Trader Joe's is known for its house-brand knockoffs, and every time it seems like they've run out of products to copy, a new one hits the shelves. Trader Joe’s Chile and Lime Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips, a copycat of the popular original Takis, have been around for quite a while, and in that time they've amassed a dedicated fanbase. Though these delightful snacks always seem on the verge of discontinuation, I have not actually seen them leave shelves yet.
I'm a huge fan of both products, but I've never actually gone bite-for-bite with 'em. Which actually tastes better? I hit Trader Joe’s, grabbed a bag (hopefully not for the last time), and buckled down for a comparison.
Comparing the Ingredients
It should come as a surprise to nobody that Trader Joe's is providing a, shall we say, less artificial experience. Both ingredient lists start the same way, with corn, vegetable oil, and seasoning, but right from the start, Joe is almost bragging about his all-natural ingredients.
Takis uses corn flour, while the Trader Joe's version uses "stone ground yellow corn." Takis uses artificial food dye for color; Trader Joe's is going with vegetable juice, paprika, and turmeric for color. Takis is out here peddling us citric acid, and Trader Joe's is hooking us up with actual lime juice concentrate. It's a whole different game.
For more Trader Joe's taste tests, please sign up for our free newsletters.
Blind Taste Test
The most fair way to compare the two is a blind taste test. After tasting my first chip, I was hit with a flavor bomb: spicy, acidic, perfectly crunchy, and teetering on the verge of too salty. Not that that's a bad thing; that's what a tortilla chip should be. (Except for you, Chipotle. Lighten up on the salt already.)
For a split second, I thought the second chip was identical. That was gone in a flash as all the exciting flavors of the first began to fade. It was like hitting the mute button on the first chip. It was less spicy, less limey, less salty, and less crunchy. Less everything, really. This thing had proven itself to be a much wider margin than I ever expected.
It's Takis, y'all. The first chip was an original Taki.
I've bought the Trader Joe's dupes many times in my life, and never once had I considered how much more dull they are than the actual thing. Don't get me wrong; they're a delicious chip that I will definitely miss, but I can't lie ... the next time I get a craving, I'm heading to 7-Eleven. No off-brand Takis for me.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Trader Joe's Takis dupe being discontinued?
Even though this sign was spotted by a Redditor, I buy this product pretty regularly, and I've yet to see it leave the shelves. Maybe Joe figured out whatever he needed to to keep his snacks going.
Which Takis version is healthier?
How healthy is any chip? Though both the original Takis and the Trader Joe's version clock in at 150 calories per serving, the Trader Joe's copycat ingredients are far more natural. One notable difference is that Takis contain 2.5 grams of saturated fat per serving while TJ's version only hits you with 0.5 grams. But the ultimate distinction here is the sodium comparison: Takis lands at 420 grams (coincidence?), while the Trader Joe's dupe lands at 260 grams.
What does the Trader Joe's Takis copycat taste like?
The flavor isn't far off from Hot Cheetos, with an extra squeeze of lime. They're certainly spicy, but they won't kill you, and they are not even close to the same heat as the original Takis. Acidic and salty up the wazoo, I'd be surprised if somebody could eat an entire bag of the Trader Joe's snack. Like Hot Cheetos, expect red dust all over your fingers. They're more than worth it, so be sure to grab a bag before they're gone forever.