Ranked: All the Herr’s Potato Chip Flavors
Lay’s potato chips might have their whole “Do Us A Flavor” contest for creating new, weird potato chip flavors (Cappuccino, New York Reuben, Cheesy Garlic Bread — which isn’t at all bad), but Herr’s (the Nottingham, PA-based manufacturer of salty snack foods and recent winner of USA Today’s Best Food Factory Tour) has been messing with the basic potato chip formula since 1958 (just four years after the first flavored potato chip hit the market, in Ireland), so they’ve had plenty of time to practice. Which is why we decided that it was time to lay all the bounty down before us and have us a good ol’ side-by-side potato chip tasting, to see which was the best, which was the worst, and if there were any surprises to be found inside those bags.
And there were. Our team was thorough and our opinions strong, and now we humbly present to you All The Herr’s Potato Chip Flavors, Ranked.
Herr’s Potato Chip Flavors Ranked
- Kettle Boardwalk Salt & Vinegar
There was a fierce fight over spots one and two. The good-guy half of me can admit that the right chip won …
- Kettle Cheddar Horseradish
…but the less magnanimous half would like you to know that Herr’s Cheddar Horseradish Chips are still the best, no matter what the majority says.
- Rippled Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce
This was the first surprise. We only had one small bag of these, and there was almost a fight over eating the crumbs.
- Rippled Sour Cream and Onion
- TIE Rippled Ketchup
Rippled Honey BBQ
But wait, Sheehan. How is a tie even possible? Because, weirdly, the voting on this broke down over strict gender lines. The gentlemen in our focus group exclusively went ketchup, the ladies went honey BBQ. It was weird — especially considering this is also my younger brother’s favorite flavor and he has been known to cross state lines just for a bag. He once tried to get a distributor’s job with Herr’s just so he could have a dependable source of ketchup-flavored potato chips. Knowing my brother as I do, I had little faith in this flavor placing high on the overall list, but I gotta give it to him this time. Being a fella, I really liked these chips. So if anyone at Herr’s is listening, my boy would still probably take that job if you offered it. And then we’d BOTH have a steady supply of these.
- Kettle Cracked Black Pepper and Sea Salt
- Kettle Jalapeno
Hot, burny, a little chemical-y. The complaint here was that they tasted more like burnt jalapeño skins than anything, but we had a crowd of masochists gathered, so they ranked it high on the merits of the sustained, cumulative burn.
- Rippled Cheddar and Sour Cream
- Red Hot
Not nearly as good as the weird Texas Pete’s flavor, but there were a couple of loud fans in the crowd that buoyed this one higher than it maybe deserved.
- Standard Herr’s Potato Chip
Your basic Herr’s chip, and it still charted strongly, which is saying something.
- Kettle Reduced Fat Potato Chip
- Rippled Standard Herr’s Potato Chip
Another big fight over this one. There’s really nothing to recommend this chip, save two words: “Dip Shovel.” That’s why it exists, and that’s why it is where it is on the list.
A disappointing showing for a classic, but at least it’s not as bad as the mesquite version. I’m still having gross flashbacks about that one …
- Salt and Vinegar
Just doesn’t hold a candle to the kettle variety.
- Kettle Sweet Potato
My only explanation for this charting so high is that we were eating a LOT of potato chips, and had some people in the crowd concerned over their health. But that’s bullshit. These tasted like chewing damp, toasted cardboard.
- Kettle Rippled Potato Chip
Most of us couldn’t even understand how something like this hybrid chip was even possible. But for those of you out there who love having your mouth cut up by your snack foods, this is your jam.
- Kettle Sour Cream and Onion
A pale imitation of its higher-charting cousin.
- Lattice Cut Kettle Sea Salt
Awful in every way. Shouldn’t even have been included.
- Lattice Cut Kettle Ranch
Even worse than the above. Like chewing sheetrock chased with shots of ranch dressing.
- Kettle Dark Russet
New name proposal: Burnt. A potato chip for people born with no tongues.
- Kettle Old Bay
Tastes like an airport Bloody Mary. One thing saved these terrible chips from being the bottom of the list, and that was the thought that maybe there’s some crab-licking dumbass out there so in love with Old Bay that he does lines of it in the bathroom at the crab shack every Friday night. If you’re that guy, these are your chips. If you’re literally ANYONE else, leave these alone.
- Kettle Mesquite BBQ
Warning, may cause flavor PTSD. So bad that we couldn’t give bags away to poverty-stricken interns. Tastes like licking a campfire put out with Dollar Store BBQ sauce and will make you hate barbecue chips forever. These had precisely zero redeeming qualities, and were so bad that we actually ranked them BELOW Old Bay chips, which might well have been the worst potato chips I ever tasted.
Two Important Notes:
- There are, we believe, four flavors missing from this list: some kind of steak, Buffalo Wing Ripple, something to do with ribs, and Creamy Dill Pickle. We really tried to get our hands on every chip variety, but after hitting 10 different stores and reaching out to Herr’s directly, we couldn’t lay our hands on these four.
- We didn’t include anything on this list that wasn’t recognizably a potato chip. Though, admittedly, those lattice cut nightmares only barely qualified and seemed more like resignedly chewing building material than enjoying a nice bag of chips.