powerful crunch.
Popchips' tagline is "never fried, always real." We appreciate that so many brands today strive to make snacking a healthier experience. According to its website, Popchips keeps potatoes out of the deep fryer for a healthier, lower-calorie chip. Instead, the brand heats the potatoes in a pressurized chamber and quickly releases them. This results in a, you guessed it, pop. This is one of the few bags we have ranked that you do not have to feel guilty about if you finish the whole bag in one sitting.
Popchips chips satisfy — even for such a small chip. We tasted a few different varieties, including Sea Salt, Barbecue, and Sour Cream and Onion. These flavors all provided intense flavor, enough salt, and the perfect crunch. Our greatest reasoning for placing it lower on our list is due to the fact we feel it is not a true chip. While not in the same league as the other chips we tasted, Popchips will continue to be one of our favorite snacks.
We will likely get some heat for this, but next and lower than you may have anticipated: Fritos. While there is likely a sense of nostalgia surrounding Fritos for many of you readers, the corn chip dates back further than you might think. For over 80 years, Fritos chips have been enjoyed for dipping, cooking, or snacking. Fritos come in a scoop shape, as The Original Corn Chips, and in a lightly salted flavor variation.
Frito corn chips taste unlike any other because of the hybrid corn used to make the chips, according to NPR. We will be honest here; we don't love the corn taste, hence our ranking. The employee who developed the Frito recipe paired sweet corn and field corn to make the perfect mix we know today. There's something about this that feels genetically modified, and not the organic, straight from the potato or corn, in this case, chip we desire. We'll be referencing higher on the list next time we hit the grocery store.
15. Simply 7 Snacks
Continuing on with another better-for-you chip brand is Simply 7 Snacks. Cauliflower had its glow-up, and it looks like quinoa is on its way not too far behind it. Within the last decade, Simply 7 centered its focus on making better snacks with mouthwatering flavors and simple ingredients. Simply 7 offers a variety of gluten-free snacks, but for this roundup, we're checking out the various Quinoa Chips they offer. The Quinoa Chips come in sea salt, cheddar, barbecue, sour cream, and onion flavors.
An essential factor in this ranking is the taste test. Like many healthier alternatives, we do not have the exact expectations for the classic tortilla or potato chips we know and love. With Simply 7, for being a quinoa chip, we were pleasantly surprised. The chips are thinner, Sun Chip-type consistency. The brand's website suggests pairing its quinoa chips with your favorite dip, making nachos, or even whipping up a pie crust. While we don't know if they would hold up in a nacho plate, we are intrigued by the potential of the Quinoa Chips being part of next year's Thanksgiving dessert.
14. Siete Foods
Grain-free eaters, rejoice! Our next chip is a healthy eater's dream and can be found at Whole Foods, Costco, and other natural supermarkets. Fans of the brand rejoice that its offerings allow you to enjoy your favorite tortilla chip snacks without the grains or added preservatives. The Siete Foods website notes its products are completely vegan and gluten-free, made using cassava and coconut flour, and seasoned with simple sea salt and 100% avocado oil. If you are one to check ingredient labels, keep reading for our thoughts on taste.
Overall, for a healthier chip, we like the flavor and consistency of Siete Chips. They are slightly airier than your normal tortilla chip, and we believe this is to the grain-free aspect. Siete Chips come in many flavor options, all of which rank highly in our book. If you are unsure which flavor to go with, Sea Salt is safe, or buy the variety pack to try them all. Finally, our biggest gripe with Siete is the serving size. We are petitioning to change it from five per bag to something more realistic like two.
Pringles revolutionized the potato chip industry when it debuted. Ever wonder how the uniform chip in the tall cylinder came to be the chip we know and love today? The invention and perfection of Pringles was a team effort. According to its site, Fredric Baur sought to improve the pain point of reaching into a chip bag and grabbing greasy, stale, and broken pieces of chips. After creating the shape we know today, Alexander Liepa then stepped in to help improve the taste. Finally, Gene Wolfe invented the machine that could repeatedly produce the Pringles potato chip.
With factories in four countries, Pringles have become a global phenomenon. We understand the hype and agree this chip revolutionized the industry with its chip shape and container. Our most significant critique is that many of Pringle's flavor offerings lack just that: flavor. With more seasoning in each cylinder, we would push Pringles higher on our chip brand list.
Next up on our list is UTZ Potato Chips, a foreign concept to most West Coasters. The chip brand dates back to 1921 and prides itself on its use of minimal ingredients: potatoes, cottonseed oil, and salt. UTZ is beloved by many, but it did not live up to the hype for our Tasting Table taste testers. For the sake of the test, we tried out the Original Potato Chip flavor.
During our test, we questioned the thickness of the chip as many of them fell apart in our hands. As we have mentioned previously, a thick chip goes a long way in our book. We felt like the original flavor could be improved with a thicker cut potato, more salt, and more sense of chip? I know the last part of that sentence sounded strange, but we feel like this gave off a flimsy cracker feeling rather than the solid potato chip we had hoped to consume.
11. Miss Vickie's
Carrying on with the healthier chip brands on our list is Kettle-Cooked Miss Vickie's. Miss Vickie wanted to make better chips for her family, so she headed into her family's farm to use only the freshest potatoes. Three decades later, Miss Vickie continues to make smiles a little bigger with her delicious and crunchy chips. The single bags come in flavors like Sea Salt and Vinegar, Sea Salt, Jalapeño, and Smokehouse BBQ.
There are a few reasons we didn't rank Miss Vickie's higher on our list, though. While she sought to make better chips for her family, and we appreciate this effort, this better-for-you chip concept came at a blander price. The chips offer incredible crunch but could use more salt and flavoring in each bag. Overall, we do like these chips, but we might be sneaking a salt packet in our bags to sprinkle on top before diving in.
10. Sun Chips
Over 30 years ago, Sun Chips took the country by storm with its big chip idea. It sought to create a chip made with 100% Whole Grain that tasted great, with the incredible flavor of your other favorite chip brands. Some of these flavors today include Sun Chips Originals, Harvest Cheddar, French Onion, Garden Salsa, and Chili Lime. What we love is the airy, thin nature of the chip, but it gives a substantial crunch.
We love enjoying these at the beach, with a sandwich, or unwinding after a busy workday.
While we do love the taste of Sun Chips, we don't believe they are as healthy as the marketing materials allude to. It's important to first note most chips are processed and Eat This, Not That pointed out Sun Chips are not different as they contain maltodextrin, aka genetically modified corn. No hate on this brand specifically; everyone uses additives, but do not be fooled by the seemingly healthy 100% Whole Grain label.
Talk about packing the heat. Takis rolled tortilla chips definitely win for the hottest chip on our list. If you are up for the test to withstand the flavor, brace yourself because Takis is not your ordinary corn chip. The most popular and recognizable Takis flavor is Fuego. Inside the bright purple bag, Fuego offers an intense flavor combination of hot chili pepper and lime, guaranteed to make you sweat a bit and turn your fingers red with spicy dust.
What many people don't know is Takis offers four other flavors: Nitro, Blue Heat, Guacamole, and Crunchy Fajita. We'll give you the inside scoop. Blue Heat is not as hot as you'd think based on the label. Guacamole is somehow the most refreshing, and Nitro makes us run for a glass of water after too many handfuls. No matter what poison you pick, we can promise you a crunchy, tangy, or spicy flavor in every bag.
8. 'Dirty' Potato Chips
Next on our list is "Dirty" Kettle Potato Chips. According to UTZ, "Dirty" potato chips are kettle-style cooked and use premium ingredients for a crunchier, tastier chip. I think what makes them dirty is the dirty little secret the brand is keeping about these premium ingredients. We are dying to know what makes these chips so addicting. The bag itself suggests a peanut oil blend, so we will take that as our answer for now.
Overall you can't beat the crispy, crunchy nature of "Dirty" Kettle Potato Chips. Flavors include sea-salted, Jalapeño heat, Maui Onion, Funky Fusion, and Sriracha and Honey. Pick your poison because all of these flavor offerings pack a crispy, salty punch. What we love most about this type of chip is it's simple enough like your standard potato chip but more crispy, so it gives you that nice crunch and doesn't break when you try to use it as a scoop for your dip.
Ruffles chips feel like a part of growing up. Our Tasting Table tasters reminisced of memories of grabbing a snack bag after soccer games or reaching into a large bowl of Ruffles to dip them in mom's sour cream and onion dip on a Friday night. These chips are too good, and we can't even wrap our heads around why, so you will have to grab a bag for yourself to understand the hype.
According to the Ruffles website, the chips are famous for two reasons. First, Ruffles' ridges on its chips set the brand apart from other standard potato chips; think of Lays Original's flatter texture in comparison. Second, Ruffles recently became the Official Chip of the NBA, which is a pretty big deal if you ask us. The brand has gone as far as to showcase different players on the bags, like an upgraded Wheaties vibe. We'll take a Flamin' Hot Cheddar and Sour Cream with a side of Lebron James, please.
According to Statista, 284.37 million Americans in 2020 consumed potato chips, which was equal to approximately 85% of the U.S. population at the time. We can only imagine a good majority of them were fans of Lays potato chips.
Lays have been an American classic for over 75 years. The famous potato chip brand offers so many flavors, that any chip lover is guaranteed to find one to match their taste bud's preferences. If you are craving a salty flavored snack, Lays has you covered with options like Cheddar and Sour Cream, Kettle-Cooked Jalapeño, Barbecue, Original, and more!
Lays stands out against its competition because of its consistent flavor and constant innovation. You can always count on Lays to bring a new flavor to life when you least expect it. Lays uses farm-grown potatoes seasoned to perfection in every bag. This ensures every handful you reach for will be perfectly crispy every time. This deliciousness has allowed Lay's to be a staple snack at the ballpark, side to your sandwich, or part of a birthday party spread all over the country.
5. Cape Cod
Bite into the Kettle Crisp, potato chip goodness that is Cape Cod chips. We feel as though Cape Cod is way too underrated, so we wanted to shine some light on one of our favorite chip brands. According to Cape Cod's story, the brand started over 40 years ago when two small business owners decided to make their chip dreams a reality. The duo set up shop in Massachusetts, sold their unique quality potato chips, and quickly became a local favorite. Years later, Cape Code is more than just a local favorite.
If you have not gathered thus far, we are suckers for a good crunch. Our Tasting Table testers dove into the Original Sea Salt flavor and kept going back for more and more until ultimately we hit the salty bottom of the bag. While the Original's counterparts Jalapeño and Waffle Cut also had us reaching for more, we decided plain ole sea salt has our hearts.
4. Mi Rancho
If you haven't caught on thus far, we stan a high-quality chip. Mi Rancho is no exception. Mi Rancho tortilla chips offer the perfect level of crisp for your salsa dipping needs. You do not have to feel guilty about consuming too many of these chips. Mi Rancho makes its chips with five simple ingredients: organic white corn, organic sunflower oil, water, sea salt, and a trace of lime. These tortilla chips have a solid body but are not too hard and provide an optimal amount of crunch in every bite.
A family of passionate tortilla visionaries crafted Mi Rancho, so you know the chips are top-notch. This brand gives us major authentic Mexican restaurant vibes, but at home. What more can you ask for in a tortilla chip? Calling all tortilla chips and salsa fanatics, Mi Rancho packs a flavorful punch perfect for any Mexican meal or snack. Next time you're whipping up guacamole or craving a plate of nachos, grab a bag of Mi Rancho chips.
3. Kettle Brand
With so many potato chips on the market, it can be hard to choose a favorite. Kettle Chips won our hearts with its ultimate crunch and flavor combinations. While we love Lays and Ruffles, don't get us wrong, and we will get to those later, it really came down to texture for this ranking.
We love Kettle Chips and appreciate its tagline, "we're extra in a good way." Its founder believed in going the extra mile, and everything he worked for paid off with Kettle Chips. Kettle uses whole potatoes cut extra thick for its chips, and this effort makes all the difference. Texture aside, because not only did we give Kettle the best thick potato chip award, but also, the flavors do not disappoint. Spicy, Tangy, Salty — you name it, Kettle Chips makes it.
Kettle Chips packs serious flavor in every bag. Our favorite is Jalapeño, and let's just say, the warning label does not lie, "if you can't handle the heat, get out of the chips" because Kettle Brand Jalapeño Potato Chips are HOT.
It's an age-old debate: What Dorito Flavor is better — Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese? While we will forever struggle to make this decision, one thing is certain, how much we love Doritos as a whole. I mean, let's face it, would Taco Bell center an entire entree around the chip if it did not taste so good?
Doritos make the perfect snack chip. Our only complaint is the Doritos Dust you can't seem to get off your fingers after inhaling a bag. But don't worry, we'll lick that off our fingers any day to make the most of our Doritos experience.
Otherwise, we love that every bag of Doritos is guaranteed to be crunchy, the perfect amount of salty and flavored. You will never eat a bland bag of Doritos; we can promise you that. Doritos may be our comfort chip because we're slightly addicted, but we have no problem yelling that from the rooftops.
If you want a chip brand that's perfect for any occasion, look no further. Tostitos chips come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. Let's start off with the Original Restaurant Style Tortilla Chip. This classic chip pairs well with dips or to build the perfect nacho plate. For an extra bit of flavor, we also love the Hint of Lime version.
While variety definitely boosts Tostitos to our No. 1 spot, we also appreciate its innovative nature. Tostitos Scoops changed the dip scooping game. If you have a hearty dip, Tostitos Scoops create a mini chip bowl in every bite. Visually, you can not beat how cute they look on any party platter.
Overall, Tostitos takes the cake for being consistently tasty, offering a fantastic variety, and for its availability at the most popular grocery stores. If you have a party approaching or want to enjoy chips at home, Tostitos has you covered.