The newest item to get the Flamin’ Hot Limón treatment, these thicker than your average chip are dusted with that special blend of intense spices and a hint of lime. Lay’s released a plain Flamin’ Hot version of the kettle chips last year.
How is it?
While it had been a while since I tried anything “Flamin’ Hot” branded, these were enticing enough that I had to try them. The addition of the lime flavor as well as kettle chips seemed interesting and would hopefully add some layers to the Flamin’ Hot spice other than just “hot.”
I opened the bag expecting an overpowering smell of chili powder, but was greeted with that earthy kettle chip smell instead. The bright red chips warned me to not underestimate them. Its spicy chili flavor hits first and hard, but then is complemented by the citrusy lime. It’s almost like a tequila shot in a chip from the way the lime comes in at the end to mellow everything. The satisfying crunch from the kettle chip makes it an all around delicious snack.
Anything else you need to know?
Because of the spicy flavoring, these are more of a casual grazing chip for me versus my normal style of pouring a “portion” three or four times. The flavor is great, but my tolerance for spice sits somewhere between Franks Red Hot and Huy Fong brand Sriracha. After two handfuls, good as they may be, I had to give my mouth a break.
Flamin’ Hot purists may not care much for the addition of the lime, but I think it makes the flavor profile much more rounded and enjoyable for the casual Flamin’ Hot consumer. I also imagine paired with a corn elote dip, these would be a major hit.
Purchased Price: $3.49 Size: 8 oz bag Purchased at: Winn-Dixie Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (About 18 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Another genius Lay’s food scientist flex! They’ve been replicating our favorite dishes into a chip for nearly 10 years now. Inspiration not only comes from the crowdsourced Do Us A Flavor program, but also in seemingly random bursts of comfort food inspo like Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup. Game Day Chili is the newest comfort food add!
How are they?
I was prepared to be disappointed when I opened the bag and mostly smelled a faint barbecue sauce scent. I continued to think BBQ as I looked at the seasoning’s reddish hue. I did make a note of the generous and ample seasoning, though!
While the smell and visual under-promised, the taste over-delivered! To be fair, I didn’t experience the full spectrum of flavor notes described “…tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic, and Tex-Mex spices with a little back-end kick.” I got tomatoes, onion, garlic, and then straight into a nice bit of chili powder heat. It was a light burn that built up nicely and got my nose a bit runny after eating hand pincer after hand pincer of chips.
Anything else you need to know?
I usually tear into bags like nobody’s business, but the sheen on this one really caught my eye. Yes, I’m like a food packaging magpie. While I was admiring the luster of the blue, I noticed that the packaging looked more like the Flavor Icons bag with the plate of food on the bottom left, vertical color paneling, and white middle rather than the one-color “standard flavor” bag. It made me wonder if this was a Flavor Icon idea that didn’t make the initial cut, but someone important liked it, so it eventually made its way on shelves.
If you left these out on the table during game day, it’d probably be mistaken for BBQ chips, but your guests would be in for a good surprise! It’s a worthy try for an upcoming tailgate of one (a.k.a. everyday snack time) or for the actual big game, but don’t forget to stock up for National Chili Day (Feb. 25)!
Purchased Price: $3.79 Size: 7 3/4 oz bag Purchased at: Meijer Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Salted Caramel Potato Chips might be surprising or unusual to most. But should it be at this point in snack history?
First of all, this isn’t even the first salted caramel-flavored potato chip from a popular brand. That honor goes to the discontinued Salted Caramel Pringles (R.I.P.). On top of that, this isn’t the first out of left field salted caramel-flavored product from a PepsiCo brand. That distinction goes to Salted Caramel Pepsi.
Finally, it’s not surprising to see a sweet flavor from Lay’s, a brand that has offered Cappuccino and Cinnamon Bun flavored potato chips in the past. So if you take all of that into consideration, and the fact they all happened within the past six years, these chips are something we should’ve seen coming.
So are Lay’s Salted Caramel Potato Chips going to brighten your holiday or be the coal in your stocking?
In the photo below, the dark sections make the chips look as if they might’ve been fried in maple syrup. But they look that way due to the lighting. But they’re noticeably darker than original Lay’s potato chips.
But they definitely don’t smell anything like potato chips. The aroma is intense. It’s sweet, buttery, and salty. If I had someone close their eyes and had them smell what was coming out of the bag, they wouldn’t guess it was coming from potato chips. And when they open their eyes, they would learn that I snuck away.
Its salted caramel flavor isn’t as potent as its aroma, but it’s also sweet, buttery, and, surprisingly, not as salty as I thought it would be. However, unlike with the smell, the underlying potato chip is easily noticed after a few chews with some chips.
While I can totally taste how this might not be everyones’ cup of Bigelow Salted Caramel Tea, especially if you’ve never tried potato chips that are sweet, I think this is a pleasant seasonal snack. Although, I kind of knew I’d like them since I did enjoy the aforementioned Salted Caramel Pringles and Pepsi.
Oh, I should mention I found these chips odd to eat as a sandwich side, which is how I eat potato chips most of the time. So they should be enjoyed on their own. Or maybe crushed on top of ice cream.
If you wish to try Lay’s Salted Caramel Potato Chips (on or off ice cream), there are two things you should know — the flavor is available for a limited time and is a Kroger exclusive.
Purchased Price: Way too much on eBay Size: 7 3/4 oz bag Purchased at: eBay (but it’s a Kroger exclusive) Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips/28 g) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Seriously, I love it when Lay’s does its big multi-flavor rollouts, whether it be the jealousy-inducing “Do Us a Flavor” finalists, the recent music inspired flavors, or its “Tastes of America” campaign that these new “Flavor Icons” seem to be a continuation of, I’ve pretty much enjoyed every single special chip they’ve put out.
This year, the “Flavor Icons” are chips inspired by foods from famous American eateries. As an East Coast guy, I’ve personally dined at two of the five, so I guess I can say I have a frame of reference on a couple of these flavors.
I’ll rapid-fire through these reviews starting with the two places I’ve eaten at:
Lay’s Kettle Cooked Grimaldi’s New York Style Pizza (Brooklyn, NY)
Grimaldi’s is a chain of pizza places that originated where I originated, Brooklyn. I haven’t had it in years, but I do recall thinking the pizza was a little overrated. Needless to say, it’s a super famous NYC pizza joint, and that was a blasphemous opinion to anyone I mentioned it to.
Anyway, these chips hit me like a massive nostalgia bomb when I popped open the bag and got a whiff of the old Keebler Pizzeria Chips. I was probably in elementary school last time I had those, but it all came back to me.
Speaking of memories, these hit me right in my taste receptors because WOW(!!!), they tasted exactly like how I remember Grimaldi’s. The chain makes a very saucy pizza, and they definitely gave their secret recipe to Frito Lay. I’d describe it as “gourmet,” with all the ingredients you’d expect from a pizza sauce – onion, garlic, oregano, basil, olive oil, etc.
I’m more of a cheese guy, so I loved the fresh mozzarella flavor and tiny bit of parmesan on the backend. I do not think they needed to be kettle-style, but it reminded me of a crisp pizza crust, so it worked. Pizza is usually hit or miss in chip form. These may be the best pizza chips I’ve ever had.
Purchased Price: $2.50 Size: 7 3/4 oz bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (18 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Geno’s Philly Cheesesteak (I’ll give ya a hint, PA)
I’ll tread lightly because I don’t know how to talk about Philly cheesesteaks without breaking the rules. Last time I went to Philly, I got a steak at Geno’s… then I walked across the street and got one at Pat’s, so I don’t have a preference. Cheesesteaks are just awesome.
These chips start out tasting just like Cheddar and Sour Cream, but as I went on, I started to get a “meat” flavor I guess you’d classify as beefy. Beef and even a hint of peppers remain as an aftertaste. So, it starts with the cheese “whiz” (did I do that right?) and some onion, and ends with the beef and peppers. It’s actually pretty complex, and I thought these were excellent.
Purchased Price: $2.50 Size: 7 3/4 oz bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 210 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Wavy El Torito Carnitas Street Taco (Marina Del Ray, CA)
Now we get to the places I’ve never been to. Carnitas were my go-to Mexican order before I decided to stop eating pork. Well, I broke my resolution because these chips actually have pork listed as an ingredient. They definitely taste like charred pulled Mexican-style pork, albeit weakly.
They start with a very slight sweetness that I attributed to the sauce El Torito must use to simmer the pork. There’s a little blast of lime and fresh chopped onion in there too. There’s a weird, dull “dryness” to these that I persuaded myself was supposed to mimic the tortilla. These don’t POP as much the rest of the lineup, but they’re still pretty tasty, and I love that they’re Wavy.
Purchased Price: $2.50 Size: 7 3/4 oz bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 210 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of protein.
Lay’s Cocina Azul Chile Relleno (Albuquerque, NM)
Full transparency, I didn’t even know what this was – some kinda egg and cheese mix stuffed inside a pepper? Sure, why not, that sounds good. Well, after eating the chip, I’m gonna make it my duty to seek out the actual dish.
These chips smell and taste like a light queso dip. The chile pepper tastes both crisp and vibrant while giving off the perfect amount of heat. They’re not really too spicy, which I appreciated. There is also definitely an “eggy” taste, like cheesy scrambled eggs that peek out towards the finish. These are probably the saltiest of the bunch, and I imagine some may think they’re too mild overall, but I’m a big fan.
Purchased Price: $1.89 Size: 2 5/8 oz bag Purchased at: 7-Eleven Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 180 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Party Fowl Nashville Hot Chicken (Guess Where, TN)
Now I’ve had plenty of hot chicken in my life, but I’ve never had Nashville-specific hot chicken, so forgive me if I say anything out of line.
As you’d expect, these are the hottest chip in the bunch. I’d put them slightly under the standard “Flamin’ Hot” heat, which keeps them very snackable. These are undeniably chicken-flavored, but they mostly tasted like crispy chicken skin to me.
They had that “dryness” that I mentioned in the Carnitas review, that I can’t quite find a better word for. I like it, though. The hot sauce flavor doesn’t have any particular ingredient I can pinpoint. Google tells me they usually use cayenne and brown sugar, but I didn’t necessarily get that, nor were they listed as ingredients.
There’s a pickle on the bag, but I don’t believe this has any pickle flavor. I would have loved a little splash of dill, but not a huge deal.
Purchased Price: $2.50 Size: 7 3/4 oz bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 190 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
So, there ya have ’em. I pretty much loved all five, but a couple were near perfect. I can’t be super confident that three are perfectly accurate to the specific restaurant dish they’re copying, but judging from the two I know, I bet they’re pretty spot on.
Maybe I’m just an easy (Frito) lay, but I’m really impressed. These might be the most complex flavor profiles Lay’s have tackled to date, and they nailed ’em. Basically, every intended ingredient of each dish came through for me. That never happens.
According to the bags you have until 9/10/20 to try these. Don’t drag your feet. Otherwise, you’ll have to drive coast to coast to try the real things.
Oh, and if anyone from Frito Lay is reading this, I dare you to make my last flavor submission – Onion Knish with Spicy Mustard!
I have been known to liberally drown potato chips (and all chips, really) in excessive amounts of hot sauce. I tend to make a bit of a mess when doing this, but it’s absolutely worth it. So, I feel fairly qualified to review the new Lay’s Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce Potato Chips (that’s a mouthful).
Previously, Lay’s released a Tapatio potato chip that I enjoyed. In that case, it wasn’t as good as putting actual Tapatio on potato chips, but it was still a winner. I set my expectations for a similar experience here, even though Frank’s and Tapatio are different beasts entirely.
These new chips from Lay’s hit my nostrils with a welcoming aroma of spice, not unlike that of the Tapatio or other spicy chips that I’ve had. With these, however, there is a very prevalent fragrance of vinegar. It’s not the same sensation as smelling the hot sauce directly, but it does evoke memories of it.
They are appropriately orange, much like a barbecue chip. I was worried there was going to be obnoxious bright red powder coating them, which I’m not a fan of. The tried-and-true Lay’s crunch is the first thing I notice. Not that I was expecting anything different, I feel obligated to mention it.
There is a strong taste of vinegar and some noticeable cayenne pepper flavor. They have all the components of Frank’s RedHot and conjure up its essence. There are also elements of garlic and onion. They’re a tasty chip, but not quite the same as pouring the hot sauce on a plain potato chip.
The heat is interesting. They’re pretty mild at first, with a few rogue spicy chips mixed in. After eating more, though, a slow burn kicks in. It was a touch spicier than I was expecting, which made for a nice surprise (but still not as hot as I would like).
Frank’s is far from my favorite hot sauce, but it will always do in a pinch. That’s how I feel about these chips. I would prefer to have the Tapatio Lay’s back, but these totally work. It would be fantastic if Lay’s branched out and partnered up with more hot sauce companies in the future.
Purchased Price: $1.68 Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat,1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
To determine whether you’ll love Lay’s Sea Salt & Vinegar Poppables, you have to ask yourself three simple questions.
Do you like salt and vinegar potato chips?
Do you enjoy the crispy texture of Lay’s Poppables?
If it was discontinued, would you send a tear-jerking email to Frito-Lay about how there’s now a hole in your heart that could only be filled with Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Poppables?
If you said “yes” to all three questions, I now pronounce you husband and life snack or wife and life snack. You may now eat your life snack.
Well, actually, if you said “yes” to the first two questions, then you’ll probably end up enjoying this salty and tangy version of the airy potato snack. It has the same flavor you’d taste with Lay’s original and Kettle Cooked Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips, and the same satisfying crispiness as all the other Lay’s Poppables.
It’s exactly what I expected, and I LOVED them.
Yes, past tense.
That deep affection from eating the first few handfuls blinded me from realizing something disheartening about Poppables — there’s not much of it in the bag.
When I mindlessly eat regular or Kettle Cooked salt and vinegar potato chips, which happens more often than I’d like to admit, I can look into the bag after munching for a while and see that I’ve put a noticeable dent into what’s there. But there’s still a lot left.
With these Poppables, I did the same mindless eating, and when I checked to see how much was left, I was shocked that three-fourths of the bag was gone.
I guess I never paid attention to how much is stuffed inside. A regular bag of Kettle Cooked has eight ounces, and standard Lay’s has 7.75. Poppables has just five.
So that made me ask myself, “How much do I like Poppables’ crispiness?” Is it enough for me to overlook the fact that I can get more salty and tangy munching satisfaction with its crunchier chip cousins?
I took a hard look at myself in a mirror and thought I didn’t truly LOVE Lay’s Sea Salt & Vinegar Poppables. I really like them, and I’d take them over any other Poppables variety, but if they ever go away, I won’t be writing a sad email to Frito-Lay. I’ll move on and chomp Lay’s Kettle Cooked Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips.
Purchased Price: $5.89* Size: 5 oz. bag Purchased at: Times Supermarket Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 28 pieces) 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.