© Lawrence Marcus
Noah Kaufman
June 22, 2017

The world of potato chips is a crowded and increasingly weird place. You’ve got your Lay's, who seem intent on becoming the state fair food of mass-produced snacks. You’ve got your Pringles, who are following close behind. And Doritos have become nothing but glorified taco shells.  

Kettle Chips, by contrast, have spent their time in this era of crazy chips experimenting with flavors we might actually want to eat. And they’ve done it to some successful ends. So we rounded up every flavor they’ve got and started crunching. Here are the results.

THE “WELL, THEY COME WITH MY SANDWICH COMBO” GROUP

20. Roasted Garlic

Well, they aren’t all going to be winners. These sort of taste like someone forgot their garlic on the stove for a while.

19. Sriracha

We know Kettle, you have to keep up with Sriracha-loving Joneses, but not everything needs Sriracha on it.  Like potato chips for example.

18. Maple Bacon

Sriracha and Maple Bacon are like the really hot couple from high school that would never hang out with you and then ended up staying in town to work at the Lowe’s while you went off to become wildly successful. They had their moment and it was magical. But now when they show up places it’s just kind of sad. 

17. Red Curry

Unfortunately, a missed opportunity. These chips pull off a realistic curry flavor. That curry just isn’t a great one.

THE “THERE’S A BOWL OUT AT A PARTY AND I DON’T WANT TO SEEM WEIRD, SO I’LL EAT A FEW. OK, MAYBE A FEW MORE” GROUP

16. Unsalted

A really excellent crispy, slice of potato. But a chip without salt is never going to stand up to the showier flavors in the portfolio.

15. Cheddar and Beer

Cheddar and Beer tastes like neither cheddar nor beer. Discuss.

14. New York Cheddar

Weirdly good but also strangely creamy. Should a chip be creamy?

13. Honey Dijon

For those of us who lived through college dipping chicken fingers into honey mustard, this is a good choice.

12. Sea Salt

No, these aren’t the flashiest chips at the market, but they aren’t overly salty and taste like actual potatoes, unlike the flagship flavors of some chips that will not be named.

11. Backyard BBQ

A bit sweet without quite enough tang, but they are about right for a BBQ chip. We’re not kicking them out of bed.

10. Carolina BBQ (Krinkle Cut)

A new entry for summertime, these definitely get the nod over the Backyard BBQ thanks to the krinkle cut. So much more to crunch with. They may also be the first BBQ chip in history not colored Day-Glo orange.

THE CONTENDERS

9. Jalapeño Jack

Frankly, these were a bit of a surprise. They taste just like pepper jack cheese. Another novel experience in our chip eating careers.

8. Buffalo Bleu (Krinkle Cut)

A second dark horse making its way into the top ten. They’re like a spicy, fancier version of cool ranch. These should be made into taco shells.

THE “NO I’M NOT SHARING WITH YOU, BUY YOUR OWN DAMN BAG” GROUP

7. Spicy Thai

Everything not quite right about Red Curry is fixed with Spicy Thai. They’re not burn-your-mouth hot, but they don’t have to be. They have enough other flavor going on.

6. Sour Cream and Onion

An excellent entrant into the SC+O genre and nothing like the trashier versions.

5. Dill Pickle (Krinkle Cut)

Dill. Oh so much dill. A little vinegar bite, but the herb is powerful with this one. Pickle chips for everyone.

THE “THERE’S NOTHING EMBARRASSING ABOUT EATING THE BIG BAG BY YOURSELF” GROUP

4. Jalapeño

A killer spicy finish. Can chips have a “finish?” Apparently they can.

3. Sea Salt and Vinegar

All the tang, a perfect amount of grease. A solid chip in every way.

2. Salt and Pepper (Krinkle Cut)

Enough pepper that you might sneeze, but it’s totally worth it.

THE WINNER

1. Pepperoncini

And the winner. Here is greasy, crunchy proof that doing weird stuff with chips can pay off. They’re tangy, they’re innovative and weirdest of all, whatever Kettle put on them tastes exactly like pepperoncini. All hail Pepperoncini, king of the chip flavors.

Related: The Definitive Ranking Of Annie's Mac And Cheese Shapes From Your Childhood 
The Definitive Ranking of the "Other" Girl Scout Cookies 
The Definitive Ranking of All the New Oreos 

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