By Cady Lang
March 12, 2019

A viral debate about what the ranking of chip flavors should be erupted on the Internet in the past two days, after Twitter user and comedian @KevonStage posed the eternal question to the Internet: “What is the correct way to rank these chips?”

The chips in question are the standard Lay’s variety pack, which consists of six classic Lay’s offerings (listed here in the order in which they appear on the variety box’s packaging, NOT in the ranked order of their greatness): Lay’s Original, Doritos Nacho Cheese, Cheetos Original (crunchy style), Fritos Original, Lay’s Barbecue, and Doritos Cool Ranch.

These beloved staples of many a lunchtime swap in cafeterias across America are now the center of a contentious discussion on the Internet which has grown so heated that both Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer have weighed in, albeit incorrectly.

Now, however, it’s time to set the record straight: this is the definitive and correct ranking of the Lay’s Variety Pack flavors, listed in order from worst to best, as determined by a life-long chip enthusiast, who is neither swayed by viral public opinion or celebrity endorsements, even if they are by the very woke Captain America.

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Fritos

Fritos never quite feel like a standalone chip, but rather a vehicle for the myriad of dips it’s always paired with, which is probably why their Scoops version is so popular. Its corn taste is bland on its own, which is why you always see it alongside guacamole, salsa, queso, clam dip or in recipes like Frito pie. Plus, its extreme saltiness makes it fairly hard to eat on its own, which is why it’s the worst chip in the Lay’s Variety pack.

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Lay’s Barbecue

Lay’s Barbecue chips are fine, but just fine is not going to cut it in a competitive chip ranking! Lay’s’ particular barbecue flavor is more sweet than spicy or smoky, which can be cloying if you’re going to eat the whole bag.

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Doritos Cool Ranch

Doritos Cool Ranch taste great, but something about them feels like Doritos lite. They’re tasty, but mild, made for people who are willing to sacrifice flavor intensity and excitement for fingers that won’t be stained by orange dust.

Geri Lavrov—Moment Editorial/Getty Images

Cheetos

When it comes to the cheese puff variety, Cheetos are top-notch, especially if it includes the very excellent Flaming Hot Cheetos. For the purposes of this ranking, however, the Cheeto to be considered is the original crunchy Cheeto, which is deliciously cheesy, but not compelling enough to out-rank other chip types.

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Lay’s Original

Consider Classic Lay’s the OG, the tried-and-true of all chips. There’s a good reason for that — in terms of taste and texture, they go with everything, from the humble PB&J to fancier sandwich varieties, like say, the Monte Cristo. It’s versatile and reliable, like your favorite pair of blue jeans.

Geri Lavrov—Moment Editorial/Getty Images

Doritos Nacho Cheese

Doritos Nacho Cheese are undeniably the best chip flavor in the Lay’s Variety pack and quite possibly, in the entire chip lexicon. Balancing both cheesy goodness and spice, their flavor profile is intense but not overwhelming, a culinary statement that is bold, confident and unapologetic. Doritos Nacho Cheese is a chip for tastemakers and people who are leaders, not followers. It’s a chip that can stand alone but also play nicely with others (hello, Taco Bell taco shell collab!). In short, it is perfect and that is why it is the best chip in the Lay’s variety pack.

 

Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com.

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