As a part of the TIB community, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I enjoy, or well, would TRY any flavor release that the whackos in the Frito-Lay flavor labs concoct. That commitment hits nary a roadblock when I see they’ve come up with a new chip format! No, crisp! No, “crispy layered potato bites.” Alright, fine, that. Gimme it!
Lay’s Layers come in two crowd-pleasing and fairly standard flavors — Sour Cream & Onion and Three Cheese. I’m on board with the flavors since the “New” aspect of this snack is absolutely its extruded physical format. And yes, Frito-Lay does make Doritos 3D, which initially launched in the ’90s and made a nostalgic comeback last year. Does anyone remember the mini 3D Doritos snack tube? That thing blew my middle-school brain. However, those are corn-based and only contain a single plebian layer! Lay’s Layers are potato-based and have a whole second floor of crunch — an ENTIRELY new snack.
I decided to start with the Sour Cream & Onion flavor and was immediately unimpressed at the level of air in the bag but assumed this must be the case as they don’t want all those painstakingly created layers to get crushed. The next thing I noticed was how incredibly crunchy the layers are. When you munch on these, everyone within earshot will know. The texture reminded me of Bugles (not affiliated with Frito-Lay) but much lighter and broke down faster in the mouth, presumably because they are made from potato, not cornmeal. The Sour Cream & Onion flavor was light, but something was off about the aftertaste. I think it’s tough to deliver such an iconic flavor profile in a new format, but while I enjoyed eating these, the lingering flavor in my mouth was like onion-flavored potato powder. Not the best.
I should also mention that I don’t believe I encountered a single one that maintained the perfectly circular shape as advertised on the front of the bag. It didn’t detract from the crunch delivery, but that little Pepsi logo shape is definitely not what these look like IRL.
Moving on to the Three Cheese, I was encouraged by the vibrant color and hoped this would indicate its cheese flavor level. I mean, if you’re going to claim you used three, it better taste cheesy. Much to my delight, the Three Cheese Layers were spot on, and the lingering potato taste wasn’t nearly as prevalent. They were crunchy, salty, cheesy, and reminded me very much of Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles but without so much oily residue. There was no mention of sour cream in the ingredient line, but I did catch buttermilk and onion powder, so maybe that’s where that profile came from? Either way, a winner in my book.
Overall I’d say Frito Lay is on to something with this format. The added crunch layer delivers a new texture experience, but they have a bit of an aftertaste curveball to manage with the lingering dehydrated potato flavor. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next flavor iterations.
Purchased Price: $3.99 each
Size: 4.75oz Bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s (a Kroger store)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Sour Cream & Onion), 9 out of 10 (Three Cheese)
Nutrition Facts: (22 pieces) Sour Cream & Onion – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of protein. Three Cheese – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gram of protein.