Why have pickles and chips with your sandwich when you can streamline them into one bite?
We sampled six brands of pickled-flavored chips, ranging from bigwig snack giants to cult-favorite small labels: Zapp’s, Trader Joe’s, Lay’s, Route 11, McClure’s and Kettle. And we were nothing if not scientific about the process, trying each one two or three times—you know, to be sure.
Judging a pickle-flavored chip hinges on three crucial qualities: texture (yes, mouthfeel), flavor and the all-important crunch factor. I asked my coworkers to fill out a form sharing their thoughts on each of the six contenders individually, then list their personal podium. Here’s how it played out:
This otherwise-popular chip brand landed in last place for its “boring texture” and a widespread opinion that it tasted no different than a salt and vinegar chip.
Texture: 2 | Flavor: 3 | Crunch: 2
The dill is strong with this one, which combines Cajun flavor and dill pickles into one New Orleans kettle-style package. One taster simply said, “snooze,” but another liked the “good li’l kick and great crunch.”
Texture: 2 | Flavor: 3 | Crunch: 4
The family-owned company is known for its pickles, so we were glad to see a chip offering from it as well. Some tasters felt that the pickle flavor was subdued, but this scored highest in terms of crunchiness, which is arguably the most important part of a chip.
Texture: 3 | Flavor: 4 | Crunch: 5
A couple of TT editors gave this one silver, including one who said, “These burn my mouth in the best way” and called them “totally addictive.” But others thought the package’s Somewhat Spicy tout was a typo for Not Spicy Enough.
Texture: 4 | Flavor: 5 | Crunch: 3
? Route 11
“Peppery and kind of weird, but I don’t hate it,” one TT editor said. These were well-received across the board, and while few declared them the ultimate best, the approval rating for strong pickle flavor and good snap landed it second overall.
Texture: 4 | Flavor: 4 | Crunch: 4
Fried potato devotees know that crinkle cut will always come out on top. Most of the judges loved the Kettle chips, primarily due to the way the ridges held dearly to the spices and never let them go. There was one dissenter (“BURN #6,” she wrote) but overall good. Another thought it tasted like pickle. Which was the point.
Texture: 4 | Flavor: 5 | Crunch: 5
Now, excuse us, we have some dill-dusted fingers to take care of.
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