Not the first, but the most important list of its kind
Well here it is. The list no one asked for, but we are delighted to provide. We took it upon ourselves to taste test every type of ketchup flavoured chips we could find – including the weird ones – so that you wouldn’t have to. We hope you’ll find some measure of peace in your life knowing which chips are truly the best and which ones suck.
For this test, we stuck to readily available products, so no, we didn’t try your grampy Gene’s farm-made artisanal small-batch bagged-in-bond ketchup kettle chips. We sampled the chips from cheapest to most expensive on the assumption that the quality would increase (we weren’t totally correct about that). Let’s start with the cheapest:
#8 No Name Ketchup Flavour Potato Chips – $1.18 at Superstore
We honestly thought going into this that there was no such thing as a bad ketchup chip. We were wrong. Sadly, with this ultra cheap option you really get what you pay for.
The chip flavour was way too vinegar-y – like someone at the No Name plant had leftover seasoning from the salt and vinegar chips and just dumped it into the ketchup flavour vat for the lolz. We also thought we detected an almost fruity taste to the chips which made us wonder just what else got thrown into the seasoning mix. Not that it really mattered because the flavour coverage was so light. These chips were barely dusted.
In terms of texture, the chips were thin and light but too many among them were hard and crunchy like they’d been overcooked. Gross flavour, poor coverage, and bad texture consistency – congratulations, No Name. You’re the worst. Even that ridiculously cheap price point can’t save you.
#7 Pringles Ketchup – $2.17 at Superstore
What exactly are Pringles, anyway? Some kind of pressed and dried potato paste? They’re kind of in a class of their own and we’re sure have many fans. Still, their attempt at ketchup flavour is… not good.
The first thing that comes to mind when you eat one of these is sitting in a McDonalds, age 5, licking your napkin to get the last bits of ketchup off. Pringles Ketchup are reminiscent of McKetchup napkins. Authentic, sure, but gross too.
There’s also a big problem with coverage. Even if you LIKE the McKetchup flavour (yes we know it’s Heinz, but imagine it with more napkins) Mr. Pringle decided to only give you three chips’ worth of seasoning for each tube. There’s barely any flavour! Look at these things!
At least we can admit the chips were cooked evenly. The machine that forms these things out of industrial-grade potato sludge knows what it’s doing. Pass.
#6 FRANK Craves Ketchup, Eh Ketchup Rippled Potato Chips – $1.66 at Canadian Tire (lol)
You know, you JUST KNOW, that when you buy hardware store house brand food, that you’re in for a real treat. Of course, we also knew that we couldn’t conduct a thorough test without the iconic brand FRANK included. Wait, what are we even saying?
Anyway, neither of us are huge into ripple chips, but we tried to set aside that particular bias for this test.
These chips aren’t bad. They have a weird, almost purple, colour which is a bit off-putting, but the flavour is reasonably authentic. Unfortunately, the flavour was applied too sparingly, and was inconsistent throughout the bag. The result is far too many chips with not enough going on, and the occasional chip that punches you in the glands (note: not the glans) with its caked-on seasoning.
Like the No Name chips, we also found the occasional chip which was hard and clearly not cooked like the others. Don’t like that much. Still, for the price these are certainly serviceable. You can feed them to your kids or other undiscerning family members.
#5 Western Family Ketchup Flavoured Potato Chips – $1.99 at Save-On Foods
These bad boys are the winner for the most unexpected flavour award. We guarantee that after your first bite of these, you’ll be like, “Wtf is this?!”. That’s because the flavour is not ketchup. it’s tomato juice. We’re pretty sure the folks in the chip dust department at Pattison have never actually had ketchup, or if they have, it’s only been weird homemade stuff made of just tomatoes and water and sugar.
However, when you eat them, something happens to you. You start to realize you might just like tomato juice-flavoured chips. Next thing you know, you’ve eaten a bowl. Someone sees you eating them and asks, “Are those any good?”
You reply, “No, they’re weird!” and go fix yourself another bowl.
Anyway, the chips are properly coated and well cooked with a good mix of big and small. no complaints there. The price is quite nice too. All in all a good chip if you can get past the bizarre flavour decision.
#4 Lay’s Ketchup – $3.17 at Superstore
This is probably the most popular bag on the list. We really wanted to like them. We want to be normal, like you!
To be fair, the Lay’s don’t do anything wrong, but they also aren’t exciting or interesting either. The ketchup flavour is a little earthy in tone but good. The coverage is fine without giving you a flavour knockout. The chips are well cooked and consistently crispy. This is probably the best part about these.
But, there’s no pizzaz here. Part of it could be because the bag is the colour of an ’86 Plymouth Reliant K, but there’s something else, eh, pedestrian about them we can’t quite put our finger on. The strange purple colour of the chips is a bit of a turnoff too, but hardly a dealbreaker. All in all, the Lay’s are fine, but you can do better for your $3.
Oh, one other thing. There does exist a Wavy Lay’s variation of these. We didn’t see them in any of the stores we went to. We assume they are basically the same and are comfortable leaving it at that.
#3 Doritos Ketchup – $4.29 (!) at Save-On Foods
Now here is where things start to get interesting. We bought this bag rather hesitantly, knowing that ketchup plus corn is objectively a strange combination. No one puts ketchup on their nachos, so why would ketchup-flavoured nachos ever work?
Well, they don’t, really. However, the flavour combo is so intriguing, these suckers are hard to stop eating. It’s ketchup all right, and corn. Huh. It works kind of in the same way as the Western Family chips we mentioned, but better, because these are Doritos. You know you love them.
Now, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. For one thing, these are (apparently) limited edition. That means that the next generation of our progeny will only hear about these in stories around the campfire.
The other issue is the price. Did you see that? Yeah – $4.29. That is ludicrous for a 200g bag. We might as well be eating saffron-flavoured pine nuts for that kind of money.
You’d best try these for the novelty of it, but be prepared to need a second mortgage to do it.
#2 President’s Choice Loads of Ketchup Flavour – $2.38 Superstore
These were the most surprising of all. Some of our friends insisted the PC chips were their favourite, but we flatly disregarded that as crazy talk because they’re, uh, Superstore house brand. We could naturally only ever seriously consider chips from such premium brands as Frito-Lay and FRANK.
Anyway, friends were right and we were wrong. These chips are fabulous. We really like the intense level of seasoning. These ripple chips are straight-up caked in flavour sometimes and we love it. The ketchup flavour itself was good – if a little pickley. Coverage and texture were consistent throughout the bag.
Even though ripple chips aren’t always a favourite of ours, we just couldn’t deny the excellence here. All that and they’re cheap too! Win win win. We would definitely buy these again.
#1 Old Dutch Ketchup Flavoured – $2.65 at Superstore
This is it. The pinnacle of the ketchup chip. Take a look at the photos and stand in awe.
Old Dutch nails the ketchup flavour, not by being supper accurate to plain old ketchup, like Lay’s or FRANK, but by taking ketchup and making it better. They’ve added extra spice to create a flavour similar to the homemade spicy ketchup you sometimes get at some trendy restaurants. It’s a way better taste than any of the other chips on this list, though some purists may be put off because it doesn’t taste like Heinz.
Of course, flavour alone doesn’t win such prestigious accolades like the #1 spot on a Nanaimo Food Blog list. Old Dutch takes that amazing seasoning and liberally covers every chip in the bag – so much so that each chip is almost crusty with coating. We love it. The chips are are also evenly cooked and come in a huge variety of sizes.
Finally the price of this bag makes it irresistible. It’s a buck and half cheaper than the Doritos and on par with the inferior (but still awesome) PC Loads. You can also occasionally find great prices on the old-school boxes of Old Dutch that come with two bags, too.
We’re not surprised Old Dutch are the best ketchup chips. We have always loved them. This challenge was undertaken to give the other brands a chance to show their quality. We gave the rest a chance, but the truth is the truth!
What we didn’t expect though, was the weirdly badgood Western Family and Doritos ketchup and we definitely didn’t think the PC chips would be anything to write home about and they almost toppled our champion!
Thanks for reading. It’s been fun. Give us your thoughts and (wrong) opinions. If you have any suggestions for future tests, let us know below!