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: Lay’s Flavor Swap Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Wavy Funyuns Potato Chips

Lay s Flavor Swap Bags

Looks like Frito-Lay is taking a cue from the entertainment industry and rebooting some of its classics.

Now before you start whining about your “ruined childhoods” or your disdain about swapping Chester Cheetah from corn to potato, just take a step back and admit that you’re intrigued. You know you are. You can’t tell me the entire idea of Frito-Lay Flavor Swaps isn’t exciting. I won’t believe you.

In my opinion, this is the most exciting thing it’s done in years. I was way more pumped to try these than the usual “Do Us a Flavor” releases. I mean, I already know I love the flavors. I’ve been eating them my entire life. My only question is, will said flavors translate in a potato chip form?

I figured the best way to attack the review was to tackle each flavor one at a time, then obviously compare them to the iconic snacks that inspired them.

Cheetos

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Bags

First off, I’m shocked these weren’t kettle chips. Usually, when Frito-Lay does one of its gimmicky multi-chip rollouts, each style of chip is represented. I’d imagine most people think of the Crunchy Cheetos when they hear the name, so a crunchier chip would have made sense.

Whatever, I’m more of a puff guy anyway, so I’m fine with the decision to just make these Cheetos-flavored normal(?) chips. #PuffGang sound off in the comments!

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Swap

Initially, these just had a generic cheese flavor. If you told me they were some kind of fancy “sharp” cheddar without showing me the bag, I wouldn’t have ever guessed “Cheetos.”

Once I tried them side by side with the actual Cheetos, I got it. I had to jog my flavor memory, but they definitely taste like Cheetos.

So yeah, they deliver. These chips taste like Cheetos dust, but they’re a little weaker. Of course, therein lies the problem – they taste like Cheetos dust, not necessarily Cheetos. More on that topic when I review the next flavor.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Bowl

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2.63 oz bag
Purchased at: Wawa
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 17 Chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Cool Ranch

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Bags

Cool Ranch Doritos might be one of the ten greatest flavors to ever grace the Earth. How could they possibly mess this up?

Well, as it turns out when Cool Ranch dust isn’t on a triangular tortilla chip, it just kinda tastes like a remixed sour cream and onion. Actually, I’d say it’s more like 1/4 ranch and 3/4 sour cream and onion.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Swap

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Specks

I think you could be fooled into thinking that’s what they are. The chips do have that classic Cool Ranch speckle to them, but it’s not nearly as caked-on as the Doritos you’re used to. It’s kind of a bummer.

I mean, once you know what they are, you’re definitely gonna taste the Cool Ranch, but these are more like a Diet Cool Ranch if that makes sense. These suffer from the same thing as the Cheetos chips – thin potato chips are not an ideal delivery system for these flavors.

To be fair, I’m accustomed to the norm, so that might be clouding my scoring. That being said, I just think this flavor needs the crisp of a tortilla chip to really shine.

Cheetos and Doritos are as much about texture as they are about flavor. Sure, I knew what I was getting into, but when you take away that key corn-based component from both of them, the flavors really don’t pop as much.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Bowl

But look… it’s still Cool Ranch. Even if they lean sour cream, they’re still delicious. They’re just nowhere near the 10 out 10 Cool Ranch Doritos they’re mimicking.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7.25 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 17 Chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Funyuns

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Bags

Now we’re talking!

For everything I just said about the texture of Cheetos and Doritos, Funyuns are the opposite for me. I love the flavor of Funyuns, but I absolutely hate the texture.

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Swap

For all the crap Cap’n Crunch gets for shredding your palate, Funyuns should get double. They always taste stale and salty, so my mouth feels like the Sahara after chomping about seven rings.

These Funyuns-flavored chips are easily the best of the three, even though they probably have the most diminishing returns.

Whereas the Cheetos flavor bloomed as I went on, the onion flavor faded as I ate them, but Funyuns is the most lowkey flavor of the three, so it didn’t bother me. I ate the most of these in one sitting, and the first few chips were incredible.

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Bowl

The choice to make these wavy was also brilliant. Even though I don’t like the rings’ texture, I still appreciated a bit more crunch than the usual thin chips.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 Chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

So, I have to say Funyuns was the overall victor here. Can’t say I expected that. Maybe if Cool Ranch and Cheetos were wavy or kettle chips, they would have won out, but I guess we’ll never know.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all good, and I love the Flavor Swap concept, but two of the three suffer from the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage.

One thing that really excites me about this release is that we might be one step closer to finally getting Frito-Lay-flavored dusts in the spice aisle. I’ve been calling for that since I was a kid. If you can sprinkle a potato chip with Cool Ranch, I should be able to sprinkle a piece of chicken with it. Let me put Cheetos dust on my burgers! Is that too much to ask?!

Maybe.

In the meantime, check these out. You know you’re probably gonna anyway. Cheetos and Doritos can’t be beat, but apparently, Funyuns can.

If these do well, we might even get some more swaps in the future. Please, keep ruining my childhood.

REVIEW: Lay’s Summer BLT, Chile Mango, and Wavy Jerk Chicken Potato Chips

Lay s Summer 2021 Flavors

Some industries are inherently more lighthearted than others. Not everyone can save lives every day; some people have to go to work and invent new potato chip flavors!

Okay, maybe “have to” isn’t the most accurate verbiage. But when I think of these industry professionals, specifically at Frito-Lay, my biggest hope and expectation is that somewhere within that company is a running list of EVERY variety they’ve ever commercialized. “The List” of everything from the all-star favorites like the day they stumbled upon Sour Cream & Onion perfection to the more recent cringe marketing stunts like Cappuccino…whuff.

Something about the idea of this compiled data set makes me grateful for humanity and our quirks. The latest additions to The List are the 2021 summer flavor line-up of Summer BLT, Chile Mango, and Wavy Jerk Chicken.

My first impression of this line is that the bags are gorgeous. Maybe a blend of food illustrations and actual images isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I thought they were vibrant. There were WAY more images of the ingredients on these bags than other Lay’s varieties which made me wonder if I should expect bolder flavor profiles overall.

Summer BLT

Lay s Summer BLT

I’m not sure a “summer” BLT is really a thing, but maybe this is Frito Lay’s attempt to designate between the Classic BLT chips of 2012, the BLT reboot of 2017, and this latest endeavor. Overall, I would categorize these as delicate. The flavor is light, and if I were eating anything else at the same time, I don’t think I’d taste much.

I was obviously expecting to taste bacon, but oddly there wasn’t really much of it or any smokiness. Actually, these chips tasted like mayonnaise and lettuce. There was a sweetness that might have been an attempt at tomato, but overall these were subtle and underwhelming.

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Chile Mango

Lay s Chile Mango

These were certainly not lacking in flavor. The mango comes through bright and sweet, possibly too sweet for some, but definitely on the nose. These chips are TASTY. Usually, my biggest issue with spicy fruit combos is the heavy-handed use of lime, but that’s not the case with these chips. Could they be spicier? Definitely, but overall these are a fantastic blend of sweet mango and savory spice, and I intend to crush at least half the remaining bag while sipping a margarita in the sunshine.

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Wavy Jerk Chicken

Lay s Wavy Jerk Chicken

Last but certainly not least is the Wavy Jerk Chicken chip, and let’s just say there’s A LOT going on here. I tasted brown sugar, a floral spice, heat, savory garlic, and that smoky and brothy flavor that Lay’s has used multiple times to deliver the taste of charred chicken. They didn’t really meld together so much as each one shows up in a flash before the next comes barreling in.

The aftertaste is like I just ate jerk chicken, but I’m not sure the chips taste that way. They are full of flavor, though. Possibly so much so that I wouldn’t want to eat much more than a serving.

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 7 1/2 oz bag
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) – 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Overall, I think these new flavors show a wide range of trendy complex flavors, but they each miss the mark by enough in their own way that I would be surprised if they stuck around longer than a single season. Not to worry, though, I’m sure Frito-Lay is already cookin’ up the next flavors to add to The List.

REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Extra Potato Chips

Lay s Kettle Cooked Extra Potato Chips Bags

What are Lay’s Kettle Cooked Extra Potato Chips?

Two new additions have been released within the Lay’s Kettle Cooked chip line: Extra in Honey Habanero flavor and Extreme Cheddar flavor. Not a lot of information exists other than they are supposed to be EXTRA crunchy and have EXTRA flavor.

How are they?

Kettle chips are already crunchier than your average chip due to their thickness and cooking process, so I was curious about how much more crunchy they could be.

Spoiler alert: a pretty unperceivable amount.

They seemed pretty much the same level of crunch as the non-EXTRA branded chips. They are still fairly crunchy, but I would advise you to set your expectations low as to them being more crunchy than standard kettle chips.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Extra Potato Chips Honey Habanero

Of the two flavors, the Honey Habanero was the one I was most excited about. I really enjoy the mixture of sweetness (honey in particular) to spicy things. It usually adds such a richness to the spicy peppers. The initial spicy pepper flavor is followed by a very subtle sweetness. That vivid honey flavor I had hoped for just wasn’t there.

Compared to the Flamin’ Hot flavored items, these are fairly tame. They certainly have a kick, but not burn your face off level. A perfectly fine spicy chip on its own, but with the lack of honey flavor standing out, it just wasn’t what I had hoped for.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Extra Potato Chips Extreme Cheddar

Even though I had lower expectations for the Extreme Cheddar one (What makes it extreme? Does it skateboard? Is that still considered extreme?!), it ended up being the better of the two. Eating it, I was immediately reminded of another item. I realize this might be extremely niche, but if you’ve ever had the TGI Fridays Potato Skins Snacks, these were EXACTLY how I remember them. A robust cheesy flavor with a sour cream finish, these are a solid chip.

Anything else you need to know?

Kettle chips weren’t created until 1982. Well, chances are they were around, but they became a more mass-produced product in 1982.

Conclusion:

If these had been presented as two new flavors under the regular Lay’s Kettle line, I might’ve given them a higher rating as they are perfectly fine kettle chips. But they fail to deliver as the advertised EXTRA: no real extra crunch or extra flavor.

Purchased Price: $2.98 each
Size: 7 3/4 oz bags
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Honey Habanero), 6 out of 10 (Extreme Cheddar)
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) Honey Habanero – 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Extreme Cheddar – 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 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot Limon Potato Chips

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Limon Potato Chips Bag

What are Lay’s Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot Limón?

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.”

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Limon Potato Chips Inside Bag

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?

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Limon Potato Chips Closeup

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.

Conclusion:

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.