REVIEW: Doritos Roulette Cool Ranch

Doritos Roulette Cool Ranch Bag

I’m not much of a gambler. I’ve been to Las Vegas once, a couple of years ago on a work trip, and I played (and lost) $5 in the hotel casino slot machine just so I could say I did it. It’s not that I don’t like risk; I will skydive or play basketball with brittle 40-year-old man knees or scream obscenities at a bull in Pamplona any day of the week. What I don’t like about gambling is the part where I am forced to part with money (mostly) due to things outside of my control.

But what about gambling with food? I do plenty of that, actually. I’ll eat pizza that was accidentally left out on the counter all night and slather my sandwiches with mayonnaise well north of its expiration date. As a young man brimming with virulent stupidity, I once ate a chicken tender from a trashcan on Bourbon Street. So is an extremely hot Cool Ranch Doritos any worse? (Well, okay— it’s undoubtedly safer than Trashcan Chicken, that’s for sure.) Let’s discuss.

The original Doritos Roulette chip — of the nacho cheese ilk — debuted in the US in 2015. (It’d been available abroad the year prior.) To the delight of spicy snack fans, they resurfaced last year in their original nacho incantation. But with the recent advent of Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Doritos, it seemed fated that Frito-Lay would eventually try its hand at Cool Ranch Roulette. So is it worth the gamble?

If you like Cool Ranch Doritos and don’t mind hot, you’ll like these chips. But how hot do they get, you’re wondering? Pretty hot. Like, really pretty hot, but not, “My nose and eyes are leaking, and I’m rethinking some of my life’s decisions, and why did I put off meeting with that guy about the living will. He said that the consultation was free unless they actually drafted paperwork” hot. Fresh jalapeño hot, but not 7 Pot Douglah hot. (It’s a pepper, look it up.) The heat is intense and lingering, and it is almost immediate.

Doritos Roulette Cool Ranch Closeup

The first chip I had was a regular Cool Ranch, and as I reached for a second, I wondered, how many hot chips are there in this bag? Is it like, 1 out of 10? 1 out of — and then as soon as I bit the second chip, my lips were burning, followed almost immediately by my tongue. Alarming as this was, it didn’t hold up statistically. I ate five or six chips before I got another hot one. (You know, just enough time for your mouth to begin feeling sort of okay again.) And really, that seemed to be about the ratio -— one out of every six or seven chips was burny.

It’s also worth noting that just because you liked the Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Doritos, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like these. The FHCRD are a bit tangier and have more of a hot sauce burn, if you will, while this is much more of a pepper-based heat. Another reason that I enjoyed these more? If you have a kid who can’t yet read, it makes for a cheap laugh. (And it may also deter them from stealing your precious snacks.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, 0 grams of added sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ruffles Flamin’ Hot Cheddar & Sour Cream Potato Chips

Ruffles Flamin Hot Cheddar  Sour Cream Potato Chips Bag

I feel comfortable sharing something rather controversial with you all: I can’t stand Cheetos, crunchy or puffed. (Feel free to express your outrage in the comments.)

As the tastebuds of my peers developed to handle Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, I was envious that there wasn’t a Flamin’ Hot food for me to call my own. Luckily Frito-Lay began to add the seasoning to other munchies, and I could finally join my friends in doling out some bright red high fives. The newest snack to stain my fingers is the Ruffles Flamin’ Hot Cheddar & Sour Cream Potato Chips.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Cheddar  Sour Cream Potato Chips Lebron

The bag says the flavor is by LeBron James and it features a large photo of him and some inspirational words that tie into Ruffles’ “Own Your Ridges” campaign. I’m not sure if the flavor was LeBron’s idea or if he just supports Ruffles Flamin’ Hotting its cheddar and sour cream potato chip, but with the popularity of Flamin’ Hot snack foods in Los Angeles, a partnership with the Lakers star makes perfect sense.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Cheddar  Sour Cream Potato Chips Inside Bag

In the bag, the chips smelled very similar to the regular Cheddar & Sour Cream but with an added vinegary tang. They had that same richly colored Flamin’ Hot powder that coats other chips and puffs, and it was a generous covering that made the not hot version seem under-dusted by comparison.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Cheddar  Sour Cream Potato Chips Red Not Red

True to the name, these tasted like a Flamin’ Hot version of the Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles. Cheese and sour cream have long been standard accompaniments for spicy foods, and the pairing made just as much sense on these chips. The Flamin’ Hot powder felt comfortably at home with the cheddar and sour cream dust, but also switched things up a bit. Unlike the regular Cheddar & Sour Cream, which is very cheese flavor-forward, the acidic coating on the Flamin’ Hot version really brought out the sour cream, which was a welcome change for this fan of sour ‘n’ spicy foods. Additionally, Ruffles are robust chips and really hold their own when given the Flamin’ Hot treatment. I loved the substantial crunch and full potato taste of the chip underneath all that zesty seasoning.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Cheddar  Sour Cream Potato Chips Red

Like other Flamin’ Hot snacks I’ve tried, the spice level disarmed me by being minimal at first but then building after a serving or two. Even then, these chips never noticeably burned my mouth or stomach, and I only realized they were getting to me once my nose started to run. Others may wish these Ruffles were more picante, but I feel like they had the right amount of heat to allow one to eat them by the handful without a night of heartburn.

On that note, it seems I almost finished the entire bag as I wrote this review. Bright red high five to whoever can tell me the best way to get Flamin’ Hot Cheetle out of a laptop keyboard.

Purchased Price: $3.49 (on sale, originally $4.79)
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Ralphs
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams/about 13 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag

What is Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn?

Kicking off the year strong, Frito-Lay created a Sam’s Club exclusive variety of its popular Smartfood Popcorn that uses the classic Doritos Nacho Cheese seasoning. It offers the flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos, but without the stained fingers you might get with the chips.

How is it?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bowl

The flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos is strongly present but without the expected crunch of the tortilla chip or corn flavor. Admittedly, it was a little jarring at first. Once my mouth and brain took a moment to adjust expectations, it was a very delicious snack. Without the chip’s corn flavor, you get a chance to really taste the different elements of the nacho cheese seasoning. The garlic, onion, and paprika shine the most, with the cheese flavor coming in subtle at the end.

Anything else you need to know?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag Back

Because this is available at Sam’s Club, the item is over 2.5 times bigger than the standard Smartfood bag. If you don’t want to open it yet, you can always use it as a lower back pillow when you’re sitting at your desk.


Smartfood’s Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn is an all-around enjoyable item. It’s a nice blend of Smartfood Popcorn and Doritos Nacho Cheese that feels new, but familiar. I could absolutely see it being a hit at parties or as a new snack to break up the normal noshing. Hopefully, it does well enough that we get other crossover flavors in the future. Maybe some Smartfood Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Popcorn?

Purchased Price: $5.28
Size: 17 oz bag
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/3 cup) 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Layers (Sour Cream & Onion and Three Cheese)

Lay s Layers Bags

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.

Lay s Layers Sour Cream  Onion Inside Bag

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.

Lay s Layers Smooshed

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.

Lay s Layers Three Cheese Inside Bag

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.

Lay s Layers Side by Side

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.

REVIEW: Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch Doritos

Flamin Hot Cool Ranch Doritos Bag

Look out! Chester Cheetah and his mischievous buddy Sparky are unleashing their wild sides again, this time blasting fiery clouds of spicy, neon red Cheetle all over poor, unsuspecting Cool Ranch Doritos. What exactly is fueling this fire? Did the folks at Frito-Lay accidentally make way too much Hot dust and the solution to this abundance is to dump it on everything?

Okay, I’m a little biased. I enjoy spicy foods but just can’t get behind Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It isn’t that they’re too hot, but I find whatever the hot stuff is detracts from my enjoyment of the classic Cheetos taste. I acknowledge that I’m in the minority here because Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have a fierce and loyal following, and Frito-Lay knows it. It’s no accident that they’re sprinkling this seasoning on every product they make. More red dye 40 means more sales. Hot is popular and it’s my own fault I’ve never warmed to the concept.

Flamin Hot Cool Ranch Doritos Compare

With probable disappointment in mind, I still couldn’t help but pick up the familiar blue Cool Ranch bag, now featuring its corny triangle engulfed in flames. A peek inside revealed the expected aggressively red powder, and I figured I knew what I was in for. Some of the chips are liberally coated, but others seem almost like regular Cool Ranch Doritos that were spared the dousing of hell pollen.

Flamin Hot Cool Ranch Doritos Closeup

I ate one. Then three more. These chips still taste like Cool Ranch! In fact, Cool Ranch is the first thing I taste and continue to taste, even if my fingers are bright red. I have to eat several of them before the heat starts creeping in, and when it does make its presence known, it doesn’t overwhelm. It’s a pleasant pepper heat, and the ranch flavor never takes a back seat to it. I actually like these. I like them a lot.

Flamin Hot Cool Ranch Doritos Plated

How hot are they? I’m not sure I’d call them Flamin’ because I have to eat a lot of these before I even begin to feel the need to reach for a cooling beverage, and they certainly aren’t so hot that I ever need to take a break from eating them. My almost empty bag can attest to that. I think a pretty perfect balance has been struck here. These taste like the chips everyone already loves but pack just slightly more of a punch. I can’t say that I prefer them to regular Cool Ranch Doritos, but I can embrace them in a way I’ve never been able to with Flamin’ Hot editions before.

Now that this door has been opened, does it mean I should finally make that box of Flamin’ Hot mac and cheese that’s been sitting in my cupboard for a year and a half? If I do, you can be sure I’m going to pour these Dorito crumbs on top.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 9 1/4 oz bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams – about 12 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.