Munch or Dunk? The Best Chips for Snacking & Dipping
Answering the Munch or dunk? question, and scoping out the best chips for snacking and dipping is the only stake I have in this year's Super Bowl. I don't really care who wins the game as long as I win the party. And winning a Super Bowl party is twofold: 1) You must serve the best snackety-snacks your friends have ever eaten; and 2) You must make enough of those irresistible snackety-snacks that everyone - including you (especially you!) - ends the night feeling like a pod of food trucks exploded in their stomach.
Chips, potato, tortilla, and otherwise, are crucial to the success of this effort. But just as not all chips are equally good, not all chips are equally good for the same use. The 2 applications I've done extensive test-and-learn research on are chips that are best for munching, or eating by themselves, and chips that are best for dunking, or using to haul dip from bowl to bouche.
If you're heading to the store to stock up for a Super Bowl party, another kind of party, or a weekend of nonstop Netflix and N64 action, and don't want to spend 15 minutes wandering the chip aisle, wondering whether you should get the Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips to shovel up guac or throw back straight, read on, dude. I have you covered with my picks for the best chips for snacking and dipping (grouped together and listed in that order).
Note: All chip prices are marked as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change. They're also subject to be cheaper at your local grocery store.
New York Spicy Dill Pickle Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
Apparently dill pickle chips are all the range in Canada, and having recently been to Canada and tried some, I am on a rage to stock up here in the States. I compare the chips to our salt & vinegar varieties, but with that unmistakable smack of dill.
Deep River Snacks makes these Dill Pickle Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, which they qualify further as New York Spicy, and reminiscent of an NYC deli pickle. Sssss! Sign me up.
All Kinds of Cheetos
Some would say you haven't truly gotten your munch on if your fingers aren't orange when you're done. Even people who aren't just pontificating after a round of Volcano would say it.
I'm not one of those people. Chester Cheetah is a cool cat and all, but he's not one I hit up often.
Nonetheless, I would never host a Super Bowl party or other snack fest without setting out at least 1 bowl of Cheetos. Gotta give the people what they love.
Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips
I love how people who get to mowin' down on some Sun Chips think they're eating a healthy snack. I don't know if it's the groovy shape that gives the impression these chips are groovy on your waistline, or the word "whole grain" on the package, but I guarantee you, downing a whole bag of Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips because you think they have way fewer calories than Pringles or Doritos is a fail.
Downing them because you think they're F'ing delicious though, that's an atta boy.
Granted, hot sauce isn't really a dip, but how many times have you tried to pour some Crystal or Cholula on your potato chip and had it run right off? Or just not really, like, texturally translate? Come on! I know I'm not the only one.
That's why I think Frito-Lay has done us some science lab good here taking the essential components of a popular hot sauce, in this case Tapatio, turning it to powder, using it to coat Doritos. Sure there are Flamin' Hot varieties of Frito-Lay chips out there too, but I think Tapatio has a more authentic, and certainly recognizable flavor, with just the right amount of heat to pique your taste buds.
And your eyeball if you don't wash your hands well after eating them.
Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips
You'll find an empty bag of Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips next to me when I'm dead. Possibly because they'll be my last meal request, possibly because eating an inordinate quantity of them will be the cause of my death.
The crunch! The salt! The limey acid! Do not soil these magical corn creatures with jarred salsa or those guacamole pouches that got recalled last year! Do not soil them with anything more than your tongue juices at all!
Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Chips
They cut the bejeesus out of the roof of my mouth, but oh those zippy grinds of pepper! Paired with a generous dousing of salt covering every groove of these Krinkle Cuts. What does that Guy on TV say?
It's Flavor Country.
Miss Vickie's Sea Salt & Vinegar Kettle Cooked Potato Chips
Miss Vickie sounds more like the name of a Madam than a potato chip maker. Not that I'm complaining. As long as she keeps slicing and frying up these salt & vinegar crunchmeisters with the "love & care" advertised on the bag, she can call herself whatever she wants.
Loosely related point of interest: I once read that girls who love salt & vinegar potato chips are more likely to be into a threesome.
Back on topic bummer: Miss Vickie's was acquired by Frito-Lay in 1993 so they're not really her kettle chips anymore.
We're on to the dippers, beginning with the biggest dipper: Tostitos Scoops. If you think the proper chip-to-dip ratio is 1:2...maybe 3, Tostitos Scoops are a no-brainer. Shaped like mini taco bowls, these tortilla chips ensure not only that you get a good grab of dip on your chip as you bring it up from the dunk, but also that the dip slide right off and down the front of your shirt during its journey to your mouth.
Perfect Dipper For: Salsa, especially proceeded or pureed; Meaty Nacho Cheese Dip; my mama's Corn Dip, for which I'll provide you a recipe below.
3 (11oz) cans Mexicorn whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (7oz) can green chilies, diced
2/3 cup Green onions, chopped
1 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Black pepper
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 (8oz) container Sour Cream
In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and cumin. Stir well.
Add mexicorn, chilis, black pepper, and green onions to the sour cream mixture. Stir well to combine.
Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.
Ruffles Original Potato Chips
The rrrridges, they beg for some sour cream. Some mayo. Some mid-weight, grippy dip or, in an emergency situation, a hearty bowl of Ranch dressing.
Perfect Dipper For: Sour Cream & Onion Dip; Dill & Chive Dip.
Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips
Kettle Brand s'mores? Kettle Brand s'mores?! An affront to salty snack lovers everywhere! I...I just...I can't even...wait to try some out 'round the campfire next summer. Mmmm, good lookin' out, KB.
For the winter at hand though, I'm sticking to the Sea Salt savory with these thick 'n' crunchy chips.
Perfect Dipper For: Smoked Whitefish Dip.
Wickedly Prime Plantain Chips
First of all, when did Amazon start making snacks?
Second of all, of course Amazon started making snacks. Like the plantain chips, they're all niche-faux-healthy items that are trending right now (trail mix, non-peanut nut butters) and easy to package and store because they're non-perishable. Wonder how long until they all show up in Whole Foods.
That said, plantain chips are, for me, a welcome addition to the chip & dip world. I like their thicker build and tropical flavor, especially with Mexican, Cuban, and Caribbean toppers.
Perfect Dipper For: Guacamole; Ceviche (even though it's not quite a dip.)
Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips
Stacy is the queen of the hummus. Her thick-yet-crispy, and yeastily-addictive pita chips are also some of the best for heavier dips, like spinach & artichoke. Or the fancy pants fig & olive tapenade with goat cheese my wife insists on serving at our Super Bowl parties for "the people who like food in colors other than neon and mayonnaise."
Perfect Dipper For: Hummus; Spinach & Artichoke Dip; Tzatziki; Baba Ghanoush; Feta Cheese Dip; pretty much any Greek or Middle Eastern dip.