REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Fritos Chili Cheese Potato Chips

Lay s Kettle Cooked Fritos Chili Cheese Potato Chips Bag

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.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Fritos Chili Cheese Potato Chips Closeup

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.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Fritos Chili Cheese Potato Chips Bowl

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.

QUICK REVIEW: Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Burger

Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr Burger

What is the Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Burger?

Surely you’ve had a Sonic Jr. Burger at least once in your life, right? The Fritos Chili Cheese variation is precisely how it sounds: a small Sonic burger topped (or bottomed, I guess) with crunchy Fritos and mild chili, delicately ladled in a most un-Texas-like fashion for a moderately tasty burger.

How is it?

Growing up in the Lone Star State, just about every ballgame, birthday, and baptism had the opportunity to down a Frito pie or two. So it’s one of the rare things on this Earth that, sadly, I know all too intimately. And while yes, this is Sonic’s attempt to mimic it and call it its own, it isn’t quite there yet, at least when it comes to the whole burger thing.

Sonic Jr. burgers are always a delicious pick me up for just a couple of bites, and the Fritos and chili certainly don’t take anything away. But once you get a good look at how chintzy they are with the cheap chili con Fritos, you might ask why Sonic even bothered.

Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr Burger 2

Lightly dripped on the bottom bun with a small handful of Fritos, you’d do better to just order at Sonic Jr. Burger and go across the street to the convenience store and add a quarter bag of Fritos and some free cheese from the dispenser.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Even though the Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Burger is a slightly delicious dud, the chain is also offering, for 99 cents each, a small Fritos Chili Pie and a Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap. While they look a bit more suitable for the Frito/chili/cheese product, due to their low price point, it’s probably more than likely they’ll have about as much junk (or lack thereof) as the burger.


Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr Burger 3

For a $1.99, it’s mostly alright for the sparseness that you get. Sure, it’s something they’d kick you out of Texas for if the good ol’ boys in Austin ever find out, but until something with more Fritos and even more chili comes along, I guess it’ll have to do, partner.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available at press time.

REVIEW: Spicy Jalapeño Fritos

Spicy Jalapeno Fritos

Long live Fritos.

To misquote the legendary Braveheart, William Wallace:

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FRITOS!”

Now you might be thinking that only the brave of heart would dare try the new Spicy Jalapeño Fritos. Well, let me tell you something, cowardly sirs and madams, you’d be doing yourselves a disservice with that thought process.

When a new flavor of Fritos corn chips hits shelves, I hit the ground running. They might not drop with the frequency of their flashy brother Lay’s, but they’ve kept me quite happy over the years.

So with the assurance that Fritos have always been good to me, I grabbed their “newest” flavor with a ferocity that nearly popped the bag. I put “newest” in quotes because there have been Jalapeño Fritos varieties in the past, but these are new to me.

Spicy Jalapeno Fritos 2

After intentionally popping the bag, I was hit with a smell reminiscent of Taco Supreme Doritos. Remember those delicious bad boys?

The corn chips looked standard. They had a light coating of flavor dust, but that was almost undetectable to the naked eye.

The taste was distinctly jalapeño. They’re spicy, but not crazy spicy. I’m not one of those hot sauce aficionados who likes to marathon sweat when I eat, so I can imagine these being pretty tame to all you Spiceboys and Spicegirls. Whether your Taco Bell sauce is Mild or Diablo, I think they pack enough punch for all to enjoy, so spice up your life.

Spicy Jalapeno Fritos 3

I got down about half a bag and had to stop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I can easily get lost in a bag of Fritos and polish it off in one sitting, so having to pace myself didn’t bother me one bit.

As I say that, it would be remiss of me not to mention the fact regular Fritos are super oily. They’re amazing, but they’re so oily there’s almost a layer of moisture on each chip. Despite being addictive, after awhile Fritos usually give me the dreaded agita. Spicy Jalapeño took care of that problem.

Spicy Jalapeno Fritos 4

The powdery coating and the spiciness of the jalapeño seemed to neutralize the usual oiliness of Fritos. I’m sure this isn’t actually the case, but I think this also affected the crunch. The bag I bought was perfection.

I’d confidently go on record saying these were the freshest Fritos I’d ever had.

I guess I should try to give you a gauge on the spiciness. I had no clue they even made Flamin’ Hot Fritos, so I unfortunately cannot compare it to those. Taking flavor out of the equation, I would say these were about on par with Spicy Nacho Doritos. I always enjoyed those, but could never eat as many as the originals. That’s where I landed with these.

The aftertaste will actually trick your brain into thinking you just had some Doritos. The good thing is it doesn’t linger very long. I wasn’t feeling any burn a few minutes later.

Again, I’m no Spicehead, so keep that in mind. Sure, I like jalapeño in my burritos, but I don’t get too adventurous beyond that. That’s a perfect level of spice for people like me, but they’re not exactly setting the Scoville Scale ablaze.

I have no problem saying these are my new favorite Fritos. Chili Cheese used to stand alone, but hi ho the derry-o, we have a new leader in the pack. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be a “Limited Edition” slapped on the bag, so these might be around for good. Get on it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 2grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 9.25 oz. bag
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Great jalapeño flavor. Spot on spice level for me. No usual Frito oiliness. No agita. Ideal crunch. Scoops variety next? These would make for a great walking taco. Spice Girls reunion?!
Cons: Spice bordered on overwhelming after awhile. Powder fingers. My inability to commit to a 10 score. My unawareness to Flamin’ Hot Fritos. Taco Supreme Doritos aren’t on my shelves anymore.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch

Limited Edition Wild 'n Mild Ranch Fritos

I’m a product of Generation X, as coined by the famed author Douglas Coupland. Born between the advent of the wood paneled Atari 2600 and the ColecoVision, I was fathered by the 80’s. Scatter in some circular scratch & sniff stickers to boot.

The musty smell of wires and sweat in a mall’s darkened arcade evokes the same feelings in me as one would if they smelled fresh baked chocolate chip cookies from a well-worn oven. That is my nostalgia and that is my Americana.

I cradled my teen angst with multiple viewings of The Breakfast Club, The Hidden (An underrated Kyle MacLachlan classic), and Young Guns, all of which still transport me back to my parachute pants days whenever I catch them on television. My love for this decade led me to collect obscure New Wave singles and albums in college.

My Anglophile nature was a direct result of the “me” decade. I could bore you with theories on the influence Michael Mann and the Miami Vice series (except the weird episode with James Brown and aliens) had on modern cinema, but I won’t.

I still have worn out VCR tapes of bootleg New Order concerts I can’t play because I no longer have a VCR. I miss cassette tapes, as I used to produce my own “radio show” with my younger brother before he discovered pot. My puberty-tinged squeaky voice was heavy on the Staten Island accent, but heavier on the derogatory words.

My show “employed” awful racist characters such as reporters “Char Siu Charlie” who had a horrible off the boat accent and weatherman “Blackman Jones” who would end his report by calling people “jive turkeys.” That was fun, if not appropriate.

Ah, the 80’s are everything to me.

So how is it I never came across Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch Corn Chips when I was a child? It may be that my Mom only bought ShopRite brand regular chips or pretzel twists. This variety was unleashed in the 80s and Fritos made the wise decision to bring these back, albeit in Limited Edition form.

I broke my ranch flavor hymen the way most of us did…Cool Ranch Doritos and ever since then, I’m more than happy to try ranch anything. I’ve never been a fan of corn chips because they have a gritty feel in my mouth and sometimes they smell like sweaty feet. I never made the connection until I was sparring in a failed attempt to get any belt in martial arts and noticed the mats smelled of corn chips.

The ranch flavor sold me immediately when I passed by the non-potato chip shelf, which makes the first time I have bought corn chips out of my own interest. You cannot miss the bag because Fritos uses a teal blue package (I can hear the synths of Jan Hammer) for its Wild ‘n Mild Ranch.

Wild ‘n Mild is an oxymoron. It’s like a Christian band that “rocks” or ordering a good gin martini at an Applebee’s. How can one be wild AND mild? Unless you’re talking about those sexy librarians who have their hair tied up with those chunky black glasses.

Limited Edition Wild 'n Mild Ranch Fritos 2

There was a strong corn chip smell (or workout mats in my mind) once I opened the bag which made me wary because I didn’t want these to taste just of corn chips. I grabbed a few. There was a nice clean smokiness from the chips that gave way to a creamy mild ranch taste immediately. Let me emphasize this does not taste anything close to Cool Ranch Doritos, but more like its disciplined sarcastic sister who listens to Elbow and watches Downton Abbey.

Limited Edition Wild 'n Mild Ranch Fritos 4

I really liked them despite being corn chips. The great thing about these is you can eat a handful and not have your tongue overloaded with ranch zest. The ranch flavor, no matter how much you eat, remains in the middle range and the richness of the smoke from the corn is a good compliment.

Nothing really wild exists about these corn chips but I figure someone thought rhyming was a good selling point or calling these just ranch corn chips was boring. If you’re looking for an honest ranch corn chip, Fritos delivers. If you’re looking for something to kick your taste buds into sensory override, you will be disappointed.

Limited Edition Wild 'n Mild Ranch Fritos 1

That’s my only complaint. I wish the ranch flavor was more prevalent, but balancing a flavor like that is hard. You do get a great spike of ranch when you first eat the chips but it doesn’t linger. Before it quickly disappears, it whispers briefly such as the librarian who checks out your books as she judges your taste in novels and argyle sweater vests.

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I’m hoping Fritos shift these from limited edition to a regular product. Granted, the 80s have given us a lot of bad things, shoulder pads in blazers, that horrid “Walking on Sunshine” song, and mullets with rat tails. There are a great deal of good things as well and these Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch are one of them.

(Nutrition Facts – about 28 chips – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Limited Edition Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch reviews:
Junk Food Guy

Item: Limited Edition Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 10.5 ounces
Purchased at: Publix (where the parking is ridiculously annoying)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Ranch is not overpowering. Nice clean smokiness from the corn chips. The iconic hot librarian. Ranch is creamy and mild. “The Hidden” will make you pine for mashed potatoes and witness a pre-agent Cooper. New Wave music from the 80s and Elbow.
Cons: Ranch itself could be too mild. If I ever run for an elected position, those tapes will do me in. Limited edition which means who knows how long these will be around. Shoulder pad blazers from the 80s. Char Siu Charlie never hit it big as a reporter.