Snack Food Showdown: Trader Joe’s vs. Aldi


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Trader Joes vs Aldi Snack Foods

So Many Chips, So Little Time ...

When you’re craving something crunchy, crispy, salty, or savory, nothing satisfies like chips and crisps — potato, pretzel, or veggie, it doesn’t matter as long as they’re tasty. After shopping at two of our favorite grocers, Aldi and Trader Joe’s, we taste-tested 14 different kinds of chips, crisps, pretzels, and more to find the best snacks.

Related: We Tasted 13 Frozen Pizzas and This Is the Best

Clancy’s Stackerz Original Flavor

Best Potato Crisps: Aldi

Clancy’s Stackerz Original Flavor

Are these Pringles? No, but this Aldi brand of chip could have fooled us. True, they’re a little smaller and not quite as neatly saddle-shaped, but Clancy’s Stackerz have the same salty, snappy bite as their name-brand competitor, and a strong, clean potato flavor.

Related: I Shopped at Aldi for the First Time and Here's What I Learned

Trader Joe’s Sea Salted Saddle Potato Crisps

Not as Good: Trader Joe’s

Sea Salted Saddle Potato Crisps

Trader Joe’s version was notably less crisp and lacked that familiar snap you expect in a potato chip. They tasted a bit saltier than the Aldi version, too (despite having less sodium in the ingredient list) and had an unpleasant, slightly oily aftertaste.

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Trader Joe’s Everything Pretzel Slims

Best Pretzel Chips: Trader Joe’s

Everything Pretzel Slims

This was a close one. Trader Joe’s pretzel crisps come out on top, mostly because the “everything” seasoning was more prominent — we actually could taste the poppy and sesame seeds as well as the hints of garlic and onion.

Related: The 29 Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe's

Clancy’s Everything Pretzel Slims
Trader Joe’s Vegetable Root Chips

Best Veggie Chips: Trader Joe’s

Vegetable Root Chips

This was another close call. The four kinds of root-vegetable chip (including sweet potato) won us over, creating a crispy, crunchy flavor mosh pit in our mouths. We wish the chips were a little less oily, though — we definitely needed napkins while snacking.

Simply Nature Sweet Potato Chips
Simply Nature Cauliflower Tortilla Chips with Sea Salt

Best Veggie Tortilla Chips: Aldi

Simply Nature Cauliflower Tortilla Chips With Sea Salt

Call us corn-chip traditionalists, but we weren’t crazy about either veggie-based tortilla chip option. This Aldi option was crispy and salty, but we weren’t crazy about the vague cauliflower aftertaste.

Related: 30 Things to Know Before Shopping at Aldi

Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips

Not as Good: Trader Joe’s

Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips

We love a good sweet potato chip, but these tortilla chips made with a blend of corn and sweet potato flours left us unimpressed. We did detect a hint of the honey listed on the ingredient list, but the “trace of lime” (listed last) was missing in action. 

Related: The Best Frozen and Ready-to-Eat Meals from Trader Joe's

Specially Selected Lattice Cut Kettle Chips with Aged Cheddar and Black Pepper

Best Flavored Potato Chip: Aldi

Specially Selected Lattice Cut Kettle Chips With Aged Cheddar and Black Pepper

Both of the samples in this category were overly seasoned in our opinion, but Aldi’s potato chip had us more inclined to keep munching. Salty, yes, but it was balanced by a pleasant bit of black pepper and cheese powder. After so many thin-sliced potato chips, the super-crunchy, thick waffle cut was a sensory snack delight.

Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips

Not as Good: Trader Joe’s

Everything but the Bagel Seasoned Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips

We love the actual Everything but the Bagel seasoning that Trader Joe’s sells in their spice section, so we were excited to see what potato chips with this spice blend might taste like. In a word: disappointing. They had an unpleasant mix of salt, pepper, and too-prominent garlic and onion powders without any of the poppy and sesame that make “everything” bagels so tasty.

chips and dip
Anna F. Gass

Best Variety: Trader Joe's

When it comes to selection, Trader Joe’s is the clear winner. In addition to snacks like the ones above, you’ll find exotic offerings like plantain chips, fried jalapeño crisps, and dehydrated carrots. Aldi’s snack section isn’t so adventurous, but we did find a few offbeat selections, such as nacho-flavored cauliflower tortilla chips and gluten-free rice crisps flavored with sweet chilis. Ahead, we sampled a handful of the more unusual snacks we found at Aldi and Trader Joe’s.

Related: The Best Snacks at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s Popcorn In A Pickle

Funkiest Popcorn Flavor: Trader Joe’s

Popcorn in a Pickle

It’s been a while since we’ve seen such a far-out popcorn flavor, so of course we had to try this TJ’s snack. And it does pack a pickle punch. If you’re the kind of person who sneaks sips of pickle juice out of the jar, you may enjoy this popcorn, but we found the briny, vinegary flavor overpowering and unpleasant.

Clancy’s Cuban Sandwich Flavored Kettle Chips

Weirdest Potato Chip Flavor: Aldi

Clancy’s Cuban-Sandwich-Flavored Kettle Chips

A good Cuban sandwich, with its luscious layers of roasted pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard is something to savor. Give Clancy’s credit for experimenting, but these potato chips were a far cry from the full Cubano flavor. We tasted dill pickles and maybe a hint of mustard, but that’s about it.

Trader Joe’s Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets

Best Attempt at Disguising Veggies as a Snack: Trader Joe’s

Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets

How much you enjoy this snack depends entirely on whether or not you like broccoli. If you hate broccoli, just walk on by. Even if you do like this cruciferous veggie in its unaltered form, you may not find these fried and dried (we think) broccoli florets, which are seasoned with salt and rice bran, to your taste. Another consideration — you will definitely need to floss after snacking on these.

Clancy’s Original Veggie Chips

Worst 'Veggie' Chips: Aldi

Clancy’s Original Veggie Chips

The only true disappointment of our snack chip taste test, these were just… icky. These scoop-shaped chips are made of puffed potato flour and potato starch and seasoned with tomato paste, turmeric, spinach and beet powders. They had an unpleasant vegetal flavor that was decidedly not snackably delicious.