Photos by Raya Ramsey.

Taste Test Thursday: Potato Chips

They all have the same ingredients. So which one does the plain potato chip best?

Let me say right off the bat: there are no locally-made potato chips in this post. Also, two of them are wavy cut and two are not. The idea here was to test the flavor and crunch of the bag versions, classic against ‘healthier’ types. There is no bbq or salt and vinegar happening here, just plain, salted potato chips.

A: Kettle Brand Potato Chips
B: Ruffles Original
C: Hardbite All Natural
D: Lay’s Original
D Magazine’s salt fiends.


“Salty, bland. Delicious.”
“Thick, hard and not too much salt.”
“Salty, nice crunch.”
“Good crisp, balanced salt.”
“Nice, satisfying crunch.”
“Kettle style, good amount of salt.”
“Interesting flavor, good crunch.”

“A better version of option D.”
“Are these Ruffles?? I feel very meh about them which makes me sad because I used to love them.”
“Too salty. Too soft. Am I crazy or do I taste a slight cheesy flavor?”
“Mealy, falls apart too easily.”
“Bland. Not salty.”
“Texture is like styrofoam.”

“Not enough taste alone, would be good with a sandwich.”
“Very hard. Potato-y. Not too salty.”
“Not as salty.”
“Overcooked to the point of being brittle. Too little salt, and I don’t even like salty things.”
“A nice nutty taste. I bet this uses peanut oil or something. A little too greasy though.”
“Almost no flavor or salt, a little overdone.”
“Not salty enough.”

“Chip too big; salty and good.”
“So salty I love you! A little too oily though.”
“Ick. Too salty! Nothing special.”
“I like the wide ridges. Good balance of flavor, if a bit safe.”
“Too soft.”
“Very salty. Too salty.”

A: Kettle Brand – 4 votes
B: Ruffles – 1 vote
C: Hardbite – 2 votes
D: Lay’s – 0 votes

The general consensus on Hardbite wasn’t great, but 2 tasters felt it was still better than the other options. It was literally a hard bite, not very pleasant to crunch into and not as salty as you expect a potato chip to be. Lay’s is out. It was way too salty and greasy for most of us, and Ruffles was barely any better. I think I had chest pain after two Ruffles.
The winner here was Kettle. It had satisfying crunch, a balanced amount of salt and oil to potato, and didn’t make you feel horrible after eating one (or a large handful, as in our cases).
All four contestants’ ingredients were essentially the same: potatoes, oils, and salt. But the ratio is apparently everything. Hardbite was overcooked, Lay’s was overly salted and oily, Ruffles not much better and mushy on the tongue, and Kettle got it all right. They mysteriously disappeared as soon as the tasting was over.

Brought to you by salt, which appears 27 times in this post.