After the success of the regionally-inspired “Do Us a Flavor” chips, Lay’s is back with something new – chips inspired by genres of music.
ARE Y’ALL READY TO TURN UP THE FLAVOR?!
I’ll take that tepid response as a “yes.”
Like snack preference, musical taste is subjective, but I’m gonna try to compare each new chip flavor to a song from the genre they’re inspired by.
Tonight’s opening act is Classic Beer Cheese.
I guess Lay’s took the classic “rock” inspiration literally by making these “hard as a rock” kettle chips.
The chips smell like cheese, but not much like beer. The initial taste is that of flat pilsner followed by a muted indiscriminate cheese taste. I was hoping for a sharp cheddar flavor, but it’s dulled down a bit by that faint hint of a beer you may have consumed ten minutes prior.
As with every kettle chip I’ve ever had, they tasted kinda stale, and I wished these were just a regular chip, but I know people love this style. They’re fine but didn’t rock my socks off like I thought they would. I prefer Kettle Brand’s Cheddar Beer flavor, which are the only other beer cheese chips I’ve tasted.
Inspired by the classic rock genre, the beverage featured, and the lightning bolt in the name, I’ll compare these to a solid rock song I never need to hear again in my life – Have a Drink On Me by AC/DC.
Whatever, no one comes to see the opening act anyway.
Next up to the stage is, Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix!
Here we have a Hip-Hop inspired continuation of Frito Lay’s brand-crossing Flamin’ Hot line, and they’re exactly as advertised.
The smell from the bag is amazing. There’s heat as well as that aroma of popping the lid off a pickle jar. The chips may be a mess, but they taste like pickles. Imagine dipping a pickle in hot sauce, and that’s essentially what you get. The heat is a nice complementary Hype Man for the pickle. I mean, these may have been slightly better without the Flamin’ Hot element, but that wouldn’t be very “hip-hop,” now would it?
I’ll compare these to a classic hip hop track that fires me up so much I can only listen in small doses – Ante Up by M.O.P.
And now ladies and gentlemen, give it up for your headliner, Electric Lime & Sea Salt!
So, upon opening this bag, there were some technical difficulties.
I was taken completely aback by the scent of expired cold cuts took me completely aback. It was confusing, to say the least. Most pop music stinks, so maybe I didn’t realize how literal they were with the inspired genre?
Despite the smell, I trudged on, and I am glad I did. The initial smell cleared a bit and I was left with a nearly flawless potato chip. I like these better than any single “Do Us a Flavor” release.
There’s nothing crazy here, it’s just a wavy chip flavored with lime and sea salt, and it works so damn well. If you’ve ever had Tostito’s Hint of Lime (the best tortilla chip in the aisle, IMO), it’s that except it somehow works even better on a ridged potato chip.
I polished off the bag in two sittings.
I tried to think of a pop song I initially thought was a giant fart bomb but almost instantly changed my mind on. There’s only one fairly recent pop song I could recall that hit me, and it CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL.
“Did he just hype Miley Cyrus while basically calling AC/DC average earlier?”
He did. Wrecking Ball is great. You like it, and you know it. You’ll like these chips too, even if they’re a guilty pleasure.
I wouldn’t be upsetting if any of these become mainstays, but Lime & Sea Salt is elite. Now that the former King of Pop is “canceled,” we should pass the name on to these chips.
Lay’s needs to expand on this new line. Gimmie a country-inspired flavor. Classical. Whatever you call that electro-techno music. Bring ’em on. Here’s hoping they turn up some more varieties. We need an encore.
Purchased Price: $2.50 each Size: 7.5 oz. bags Purchased at: Wegmans Rating: 5 out of 10 Classic Beer Cheese) Rating: 8 out of 10 (Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix) Rating: 9 out of 10 (Electric Lime & Sea Salt) Nutrition Facts: (15 chips) Classic Beer Cheese – 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 grams of sodium, 165 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Remix – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 grams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Electric Lime & Sea Salt – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 grams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
The standard restaurant table space takers, salt and pepper, have been on Lay’s original and Kettle Cooked chips, but this is the first time they’ve been on Lay’s Wavy chips. Okay, chip nerds about to correct me, the first time on Lay’s Wavy in the U.S.
How are they?
I was expecting these to be peppery, but their saltiness was surprising. In my mind, I thought the level would be the usual amount on chips, but they taste extra salty. I’m not talking like sea salt chips level but beyond that. I imagine if there wasn’t any pepper to cut through it, these chips might be too harsh.
In no way does the added rock seasoning overpower the pepper. In fact, the salt enhances it, making it a good addition. Although my doctor, who knows what my average blood pressure is, would probably shake his head at the previous sentence.
The amount of pepper is just right to me. Although it doesn’t look like there’s much on the chips, what’s there provides a peppery punch. I imagine it might be potent to some, but I love it.
The bag says they’re great for dipping, but I did not follow that subtle hint to buy a Frito-Lay dip along with the chips. I’m sure they’re great for dipping, but they’re great as they are.
Much like ketchup potato chips, salt and pepper chips are a rare sight on store shelves. I don’t know how long Lay’s Wavy Salt & Pepper Potato Chips are going to be available, but if you’re a fan of the flavor, I’d suggest hoarding them now.
Purchased Price: $3.50 Size: 7 1/2 oz. bag Purchased at: Target Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 13 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
The latest flavor in Frito-Lay’s Poppables line is Creamy Jalapeno. While I’ve loved every variety thus far, I can’t decide if the random “Creamy” in the name sounds appetizing or gross.
How are they?
I’ll end the short-lived suspense. Lay’s Poppables Creamy Jalapeno are anything but gross. In fact, I’m ready to admit I’m a full-on Poppables fanboy. These things are delicious.
I love the shape of these. It provides for an excellent airy crisp unlike basically everything on the market right now. The shape of these are like giant potato Chex in a way.
The jalapeno flavor is the standard you’d expect from Frito Lay, which is a good thing. If you’ve had the jalapeno chips or Fritos, there’s not much deviation from that flavor, although the “creamy” element does provide a nice counterbalance. Plus, the potato flavor seems slightly more pronounced than a normal chip for some reason, and it all just marries together perfectly. There’s really a bit of “creaminess” at play here.
The spice level is manageable, and dare I say “pleasant” in its afterburn.
Is there anything else I need to know?
I don’t necessarily know what to attribute the “creaminess” to, but “creamy jalapeno powder,” sour cream, and yogurt powder are ingredients. I’m thrown off because Frito-Lay usually makes it a point to show a dollop (the worst word in the English language) of sour cream or something on the bag itself.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, I loved the smell of these. It reminded me of unwrapping an Italian sub (or “hero,” or whatever weird name you call a sandwich).
I’m just a big fan of Poppables, and I think Creamy Jalapeno is the best flavor so far. There’s a bigger bag than the one I purchased, and I’m kicking myself for not getting it.
I assume this snack line is doing well, so all I can hope is that Frito-Lay parlays the success into a reboot of Dorito’s 3Ds, which I’ve been clamoring for since they disappeared over a decade ago.
Purchased Price: $1.48 Size: 2 oz. bag Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1 oz.) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.
In previous years, Lay’s rolled out several flavors at one time for its Do Us A Flavor promotion. Many of us would purchase all three to fill out stomachs with potatoes and fill Frito-Lay’s coffers with that sweet, sweet Do Us A Flavor money.
This year, with its Tastes of America promotion, it’s different. We couldn’t go to the stores and purchase all eight of the new flavors. Instead, they were spread across the country regionally and the only ways to taste all of them were to take a road trip across the U.S. (not feasible), buy them all from Lay’s website (if it didn’t sell out first), buy them all in a special pack from Amazon (if it didn’t sell out), or purcase all the flavors from someone on eBay (for double what the seller bought them in the store for).
Thank goodness we have writers across the country. Although, not all the flavors are covered. Hope to add those later.
Lay’s Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice Potato Chips
Lay’s is certainly not the first chip brand to release a flavor using crab spices. Herr’s has a partnership with Old Bay seasoning for one, and the gold standard (in my opinion, of course) Utz has “The Crab Chip.”
Knowing each of those chips pretty well, I was really pumped to see how Lay’s would stack up in the Chesapeake Bay Crab Seasoning-flavored chip race.
Long story short, Lay’s has done an admirable job.
Although not in the ingredient list, I got a vague vinegary tanginess that led nicely into the paprika heavy burn of the crab spice. It’s not spicy hot, but will leave you feeling like you’ve recently ate something spicy.
Like the Lobster Roll chips (read review below), these aren’t flavored after the shellfish itself, but rather the spices said protein is usually prepared in. I still would have liked for them to at least try to add more actual crab meat flavor, but as I said in the other review, it was probably a smart decision to avoid seafood altogether.
I’d say these live up to their name better than New England Lobster Roll, but aren’t that much different in the sense they just basically removed the Sour Cream and Onion taste and went all out on the crab seasoning. I did however crave crabs more after eating these than I did lobster after the other.
One negative I’d give is these left me with a bit of agita, so I gave New England Lobster Roll a tiny edge. Still, if you like this flavor, these are exactly as advertised.
Purchased Price: $2.99 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Wegmans 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, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Chile Con Queso Potato Chips
Chile Con Queso, or chili pepper with cheese, or simply “queso” is a melted spiced cheesy dish popular in the Southwest that to me truly defines TexMex cooking.
The chips have a pungent cheesy aroma with a little bit of a spicy kick that let’s my nose know this isn’t just a bag of Sour Cream and Cheddar. The initial flavor actually tastes more like its mellow counterpart than I expected, but the flavor quickly evolves into something more complex with the distinct herbaceous pop of bell peppers and sharp zing of garlic. They finish with the slightest bit of heat but not enough to warrant being called spicy, as its more of tickle than an actual sensation.
I oftentimes associate this type of dip with ground beef but there’s no meaty flavor to be found. That’s alright, since the packaging doesn’t imply that and I don’t need artificial animal taste sprinkled in my chips to be enjoyable either.
While this type of seasoning feels generally more at home on a tortilla chip it works pretty well with potatoes and should satisfy those that like a creamy cheesy chip with just the hovering essence of spice.
Purchased Price: $1.69 Size: 2.75 oz. bag Purchased at: 7-Eleven Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Deep Dish Pizza Potato Chips
As a newly minted Midwesterner that frequents Chi-Town often, I get differing and strong opinions on whose deep dish pizza is the best. The usual suspects are: Pequod’s, Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, and Pizzeria Uno. Not sure how Lay’s landed on Giordano’s as the inspiration for their Heartland and Mid-America flavor, but it’s a dang good chip!
Don’t let the fact that it looks like a BBQ flavored chip fool you. The Lay’s Deep Dish Pizza (Flavor Inspired By Giordano’s) tastes like the best part of a pizza – which is the sauce. Don’t @ me! Note: Giordano’s is more known for their cheese pull. But, po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.
I will say that the first flavor my taste buds detected was indeed cheese though. The cheese flavor was more parmesan than mozzarella, but I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like. Then, it quickly becomes a comforting tomato-y pizza sauce flavor. The lingering garlic and oregano notes, which could be easily confused as sour cream & onion-like, were on point too! Even the residue on my fingers was tasty.
If you’re a pizza sauce person, you’ll love the execution of this flavor! I also noticed that Lay’s is offering a $5 off coupon code if you want to try Giordano’s.
Deep dish pizza with a side of deep dish pizza chips anyone?
Purchased Price: $3.00 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Target Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Fried Pickles with Ranch Potato Chips
Pickle flavoring on crunchy snacks is hard for taste buds to miss and easy to distinguish among other flavors. Well, that’s what I thought until I had Lay’s Fried Pickles with Ranch Potato Chips.
The first chip I shoved into my mouth had a strong pickle flavor. It’s a familiar taste I’ve experienced many times with any crunchy snack labeled “cheeseburger.” With those, there’s a detonation of dill that dominates whatever else is on the snack. But, while the first chip was a delicious pickle explosion with a hint of ranch, the subsequent chips had less of it and soon the buttermilk seasoning swamped the headlining act. Still tasty, but not what I was hoping for.
After letting my taste buds reset, the bold dill came back when I tried the chips for the second time, but, again, it faded away after chomping on a few more and was replaced by the ranch. It’s a vicious circle for those who love pickle-flavored chips, but, I guess, heaven for those who love ranch-flavored snacks. There’s a hint of dill in the aftertaste with the ranch-strong ones, but I wish EVERY CHIP had a better balance.
I guess if I want the pickle flavor with every chip, I could eat a few, walk away to let my taste buds normalize, drink a glass of water, and then come back for more. But that’s no sane way to eat potato chips.
Purchased Price: $19.99 (as part of a multi-pack with all the flavors Size: 2.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Amazon Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s New England Lobster Roll Potato Chips
I live in New Jersey, but consider myself a bit of a Lobster Roll aficionado. I’ve eaten plenty of them while trekking up to New England, and I could make a case for it being a top five sandwich. So, with that said, I was pumped Lay’s finally got around to this flavor.
Was my hype warranted?
Well, these are delicious, but not really because they nailed the flavor of a Lobster Roll.
I couldn’t tell you the exact spice mix a New England-style Lobster Roll usually has, but one of the main ingredients here is literally “New England Lobster Roll Seasoning.” That makes perfect sense because “seasoning” flavor is the standout. I’ll get back to that shortly.
The chips have a quick tang of mayo and a buttery vibe which is good because what’s lobster without butter? The lobster flavor itself is subtle. Seriously, they’re not fishy at all, and I could be convinced it’s another type of seafood altogether, but I still enjoyed it.
They tasted like a flavor I’ve had before, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Finally, I settled on a mix of weak Old Bay seasoning sprinkled on a familiar Sour Cream and Onion flavor. The lobster poked through most on the aftertaste for me. The aftertaste is actually great. There’s a small kick of heat from the spices too.
So, I wasn’t smacked with Lobster Roll flavor, but it was probably for the better. Had Lay’s gone out of their way to ramp up the lobster flavor, these could have been a fishy, unappealing mess. As for now, I dig em.
Purchased Price: $2.50 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Pimento Cheese Potato Chips
It’s Sunday afternoon here in North Carolina. Tomatoes are abundant in gardens. If you’re a true southerner, you’ll slice up a juicy homegrown tomato and slap it between two pieces of soft white bread, smothered in Duke’s mayo, and call it “lunch.”
However, there’s another southern sandwich staple that doesn’t grow in any garden: pimento cheese. No, no. Pimento cheese is only “grown” in country kitchens or on the shelves of the Piggly Wiggly.
When I saw Lay’s Pimento Cheese flavored potato chips debut as the Southeast’s flavor in its “Tastes of America” series, I wondered if the pimento cheese would be reminiscent of sandwiches at church, bridal luncheons, or baby showers or more like the overpriced pimento cheese I see on menus at food truck rodeos or hipster bars.
Well, as much as I loved these chips, I think they were a bit spicier and tangier than the classic creamy pimento cheese favored by most Southerners. These chips are a close cousin to Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar chips, with sharp cheddar flavor muted by other tangy dairy flavors. However, these chips had a very notable kick to them from the pimento pepper, though it was more spicy and not obviously pimento-y. Most pimenna (as Southerners pronounce it) cheese I’ve had isn’t overwhelming hot-spicy. These chips caused the inside of my mouth to pucker, but that didn’t stop me from devouring them.
These chips were a perfect pair to my tomato sandwich, y’all. Go git yerself some.
Purchased Price: $2.48 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (about 15 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.
Lay’s Poppables made its debut this time last year with sea salt and white cheddar flavors. I was surprised by how much I liked the sea salt one. So now that the barbecue flavor is out of the way, Frito-Lay, how about a salt and vinegar one? I’d spend my hard earned cash on that. (Spotted by Sarah D at Walmart.)
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First off, let me address the large potato chip in the room. Or seven potato chips, actually.
Lay’s decided to reveal the ten semi-finalists before announcing the top three and my taste buds were bouncing off the walls of my mouth with the imminent possibilities.
Smoked Gouda and Honey? Interesting, but still sounds yummy. Toasted Ravioli? Now you’re talking, Lay’s! Bring ‘em on! However, this new information soon turned to dread when the ten were whittled down to three.
This is it? The best you could do? Where’s the really off the wall flavor, like Cappuccino? Are you telling me Avocado Toast didn’t make it??? But it’s so trendy right now!!!
I was thoroughly disappointed. But, of course, I had to try the finalists.
Crispy Taco was the one I was the least excited about because it was probably just some of taco seasoning on a chip. Wow, how innovative Lay’s (here is exactly where I would be sending a side-eye emoji if I was texting my BFF). After opened the bag I got a big whiff of, yep, taco seasoning, just as I had suspected. The chips themselves are intensely covered with an red/orange color and a plethora of seasoning.
My first few bites were pretty uneventful. I only tasted taco seasoning. However, I was eating these with a friend who mentioned biting into a head of lettuce. I was very perplexed. But then, as I put another few in my mouth and focused, it hit me.
These are the Willy Wonka of potato chips! As in, instead of a three-course meal in one piece of chewing gum, these are potato chips that embody an entire crispy taco with all the toppings. Once you start chewing you get a little bit of the lettuce flavor then it morphs to the creaminess of some sour cream. I swear there were also tiny hints of cheese and tomato. The end of the bite turns into the common taco seasoning but you also get the meaty, ground beef flavor as well. There also seemed to be a bit of a corn taste representing the shell at the very, very end.
The more I ate these chips the more I liked them as it seemed like each time I would notice a new component in the flavor profile. The flavor is intense though, so I could only eat so many before it was too much to handle. I was also slightly concerned about succumbing to Violet Beauregarde’s fate and perhaps transforming into the world’s largest crispy taco that would have to be carted off somewhere for processing.
Even though my fingers are still crossed for Avocado Toast, these were fun and tasty. I’m sorry for suspecting they were made with just a simple seasoning packet, Lay’s.
I’ll never doubt you again!
(Nutrition Facts – about 15 chips – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $2.48 Size: 7.75 oz. bag Purchased at: ShopRite Rating: 9 out of 10 Pros: Willy Wonka’s chewing gum in taco-flavored chip form. Multiple layers of flavor. Not judging a potato chip by its boring flavor name. Eating new chips with friends. Cons: Lay’s pulling back the curtain on some of the Do Us a Flavor Competition while crushing dreams at the same time. Big flavor that is sometimes overpowering. Turning into a giant taco that can’t be simply juiced like a blueberry. RIP Avocado Toast. Not having emojis when you desperately need them.