Are Pringles Potato Chips, Really?

Ah, Pringles! The crispy tube-bound treat with everybody’s favorite mustachioed mascot. They liven up a snack shelf and take up less real estate in the cupboard than a standard snack bag. As long as nobody heading to the tennis court mistakes them for a can of balls, they bring smiles to all. But, are Pringles, in fact, potato chips? And if they aren’t, just what the heck are they? 

Are Pringles potato chips?

Ok, here’s the big one! Get this: Because Pringles aren’t actually made with real potato—the recipe calls for “dehydrated processed potato”—the FDA ruled in 1975 that Pringles could only be called “chips” if they provided a disclaimer identifying them as “potato chips made from dried potatoes.” Pringles decided against that idea and renamed them potato “crisps.” Which was a good move, if you ask me. I tend to prefer my food to not need an asterisk and footnotes.* 

Are Pringles potato chips baked or fried?

Unfortunately for the health-conscious, all varieties of Pringles are fried, not baked. If you’re looking for some consolation, though, Pringles do tend to have less sodium than your standard chip. But, you know…please keep in mind that a chip (or crisp) with less sodium is a bit like a beach with less sand. My guess is you’re still going to find a fair bit of it in your swimsuit afterward. (The sand, not the sodium…unless you’re eating chips in a profoundly strange way.)

What are Pringles potato chips made of?

Pringles are made from a combination of water, dehydrated potato flakes, and cornstarch. The ingredients allow for the crisps to be molded and shaped, giving Pringles their uniform design. Each Pringle is indistinguishable from the next (except the ones that get accidentally crushed), which is how you can achieve the “duck bill” with two of them stuck in your mouth. You never see folks attempting that with a Ruffle. 

How are Pringles made?

All the Pringles ingredients are mixed together, then rolled into a big flat potato sheet under a whopping four tons of pressure, then the crisp shapes are cut out with a cookie-cutter-esque tool. Once they’re fried in hot oil and coated with seasoning, they do a backflip off one conveyer belt and onto another, falling into perfect stacks. Then, into the tube they go, ready to be purchased by anyone who isn’t afraid of potentially getting their hand stuck trying to get the last few out from the bottom. 

Pringles have been a snack shelf staple for decades, and with 22 flavor varieties to choose from, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. They may not be “chips” according to the FDS, but they’ll always have a home next to Lay’s and Tostitos. That is, until the grocery store puts in a proper “crisps aisle” that’s just Pringles cans the whole way down. 

*I don’t mind them in my online articles, though. See?

Best pringles flavors

Best Pringles Flavors, Ranked

Now that you know what Pringles are, find out what the best Pringles flavors are. We tried them all and ranked the best ones.

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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