REVIEW: Lay’s Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips

Lay's Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips

To my dear Impulsive Buy readers:

I have a bit of a confession to make.

If you’re as attentive to my reviews as my ego likes to imagine you are, you may have noticed my reviews on this site focus 100 percent on sugar. I completely avoid the fast food section. Some of this has to do with the fact that the closest McDonald’s is a half hour excursion, but it also has to do with the fact that I don’t really eat meat.

I know, I am sorry.

I’m definitely not about to get all PETA on anyone, I just never really liked meat and decided the easiest way to get out of eating burnt hamburgers at cookouts was to just give it up. This has worked well, except for one exception. Bacon.

The thing is, most other meats have some form of suitable substitute out there. But bacon is irreplaceable; it’s God’s bookmark. Have you ever tried the horrendous slices of fake bacon that look like the polymer clay art projects I used to make in Girl Scouts?

So instead of giving up bacon, I have spent the last five years hosting brunches so that I can fill my apartment with the smell of bacon fat, “accidentally” eating the veggie dishes that I know have bacon bits in them, and using Bacon Salt far more liberally than I should. I am a fraud, and this is my confessional.

I had high hopes for these Lay’s Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips, since they had the potential to fulfill my bacon cravings without coming across as a complete hypocrite to all those who think I’m a real vegetarian. And while they weren’t as innovative as some of the other flavor submissions I saw, like “Salty Tears of Regret” and “Placenta,” bacon and mac & cheese are both pretty safe flavors in the salty snacks category.

Lay's Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips Bag

After opening the bag, I got a strong whiff of cheddar, and that’s about it. In my first few bites, all I could think about were the cheddar and sour cream chips I used to inhale. Thinking that maybe my palate was lacking its bacon detecting skills, I consulted my roommate in a taste test without letting her know what flavor they were. She too thought they were just cheddar and sour cream. If I really paid close attention, I could detect a slight bacon-y aftertaste. But I can also not identify a single point in my life where I have sat down and mindfully thought about each bite of a chip instead of just chomping on handfuls.

Because I was unconvinced in my first taste of these, I left about half the bag sitting in my room for a week to go back for a second test. And because I am lazy and bad at storing food, I left the bag completely open to go stale. Strangely, on this test, I could detect much more bacon flavor. It may have had something to do with the soft stale chip texture being reminiscent of bacon fat, but I may also just be crazy and searching for a satisfying meatless bacon substitute.

Lay's Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips Closeup

Of all the Do Us a Flavor finalists, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese is near the top. But I would vote for the Wasabi Ginger instead just because these seem too similar to current offerings.

I dream of an America where we can have the ridiculous assortment of chip flavors that they have overseas. However, I’m not sure if the general consumer is as amped at the thought of salmon teriyaki chips as I am, so I see these easily appealing to the widest audience.

If you know you’re not an adventurous eater, these would be the chips to try. Otherwise, I’d recommend trying all the finalists. You can find them in small bags and you can force your friends to eat the ones you don’t like without telling them what they are. Although they’re pretty mainstream, they’re pretty good. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for Lay’s Placenta Potato Chips next year.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz/about 15 chips – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 320 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Lay’s Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 2 7/8 oz bag
Purchased at: Co-op Food Stores
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Safe flavor. Appealing combo. Finding ways to still secretly get bacon in my life. Flavor intensifies when stale. Forcing your friends to eat gross food without knowing it. Placenta chips of the future.
Cons: Predictable. Taste like cheddar and sour cream chips. Having to eat mindfully and slowly to detect the actual bacon flavor. Fakin’ Bacon.

16 thoughts to “REVIEW: Lay’s Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips”

  1. Honestly, I have no desire to eat seafood flavored chips. If people like Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, then they should vote for it. If I liked the Whopper, why would I vote for the Big Mac?

  2. Mmmm, salmon teriyaki chips actually sound great! I bet those are already available in Japan. Placenta Potato Chips, aye? Marvo, that’s genius! Now I’m thinkin’ all kinds of other “sensual” flavored chips. lol

    I don’t care for those really crunchy shrimp chips like you find in the asian section. The “regular” porous shrimp chips like they sell in Costco work for me (I think Lays makes it).

  3. Of the new flavors these are the best, but they are boring. Wasabi Ginger was good in theory, but so bland. If they kicked up the flavor they would be a winner.

  4. yikes, very disappointing

    Natalie, if your looking for bacon flavor, search out Herrs bacon cheddar cheese puffs… they’re awesome! 😉

  5. Just tell people you’re a bacovegetarian.

    Have you tried Bacos? Yes, those crunchy little bits. They’re actually (gasp!) vegan! They don’t advertise themselves as such, of course. Really tasty in mac&cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches. You could sprinkle them over potato chips awash in cheese sauce, also, to make up for your disappointment in these chips.

    1. Nothing says “yum” like .. Defatted Soy Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Sugar, Artificial Flavor and Natural Flavor, Red 40 and Other Color Added, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (Corn, Soy, Wheat). Also known as Bacos.

      I’d rather accept the shame and admit I have an addiction to bacon. I don’t think I’ve ever ate a item that contained it and thought “it’d be better without bacon” because I’d be wrong. I might have thought “it’d be better with more bacon” and I’d be right.

      1. You’re reading a junk food/fast food site and are repulsed by that relatively benign list of ingredients?!?! It’s all reasonably real food (for American processed foods at least) except for extra colorings and flavorings (I think it must be a legal requirement to use those in everything possible in the US…). Bacos actually add significant amounts of protein due to the soy, by the way. 4 grams in two tablespoons.

    2. Store bought substitute bacon of any sort is nasty tasting.
      I always make my own facon.
      Soy curls, toasted sesame oil, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, and a good smoked salt.
      Stick it in a pan and cook it down until the curls suck in all the flavor and turn crispy again.
      After that I like drizzling on maple syrup and cooking it in until it gets sticky. As it cools it turns into the most amazing maple bacon.
      My family refuses to eat bacon any more.
      They want the FACON!

      1. I also have seen simple recipes involving thin tofu strips, but am kitchen-challenged so I try all the commercial vegan bacon. Weirdly, I actually like Morningstar’s veggie bacon but it’s loaded with egg whites (the allergenic part of the egg for me) so it’s a hazardous habit. Upton’s has good bacon stuff based on seitan. Tofurkey has good maple bacon tempeh strips. And PhoneyBaloney has excellent coconut bacon, based on coconut chips. They come ready to eat in bags. The flavor gets lost in anything that makes them moist, but added at the end or in sandwiches or out of the bag- very tasty. I’ll keep your recipe handy in case I get ambitious, though. Hmm- couldn’t you make your own facon potato chips with the same recipe?

  6. Creamy ripe avocados have a flavor similar to bacon. The unripe ones don’t.
    Coconut oil isn’t too shabby as a bacon fat substitute.
    In the 1970’s, General Foods came out with both a vegi-bacon and a vegi-dog, and their bacon was excellent.
    Miles above that MoStar stuff. They were not afraid to use vegi-fats, brown sugar or sweet hickory smoke.
    But alas, the product only lasted for about six months, never to be heard from again. I have often wished that one of the vegi companies would pick it up, but vegi food has the curse of heath attached to it. Can’t have salt. Can’t have fat. Can’t have calories. Too many splinter groups to please.

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