The 10 Best Mouth-Smacking Salt and Vinegar Chips

Salt and vinegar chips exist on a spectrum, and that’s a great thing. Some people prefer them mild. Others want more salt than vinegar. And some of us want salt and vinegar chips so tangy and salty that they completely destroy your mouth. I’m a freak. I want them to make the insides of my cheeks sting with that bright acidic bite. I want to have a hard time talking without a glass of water. But that’s me, and my relationship to food is … intense. 

This taste test is deep, and I’m proud of it. We’ve got the best of the best here. I personally sourced brands from several regions. (Don’t worry if you can’t find these close to home; all of them can be purchased via Amazon or the respective companies’ websites.) For a good salt and vinegar chip, we wanted a natural tasting balance of salt and vinegar. If it felt too much like citric acid and not enough like actual vinegar, it was docked points. The chips themselves should also, ideally, taste like potatoes. I mean all chips should taste like potatoes, but not nearly enough actually achieve that feat. Bring us flavor, heft, natural ingredients, and a tasty balance. Salt and vinegar chips don’t need to reinvent the wheel, they just need to wow with their simplicity.

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Best Salt and Vinegar Chips: Spudlove Sea Salt & Vinegar Thick-Cut Potato Chips

Best of the Best

Spudlove Sea Salt & Vinegar Thick-Cut Potato Chips

I randomly picked these up at an HEB in Texas while I was staying with a friend, and they managed to become everyone’s favorite. Spudlove chips are thick-cut, crunchy potato chips with a vinegar-forward flavor and salty taste. These feel like they came out of a deep fryer at a restaurant, and they remind me of kitchens I’ve worked in where chips were fried daily and served with sandwiches. “These would go great with a burger,” our editorial assistant Naajia Shukri correctly stated. This is a chef-quality salt and vinegar chip in a bag. “They’ve really done something here,” said editor-in-chief Justine Sterling. I’m going to be thinking about these chips for a while. Amazing work, Spudlove.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Best Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips: Kettle Brand Sea Salt & Vinegar

Best Kettle

Kettle Brand Sea Salt & Vinegar

I don’t think these are my second favorite, but we need to acknowledge the greatness of Kettle Brand chips. It’s impossible to beat the satisfying crunch of a kettle chip. The vinegar flavor is strong, as it should be, and there’s a pleasant greasiness here that makes it feel like the chips were freshly fried. Everything about a Kettle chip is satisfying. Tangy, salty, sharp, and potato-y—you pretty much can’t go wrong with these.. How good are they? Just about every company does a Kettle version of their chips now. They acknowledge Kettle’s achievements, and so do we.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

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Best Potato Flavored Salt and Vinegar Chips: Herr’s Salt & Vinegar

Best Potato Flavor

Herr’s Salt & Vinegar

Herr’s is proof that not every chip has to be kettle cooked to be successful. These chips have a strong potato essence, and a delicious, natural vinegar flavor that most other chips are missing. You can actually taste the potato skin on these bad boys. These have a ton of sodium (my math says 10% more than Kettle and Spudlove) and, therefore, a lot of salt flavor, but these fresh, crisp chips can hold a lot of salt and acid because they’re not overly processed. “The chip quality is just outstanding,” remarked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart. Being a Western Pennsylvania boy, I’m partial to Herr’s, but in my experience at Sporked, once I introduce somebody else to the product, they become hooked. Discover Herr’s for yourself.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Best Salt and Vinegar Chips with Malt Vinegar: Boulder Canyon Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Best Malt Vinegar

Boulder Canyon Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

These might be my favorite chips on this entire list thanks to their  refreshingly different malt vinegar flavor. Quite frankly, Boulder Canyon has successfully recreated the malt vinegar-and-french-fries aesthetic in a way that I didn’t think was even possible. We tasted some chips that used different vinegars (balsamic, for instance) and they didn’t work the way we want a salt and vinegar chip to. Malt is as far as we’re willing to go outside of the classic white vinegar flavor, but I would argue that it’s an incredible addition into the vast canon of salt and vinegar chips. This is a big win here. It’s just so surprisingly different and tasty.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

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Best Salt and Vinegar Chips to Eat at the Beach: cape cod salt and vinegar chips

Best Beach Chip

Cape Cod 40% Less Fat Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Vinegar

Cape Cod salt and vinegar chips have a nice, robust vinegar flavor. The ingredients list both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, which already sets them apart from most brands. The use of dual vinegars combines to form a refreshingly tart potato chip. The satisfying crunch on a Cape Cod kettle chip is also deliciously iconic. It’s nicely balanced with salt which only enhances the tangy zip even further. These are brightly acidic, and would be great to take with you on a beach day with a sandwich. Also, they’re 40% reduced fat and they still taste this good. Crunchy and not greasy? Sign us up.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

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Best Salt and Vinegar Chips to Eat at a Bar: Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt & Vinegar

Best Bar Chip

Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt & Vinegar

One time I got pretty tipsy at a bar in Pittsburgh and bought the entire rack of chips behind the bar. I think it cost something like $40, but it was $40 well spent. Can’t afford to buy out the bar? Buy out the chips, instead, I say.

There’s a special place in my heart for bars that carry little bags of chips, and Miss Vickie’s is a common brand you see out here in Los Angeles. (It’s owned by PepsiCo, so you probably see it a lot of places.) These chips are crunchy and have a good roasted potato flavor. The ingredients list buttermilk too, so there’s a bit of extra tang here. The salt and vinegar dust that coats these chips doesn’t destroy your mouth; it’s just really pleasant to eat. A great chip with a beer through and through.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

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Best Salt and Vinegar Chips to Eat with a Sandwich: Zapp’s New Orleans Kettle Style Salt & Vinegar

Best with a Sandwich

Zapp’s New Orleans Kettle Style Salt & Vinegar

These chips from Zapp’s have a lot of bold flavor—bolder than most on this list. I love that they go hard with vinegar and salt. This is the type of chip that’s going to cut up the insides of your mouth and make it hard to talk, but that’s what I’m looking for with salt and vinegar chips. Go ahead and file these in the “painfully delicious” category. Zapp’s makes so many great products, it’s impossible to not recognize that while salt and vinegar might not be their best flavor, it’s still damn good.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Best Mild Salt and Vinegar Chips: Snyder of Berlin Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

Best Mild

Snyder of Berlin Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

Snyder of Berlin has a great, balanced salt and vinegar flavor. This is more on the mild side of salt and vinegar chips, so if you find brands like Zapp’s or Cape Cod to be too strong, you should try Snyder. Also, it’s not a kettle chip. Sometimes chips like these get roughed around a little bit in the bag during shipping, and the chips kind of break and become crumbs, which is never good. Still, I think Snyder’s has an excellent product. They understand balance and how to use quality ingredients. These chips are just pleasant to eat.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Best Extra Vinegary Salt and Vinegar Chips: Wise Salt & Vinegar

Best Vinegar Flavor

Wise Salt & Vinegar

These chips from Wise are aggressive and pack a seriously tart punch. That  intense vinegar flavor will keep you coming back for more. They’re also quite thin chips, so much so that they kind of dissolve in your mouth. If you find kettle chips to be too crunchy and thick, you’ll love these. Punch me in the mouth and steal my money, Wise.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Salt and Vinegar Chips Grocery Store Brand: Clancy's

Best Grocery Store Brand

Clancy’s Sea Salt and Vinegar

Clancy’s is Aldi’s store brand of chips, so you’ll only find them in one of their stores, but these are very underrated. Essentially, they’ve made perfect kettle chips. They’ve got a great crunch and a solid vinegar flavor. The alchemy of salt and vinegar is so perfect that it’s mouth-smacking good. If you find yourself in an Aldi, pick up a bag of these and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • This article was a complete waste of time and an obvious advertising campaign sponsored by the listed products. I have tried nearly every salt & vinegar chip I can find, snd none, not a single one, can even come close to competing with Tim’s Cascade Style Salt & Vinegar chips. Tims is the GOLD STANDARD. I have tried nearly e wry chip on this list, and none can even begin to compete. What a joke. Just propaganda.

    Reply
  • This article was a complete waste of time and an obvious advertising campaign sponsored by the listed products. I have tried nearly every salt & vinegar chip I can find, snd none, not a single one, can even come close to competing with Tim’s Cascade Style Salt & Vinegar chips. Tims is the GOLD STANDARD. I have tried nearly e wry chip on this list, and none can even begin to compete. What a joke. Just propaganda.

    Reply
  • Have you tried Deep River chips. They are made in Connecticut but are really freakin good.

    Reply
  • Conn’s salt and vinegar chip are hands down the best. They’re local to Ohio

    Reply
  • Please, can dried onion, garlic, chilli powder and dried tomato be added to powder vinegar just to flavor potato chips?

    Reply