13 Salt And Vinegar Chips, Ranked Worst To Best

Potato chips are a good snack. You can eat the entire bag almost anywhere, pair them with almost anything, and virtually no one would refuse a handful. But when regular potato chips get a little old, you might consider making a riskier choice and going for a more intriguing flavor like salt and vinegar.

Almost all potato chips have salt. It's an absolute necessity for most foods, especially for otherwise bland potato chips. But vinegar? It's so wrong that it's right. Vinegar's acidic, bracing, and slightly bitter flavor elevates standard potato chips.

An excellent salt and vinegar chip leaves the corners of your mouth burning from the faint sting of vinegar while simultaneously satisfying the craving for something salty. It's exhilarating! Okay, fine, maybe that's an exaggeration — but you get the idea. It's time to determine which salt and vinegar chips are worth eating, so here's a ranking of the top ones from worst to best.

13. Good & Gather Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

Target is one brand that doesn't sleep on quality food and groceries. Between the Good & Gather and Favorite Day product lines, everyone's favorite store to leisurely browse delivers fun seasonal items and staple groceries, too. Unfortunately, though, the Target Good & Gather kettle chips were my least favorite.

All kettle chips have an extra-deep, potent flavor that "regular" chips lack. It's typically a good thing, but Target's chips tasted a little off. The potato flavor was slightly musty and had an odd undertone that gave the impression that these chips were expired. Meanwhile, the vinegar was pronounced in its sourness and not in an enjoyable way, which was one of the reasons why I had to rank the brand last. I would not buy these chips again when presented with other options, but it doesn't taint my appreciation for the brand as a whole.

12. Pringles Salt & Vinegar

I have a confession to make. Before this taste test, I had no idea what Pringles tasted like. I'd probably had them at parties or gatherings a few times, but they didn't leave an indelible impression on me nor impressed me enough to buy a whole can. Plus, I was wary of the fact that Pringles come in a can, unlike the other bagged potato chips.

Pringles are thicker than regular chips but nowhere near as thick as kettle chips. These chips also taste distinctly bready, like they were baked and not fried (like a good chip should be). But if you're a salt and vinegar lover, these are not for you because the flavor is so faint. But if you'd like a non-greasy and barely there chip, a Pringle might be for you. However, the odd texture and light flavor put it out of the race for the top chip.

11. Lay's Salt & Vinegar

Lay's potato chips are a classic for a reason. This brand churns out consistently good snacks in endlessly entertaining and curious flavors, and best of all, the bags can be found almost anywhere — from grocery stores to corner shops. Lay's easily beats the competition based on accessibility alone. But these basic Lay's chips fall short when it comes down to the taste and texture.

The Lay's potato chip is very thin and fragile, without any added texture like ridges or notable air pockets. It also doesn't taste very potato-forward; it's mostly just a blank canvas for some flavor and a whole lot of salt. The salt and vinegar chips didn't pack a major punch of puckery vinegar flavor, nor was the flavor complex. But there's no denying how tempting it can be just to keep sticking your hand back in the bag and eating these chips. I definitely thought Lay's would rank higher, but the flavor was boring and less complex than the other top-ranking brands.

10. Deep River Snacks Sea Salt & Vinegar

Kettle chips are leaps and bounds above the standard potato chip. The Deep River brand offers convenient, single-serve kettle chip bags located near the deli or cheese counters of many grocery stores.

These sea salt and vinegar kettle chips are perfectly suitable when you're craving a handful of chips, but I think the brand could do better. Nothing stood out about Deep River's chips, either in flavor or texture, besides a greasy quality and distinct aftertaste. But hey, don't worry, if your ideal potato chip is a nice, greasy kettle chip that doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, go for it. Not every bag of chips has to be the most memorable or curious snacking experience of your life. But there were many other brands that I thought did much better in the flavor and texture department, which is why I had to rank this one so low.

9. Harris Teeter Kettle Cooked Salt & Vinegar

Harris Teeter is a reliable brand that carries tasty products. It offers a slightly leveled-up version of the basics — and sometimes with a twist. Its kettle-cooked salt and vinegar chips are no different. Do you like your potato chips extra crunchy? If so, you'll love these. The chips are super thick, and put your teeth to work to chew through them. The edges of each chip are almost crusty, which gives the chip a unique texture I didn't experience with other brands.

It's not just the bold and assertive texture that sets these chips apart; the salt and vinegar flavor is very in-your-face, too. It's one of the most vinegar-forward chips that I tried. The stoutness and strong taste make these chips an excellent pairing for a creamy dip and crudités. However, I thought these chips went a little overboard on the vinegar at the expense of other flavors, so they ranked lower than chips with a more balanced profile.

8. Utz Salt 'n Vinegar

The Utz chips may not have won the prize for the best chip, but the brand does take the title of making the most delicate, paper-thin potato chips possible. Due to their flakiness, these Utz chips are the polar opposite of a kettle chip. The brand also created chips with a broad circumference and dependably circular shape. Maybe, since they are so crisp and light, Utz decided to make them just big enough to even everything out.

The flavor is also crisp and light; it's bright with just a tad of vinegar and a moderate amount of salt. If you're tired of all these heavy, crunchy chips that go heavy on the vinegar and prefer something more balanced, you'll love Utz. But the light flavor and unique texture just weren't the hearty chips I was looking for, which is why I had to rank these in the middle of the pack.

7. Kettle Brand Potato Chips Sea Salt & Vinegar

The Kettle Brand is one of the most recognizable bags of potato chips at the grocery store. This brand is the gold standard when it comes to Kettle chips because they are reliably crisp and satisfying. That being said, these were not actually the top kettle chips in this ranking, but they still held their own.

Kettle Brand's chips are the quintessential kettle-style chip. They're solid and substantial and have a deeper, toastier flavor than a typical potato chip. Plus, a bag of Kettle Brand offers more than the expected amount of twisty, curled-over-each-other chips — which everyone knows are the best kind. These chips have a colossal, double crunch and balanced, reliable flavor. You can't go wrong with a bag.

Although I thought this would be the top chip, some lesser-known brands nailed the salt and vinegar flavor perfectly and took it to new heights. The higher-ranking chips all had a special X factor that made them more memorable.

6. Kettle Brand Air Fried Sea Salt & Vinegar

These Kettle Brand chips are slightly different from the OG because they're air-fried. As a result, you might be disinterested in these "healthy" potato chips. After all, potato chips are made to be deep-fried in oil. But, believe it or not, these chips are even better than the brand's original salt and vinegar chips.

The air-fried version has all the amazing flavor and texture with zero compromises. However, these chips were missing one thing — that slightly gross, greasy aftertaste and sensation you get after eating a big handful of potato chips. No one's saying any kind of potato chips are exactly a "health" food, but these air-fried chips make you feel a lot better about eating them. In fact, you can eat way more of these without feeling as oil-logged.

I would never have imagined enjoying an air-fried chip more than a regular one, but Kettle Brand has done the impossible. The only important thing to remember is that these chips will probably cost a few dollars more than the latter. I loved that these chips were sturdy, crunchy, and intensely flavorful like the regular Kettle Brand chips but had a light and moreish quality like the airy Utz chips. These chips combined these two winning elements earned themselves a fairly high ranking.

5. Boulder Canyon Avocado Oil Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt Kettle Style Potato Chips

One of the brands that I had never tried, or even heard of prior to this ranking, was Boulder Canyon. But when I saw that the brand had a chip that used malt vinegar, I had to add it to the list. Malt vinegar, as opposed to regular white vinegar, has a specific taste. The rosy-colored liquid is often used in British cuisine and has a brighter, less antiseptic flavor. It's a no-brainer to use in a chip.

Boulder Canyon's chips are exceptionally flavorful. The brand doesn't hold back on the vinegar and generously salts its chips, both of which are captured in the chip's ridges. Yes, ridges! Finally, a potato chip that embodies the Ruffles approach. Ridges are always a good shape for a chip because they create a more interesting texture and mouthfeel while delivering more of whatever the chips are seasoned with. Overall, I really enjoyed everything about this complex, savory chip. The only reason it didn't rank even higher was that the other brands were more creative in how they made and flavored their chips, which gave them a more competitive edge.

4. Siete Sea Salt Vinegar Chips

Siete is full of sparkly new takes on classics and slightly more wholesome alternatives to items everyone knows and loves. From almond flour tortillas to sweet snacks inspired by Mexican buñuelos, Siete is doing it its own way. That includes dressing up salt and vinegar potato chips with a bit of serrano pepper. As it turns out, this was an absolutely brilliant idea.

The chips sport a lovely consistency. They are incredibly light, flaky, and are almost buttery instead of oily. The salt and vinegar flavor is spot-on and very balanced. However, the best part is that hint of spice from the chile pepper. It's so unusual to see a brand take an existing flavor profile, put a twist on it, and still retain the original flavor — but Siete does it well. Chef Samin Nosrat is all about the cross-pollination of salt, fat, acid, and heat, and we're happy to report that Siete figured out how to incorporate all of these flavors into a single chip. Its innovative approach edged out its competitors, though it was not as flavorful as my top picks.

3. Lay's Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Vinegar

I've tried an array of Lay's potato chip flavors, and I must say that the kettle-cooked version consistently blows the plain one out of the water. But even better — they also blew a whole lot of other non-Lay's chips out of the water (or oil) too.

There is no question about it: These are some excellent kettle chips, and they don't even have to use any fancy oils or magical salts. The best chips also don't have to come from a bougie, high-budget brand. Lay's just knows what's up. Each handful is an instant burst of flavor, but it doesn't overwhelm you with an acidic, vinegary profile. The chips are also not overly oily, and the texture is crunchy. Best of all, you get many of those folded-over chips in a bag. These are everything you could ask for in a big-name, accessible, and no-frills kettle chip. But my top picks take the depth of flavor to a new level, which leaves Lay's Kettle Cooked chips grasping for the top spot.

2. 365 by Whole Foods Market Kettle Cooked Himalayan Salt & Apple Cider Vinegar

Whole Foods Market has long garnered a reputation for high-quality products — and sometimes high prices to match. Luckily, the 365 by Whole Foods Market store brand is actually very accessible and affordable — and usually delicious. Case in point: These ridiculously tasty Himalayan salt and apple cider vinegar kettle chips.

These chips taste so fancy. But does the flaky pink salt really make that big of a difference? Before tasting the chips, my answer would have been no. But after tasting them, I'll believe whatever Whole Foods Market tells me. Salt accentuates existing flavors rather than imparting any of its own, but the Himalayan salt seems to have its own deep, rich taste. And the vinegar is both pleasant and pungent. It's definitely on the strong side, with a rustic edge thanks to the apple cider variation.

There is so much flavor on every corner of these chips; they are a real treat. This product is a twist on the classic — perfected. The striking vinegar flavor and fancier salt made these chips the best unconventional salt and vinegar chips, but they still weren't my all-time favorite.

1. Cape Cod Sea Salt & Vinegar Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

We've finally reached the best of the best. After tasting so many different salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips, you might think that the winner would be a toss-up out of sheer exhaustion. But despite the competition and the sting of vinegar on my tongue, Cape Cod's near-perfect potato chip easily waltzed into the top position.

These chips are everything you could ask for. Each one tastes like it's from real potatoes, which is more than could be said for lots of generic chips. If it's possible for chips to taste fresh, these Cape Cod-branded ones do just that. Each chip is very salty with just the right punch of tangy vinegar. The rich, deep, burnished notes you get in a stellar kettle chip are front and center, too. Even without the salt and vinegar, this is a quintessential chip — and the added flavor is just the icing on the cake. If you have never tried Cape Cod chips, do yourself a favor and pick a bag of this fantastic chip brand on your next shopping trip. That homemade quality, like someone boiled these just for me, was the unexpected push that won Cape Cod the gold medal for best salt and vinegar chip.


I perused quite a few different grocery stores to find as many different salt and vinegar-flavored chips as possible. While this list isn't exhaustive of every salt and vinegar chip on the market, I tried to choose a smattering from different brands and styles. The chips range in price points, with the cheaper ones in smaller bags to more premium options costing much more. Some brands, like Lay's and Kettle Brand, are more ubiquitous, while others, like Siete, are more difficult to find.

I was looking for the perfect potato chip, which is a tall order indeed. In my opinion, the perfect potato chip comes down to taste, texture, and that fun "moreish" quality that makes everyone keep reaching into the bag. It can't be too salty or oily, and it definitely can't taste artificial. Instead, it has to walk the fine line of packing a good punch of vinegar but not enough to tear our taste buds to shreds, and still have that classic potato-y flavor underneath. The texture should be crispy and crunchy but not chewy or hard to bite into, and it all has to come together to create a "just one more" kind of chip.