The Best Plain Potato Chips, Ranked

There is some debate on how and when the potato chip came to be, but no reason to dispute which chip tops the rest. To honor this highly anticipated holiday, I sampled (and finished) the top potato chips on the market. I kept it to “plain” potato chips for a more accurate ranking. (Yes, I agree ridges and certain flavors are life changing – these two details call for their own lists- see honorable mentions below).

I ranked the plain potato chips’ flavors on crunchiness, saltiness and greasiness. I also took into account the two universal factors for chip enjoyment: if the chips were dippable and if they maintained whole chip shape before the bag was open. No bags of crumbs, please.

10. Utz

Utz makes great pretzels. And it should stop there. The strange grainy texture disintegrates quickly. With zero crunch factor and unimpressive flavor, why anyone opts for these chips is beyond me.

9. Munchos

Not quite a traditional potato chip, but savory and satisfying in their own regard. Munchos makes the list for being the cool, hipster sibling of the potato chip that’s always delicious when you’re craving something “chip-like”. A great option if you want something to munch(o) on.

8. One Potato, Two Potato

A wannabee Cape Cod. It seems like One Potato, Two Potato just threw some thinly sliced potatoes in the kettle and hoped they come out like chips. Their plain option, called “naked” tastes just that. A bland bite of crunchy, flavorless potato. These only ranked higher than the previous two because their kettle cooked texture makes them good to put in a sandwich – and perhaps the lack of flavor would be alright in a mouthwatering sub looking to be crunchified.

7. Kettle

Nothing to rave about. They are tasty enough but leave a noticeable amount of oil on your fingers and break easily. Very difficult to snack on at work – and realistically, this is when we need our chip companionship most. For this, they are ranked low on the scale.

6. Lay’s

Ah, the familiar brand. Generally when I think of Lay’s, I envision the “family size” yellow bag next to a bowl that the chips were meant to be poured in. Moms usually buy these when a group of kids is coming over. They are the go to brand of chips at concession stands, but this does not make them number one. They are highly salty, incredibly oily, and very thin. How do they hold so much sodium and grease on such a thin little chip? Unsure. Careful when purchasing these – as they may be all crumbs and therefore will have zero dipability for that french onion dip you were so badly craving. Yes Lay’s, I can have just one.

5. Good Health

Because they are kettled cooked in avocado oil “for health”, these chips have a different after taste than any other potato chip. It’s not good, or bad. But, they are great to snack on because the avocado oil is less greasy than other oils – making it easier to take a bite or two and go back to aimlessly typing and clicking at your desk. Full of texture and light on flavor, they are a fine side to any lunch.

4. Route 11

This is where the ranking got difficult. Route 11’s not too oily, very crunchy chips were one of my favorites. However, they were almost too crunchy. Each bite was a bit more of a time commitment than I was ready for. These are the type of chip you wish you didn’t start munching on in front of people because you can’t hear yourself think your chomping is so loud. Warning: do not indulge if you need to chat with anyone, or maybe do if you want to avoid small talk.

3. Ruffles

Ruffles’ straightforward slogan has always made me chuckle. But – they’re on to something. As my ridged chip fanatic friend puts it, “you can’t eat dip without a sturdy chip.” I I think of Ruffles as the entry level chip – if I was to teach the basics of a good potato chip, Ruffles would be my standard.

2. Dirty

I know I said the ranking got difficult at number four, but then I got down to my favorite two. Dirty chips are crunchy, yet bitable, oily in a tongue-tantalizing way and salted perfectly. Dirty chips also passed the dipability and crumbly tests with flying colors, and contrary to their name, you don’t feel too dirty when you hit the bottom of the bag.

1. Cape Cod

You’re just so happy when you have one. You want them on their own, you want them in your sandwich, you need them with your lobster roll. Cape Cod chips are the quintessential chip. After a couple weeks of excessive potato chip tasting, I felt like Goldilocks when I tasted Cape Cod. They were just right.

Some classic and beloved potato chips could not be included in this list due to the restrictions of this definitive plain potato chip ranking. Honorable mentions go out to the following: Wavy Lays, Cape Cod Waffle Cut, Pringles, Sweet Potato Chips, Terra Blues, Potato Sticks and Pop Chips.

What’d we miss? Let me know online @_greerhunter

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