There aren’t many snacks more American than potato chips, if any. Frankly, there’s just something downright intoxicating about a baked and flavored spud wafer. So much so it’s the snack we’re always reaching for, whether we’re stone-cold sober and looking for some nibbles or a little tipsy and in need of some salt.
Chips play many roles as well, from vessels for dipping into chunky salsa to standalone options, dusted with a unique or trending flavor (are we still obsessed with Sriracha?). What’s known is that each option here goes great with a nice cold one. And they don’t even necessarily need to be potato-based, as recent sweet potato and taro entries suggest.
When you’re wandering through the massive chip aisle at your local grocery store or online, put the following on your radar.
Best Overall: Kettle Brand
When you’re the best overall chip, you have an amazing selection of flavors and an ideal level of crunch, each and every time. Kettle excels on all fronts, from simple and satisfying options like sea salt and New York cheddar to more complex batches like pepperoncini and fiery Thai.
Best Flavor: Fox Family Chips
Maine’s Fox Family Chips is immediately recognizable with its space-age metallic bags. Inside, you’ll find big flavor, with quality potato shining through every bite. When you’re working with good base ingredients, you don’t have to dress things up much, as Fox’s straightforward but delicious lineup proves.
Thickest Chip: Burt’s Thick Cut
Sometimes a good thick chip is a must as it can stand up to any number of dips, sauces, and spreads. Burt’s makes a burly trip, one that almost never breaks no matter how badly you abuse the bag. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the brand has teamed up with breweries like Guinness and distilleries like Jim Beam for collaborative batches.
Best Tortilla Chip: Xochitl Sea Salt Mexican Style White Corn Chips
The tortilla category is perhaps the most saturated within the wide galaxy of chips. We endorse Xochitl because the chips are as good solo as they are buried in a mountain of nachos. Even better, the company is minority-run and uses promising ingredients like sustainable palm oil and non-GMO items.
Best Throwback Chip: Doritos Cool Ranch
You can’t properly embrace 90s culture without this iconic chip in the blue bag (actually introduced in the 80s). No, we’re not entirely sure what the recipe is, but the result is a wondrous mix of tomato, onion, and cheese flavors.
Best BBQ: Grippo’s
Having spent more than a century cooking up chips, Grippo’s has its barbecue recipe dialed in. The Cincinnati outfit’s chips are an ideal blend of sweet, smoky, and salty, practically pulled straight off the grill.
Best Sweet Potato Chip: Terra Sweet Potato Chips
A fair warning: Once you crack a bag of these sweet potato chips, it’s nearly impossible not to polish off the whole thing. Terra’s chips are as eye-catching as they are satisfying. The standard sweet potato version is tasty but it’s hard to top the sweets and beets, which incorporate the root vegetable.
Most Iconic: Fritos
If you like corn and crunch, you’re likely a fan of Fritos. And while the chips are great on their own, what with their reliable crispiness and salty kick, they’re even better poured atop a steaming bowl of Texas-style chili.
Best for Dipping: Santitas Tortilla Chips
These perfect triangles are programmed for dipping. They rarely snap, pack plenty of texture, and have enough flavor to cut through even the spiciest salsa, densest hummus, or heartiest bean dip.
Healthiest Chip: Hawaiian Chip Company Taro
Taro chips are dynamic and healthier than your traditional chip and quite popular in Hawaii especially. This batch from the sunny American archipelago is made naturally, with no cholesterol or sugar and just a pinch of salt.
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