Lay's Introduces 8 New Potato Chip Flavors Inspired by 'Local Cuisine' in America—and We Tried Them All
Attention, snack lovers: Lay's is about to release eight new potato chip flavors—the most the brand has ever released at one time.
In an effort to showcase different local cuisines from across the country, the Lay's new "Tastes of America" flavors are inspired by popular regional dishes: Cajun Spice, Chili con Queso, Chesapeake Crab Bay Spice, Deep Dish Pizza, Fried Pickles with Ranch, New England Lobster Roll, Pimento Cheese, and Sweet Thai Chili.
The new bags will hit grocery stores beginning on July 30 and will be available until September 23, but will only be available in the region where the flavor was inspired by. If you want to try all eight flavors without having to stalk the supermarket shelves, you can purchase a variety pack at lays.com. Alongside the new releases, Lay's is also bringing back some old regional favorites for a limited-time, including Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries, Ketchup, and Wavy Fried Green Tomato.
Ahead of the retail store rollout, PEOPLE tried the eight new flavors to give you a heads up on how they taste.
Cajun Spice (Origin: Central Gulf): Inspired by dishes like jambalaya and blackened cajun chicken, the spices on these chips include a mix of garlic, paprika, onion and oregano—and let us tell you: they don't skimp you on the spices. The Louisiana-style flavor is spot-on, with one taster commenting that the chips taste deliciously "like a crawfish."
Chile Con Queso (Origin: Texoma, Mountain, Southern California): Described on the package as a "legendary Tex-Mex taste of velvety cheddar queso with a dash of spice," this flavor is the favorite among our tasters. It tastes like a drip smothered in the cheesy Mexican dip, with a spicy kick at the end. We could polish off a bag in one sitting, no problem.
Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice (Origin: Mid-Atlantic): These chips get their flavor from a custom-blend of Old Bay and other spices, most of which our tasters didn't actually notice. Although some tasters got hints of seafood in the chips' smell, the crab-boil flavor isn't as prominent as we imagined it would be.
Deep Dish Pizza (Origin: Heartland and Mid-America): This flavor was inspired by Giordano's pizza recipe (they're a Chicago deep-dish pizza institution). The moment our tasters pulled a chip out of the bag, pizza was the only thought on our minds—the smell was straight-up pizza. While the marinara sauce taste was prominent, the flavor was missing the cheese and crust elements (although, we're not sure how one recreates a crust flavor). Perhaps a better name for this bag would have been Pizza Sauce.
Fried Pickles with Ranch (Origin: Midwest): If you're a pickle lover or a ranch lover, you'll be into these chips. Lay's harnessed all the flavors of the state fair favorite into a few bites—it tastes exactly like dill with a hint of fried batter and ranch dressing.
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New England Lobster Roll (Origin: Northeast): As the second seafood flavor in the lineup and inspired by lobster shacks in the northeast, Lay's wanted to bring the "flavor of fresh lobster served on a buttery grilled roll" to their chips. However, these chips taste more like they're flavored with sour cream (not a bad thing, but not quite buttery enough to call it a lobster roll). And even though they have a faint seafood-y scent, we didn't pick up on the sweet lobster flavor as much as we hoped to.
Pimento Cheese (Origin: Southeast): This classic southern dip made from cheddar cheese and pimentos is one of our tasters' favorite snacks, but this chip doesn't exactly capture that full flavor. However, we enjoyed the taste and crunch of the chips even though it wasn't the pimento cheese kick we were hoping for— and liked the hint of cayenne pepper in the mix.
Thai Sweet Chili (Origin: Pacific Northwest): This flavor was inspired by the food truck scene in the Pacific Northwest and claims to mix sweet chili sauce with a hint of heat, but the chips left all of our tasters confused. At first bite, we tasted ranch and pickles (and we hadn't snacked on the fried pickle flavor yet!), plus an overwhelming taste of vinegar. The chips weren't bad—in fact, most of us said we'd eat them—we just didn't get the Thai Sweet Chili thing they were going for.