Food and Drink

All the Zapp's Chips, Ranked

From Voodoo chips to the new pretzel sticks, which Louisiana-inspired flavor is the best?

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

I’m always on the hunt for the best kettle chip out there and a serious contender for the title are Zapp’s chips. For the uninitiated, Zapp’s hails from Louisiana and is inspired by the vibrancy of Cajun cuisine. The chips are cooked in peanut oil until satisfyingly crunchy and are dressed with flavours like Spicy Cajun Crawtators and a mysterious combination known only as Voodoo. The brand even recently also unveiled a new category of snack: seasoned pretzel sticks.

With all of this in mind, I decided to try all of the Zapp’s products to see which chips are reminiscent of a New Orleans party and which could be deemed forgettable. Here’s how they stacked up.

10. Regular Flavor

The rating is all in the name. These are pretty regular. They’re plain chips, seasoned only with salt. You really appreciate the crunch of the kettle-cooked chips more when there’s no other sensation to battle with it. But Zapps is well-known for more bombastic flavour, so a plain chip unfortunately can not rank any higher.

9. Spicy Cajun Crawtators

This was actually a disappointing bag because with a name like Spicy Cajun Crawtators, you’re setting up an expectation for big flavour alongside ample heat. This had neither of those things! It’s a mild chip-paprika is the only seasoning in the ingredient that has any sort of spice, and even then it’s next to nothing on the Scoville scale. The mention of crawtators made me crave a seafood flavour, like shrimp chips, but that was lacking too. This tastes like a barbecue sauce without the sweetness; it’s mostly smoky and slightly garlicky.

8. Mesquite Bar-B-Que

Here is my chip bias: I’m not really a barbecue fan. It is probably the last chip I will reach for among the classic flavours of chips, but compared to Lays, these are way better. There’s no cloying, sugary sensation that’s found in a lot of barbecue-flavoured chips. Yes, these possess a mild sweetness, but it’s also balanced out with tomato seasoning and onion and garlic powder. I do wish it had some of the smokiness Spicy Cajun Crawtators have, especially because Mesquite is in the name, but overall this is a solid barbecue chip.

7. Hotter ‘N Hot Jalapeño

Although these Zapp’s chips are certainly hotter than most of the offerings, I wouldn’t necessarily describe them as “hot.” They provide a gentle tickle on the tongue from the jalapeño powder, but are more salty than they are spicy. That being said, they’re still enjoyable to eat! I do wish there was a touch of sugar similar to Kettle Brand’s jalapeño chips, which really round out the salt and heat, or a dusting of whey that Ms. Vickie’s adds which provides a layer of dimension outside of salt and fat.

6. Salt & Vinegar

Felt my eyebrows singe and my tongue shrivel when I opened this bag of chips, but the vinegar flavour is actually not as aggressive as it smells, which I prefer! Sometimes salt and vinegar chips can be so abrasive on the tongue that the flavour-paired with jagged edges of kettle chips-ends up being unpleasant after the fifth chip. That’s not the case for these, which start off mouth-wateringly acidic and mellow out quickly.

5. Jazzy Honey Mustard Pretzel Stix

Honey mustard pretzels are my go-to road trip snack and I may need to change allegiances from my usual brand to Zapp’s. These are divine-sweet and salty with a hit of mustard flavour that is just tangy enough. What really makes these pretzels stand out isn’t the twisty shape (though I do prefer that to boring matchstick shapes or crunchy mustard pillows). It’s the fact that every bite is absolutely coated in honey mustard dust; it really delivers on flavour.

4. Voodoo Pretzel Stix

And if you’re not a honey mustard fan but still want to try out Zapp’s pretzels, they, of course, created a Voodoo flavour too. You get all the magic of the OG Voodoo chips but in pretzel form, with a generous coating of flavour on each. It’s sweet and tangy and hard to put down-though the chip version still reigns supreme in my heart.

3. Evil Eye

The red hue of the Evil Eye makes it seem like they’ll be super spicy, but instead they taste like the best ketchup chips you’ve ever had (and you don’t even have to cross the border into Canada). They’re sweet and salty and have the slightest lingering tang, thanks to tamarind found in Worcestershire sauce. There’s nothing really evil about these, except perhaps the bag is too small.

2. Cajun Dill Gator-Tators

After digging through bag after bag of Zapp’s, these were the first chips that made me hum my approval after the initial bite. They have everything I’m looking for: sharp tang from vinegar mellowed out by a sprinkling of sugar, herbaceous flavour from dill and parsley, and garlic and onion powder (which I’m now learning is pretty consistent across Zapp’s chips). The star flavour is certainly dill, which all the pickle fanatics out there will love, but the other components work in tandem to ensure the chip isn’t too pungent or anise-forward.

1. Voodoo

Zapp’s Voodoo chips are iconic for good reason. From the colourful bag adorned with pin-struck voodoo dolls to the sweet-and-sour flavour to the shattering crunch, it’s impossible not to eat the entire bag in one sitting. The flavour is hard to pin down. Still, it has all the best qualities of all the other chips: tangy, but not too much vinegar; smoky, but not overpowered by barbecue flavour; sweet without an excess of sugar. Even as I’m typing this, having consumed every flavour of chip in the Zapp’s lineup, I can’t stop absentmindedly reaching for another. Whatever magic they’re throwing into the Voodoo flavour, it’s working.

Editor’s note: At the time of this writing, Zapp’s Voodoo Heat was not available. We will update this list when we can get our hands on those.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.

Food and Drink

Red Rooster Is Serving Free Chicken and Piping Hot Cash This Christmas in July

Get your early dose of festive cheer.

Red Rooster Christmas in July
Instagram / @redrooster_au

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