The Ultimate Chip Lineup for Your Cookout

You could just buy a few bags of potato chips and throw them on a table for your next party. Or you could curate the perfect lineup. You could satisfy everyone’s crunchy chip cravings. You could open your guests’ eyes to new flavors while still playing the hits—with our help, of course.

We’ve tasted so many chips—spicy, BBQ, tortilla, plain, corn. So we have a pretty good idea about which ones are worthy of your chip table. Here is the ultimate chip line-up that will take any party from good to great. 

The Tortilla Chip: Tostitos Scoops! Tortilla Chips

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Every party needs tortilla chips. And while our top pick for the best tortilla chips are fantastic, these are particularly party friendly. Tostitos Scoops allow you to get a full serving of guac or salsa so you don’t have to crowd around the dips trying to balance a dollop of pico de gallo on a flat chip. You can scoop with your Scoops and walk away, knowing that your guacamole is being safely cradled by a crunchy mini chip bowl.

The Plain Chip: Classic Lay’s

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We didn’t rank Lay’s number one in our best plain potato chip taste test (it came in at number nine). That’s because it’s not the best plain chip to eat on its own. But it is the best plain chip to eat on a sandwich, whether it’s pulled pork or a simple turkey and Swiss. Lay’s are so thin and so perfectly salted, they add just the right amount of crunch and seasoning to any sandwich. I also like them crumbled and sprinkled on a hot dog.

The Dorito: Doritos Cool Ranch

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It’s simply the best Doritos flavor. It’s tangy. It’s unique. It’s a crowd pleaser of a chip. (Pro tip: Pair it with the new Doritos Cool Ranch dip for a flavor combo that will melt your brain.)

The New Chip: Lay’s Wavy Cuban Sandwich

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If you’re heading to a cookout, grab a bag of these new Lay’s chips on the way. You’ll arrive with a conversation starter and everyone’s favorite new snack. We tasted all three of the new sandwich-inspired chips from Lay’s, but the Cuban sandwich chip wowed us the most. It really does taste like pork, yellow mustard, and pickles. It’s like a delicious magic trick.  

The Spicy Chip: Boulder Canyon Yellowbird Habanero Chips

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Not only are these the best spicy chips as decided in our most recent spicy chip taste test, but they’re also the “most delicious potato chips” senior staff writer Jordan Myrick has ever had. They have a ton of flavor—garlicky, salty, umami—as well as a ton of spice. They really do taste like Yellowbird hot sauce, which we ranked as one of the best hot sauces.

The Kettle Chip: Kettle Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

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These actually came in fourth in our best Kettle Brand kettle chips ranking. But their peppery flavor makes them a perfect complement to many classic cookout foods. Personally, I think they make a great base for scooping up any scraps on a plate. A little coleslaw, a little BBQ chicken, a stray hunk of potato salad—pile it all right onto a sturdy salt and pepper Kettle chip and you’ve got yourself a bite that is straight-up chef’s kiss perfection.

The BBQ Chip: Hawaiian Luau BBQ Sweet & Spicy

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Yes, Hawaiian’s Maui Onion chips are good. But have you tried the company’s BBQ chips? They’re incredible. They came in at number five in our best BBQ chips ranking (there are just a lot of really great BBQ chips out there), but they are the BBQ chip to have a cookout due to their flavor saturation. They are fully coated in complex, sweet and spicy seasoning, and that means they can stand up to all the bold flavors of a cookout.

The Topping Chip: Fritos Lightly Salted

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If you’re serving chili, then you better have a big bag of Fritos handy—but not regular, classic Fritos. Instead, opt for Fritos Lightly Salted. They’re a corn chip that tastes like actual corn and they’re much crispier than regular Fritos, which makes them much better as a topping. In my write up of the best corn chips I also suggested using them as a topping for a salad in place of croutons and I especially stand by that idea when it comes to cookout salads.

The Cheesy Chip: Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream

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Not all cheesy chips can handle a dip, but Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream chips are some of the best chips for dipping, period. And you better have dips at a cookout. The ridges help hold onto the dip and also add extra crunch to contrast creamy textures. Try them with French onion dip or any sour cream-based dip. But they’re also delicious on their own with a unique flavor that walks that line of salt and tang.

The “Different” Chip: Zapp’s Cajun Dill Gator-Tator Chips

Buy from Walmart

Coming in at number three on our ranking of the best Zapp’s flavors, these chips really taste like if dill pickles were chips. Put them on a deli sandwich or on a burger. You’ll get crunch and tangy, herbaceous dill flavor. Plus, you’ll open people up to a new Zapp’s flavor! Voodoo is great but there’s more to the brand, people!

cookout week sporked

It’s Cookout Week at Sporked!

To kick off summer, we’re highlighting all the best foods and drinks you should be buying for cookouts, BBQs, grilling seshes, or any other type of al fresco partying and eating you’ll be doing this season.


About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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