After polling the general public for over half a decade and creating almost every flavor iteration imaginable, Frito-Lay seems to have decided to start leaning on its heavy hitters. Last year’s inter-brand crossovers brought us Doritos, Cheetos, and Funyuns flavored potato chips. This year, they’ve come back, but they also brought along the new Lay’s Kettle Cooked Fritos Chili Cheese Flavored Potato Chips. What a mouthful, literally and figuratively.
So how are they?
They’re very accurate. One of the fun parts of these flavor extensions is that because they’re all in the same brand “family,” we get the actual seasoning blends but on a different chip base. Having the EXACT same seasoning is part of the enjoyment.
The cheese flavor is apparent right away and not too overwhelming. The chili seasoning and cumin flavors come up quickly, especially when munching on over-seasoned chips. Before long, I got that feeling in the back of my throat as if I’d just done the cinnamon challenge but grabbed the wrong spice jar, which ended up being smoky chili powder.
It’s possible the corn chip sweetness balances this seasoning better than kettle chips because these get pretty salty pretty fast. It’s almost to the point that they’re a self-regulated serving size kind of snack. But I think the super high chili flavor is an identifying characteristic of Chili Cheese Fritos, so I wasn’t bothered by this.
Also, the significant crunchiness of a kettle chip was the right pairing for such a potent seasoning blend. I think the Kettle Cooked Chips are the far superior chip format among all that Frito-Lay offers, especially when trying to translate a flavor generally found on a uniquely crunchy and savory corn chip. Regular Lay’s just weren’t going to get the job done here.
Overall, I enjoyed these arguably over-seasoned chips. The chili cheese flavor on the kettle chip base is strong but recognizable. I wouldn’t be mad if they stick around for a while, and they also seem like a good fit for tailgates.
Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.