Crunch Factor: Popular Kettle Chip Flavors, Ranked From Best to Worst

Kettle Chips Pile

Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

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Kettle Chips Pile
Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

Potent Potatoes

Kettle chips are made by cooking potato slices in hot oil for a lot longer than regular potato chips. The result is the thick, super crunchy chip with a deep roasted flavor that we've all come to love. Kettle Brand is one of the most recognizable companies pumping out kettle chips, so we decided to put their flavors to the test. We got our hands on as many varieties as we could find (15 in all!) and ranked them. Here are our favorite Kettle Brand potato chip flavors, ranked from best to what-were-they-thinking(?!). 

Kettle Ranch
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Best: Farmstead Ranch

I'm not the biggest ranch-flavored-things person, but damn these are top notch in that category. The seasoning is strong without being overpowering, so you can still taste the potato. Onion and garlic are the predominant flavors, though your breath won't stink like either after you eat these. And somehow they even managed to capture the creaminess and tang of a good buttermilk dressing! Thanks to a great balance of flavors and versatility — eat them straight mindlessly on movie night or dip them in french onion — these chips are objectively tops in the Kettle Brand lineup, hands down.

Kettle Dill Pickle
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2. Krinkle Cut Dill Pickle

Crinkle is a fantastic way to cut a potato, in french fry or chip form, and it just plain makes sense to cut the dill pickle — which often come in crinkle cut chips for burgers — flavored chips the same way. You have to like dill to love these vinegary, herby chips, and I absolutely do. In the panoply of dill pickle chips, these are one of the best with a very satisfying crunch and well-rounded flavor thanks to garlic, onion, and a little bit of sweetness.

Kettle Honey Dijon
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3. Honey Dijon

This was the dark horse of the bunch. I'm not huge on mustard, but you cannot help but go back for more and more handfuls of these interesting, unusual honey dijon chips. They're just sweet enough with honey powder to counteract the mustard sharpness that neither flavor stands out too much. I guarantee that if you brought these to a party, people would be shocked at how good they are and they would disappear ASAP.

Related: Let's Talk About Those New Lay's Sandwich-Inspired Chips

Kettle Special Sauce
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4. Special Sauce

When I hear "special sauce," I'm generally expecting some sort of creamy, tangy burger sauce. These limited time special sauce chips don't taste like that at all, but they are good enough that you should give them a try before they're gone. They taste more like Canadian all dressed chips: kind of a tangy, slightly sweet barbecue chip with a good amount of mustard and vinegar bite. The only thing wrong with these is that's it a hard-to-identify taste.

Curious how other potato chips stack up against Kettle? Check out our taste test of 16 potato chip brands.

Kettle Parmesan Garlic
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5. Parmesan Garlic

The parmesan half of these Parmesan Garlic chips hits you right away with a waft of stinky cheese right out of the bag. You get that same cheesy funk as soon as you put one in your mouth, but it quickly mellows out into a finish of smooth garlic and cream, kind of like alfredo sauce. These are Farmhouse Ranch's red-headed step sister.

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Kettle Sea Salt
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6. Sea Salt

The best part about plain old Sea Salt Kettle chips is that they taste like an actual, honest-to-god potato. They're earthy and taste roasted, like the outside of a steakhouse baked potato. Since they're sturdy, they're also perfect for dunking in basically every kind of dip imaginable.

Kettle Backyard BBQ
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7. Backyard Barbecue

These grew on me the more I went back to them for this tasting. They are a very smoky rendition of the classic BBQ chip — smoke flavoring is listed as an ingredient — which initially turned me off. But it does make them more interesting than the standard too-sweet barbecue chip we all grew up with, and the substantial crunch from the thick-cut chip works well with all that smoke. 

Kettle Habanero Lime
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8. Krinkle Cut Habanero Lime

I really want to like these more, but they just taste like Takis or Doritos without the corn chip backing. It seems out of a place on a potato chip, honestly, even if they don't taste bad by any means. Definitely the most confusing of the batch.

Kettle Pepperoncini
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9. Pepperoncini

OK, this is where things start to go off the rails. These don't have much pickled pepper flavor at all, despite having "pepperoncini pulp" as a (last) ingredient. They're aggressively fine, and that's about it. Kettle Brand should have consulted with Papa Johns on these.

Kettle Salt and Pepper
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10. Krinkle Cut Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Take a black pepper shaker that your mom has had in the spice cabinet since you were 12 and sprinkle a little bit on your tongue. Congrats! You've just tasted these chips without wasting your money on them. At least they've got the crinkle cut thing going for them, I guess.

Kettle Sea Salt & Vinegar
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11. Sea Salt & Vinegar

Potato chips — even those labeled salt and vinegar! — should not just taste like straight up white distilled vinegar that people buy by the gallon for cleaning or volcano science experiments. Beyond making your mouth pucker, these are bland and boring.

Kettle Jalapeno
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12. Jalapeño

What the hell, Kettle?! I love a good jalapeño chip, and other brands of jalapeño kettle-style chips are fantastic. These taste like nothing! Did I inexplicably get a bag that has no seasoning on them? They don't even smell like anything, let alone have any heat. Bizarre. 

Kettle Air Fried Himalayan Salt
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13. Air Fried Himalayan Salt

These are the company's new Air Fried chips, which, according to the bag, means "kettle cooked air finished." I don't know what that means but judging by the product, it just means really thin, delicate potato chips. You know, like Lay's and not the thick, crunchy kettle-fried ones. They're maybe a little less greasy than the regular Kettle Brand chips, but otherwise they just taste like regular, non-kettle chips. That's not what I'm looking for when I buy kettle chips.

Kettle Air Fried Sea Salt Vinegar
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14. Air Fried Sea Salt & Vinegar

See above, and add a gallon of white vinegar.

Kettle Truffle Oil
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15. Truffle Oil & Sea Salt

Whoever invented truffle oil should be ashamed of themselves. It's not even made with truffles in products like these, let alone in restaurants, and it's basically a scam to wring money out of people who want to appear rich and fancy. I knew going in that I would hate these, and I was right. One whiff fills your sinus cavity with that pungent, unmistakable barnyard-y odor. It makes me want to gag. Just say no to truffle oil.