Taste test: Best potato chips


Chip taste test

Potato chip taste test (Photo: Werner Blessing)

Epicurious crunched their way through 12 different brands to find the best potato chips.

Potato chips are a great snack all year round. But when the warm weather hits, there's nothing like these salty snacks when you're hanging out by the pool or entertaining at a backyard barbecue. Portable, delicious, and more than a little addictive, potato chips come in countless variations from brands big and small—but how do you know which chip to choose?

We searched far and wide for the perfect classic potato chip, tasting contenders from all across the country. The goal: to find that crunchy, golden slice of potato that would satisfy our salty cravings and keep our sandwiches company.

This task was anything but small potatoes. With plenty of crispy contenders to sample, we focused on the gold standard: classic plain potato chips. Some crumbled under the pressure and turned out to be fried spuds that were duds. But we found a few standout brands with the crunch, saltiness, and depth of flavor to make the list of our favorite potato chips.

(See also: Supermarket standoff: Best canned chili)

View photo

Trader Joe's Ode to the Classic Potato Chip
Best Potato Chips
Trader Joe's Ode to the Classic Potato Chip ($1.99 for 9 ounces)

Pros: Many tasters enjoyed the moderate saltiness of Trader Joe's chips. "The salt is prominent without being overpowering," commented one judge. Others liked the light and crisp texture. One judge noted, "The chips are nice and thin but still very crunchy."

Cons: Some tasters felt the chips were a little on the pale side.

Jays Original Potato Chips
First Runner-Up
Jays Original Potato Chips ($2.90 for 9 ounces)

Pros: The tasting panel liked the crunchiness of Jays' chips, a Midwestern favorite. "They stay crisp well beyond the first bite," stated one judge. The potato-forward flavor of the chips was especially popular.

Cons: The chips were all very flat and even but lacked certain textural characteristics the tasters craved. One judge noted, "Nice texture, nice curve, but air bubbles would be nice."

Charles Chips
Second Runner-Up
Charles Chips ($4.25 for 9 ounces)

All the judges liked the very even golden coloring of Charles Chips, a throwback brand that has made a recent comeback, and the fact that the chips were intact. One taster stated, "I love that the chips are so big and round—not too many broken pieces."

Cons: Some testers felt the chips were too starchy. For example, one judge noted that the chips had "a tender crispiness, but they get a little sticky while chewing."

The Other Contenders

The natural look and hearty crunch of Wachusett potato chips pleased the judges, though this brand lacked the longed-for salty sensation. Utz chips were a hit with the tasters for their natural flavor but were ruled to be a little bland. Other big-name brands like Lay's, Utz, Herr's, and Wise were all quite tasty but were criticized for being salted with too heavy a hand. Left at the bottom were Grippo's chips, dark and oily yet somehow oddly addictive.

Additional Taste Test Details

All 12 types of potato chips evaluated are available in supermarkets or online. In order from highest to lowest score achieved, they are: Trader Joe's, Jays, Charles Chips, Wachusett, Utz, Herr's, Lay's, Wise, Better Made, Uncle Ray's, Tim's, and Grippo's.

Methodology: In a blind taste test, judges compared the flavor, consistency, and appearance of 12 brands of classic plain potato chips. Results were ranked using the Epicurious four-fork rating system (four being best).

*Prices and availability subject to change.

More from Epicurious:

Indulgent, Delicious Breakfasts

Taste Test: 3 Addictive Peanut Butters

Your New Favorite Chicken Recipe

*Yahoo! Shopping was not compensated by any brands listed within this article.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Man murdered wife's family and then killed her as she attended funeral service in 'evil plot'

      A man has been found guilty of executing an "evil plot" in which he killed his sister-in-law and father-in-law to lure his wife to their funerals, where he then murdered her.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Pregnant Mila Kunis Goes Grocery Shopping With Ashton Kutcher Weeks Before Her Due Date: Pics!

      The couple looked laidback ahead of welcoming their second child.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Saturday Night Live: Tom Hanks Exposes a Surprising Truth About Trump Supporters

      The final debate sketch wasn’t the only time Tom Hanks and Saturday Night Live decided to roast Donald Trump. S.N.L. hasn’t exactly been gentle on Trump supporters this election season. Or did you miss that fake ad last year where the show unflinchingly compared them to Nazis? So, knowing some biting political commentary is coming, it’s surprising to see Tom Hanks—who, earlier in the night, leaned into his gentle, “America’s Dad” persona—put on that red “Make America Great Again” cap for a “Black Jeopardy!” sketch. But, either way, it was good to see Hanks behind the old Jeopardy! podium where he made such a splash playing a dumbed down version of himself opposite Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek back

      HWD q
    • Bruce Arians thinks the Seahawks' perfectly legal field goal block was 'bullshit'

      Arians was frustrated following Sunday night’s 6-6 tie with Seattle. Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians wasn’t pleased with the officials’ decision to not penalize Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner for hurdling Arizona’s offensive line to block a Chandler Catanzaro field goal attempt in the second quarter of Sunday’s epic 6-6 tie. "We'll get some kind of explanation [from the NFL] that's all bullshit like normal,” Arians said after the game.

      SB Nation q
    • Israel's next Gaza war will be 'last' one: Lieberman

      Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel's next war with Gaza militants would be their last "because we will completely destroy them," but added he remains committed to a two-state solution. Lieberman, speaking in an interview with Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, said however that he did not want another war in Gaza, which would be the fourth since 2008. The outspoken former foreign minister urged Palestinians to pressure Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, to "stop your crazy policies".

    • Police baffled by couple found dead next to untouched bags of Taco Bell — and not much else

      Cameron and Courtney Hulet were lying on their living room floor when a neighbor saw them. The neighbor didn’t think much of it. She heard moans and figured they were asleep. She closed the front door, which the couple had a habit of leaving open, David Uhl, manager of the southeast Michigan village of Dundee, told The Washington Post. It was Tuesday morning. The neighbor didn’t see the Hulets all day, she told authorities. She went back to check on them later that night. They were still lying next to each other. Taco Bell bags and drinks sat next to them on a table, untouched. The woman had a male friend check on them, Uhl said. Police were called to the apartment shortly before midnight on

      Washington Post q
    • Ariel Winter finally explains why she wore that swimsuit on the red carpet

      Modern Family star Ariel Winter has a great track record as a body-positive role model. She is so outspoken about her journey to feeling happy in her own skin and knows how to handle bullies without dimming her shine. That’s why we love this explanation of why she wore a swimsuit, shorts, and heels on the red carpet over the summer. Ariel debuted this look at the Just Jared 4th Annual Summer Bash hosted by Uno in Los Angeles in July. Some fans loved the look and some people hated it, but it definitely got people talking. It’s true, this is a real outfit she rocked on the red carpet! In a recent interview with People about her most controversial outfits, Ariel talked about the look. She said:

      HelloGiggles q
    • These twin brothers dancing in a supermarket are going viral and it’s cause they’re amazing

      Dancing in public is pretty much a regular activity for us. But when we discovered these twin brothers with amazing moves busting a…

      Hello Giggles
    • The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere Recap: Blood, Regret and Tears

      Warning: Spoilers ahead. So, unless you’ve already watched the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead, you might wanna do what we wanted to during Negan’s “batting practice,” and look away. Remember how awful we thought it was, waiting all summer long to find out the identity of Negan’s victim in the Season 7 premiere of […]

    • Babies should sleep in parents' room first year: US doctors

      To reduce the risk of sudden death, babies should sleep in the same room as their parents but in their own crib or bassinet for the first year of life, US doctors said Monday. The new policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics still says babies should sleep on their backs, on a clean surface free of toys and blankets, a guideline that has been in place since the 1990s and has reduced sudden infant deaths by about 50 percent. "Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person," said lead author Rachel Moon.

      AFP Relax News
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Stevie J Grounded By Judge In Child Support Case

      A judge has decided that if Stevie J is gonna act like a child by not following the rules in his child support case, he’ll be treated like one! The former Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star has been battling a $1.1 million dollar child support case for the last couple years, but unfortunately Stevie just can’t manage to comply with court orders long enough to get anything worked out, legally-speaking! CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE! After failing to show up for court, and either failing or blowing off a slew of court-ordered drug tests, Stevie has been given a curfew and must be home by 10:30 PM every night, or his ass will be MADE to stay home by going to jail! Stevie was also recently

      Reality Tea q
    • Michael Crabtree touched his shoulder and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct

      Michael Crabtree is one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from an automatic ejection after getting penalized for doing nothing wrong. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree wasn’t able to avoid the penalty Sunday, even though he didn’t even do one. Crabtree celebrated a 2-yard touchdown pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars just before halftime by tossing the ball.

      SB Nation q
    • 11 Things You Probably Didnt Know About Airplanes (11 photos)

      Planes have changed a lot since the days of the Wright Brothers (or, perhaps more accurately, Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos ). Those first wood-and-cloth contraptionsarean entirely different species thanthesleek Boeing Dreamliners of today. With the continual advancements in aerospace technology, it's hard to keep up with all the amazing things planes today are capable of doing (and withstanding). Below,11 things you didnt know about airplanes and air travel.

    • Bella Thorne looks like a live-action Jessica Rabbit in this incredible red dress

      Bella Thorne is a red-hot fashionista and we are totally obsessed with her latest look. The 19-year-old actress has a history of…

      Hello Giggles
    • 7-year-old child dies at hospital after being found at Garden Grove home with deceased man: police

      A 7-year-old child was transported to a hospital and died Saturday morning after police responded to a home in Garden Grove and discovered a deceased man, authorities said.

      KABC – Los Angeles
    • American hacker Jester warns Russia to stop interfering with U.S. election

      Jester, a hacker who takes down jihadist sites and warns U.S. authorities of terrorist threats, attacked the Russian Foreign Ministry site this weekend. Jester called out the Russians for hacking into U.S. sites to interfere with the U.S. election.

      Digital Trends
    • 'The Walking Dead' Fans Are Super Emotional After Finally Learning Who Negan Killed

      [Spoilers for The Walking Dead season seven premiere, obviously]

    • Clinton Vaults to a Double-Digit Lead

      Hillary Clinton has vaulted to a double-digit advantage in the 2016 election.

      ABC News q
    • MarketWatch q