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

    • NFL morning after: The decline of Colin Kaepernick

      Colin Kaepernick is the NFL’s most significant player off the field, a player whose simple act of declining to stand during the national anthem has led to wide-ranging discussions across America about race, police brutality, free speech and the role of sport in society. That has been the subject of thousands of commentaries. But it’s…

      NBC Sports: ProFootballTalk q
    • The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Is Losing Its Showrunner

      It can be hard to pinpoint what makes a late-night show work so well with audiences, but The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon seems to have cracked the code. Over the last few years, the series has become one of the most popular late-night offerings, consistently dominating in the ratings season after season. While much of this has to do with the charisma of the man in front of the camera, it's important to remember those behind the scenes as well. With that in mind, it now seems The Tonight Show has suffered a major loss, as showrunner Josh Lieb has officially left the series. After serving as the late-night series' showrunner for several years, Josh Lieb has decided to step down from The

    • Donald Trump just got some of his best polling news in weeks

      A CNN poll released on Monday showed Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by five points...

      Business Insider
    • 4 Reasons Why a Man Breaks Up With His Partner

      Wondering why a man breaks up with his partner? Here's why.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • Ex-wife of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle sues company

      The ex-wife of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is suing the restaurant chain for damages, saying the company received at least three reports indicating his sexual interest in children but failed to ...

      Associated Press
    • Doctors thought he just had jock itch. Then it spread.

      Late Friday afternoon on Dec. 4, 2014, Stephen Schroeder was waiting to board his packed flight from Philadelphia to Las Vegas for a much anticipated long weekend with his son when his cellphone rang. On the line was an unexpected caller: his doctor, reporting test results sooner than Schroeder had expected. Listening intently, Schroeder was flooded with disbelief as he struggled to comprehend what he was hearing. Using the lip of a trash can as a writing surface, he scribbled notes on the back of his boarding pass, making the doctor spell out each unfamiliar word. Then he sent a terse text to his wife, who was at their home in the Philadelphia suburbs, and got on the plane. Onboard, Schroeder,

      Washington Post q
    • When the ‘love of your life’ is no longer interested in making love

      Carolyn Hax is on leave. This column originally ran March 18, 2013. Dear Carolyn: Although we’ve had sex before, my boyfriend of two years has zero interest in sex with me or anyone else. He just doesn’t feel the need (we used to have sex often, before the relationship was committed). This makes me feel unwanted, unloved and incredibly self-conscious and paranoid. He’s been to therapy (I am also in therapy), but his psychiatrist flat-out told him she didn’t know how to help him (!), so he stopped going. He turns down every other suggestion I make to try to overcome this issue, and talking about it leads to his anxiety and my tears. Yet, he says he loves me and he would spend the rest of his life

      Washington Post q
    • Dancing With the Stars Week 7 Recap: Did the Right Couple Go Home?

      We’ve reached Week 7 of Dancing With the Stars‘ 23rd season, and you know what that means: It’s become very clear which contestants stand a chance at the Mirrorball… and which ones, well, don’t. As the remaining couples performed iconic styles from different eras in history, a handful of duos proved exactly why they should be […]

    • 12 Next-Level Twists on Sweet Potato Casserole (13 photos)

      Your Thanksgiving table deserves something new and exciting this year. From Delish

    • Olivia Wilde Makes a Point With This Breastfeeding Photo

      Wouldn't you know, the newest member of Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis' family is already the life of the party. "My drinking buddy," Wilde captioned a photo of herself breastfeeding 2-week-old Daisy Josephine Sudeikis, the infant intent on nourishment while her smiling mom sports a T-shirt with the words "never underestimate the power of a woman" stitched onto it. Wilde gave birth to Daisy, her second child, on Oct. 11, proudly informing fans a few days later that her daughter arrived on "International Day of the Girl."

      E! Online q
    • NCIS: LA: Eric Christian Olsen Reveals What's Next for Kensi and Deeks

      [Warning: This article contains major spoilers about Sunday's episode of NCIS: LA. Read at your own risk!] Densi fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief. At the end of Sunday's episode of NCIS: LA , Kensi (Daniela Ruah) finally woke up from her coma, with Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) by her side. ... Read More > Other Links From TVGuide.com NCIS: Los Angeles Eric Christian Olsen Daniela Ruah This article, NCIS: LA : Eric Christian Olsen Reveals What's Next for Kensi and Deeks, originally appeared on TVGuide.com.

      TV Guide q
    • Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says replay decision was the ‘worst call he’s ever seen’

      Jim Harbaugh has been known for using a bit of hyperbole from time to time but it sounds as though he was really, really, really upset at a call in the final few minutes of No. 2 Michigan’s 41-8 win over Illinois on Saturday. Wolverines quarterback John O’Korn had completed a third-and-nine pass to Drake Harris that officials […]

      NBC Sports: CollegeFootballTalk q
    • A Royal rift as Princes Charles and Andrew row over Beatrice and Eugenie's taxpayer-funded duties

      The Queen is said to be at the centre of an extraordinary row within the Royal Family as her two eldest sons have come to blows over the futures of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie as taxpayer-funded working royals.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Nurse who survived Ebola settles with Texas hospital system

      DALLAS (AP) — A nurse who contracted Ebola two years ago while caring for the first person to be diagnosed in the U.S. with the deadly disease settled a lawsuit Monday against the parent company of the Dallas hospital where she worked.

      Associated Press
    • Cosmopolitan
    • Rob Van Dam Revealed He Walked Out On Vince McMahon In 1997 Rather Than Sign With WWE

      If you’ve been regularly reading our vintage Best and Worst of WWF Raw columns (and if you’re not, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice as a wrestling fan), you’ll know that just a couple of weeks ago, we tackled the beginning of the landmark “ECW invasion” angle that the then-WWF experimented with in early 1997. One of the ECW stars who was notably absent for that episode was “Mr. Monday Night,” Rob Van Dam. RVD would eventually show up on WWF television in May of that year, but the star of 3-Headed Shark Attack recently revealed that WWE wanted him to stick around, and he opted to take a walk instead.

    • Donald Trump's Statements Cause Backlash for D.C.'s Trump Hotel

      José Andrés has officially ended plans to open a restaurant inside the forthcoming Trump Hotel. In a statement, Andrés cites Donald Trump's recent disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants as the reason for his decision. More than half of Andrés' team is Hispanic, and the chef himself is a Spanish immigrant who became a naturalized American citizen in 2013.

      Eater DC q
    • Here are the most popular Halloween costumes in each state — is your costume one of them?

      Halloween is right around the corner, and the holiday countdown has many procrastinators scrambling to find the best last-minute costume options. Even…

      Hello Giggles
    • 13 Jobs With The Fastest Growing Salaries and Biggest Pay Raises

      According to a new report from Glassdoor, these 13 American jobs have the fastest growing salaries and base pay of any occupation.

      The Cheat Sheet q