Taste test: Best potato chips

Epicurious

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)

Pros:
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

    • ‘Game of Thrones’ Actor Neil Fingleton Dies at 36

      Neil Fingleton, who played the colossal warrior Mag the Mighty on “Game of Thrones,” died from heart failure on Saturday. He was 36. Fingleton was the U.K.’s tallest man at seven feet, seven inches in height. In addition to “Thrones,” Fingleton appeared in “Doctor Who,” Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “X-Men: First Class.” His death was announced... Read more »

      Variety
    • This one tweet explains that truly bizarre Oscars Best Picture mixup perfectly

      In what is certainly the weirdest moment in Oscars history, the incorrect Best Picture winner was announced on stage to finish off the 89th Academy Awards. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway first announced La La Land as the big winner of the night. The cast and crew walked onstage and began to make their speeches, only to be stopped halfway through — the correct winner was actually Moonlight. Comedian Jackie Jennings quickly pointed out a perfect explanation for the bizarre mistake. WAIT BUT THIS IS ACTUALLY THE REAL END OF LA LA LAND AND ITS GREAT #Oscars — Jackie Jennings (@ohhijackie) February 27, 2017 La La Land' s depressing dream sequence finale was oddly similar to the ending of the Oscars. The Oscars ended exactly like La La Land did. La La Land is the Oscars. The Oscars are La La Land . SEE ALSO: Your guide to the 2017 Oscars, in highly accurate charts As the dust settles on the weirdest Academy Awards thing of all time, more dazed viewers have begun to realize the connection. Hey "La La Land" remember when you gave us that fake happy ending and then took it awayHow's it feel — Daniel "Kibblesmith" (@kibblesmith) February 27, 2017 This was super meta for La La Land- the movie about following your dreams with the most crushing ending. — Tiffany Mink (@minkus) February 27, 2017 I hope they put that alternate ending on the La La Land blu ray — pat tobin (@tastefactory) February 27, 2017 So that was actually just like La La Land, where they imagine the joy and glory they would have had, only to accept a different ending. — Joshuah Bearman (@joshbearman) February 27, 2017 Remember at the end of La La Land where it shows the happy ending but then it's snatched away? And it's nighttime? And there's MOONLIGHT?! — Corey Vidal (@CoreyVidal) February 27, 2017 Insane the Oscars would have the same dream sequence ending as La La Land. — Peter Sherer (@psherz) February 27, 2017 BONUS: Oscars contender 'La La Land' gets an old school video game treatment

      Mashable
    • 2017's Oscars Gift Bag Is Worth More Than Most People Make in an Entire Year

      Some of Hollywood's biggest celebrities attended the Oscars on Sunday, and while not everyone can go home a winner, most of them do get gifted with a ton of presents. The Oscars gift bags, which are put together by marketing company Distinctive Assets, are a hot topic every year, mostly due to the fact that they're always insanely over the top. While the company behind the bag has no affiliation with the actual show (the show actually sued it last year), it never eases up on the glitz and glamour. Last year's goodies totaled more than $200,000, and while this year's is significantly less than that (it comes in around $100,000), it still includes multiple vacations, jewelry, food, and tech gadgets.

      PopSugar q
    • Oscars 2017: Jimmy Kimmel tries - but fails - to bury the hatchet with Matt Damon

      Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon continued their "feud" as the 89th Academy Awards host took aim at the actor in his opening monologue. The host claimed he would "bury the hatchet" with Damon, whose Manchester by the Sea was up for six Oscars, before ripping into the actor. "I would like to bury the hatchet with someone I've had issues with -- Matt Damon.

      The Telegraph
    • Latest: Donations top $1M for Kansas bar attack victims

      OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on a deadly shooting at a Kansas bar that some witnesses said was racially motivated (all times local):

      Associated Press
    • Hollywood Mourns Bill Paxton: “A Wonderful Man”, Says Tom Hanks

      Refresh for new tweets & tributes Hollywood – and storm chasers – reacted today to the shocking news of Bill Paxton’s death from surgery complications. “Bill Paxton was, simply, a wonderful man. A wonderful man,” tweeted Tom Hanks, Paxton’s costar in the upcoming The Circle . Deadline will update this post as responses and remembrances arrive. Even storm chasers across the country have joined in the tributes, using their GPS devices to gather and organize into huge “B.P.”…

      Deadline
    • Halle Berry sparked controversy with her natural hair at the Oscars  

      Halle Berry was the latest celebrity to opt for a more natural beauty look. The hair do quickly attracted comment on social media, with some asking whether it was a wig. “I have always marched to the beat to my own drum, and I think this red-carpet look encapsulates that,” Berry told Vogue.com of her look.

      The Telegraph
    • Donald Trump has tweeted about the Oscars a lot

      Donald Trump wasn’t watching the Oscars on Sunday night. Instead, the president hosted the Governors’ Dinner at the White House, the first major social gathering of his administration since the inaugural galas.

      Yahoo Movies
    • Oscar Moments You Didn’t See on TV (10 photos)

      The behind-the-scenes moments rivaled those on stage

      People
    • Game Of Thrones actor and UK's tallest man Neil Fingleton dies aged 36

      Game of Thrones actor and former UK's tallest man Neil Fingleton has died at the age of 36. The successful actor also appeared in Doctor Who and X-Men: First Class, Avengers: Age of Ultron, after a basketball career that saw him play professionally in Spain, China, Italy, Greece and England. Raised in County Durham, he starred in HBO's iconic Game Of Thrones series as the giant Mag The Mighty in 2014.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Here are all the winners of the 2017 Oscars

      The 89th Academy Awards are taking place Sunday night, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on ABC....

      Business Insider
    • Kim suffered painful death within 20 minutes of attack: minister

      Kim Jong-Nam was dead within 20 minutes of being attacked and would have suffered a painful death as his major organs shut down, according to Malaysia's health minister.

      AFP Videos
    • Matt Damon Fears Oscars Host — and Faux-Nemesis — Jimmy Kimmel: ‘It’s Going to Be Ugly’

      Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel are perhaps the most iconic frenemies in Hollywood history, and now their hilariously bitter rivalry will play out live at the 2017 Academy Awards! The late night star will clearly have the upper hand, given his capacity as the Oscars emcee. On the red carpet immediately prior to the broadcast, Damon admitted that he’s bracing himself for a rough evening at the hands of his (faux) nemesis.

      People
    • Steph Curry leaves timeout huddle to help fan win $5,000

      During a timeout in Saturday’s Nets-Warriors game, Golden State had a little game show for a couple fans. Steph Curry was also sneaking by while this was happening, and when she rolled the third ball onto the ramp, he intercepted the ball and threw it into the $2,500 bucket. Curry ran back to the Warriors bench as if nothing happened, and when the announcer said they’re giving Carly the money, he raised his arms in excitement.

      SB Nation q
    • Celebrities React to the Unexpected Death of Bill Paxton

      Actor Bill Paxton, who died on Saturday at the age of 61 due to complications from surgery, had racked up dozens of movie and TV credits in his more than 40 years in Hollywood. He had even more friends, many of whom shared tributes to him after the sad news broke on Sunday morning. Bill Paxton was, simply, a wonderful man. A wonderful man… Hanx.

      Yahoo Celebrity
    • These fisherman caught a manta ray on camera that’s so big, it’s making us wonder if the Loch Ness Monster might be real

      If you’re not familiar with manta rays, they’re super cool sea creatures who look like a cross between a shark and an…

      Hello Giggles
    • Hmm, maybe this is why Trump doesn't want to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner

      On Saturday, Donald Trump made history as only the third president to bow out of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And while this has much to do with Trump's ever-worsening battle with the press and his constant struggle to book talent, it's also worth remembering that, to be frank, Trump probably has another reason for ditching: He usually gets clobbered at these things. So, in the interest of, uh, elucidation, please enjoy these videos of Trump getting roasted at the 2011 and 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Better yet, enjoy Trump's mirthless reactions. They're uncomfortable to watch, but extremely worth it. SEE ALSO: An exclusive look at Donald Trump's Twitter drafts for Oscar night First, here's President Obama clapping back at Trump's relentless "birther" conspiracy-mongering. The Lion King is involved. Next, observe Seth Meyers insisting that Trump must be running for president as a "joke." Trump does not smile. And here's Obama ripping on The Apprentice.  Finally, here's a delightful compilation of all the best Trump burns from the 2016 dinner.  A Larry Wilmore highlight: "Yeah, Trump's campaign is inspiring ... mass violence." (Trump did not attend that one, BTW.) So, there you have it. While we're not sure about the future of this year's event, we'll always have those stunners to fall back on.  And you can always zoom in on this cursed image while listening to "Sound of Silence." Image: Youtube/C-Span BONUS: Jordan Peele reacts to 'Get Out' as Barack Obama: 'Surrounded by white people! Not fun'

      Mashable
    • Mama June Accused by Fans of Wearing a Fat Suit to Exaggerate Weight Loss on Reality Show

      The 37-year-old reality star's new show, 'Mama June: From Not to Hot,' premiered on Friday night.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Game of Thrones Star Neil Fingleton Dead at 36

      Neil Fingleton, the remarkably tall actor who was best known for portraying Mag the Mighty on HBO's Game of Thrones , died Saturday due to heart failure, TMZ reports. He was 36. The 7-foot-7 British thesp had a brief but still memorable career on the small and big screens, earning his first credit for Read More > Other Links From TVGuide.com Game of Thrones This article, Game of Thrones Star Neil Fingleton Dead at 36, originally appeared on TVGuide.com.

      TV Guide q
    • Warren Beatty Apologizes for Biggest Oscar Upset in History: Why He and Faye Dunaway Called La La Land Instead of Moonlight

      After the stars and cast of La La Land took the stage to accept the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture on Sunday, it was revealed that there was a mistake – instead Moonlight was the winner. La La Land producer Fred Berger was in the middle of delivering his acceptance speech when staff from PricewaterhouseCoopers entered the stage. Warren Beatty, 79, who presented the award with his Bonnie and Clyde costar Faye Dunaway, 76, said he was given the wrong envelope and was confused, apologizing.

      People