14 Flavorful Ways To Elevate Potato Chips Right In The Bag

There's not much we don't love about potato chips. They're inexpensive, portable, and pair with all kinds of other foods without skipping a beat. Texture-wise, they easily straddle the line between crispy and crunchy. When it comes to flavor, they're satisfyingly salty, which makes it impossible to stop at just one. On top of that, the potato chip market is full of all kinds of funky, unexpected varieties. Steak, Korean barbecue, and seaweed are just a few of the wacky flavors we've spotted out in the wild.

You'll have no trouble finding unique potato chip flavors at the supermarket, but you're not always guaranteed to find exactly what you're looking for. Besides that, artificial flavors don't always capture unique food combinations well. For these reasons, we've put together a list of 14 flavorful ways to elevate potato chips right in the bag. Many of the recipes in this list contain fresh ingredients, something that's essential if you want to maximize the flavor potential of potato chips. Not only are they worlds better than anything you can buy at the store, but they're also ridiculously simple to make. So if you love potato chips as much as we do, come discover all of the delicious ways you can transform your potato chips.

1. Fresh pulled pork puts regular barbecue chips to shame

Regular barbecue chips are great and all, but they don't exactly taste like authentic barbecue. Many chip brands do their best to replicate the sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy notes that make up the perfect barbecue symphony, but almost all fall short in at least one category. For example, Doritos' Sweet & Tangy BBQ Chips are neither particularly sweet nor especially tangy. Lay's Sweet Southern Heat Barbecue delivers the promised flavors but still lacks the unmistakable smoky flavor we look for in real barbecue.

The secret to combating these shortcomings isn't to buy out your local supermarket's barbecue chip section. They'll always let you down. Rather, you've got to bring authentic barbecue flavor to your chips. You can do this by mixing some pulled pork directly into your potato chip bag. Close the opening, and give it a good shake to distribute the meat and sauce evenly. If you're really serious about recreating that summer barbecue feeling, you can also toss some coleslaw into the chip bag for added crunch and tanginess.

2. Lime and cilantro give chips a Mexican feel

When you hear the words Mexican and chips in the same sentence, chances are your mind goes to tortilla chips. That's pretty normal, especially considering the popularity of nachos, layered dips, and taco salads. But who says Mexican flavors only belong on tortilla chips? Not only do regular potato chips provide the same crispiness you'll find in a tortilla chip, but changing up your normal chip routine is a surefire way to infuse some new flavor into your daily snack. Plus, giving potato chips a Mexican flavor couldn't be easier.

All you need for this recipe is some lime juice (we recommend freshly squeezed rather than bottled) and some freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Squeeze the lime juice over the potato chips and shake the chips around to coat evenly. Add the cilantro leaves next and shake once more to ensure even coverage. This two-ingredient recipe may look simple, but make no mistake about it — fresh lime and cilantro will dazzle your taste buds and have you daydreaming about Mexico's white sand beaches before you know it.

3. Garlic and Parmesan are true flavor gems

When it comes to dynamite Italian flavor combinations, garlic and Parmesan may not reach the iconic heights of tomato and basil, but we think that needs to change. Not only is this aromatic cheese mashup delicious, but it's ridiculously versatile. Don't believe us? We've successfully used the two ingredients on everything from garlic Parmesan shoestring fries to baked garlic parmesan wings.

Given the number of recipes containing garlic and parmesan, it only makes sense to use them for elevating potato chips right in the bag. The first step is to melt about a tablespoon of butter. Next, crush a clove of garlic and mix it into the butter. Drizzle your garlic butter over plain potato chips, then finish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. You can even add some chopped parsley on top for a bit of freshness. If you're a garlic lover, you can even serve the chips with a side of garlic aioli for dipping.

4. Put a new spin on loaded potatoes

If you've ever been broke, short on time, or fed up with cooking, there's a good chance you've had loaded potatoes for dinner at least once. That's not to say they're just for busy college students or weary 9-to-5 workers. Rather, these dressed-up tubers are perfect for anyone looking for a tasty, calorie-dense meal that's easy to customize. Thanks to their thick skin and high starch content, russet potatoes are the go-to option for baked potatoes. While the skin develops a satisfying crispy texture, the inside stays nice and fluffy. Plus, russets are large compared to other potato varieties, so you can be sure that you'll have enough room for all of your favorite toppings.

Interestingly enough, russets are also used when making potato chips. So instead of making a loaded potato, why not try loaded potato chips? This variation is quicker and easier to put together, yet it yields similar flavors. To make the perfect loaded potato chips, place a dollop of sour cream into the bag and shake it around. Finish with other ingredients such as bacon bits, shredded cheddar cheese, and freshly sliced chives.

5. Take your taste buds to the Mediterranean

Spanning countries as diverse as Spain, France, and Greece, the Mediterranean region is known for its hot summers, beautiful landscapes, and diverse diet. To the last point, the Mediterranean diet has garnered lots of attention thanks to its perceived health benefits. The diet prioritizes whole grains, nuts, seafood, beans, and fresh produce. Instead of butter, heart-healthy olive oil is the primary fat source. Health benefits aside, we can't get enough of the traditional flavors that form the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. Here we're talking about olive oil, lemon, garlic, tomato, and onion.

There are a couple of options to try if you're looking to capture these flavors in your potato chip bag. For the first one, start with olive oil-infused chips. Sprinkle some onion and garlic powder on top and shake the bag for maximum coverage. Another option is to cover plain potato chips with fresh lemon juice, dried oregano, and garlic powder. Whichever flavor combo you try, your taste buds will be whisked away to the Mediterranean Sea as soon as you take the first bite.

6. A novel take on Buffalo wings

Can't get enough spicy, saucy Buffalo wings? Then you're in luck. This potato chip upgrade allows you to capture all of the flaming hot goodness you love without the prep time and mess. You have two options when it comes to infusing your chips with delicious Buffalo flavor. Either drizzle plain chips with Buffalo sauce or sprinkle chips with powdered Buffalo seasoning.

The first option is a bit messy, but the flavor is about as close to the original chicken recipe as you can get. On the other hand, the powdered seasoning is mess-free, albeit not as tasty. Once you've established your Buffalo chip base, crumble blue cheese into the bag and add a drizzle of ranch dressing to cut the spiciness. Either works as a dip on the side as well. If you really want to remain faithful to your favorite wings recipe, feel free to sprinkle a bit of celery salt into the bag as well.

7. Recreate your favorite Thai flavors

One of our favorite things about Thai food is the focus on balance. Unlike many Western dishes that go heavy on salt or sugar, traditional Thai cooking incorporates five flavor profiles (salty, sour, sweet, spicy, and creamy) into every dish. Dishes usually feature one of these flavors more prominently, while incorporating the other flavors for balance. The result is complex, satisfying, and downright delicious.

Our Thai potato chip recipe captures many of the traditional flavors, while still prioritizing ease and portability. Start by making a soy sauce, lime juice, and honey mixture. Feel free to play around with the quantities until you find a mixture you like, and drizzle your chips with it. We recommend using unsalted chips if you can find them, since the soy sauce will add quite a bit of sodium. Finish with crushed peanuts and some red pepper flakes. As you can see, four of the five flavor notes are present — the soy sauce provides saltiness, the limes provide sour notes, the honey gives sweetness, and the red pepper flakes add some spice.

8. Maple's not just for pancakes

No one would blame you for only using maple syrup on pancakes. But we would like to encourage you to break out of your culinary comfort zone and experiment a bit. From using it in homemade salad dressing to flavoring coffee, there are all kinds of unconventional ways to use maple syrup. Sauces and hot drinks are nice, but one of our favorite ways to use maple syrup is with bacon. The real reason the flavors pair well is because the sweetness of the maple syrup helps counteract the saltiness and smokiness of the bacon. But we still think there's some kind of food alchemy going on behind the scenes in this delicious combo.

While you could whip up some bacon pancakes or cure bacon in a maple syrup glaze, there's an easier way to enjoy this delightful flavor interplay. Simply pour some maple syrup into a bag of potato chips, then shake to coat. Finish with some crumbled bacon, either freshly made or store-bought. As a warning, this one does get a bit sticky. But we're pretty sure you'll forget about that once you taste all of the maple syrup and bacon goodness.

9. Ginger and soy sauce give chips an Asian flavor

Look on any Asian food menu, and you're bound to see ginger and soy sauce paired together. Whether as sushi accompaniments or in dishes like soy ginger chicken wings, this famous duo dominates Japanese and Chinese cuisines. Thankfully, there's an easy, inexpensive way to infuse your everyday snack with the spicy saltiness this mashup provides.

The first step is to make a simple ginger soy sauce. To do so, combine soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, and sesame oil. The sesame oil not only works as an emulsifier, but it also infuses the sauce with a pleasant nutty flavor. Pour the sauce over some plain chips. Next, toast some sesame seeds over medium heat. Toss them into the potato chip bag once they're fragrant and golden brown. If you're feeling adventurous, you can give your chips a pop of color and some brightness by adding some freshly chopped scallions (the green ends) to the bag.

10. Pizza just got more portable

Few foods capture our hearts and senses the way pizza does. Before taking a single bite, our eyes are drawn to the striking contrast between the red marinara sauce and the white-yellow cheese. On the nose, the combination of dough, cheese, and tomato sauce is unlike any other dish we've sniffed. When it comes to flavor, there are legitimate scientific reasons why we love eating pizza so much. Cheese, wheat, and tomatoes are all high in glutamate. Glutamate is an amino acid responsible for stimulating umami taste receptors on the tongue, hence why it's so tough to stop at just one slice.

As you can see, there's not much to dislike about pizza. Still, if there's one thing we'd improve, it would be pizza's portability. Its triangular shape and reliance on a single layer of dough for support make it awkward to eat on the go. But rather than fight pizza's nature, we decided to incorporate all of the flavors we love into potato chips. To really capture the essence of pizza, we recommend using garlic parmesan potato chips. Sprinkle the chips with a blend of dried oregano, onion powder, and thyme. For those who enjoy a bit of spice, add crushed red pepper flakes or paprika to the mix.

11. Fresh herbs bring lightness to your chips

As much as we love chowing down on a bag of potato chips, we recognize that they're not exactly the healthiest snack out there. Now, that doesn't mean we're trading in our favorite salt and vinegar chips for carrot sticks and fruit salad, but we have found a way to bring some freshness to what can otherwise be a pretty oily food. The secret? Incorporating fresh herbs into our potato chip routine.

Start by tossing plain, unsalted chips with some extra virgin olive oil. Not only is olive oil full of heart-healthy fats, but it's also a source of vitamins E and K. Moreover, it's bursting with antioxidants, which help prevent inflammation and disease. Besides all of the health benefits it conveys, olive oil helps the herbs stick to chips, ensuring you get a burst of deliciousness in each bite. Speaking of herbs, the choice is up to you. We recommend using herbs that pair well with potatoes such as rosemary, thyme, and parsley.

12. Give your chips some Indian spice

Can't get enough butter chicken or saag paneer? Neither can we. In fact, our love of Indian food has led to many cooking experiments and hundreds of dollars spent on takeout after said experiments go haywire. But no longer. Instead of trying to master Indian dishes in their entirety, we've decided to use Indian flavor combinations as a jumping-off point for our potato chip habit.

One dish that really inspires us is coconut curry. Capturing the dish's combination of spiciness and smoothness in your potato chip bag couldn't be easier. All you need to do is sprinkle some plain potato chips with a mixture of curry powder, coconut flakes, turmeric, ground coriander, onion powder, and garlic powder. Alternatively, you can replicate the flavors of tikka masala by coating chips with a combination of onion powder, garlic powder, ground ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, garam masala, and paprika.

13. Go all out with nacho potato chips

Let's start off by stating the obvious — nachos are perfect. The dish's crispy chips, melty cheese, and generous toppings make it truly a gift from the culinary higher powers. If we could, we'd eat them during every big game and party. So if we propose a new riff on nachos, it's not because we don't love the original tortilla chip version. It's because we want to find more ways to eat them.

With that in mind, here's how to take regular potato chips and transform them into portable nachos. Rather than go the Mexican chip route of adding lime and parsley, this time we're talking toppings. Add a combination of dried nacho cheese seasoning, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper to a bag of plain potato chips. Shake the bag to distribute the spices evenly. Top with a dollop of sour cream and salsa. If you can't get enough cheese (and don't mind a bit of a mess), you can also add some pre-warmed queso to the mix.

14. Eat all the bacon with this take on smoky bacon ranch

Bacon and maple syrup, bacon and cheese, and even bacon and chocolate — there aren't many things that we don't want to pair with bacon. Although we're fans of all three combos, one of our favorite bacon partners is ranch. Whether we're rolling up a quick chicken bacon ranch wrap for lunch or stirring up a pot of chicken bacon ranch pasta for dinner, this dynamic duo never lets us down. Something about the creaminess of the ranch mixing with the smoky sweetness of the bacon makes us want to take a mid-cooking dance break to celebrate.

Thankfully, we've discovered a super fast way to incorporate our beloved bacon ranch into our daily snack. Our bacon ranch chips are a cinch to make. To start, cover plain potato chips with powdered ranch dressing mix. Next, add bacon crumbles and a bit of smoked paprika. Shake the bag, then dig into these irresistible chips.