REVIEW: Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips

As an ice chewer, I am all about crunchy goodness. So, Ruffles “new” Double Crunch chips are right in my wheelhouse.

The “new” is in quotes because Ruffles launched very crunchy chips a couple of times before with Ultimate and Deep Ridged lines. It even secured two U.S. patents for the “chip’s ornamental design,” and 24+ prototypes were created to land on this specific crunchy form that incidentally looks like the chevron design on Charlie Brown’s shirt.

Full disclosure, I haven’t tried the previous iterations. But, I see it as it as a blank slate!

It seems like Double Crunch is closer to Deep Ridged because of the similar flavors AND because Ultimate seemed more wannabe macho with its pseudo-metal pattern on the packaging and tailgate-inspired varieties like Kickin’ Jalapeno Ranch, Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ, and Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins.

This version even leans into the same “2x” claim but instead of saying “Ridges 2x As Deep,” it reads “2x The Crunch.” The fine print indicates that it’s only versus original Ruffles, so that’s kind of disappointing.

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips Ridges

But, it is dang crunchy though. It’s so much so that you probably don’t want to eat this in class or work cubicle because someone will side-eye you for being too noisy. The chip itself is very kettle chip-like down to the smell (slight stale oil eau de parfum), which makes sense because that’s how it’s cooked as noted on the back panel. I don’t smell either the Zesty Cheddar or Hot Wings seasoning. Take that at face value based on your own preferences! I don’t mind either way.

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips Open Bags

The Zesty Cheddar is basically like a saltier Cheddar & Sour Cream. I was so surprised by the saltiness that I immediately went to check the nutrition facts but learned that both flavors have the same amount of sodium. Unless the salt was supposed to be the zesty part, I didn’t get a kick either. Disappointing.

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips Closeup

On the flipside, I enjoyed the Hot Wings variety! It’s like a true buffalo wing flavor dancing on my taste buds with a touch of tanginess followed by this creaminess that I can only describe as eating a side of celery with ranch. I don’t know if my mind was playing tricks on me because it tasted so similar to actual wings that I imagined the actual eating experience with sides and all. I didn’t find it THAT spicy but could see folks finding this a bit on the spicier side.

These Ruffles do indeed have some crunchy r-r-r-ridges, but not quite consistent flavors!

Purchased Price: $3.00 each
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Zesty Cheddar)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Hot Wings)
Nutrition Facts: (about 10 chips) Zesty Cheddar – 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein. Hot Wings – 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ruffles Mozzarella ‘N Marinara Potato Chips

Ruffles Mozzarella  N Marinara Potato Chips

Ah yes, mozzarella and marinara – the Italian M&M’s.

Actually, in my case, it’s “mutzadel and madanada.” I make no apologies for the way I pronounce these words.

Not to further sound like a stereotype but I’ve probably eaten mozzarella and marinara more than any food in my lifetime. Between pizza, Sunday sauce* dinners, mozz sticks, fresh mozzarella balls, meatball subs, etc. I was practically raised on ’em. If I had my own food pyramid, mozzarella and marinara based foods would have a section and said section would probably be right beside potato chips. (I never said I had the healthiest diet.)

As much as I love all the foods mentioned, I’m not an elitist snob about it. I still enjoy chain pizza, string cheese, or your run of the mill fast food mozzarella stick. For all these reasons, I felt like I would be a great judge for Ruffles’ Mozzarella ‘N Marinara chips.

Ruffles Mozzarella  N Marinara Potato Chips 2

Right out of the gate, these chips nail the smell. I got all the elements I wanted –- tomato sauce, cheesy tanginess, and a bit of onion and garlic. It was a good start.

The taste absolutely delivered on that smell.

There’s a tangy flavor that for a split second that actually reminded me of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. The cheddar quickly morphed into a milder mozzarella flavor. That flavor is definitely more along the lines of a Polly-O/Sargento/Belgioioso store-bought cheese, but like I said, I like em all. Oh, and cheddar is listed in the ingredients if you’re wondering.

Ruffles Mozzarella  N Marinara Potato Chips 3

The tomato sauce flavor rides the line perfectly. It doesn’t overpower the mozz in any way and actually takes a backseat to what I assume are Italian breadcrumb flavors. Even though these aren’t technically called, “mozzarella stick,” they taste like ’em to me. The Italian style herbs, garlic, onion, and parsley flavors you expect from the fried outer coating are all there.

The aftertaste is distinctly that of a mozzarella stick dipped in a cup of marinara. The flavors are perfect, but if I have one complaint it’s that I could have used even more of it.

I don’t normally want my chips saturated in finger-painting flavor dust, but I could’ve used even more of a coating. This is a very minor nitpick.

While mozzarella sticks are obviously an opposing texture, the ridged Ruffles were the best choice for this flavor. Regular Lay’s style chips would have been too flimsy and greasy. Plus, as a dumb child who choked on mozzarella sticks on numerous occasions, these are much safer to eat!

I’m struggling to find many other complaints. Besides wanting a tad more flavor, I did get a little agita after eating about four servings of these, but you gotta expect a little agita after eating mutzadel and madanada.

These were exactly as advertised for me. Cheddar and Sour Cream are in my pantheon of great chips, and I loved the All Dressed variety, but these might be my new favorite Ruffles.

(Nutrition Facts – about 11 chips – 150 calories 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 8.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Extra crispy mozzarella sticks. One of the better flavor translations Frito Lay has done. Not as big a choking risk as real mozzarella sticks. Reminds me of all my childhood favorites.
Cons: A little agita. Could probably use more flavor dust. *I don’t wanna hear your crazy “gravy” arguments.

REVIEW: Flamin’ Hot Ruffles Potato Chips

I have to admit I went into this review with a small bias, as “Flamin’ Hot” is a very familiar Frito-Lay flavor for me. I am a big Flamin’ Hot Cheetos fan, being second only to Tapatio Doritos on my spicy chip tier list. What? Don’t tell me you don’t have a spicy chip tier list!

Based on the friendly flame mascot and smoldery font that is identical to the branding from Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, I assumed I was in for standard Ruffles blasted with the same atomic red seasoning.

Upon opening the bag that is exactly what I discovered. My chips were in good shape, with most of them whole. This was a good sign for a delicious, evil experiment I had planned for them.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Potato Chips 3

The chips themselves pack the standard Flamin’ Hot heat (not too over the top, but a little much for spicy wimps). The distribution of dust was a little light for my liking, but I’m a bit of a spice fiend, so most will probably find them quite balanced.

So how does this tried and true seasoning fair on crispy, fried potatoes? Oh my, Chester Cheetah better watch out. The Ruffles are probably on about equal footing with Cheetos as vessels for Flamin’ Hot dust. Things get interesting, however, when you consider the versatility of Ruffles.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Potato Chips 2

The one shortcoming of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is they’re a bit one-dimensional. It’s a straightforward chili powder type of spice without much variety or depth. However, with their sturdy ridges and wide surface area, Ruffles are tailor-made to combat this problem because you can dip them. Remember that delicious, evil experiment I mentioned earlier?

When I was at the grocery store picking up these bad boys, I realized that many of the tried and true potato chip flavors all had something in common: sour cream. Through all the promotional and crazy flavors Lay’s ships out, I can remember Cheddar & Sour Cream and Sour Cream & Onion even since I was little. Even plain Ruffles beg to be dunked in french onion dip.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Potato Chips 4

Let’s just say I did a dollop of Daisy with these suckers, and the bag quickly grew lighter. The combination felt natural and right. The sour cream cut through the somewhat bland spice to create a cool balance. Maybe Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and sour cream would be just as good, but that just doesn’t sit quite as well in my head. Ruffles have ridges for a reason!

(Nutrition Facts – 11 chips – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 323 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 8/5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Albertson’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Classic Flamin’ Hot flavor translates well. A new contender for the top of my spicy chip tier list. Dippability.
Cons: Chips themselves are a bit one dimensional. Getting greasy red smears on my notebook.

REVIEW: Beer Battered Onion Rings Ruffles

Beer Battered Onion Rings Ruffles

So you’re hosting a fall harvest barbecue with a backwoods gourmet theme heavily influence by your lack of funds and the fact that you ran over a wild animal on your way home from work last night. Frankly, this sounds a bit questionable, but lord knows, I’ve got no room to judge.

Anyway, the meal is shaping up to be a disaster (big shock there). With your first guests set to shuffle over from their neighboring trailers in about fifteen minutes, your found opossum entree still isn’t done (at least, it doesn’t look done – but I’m no opossum roasting expert) and your multi-layer Jell-O jiggler hors d’oeuvres aren’t setting nearly as fast as you’d hoped. You don’t have nearly enough time left to whip up your beloved cheese puff casserole! Whatever will you do for a side dish?

Well, lucky for you, you’ve got me, and a local Walmart. Simply send a significant other/friend/child out for some limited edition Beer Battered Onion Rings Ruffles and you’ll already be halfway to neighborhood acclaim. Seeing as you’ve prepared no other sides, I’d recommend, oh, roughly 1/3 bag per person.

“But Nichol,” I assume you’re asking, “I can’t just serve them bagged. That’s not gourmet! And the only bowl I have big enough for the five bags of chips you estimate I’ll need has snowmen and dancing Santas all over it!”

Holy crap! Chill out! I’ve got you covered. Quit interrupting.

Do you have construction paper? No? Well, quick – call the person you sent out for chips and have them pick some up. I’ll wait.

Okay? Okay. Now, what you want to do next is come up with an appropriate replacement theme for the bowl. You’ve already got the Fall thing going, so let’s work with that. Now’s the time to get creative. I recommend covering Frosty and St. Nick’s faces with lots and lots of paper leaves. If, however, you wish to take things a bit further, maybe shift forward a few weeks with your décor, you could also craft zombie parts for the Santas, so that they appear to be hunting down the poor snowmen, or vice versa.

In either case, that’s not a problem you’ve got on your hands so much as a fantastic crafting opportunity.

“But what about the chips themselves?” You now say because you’re just horribly whiny and out of sorts today. “What makes them classy? And shouldn’t I opt for more of a variety?”

First off, no. Just these. Don’t confuse your guests with five thousand similar looking lesser chip varieties. They deserve better.

Second, these chips happen to be a limited edition, fan-chosen, Walmart exclusive. If that’s not enough for your crowd of snobbish rednecks, tell them this: Beer Battered Onion Rings Ruffles are a one-of-a-kind treat, occupying a blurry middle ground somewhere between Funyuns and their comparatively mundane Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles cousins.

Beer Battered Onion Rings Ruffles Closeup

They are the mellow, potato chip equivalent to French’s French Fried Onions, by which I mean the oniony notes are vivid, sweet, and unmistakably Vidalia-like, and the chips taste very much deep fried in some batter you won’t recognize but will wish you could replicate. They offer just a hint of completely unnecessary brown sugar (which I assume is supposed to lend a caramelized taste) and subtle buttermilk undertones. The coating is light, sidestepping both the weird film Funyuns leave behind in one’s mouth and the heaviness one feels by one’s second or third handful of sour cream and onion chips.

The flavor pairs wonderfully with a nice peppery Saison. What? I lost you all there? Fine. These chips pair decently with any cheap beer devoid of fruity elements, wheat, and most other adjectives. Is that what you want to hear? Honestly, why do I even try with you?

Basically, if your guests enjoy onion rings, they will enjoy these chips. And if they are the kind of crowd that enjoys opossum, I’m just going to stereotypically assume they’re onion ring fans. Or at least fans of fried things, which is close enough.

Oh, and I should probably mention that the layers of flavor flatten out to nothing but semi-fake onion as you keep shoveling the Beer Battered Onion Rings Ruffles into your gullet. Make sure to periodically offer up more beer and opossum parts to avoid potential party-killing monotony.

Good Luck!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce/ about 11 chips- 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams polyunsaturated fat, 5 grams monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 200 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 0% vitamin A, 0% calcium, 8% Vitamin B6, 10% vitamin C, 4% thiamin, 2% phosphorous, 4% magnesium, and 2% iron.)

Item: Beer Battered Onion Rings Ruffles
Price: $2.98 (on sale)
Size: 9 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: No Funyuns film. DIY re-holiday-ification. Buttermilk. Jell-O hors d’oeuvres. Vidalia sweetness. Good addition to the existing faux-fried onion flavor family. Zombie Santas.
Cons: Found opossum entrees. Attempt at caramelized flavor lends a weird barbeque-like edge. Jell-O refusing to cooperate. Descends into an oniony borefest after a few minutes.