Clear your cabinets for the most scrumptious spuds out there.
Is there any vegetable that is more of a kitchen workhorse than the humble potato? I’ve always been a spud lover, both in my kitchen creations as well as my snacking choices. When I started doing most of my grocery shopping at my local Trader Joe’s, I realized that with all the private label products they sell, I had no way to compare their dazzling array of potato products with the brands I was used to seeing in stores. So I did what any reasonable (read: food-obsessed) person would do: I bought them all.
In what I consider my greatest act of public service to-date, I worked my way through all of Trader Joe’s potato products in one night so that you don’t have to, and came up with a ranking of the best and brightest. From the basic Ridge Cut to the flavor explosion that is the Patio Potato Chip, TJ’s has a tater for every occasion.
Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
Always a crowd favorite, these classics have the perfect balance of tang to saltiness. They’re super crispy and perfect for serving alongside sandwiches or munching by the handful. These were my personal favorite, perhaps due to the abundance of folded-over crunchy clusters.
Peruvian Potato Chips
If you’re throwing a party, these are the most visually stunning of the potato options. Made from red and purple Peruvian potatoes, these chips are super light and crispy. They’re pretty mild in flavor, making them the perfect vessel for a caramelized onion dip or avocado-lime salsa. These were my boyfriend’s favorites of the roundup, and he claimed that they felt like a “higher-end chip” than the rest.
These gluten-free snacks have a texture that made it hard to stop chomping through the bag (even when I knew I had a slew of chips to get through before the night was over). As another Real Simple writer described, “they have the crunch of a chip, the shape and saltiness of a French fry, and the natural taste of a mashed potato.” What more could you want from a snack? Spud Crunchies also come in ketchup flavor, which is pretty fantastic, but start with the original and go from there.
Patio Potato Chip
This chip was a new release this past summer, combining essentially all your favorite summer backyard cookout flavors in one bag: salt & vinegar, ketchup, dill, and BBQ. If it sounds like a lot, it is—but not in an overwhelming way. This is the perfect mixed bag for anyone who can’t decide on their favorite chip flavor, or just wants a bit of a surprise every time they reach their hand into the bag.
Organic White Truffle Potato Chips
The woman at the checkout counter was genuinely excited for me when I said I hadn’t tried these yet. Naturally I had to rip open the bag in the car ride home, and they did not disappoint. Delicate and crispy with that unmistakable earthy flavor from Italian white truffles, these chips are surprisingly elegant. Almost too refined to be shoveled down my gullet at red lights, but not quite.
Ghost Pepper Potato Chips
These lattice cut potato chips are not for the faint of heart: ghost pepper packs some serious spice. But for those who enjoy heat, these kettle-cooked chips have an incredible texture and a lot of depth of flavor if you can tolerate the fiery pepper that initially blasts the palate.
Salt & Pepper Ridge Cut Potato Chips
While the traditional flavor of these small-batch chips are fantastic as well, there is something about the addition of pepper that makes this version even better. Thick, ridged, and perfect for dipping or on their own, these wavy chips have the perfect flavor, texture, and weight to pack along for a picnic or to put out for party munchies.
Ridge Cut Sweet Potato Chips
Sweet potato chips are a totally different beast than your standard white. Slightly chewy and sweet, they satisfy in a different way than a normal potato chips. These vibrantly-orange crunchers are cut thick, giving them a weighty feel and an almost homemade taste. They’re also lower in sodium than many of the other potato offerings.
Barbeque Popped Ridges
These poppers are a mix of potato and corn, and pack an intense BBQ flavor with that perfect combination of tang, sweet, and smoke. Popped instead of fried, they’re a healthy option for packed lunches or desk snacks. Now, I will say that I had a friend try these and he wasn’t impressed, saying they were a strange combination of a corn puff and a potato chip, but I found the texture to be the perfect mix of airy and crunchy. So, try at your own risk!
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