Review (x3): Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips! Three Flavor Finalists! Vote to Save Your Fave! MEGA REVIEW!

Junk Food Nation, Happy Monday! Happy Presidents’ Day!  There’s so much to talk about, isn’t there? George Washington’s birthday – there’s a good topic.  How about the friggin’ meteor that exploded in Russia?  That’s only extremely terrifying.  The NBA All-Star Game!  I couldn’t care less…I’m sorry, Junk Food Nation, I just CAN’T joke around schtick it up because omgomgomgomg they are finally here FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!  I MUST EAT THESE NOW!!!!

The review you’ve ALL been waiting for – today’s junk food: Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips!!!!

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips

Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips: The Money Shots

Days ago, I Instagrammed this picture after Doctor Sis spotted these chips at a local Harris Teeter.  Buy one get one free? It’s like Harris Teeter was trying to make its customers extremely happy or something.

For the uninitiated, here’s the gist: Frito_lay is currently having a contest.  A few months back, they invited fans to submit flavor ideas for a brand new Lay’s potato chip.  Lay’s potato chips are those really good, really thin, salty potato chip which we all know and love growing up.  And Lay’s wanted a new flavor to add to their traditional sour cream and onion, ranch, BBQ, etc.  It marks the first time Lay’s has allowed the public to select a new flavor profile for their flagship chip in ….well, EVER.

There were approximately 3.8 million submissions, and here are your three Flavor Finalists: Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips!

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips

Flavor Finalists!

The most amazing thing about this contest: the winning flavor amongst these Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha Potato Chips will win $1 million dollars, OR “or one percent of the chip’s 2013 sales, whichever is more.” HOLY MOLY.  Equity?????

But obviously the most important thing to ME, the Junk Food Guy, is HOW DO THESE TASTE!? LET’S DO IT!

First up: Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips!

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips: The Money Shot

Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips is a great contestant.  As a big fan of cheese-based chips, or cheese-based anything, how can you go wrong here?

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Crusty goodness

I mean, just look at this photo?  Cheesy melted cheese bubbling on crusty crusty buttery garlic bread, covered in some herbs….mouth. Watering.  And those slightly charred darker bubbles of cheese? STOP IT.

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Karen Weber-Mendham of Land O’ Lakes, WI, is right…who DOESN’T like cheesy garlic bread? Especially at a nice Italian restaurant. When that basket arrives, I can crush five or six pieces before my meal even arrives.

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips: 160 calories for 17 chips

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Five different cheese, garlic powder, and my favorite ingredient – BUTTER!!!!

Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips actually have butter as an ingredient.  LOCK IT UP.  Is this contest over before it even begins?

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips


When I opened this bag of Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips, the first smell I got was, strangely, a sort of malty cheesy smell.  Reminded me a LOT of the Cheddar Beer Kettle Chips I tried before (WHICH AHEM I LOVED).  But the more I sniffed, the more I DEFINITELY got the smell of cheesy garlic bread!  The malty smell became more of a bread-y buttery smell, and the cheesy aroma was unmistakable.  Slightly garlicky, a tiny bit herbacious.  For me, the smell of these chips was pretty much spot on.

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips

Lightly powdered

Lay’s Cheesy Garlic Bread Potato Chips went into my mouth, and I was overjoyed.  These tasted pretty much exactly like how I wanted them to taste.  Cheese flavor? Check.  Immediate, and wasn’t just a generic cheddar flavor – I could taste (I swear) the swiss, the parmesan, and the monterey jack.  It was cheesy yet creamy and smooth.  Very tasty.

The garlic? CHECK. VERY garlicky!  Which was good – that cheesy garlic flavor was such a good savory combo, that it reminded me of the nice contrast between cheddar and sour cream in my favorite Lay’s chip ever.  The garlic flavor gave the initial taste a bit of bite, too, and helped curl the cheese flavor at the end to a nice savory finish.

But the best part of these chips, honestly, was this overtone of buttery creaminess!  This is what really helped bring the “garlic bread” flavor together – not just the cheese and the garlic, but that buttery flavor that fills your mouth when you bite into a crusty piece of restaurant garlic bread.  Since there was no “bread” flavor added to this chip, it’s the butter plus the starchiness of the chip that ties the other two flavors together.

All in all, really solid.  Tasted pretty spot on – these reminded me of cheesy garlic bread, through and through.  Awesome start to this contest!

Next up: Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips!

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips: The Money Shot

I’ve only had Chicken & Waffles twice: one time was in Detroit, where the chicken was on the side of the waffles, and it was more of a dessert/dinner thing.  Then, in LA, I had the chicken ON TOP Of the waffles, where they dumped maple syrup over ALL of it, and it was meant to be eaten together.  Which is correct, Nation?

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Who doesn’t love waffles?

I have to admit, as I stare at this image of the Chicken & Waffles, my stomach is growling.  Why am I not eating waffles every day? That slight crustiness, toasted flavor, and then covered in maple syrup?  Someone get me some breakfast please.

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Don’t steal, Christina

Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips were suggested by Christina Abu-Judom of Phoenix, AZ, which to me, is odd – I’ve read SO Many origins of where Chicken and Waffles began, and none of them began in Arizona.  Still, I guess it’s not THAT hard to transplant – it is, after all, a rather simple dish.

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips: Also 160 calories for 17 chips

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Chicken & Waffles Seasoning: brown sugar and “natural flavor.” Hooooo-kay.

Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips worry me, because I don’t see the presence of chicken FAT amongst the ingredients.  Those who remember my review of the Lay’s Buffalo Wing STAX remember that I loved the addition of chicken fat to the chip, which I thought enhanced the flavor and made it taste more chicken-y.  This is the same company, isn’t it? What gives, Frito-Lay??

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Sort of brown, huh?

OK, I’ll admit – these Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips smelled sort of funky when I opened the bag.  The sweet smell I got was immediate and had a strange chemical tone to it.  The more I smelled, however, that chemical tone took on sort of a greasy oily smell…which maybe was the point?  As someone imagining a piece of fried chicken with syrup on it, this smell reminded me of what that combo would taste like in my head.  Did that make sense? I’m not sure.  Basically, I could smell a very sweet maple-y aroma with some greasy chicken undertone.  Which I realize doesn’t sound that appetizing, but…let’s reserve judgment.

Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips

Flecks of rosemary

Honestly, the first thing I thought when I ate these Lay’s Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips was “This tastes JUST like breakfast sausage and maple syrup, a combo I love and often intentionally create when I eat at a Diner.”  And THAT is EXACTLY how it tastes….so if you like that combo, you will love this chip.

The first bite produces a sweet meaty flavor immediately – my mouth filled with a slight bouillon flavor while being complemented with brown sugar taste. There was a salty, almost soy-sauce-y flavor to the meaty chip, which reminded me so much of BBQ chicken, or like soy garlic chicken.  The brown sugar sweetness, to me, tasted less like syrup/waffles, and more like a sweet glaze.  Once my mind accommodated that interpretation, I was able to dig into these chips whole heartedly.

I thought these were actually pretty good, surpassing my expectation.  The Impulsive Buy hated these, but I think they got a bad wrap. Plus, there is a good amount of rosemary flavor that helps push the overall taste back towards chicken, rather than any other meat.

Did this taste EXACTLY like chicken and waffles?  I can’t say that it did…but did it taste good to me, and remind me of a nice rosemary chicken with some kind of sweet dipping sauce? YES.  I’d definitely eat these again. It’s sort of like kettle corn – sweet and savory.  And people LOVE kettle corn.  I think you’d all like these.

And finally: Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips!

Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips

Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips

The existence of Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips illuminates one immutable fact: PEOPLE LOVE SRIRACHA.  I LOVE SRIRACHA.  WE ALL. LOVE. SRIRACHA.  This Asian sauce is garlicky, sweet, spicy, and oh so good.

Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips

Dripping heat!!!

Sriracha is all OVER pop culture.  Chefs use it, not only in Asian cooking, but in so many other areas too. The Oatmeal has dedicated a whole cartoon to it.  One of the greatest tragedies is that the Sriracha Documentary never got made!!!!

Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips

Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips

Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips were suggested by Tyler Raineri from Lake Zurich, IL.  One thing that occurred to me: Tyler cannot be the ONLY one in 3.8 million entries to suggest sriracha, can he?  Same goes for the other flavors.  I wonder how he got so lucky!  Damnit.  Now I’m sort of bitter.

Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips

Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips: A LITTLE HEALTHIER! 150 calories for 17 chips!

Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips

Sort of distressing that there are so many cheese extracts in the “Sriracha Seasoning.”

Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips contain a whole lotta cheese flavors.  Weird.  Maybe they were added to round out the savoriness of the chip? Still, normal sriracha doesn’t contain milk, so……yeah.

Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips

Fiery red!

This bag of Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips smelled just like hot sauce.  JUST LIKE HOT SAUCE.  REALLY cool aroma! When I stuck my nose in, quite honestly, it smelled like Frank’s Red Hot, my favorite of all the sauces in the WORLD.  I could smell the chilis and the definite sweet tanginess that a hot sauce typically has.  Definitely a tiny bit of garlic to it as well.  I think smell like sriracha more, they could’ve added more garlic – but I’m not complaining.  These smelled heavenly.  Time to taste!

Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips

Soo so good

Before I tasted these chips, I got my bottle of sriracha, tasted a bit, and then washed my mouth out.  I popped some of these Lay’s Sriracha Potato Chips into my mouth and…FLAVOR EXPLOSION.  VERY close representation, albeit less spicy.

The first taste I got was the tomatoey tang of the typical sriracha.  Like real sriracha, the tomatey flavor carried through and provided a little bit of sweetness to the overall flavor.  Then the garlicky flavor kicked in, aided in part by some of the cheese ingredients we saw.  It rounded out the savory flavor of the chip, and brought the tang back into manageable range.  But then the CHILIS kicked in, and the flavor TOOK OFF.  Nice and spicy, these had a slow burn that increased and tickled my tongue a bit after I swallowed.  Sweet, spicy, garlicky – these were pretty spot on.

My friends at the Impulsive Buy thought these tasted more like Tabasco, and I respectfully disagree – I thought these tasted more like sriracha in that there wasn’t an EXTREME vinegar  taste to this like Tabasco possesses.  If I had one criticism of this chip, it’s that it could use even MORE garlic.

I had reviewed the sriracha popcorn by J&D’s before, and I liked it – tasted like sriracha if the spice was entirely muted.  But in these chips, the spice was NOT muted.  Not as spicy as actual sriracha, these chips are VERY CLOSE to what I felt like potato chips covered in sriracha would taste like.  A+!

Vote to Save Your Fave!

Vote to Save Your Fave – JUST DO IT.

So, all three were pretty damn good!  I must commend the flavor scientists behind these – these were some incredible chips.  ALL THREE.  Complex and tasty.

So, which was my favorite?  DRUMROLL PLEASE…….. my vote will go to……


Here’s why: I think, actually, as far as eatability, I could see myself eating those Cheesy Garlic Bread chips multiple times with no problem.  Even seeking them out.  But, the honest truth is there already IS a chip I love with that similar flavor profile: Lay’s or Ruffles Cheddar Sour Cream Chips. So while I really enjoyed the Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor, I’m not sure it’s unique enough to save.

The Chicken and Waffles Chips I thought were plenty unique and would have staying power along the same lines as a kettle-corn-style chip – a little sweet, a little savory.  Like I said, sort of tasted like a nice sweet glazed roasted chicken.  And while I did enjoy it, I’m not sure if I would ever crave it.  It’s in the same vein as how I don’t really crave Kettle Corn, at all.  I’ll have some if they’re around, and that’s it.  I don’t seek it out.  I wouldn’t seek the Chicken and Waffles chips out, despite how much I liked them.

So that leaves Sriracha, and I think it’d be a great addition to the line. “Why?” you might ask, “There are so many hot chips on the market already of all different varieties!” That is true, but I haven’t tasted one as close to Sriracha as this one.  Buffalo chips and spicy chips are some of my favorite, but these Sriracha chips are different.  They come so close to tasting like the real thing. And as far as I know, there is no other chip line out there doing this.  There are Tapatio chips.  There are Frank’s Red Hot chips.  There have been no Sriracha chips.  IT’S TIME.  And that’s the Junk Food Guy endorsement.

In sum, all three were amazing, and I am casting my vote for the red one.  Vote to Save YOUR Fave!  Vote on Facebook here, by texting “VOTE” to 24477 or through Twitter using the hashtags #SaveChickenWaffles, #SaveGarlicBread or #SaveSriracha.  Happy snacking!

PURCHASED AT: Harris Teeter

COST: Buy one get one free ($4.29 for two bags, or $2.15-ish each.  I saw them on sale at Giant Food, NOT on sale, for $4.29 full price.  GOOD LORD.  Pricey pricey.)

Thoughts? Please comment below or hit me up on Twitter @junkfoodguy or LIKE my Facebook Page and message me there. Also, you can always email me at [email protected]. Let’s hang.


Junk Food Guy

Discuss - 57 Comments

  1. Dani says:

    Great idea reviewing them all together in one post and then casting your vote! Glad to hear you liked them.

  2. Devin says:

    I wouldn’t mind trying all of these, but I wish there was some other way to do so without buying a large-sized bag of each of them. The only ones I think I’d like for sure are the cheesy garlic bread ones, so I wouldn’t want to buy such a big bag of the other ones and then end up not liking them (even though you have just told me that I love Sriracha (since we all do), I have honestly never heard of it until I saw these chips). I really wish they were available in a smaller size (like the ones you can get for around a $1 or so at gas stations), not only so I wouldn’t risk wasting them, but also so it would be cheaper to try all of them out.

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @Devin: Totally agree. the bags I got were huge and I have not seen them any smaller. That’s part of gimmick, I guess, though – to steal our money! Once the flavor is finalized, and the winner selected, I bet they’ll sell those in a smaller bag. Best choice – get a bunch of friends to chip and and all share these bags at the same time

    • Peter says:

      At Wal-Mart they had a pack of 6 small bags (2 of each flavor) for $1.98. They were all sold out though.

    • Will says:

      I saw the chicken & waffle ones in a small bag

    • Will says:

      At a gas station in ct, food bag

  3. Chaz says:

    Hmmm. I, like Impulse Buy, didn’t think they tasted much like sriracha. I bought all three this weekend at Safeway plus an extra sriracha (buy two get two free) and brought the three flavors to a party this weekend. Nobody at the party thought they they tasted like sriracha nor my roommates who got into my flipped over bag on the table and couldn’t figure out what what they were eating. We have three bottles in our fridge too! On a side note I’m baffled at how hip the sauce is now, everyone in these parts have considered it a staple for well over a decade, it’s the star ingredient in one of the popular local Russian dumpling joints. At the party the others had mixed reviews. I enjoy a good meal of fried chicken and waffles but found the fake maple sweetness little too much to eat more than half a serving. Cheesy garlic was good but now I want those Cheddar Beer Kettle chips now that you mentioned them.

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @Chaz: Yeah, I guess I felt it was pretty close…at the very least, to me, tasted more like Sriracha because of the garlic than it did Buffalo or Tapatio sauce. I also agree that Sriracha has suddenly (and usually) acquired a very vocal following! Honestly, I think as technology progressed, and more and more cooking shows began showing it off, and more and more pop-up restaurants started using it, it just tipped to the point where its a household name now. I’m happy for it!

      Sorry these chips weren’t up to your liking 🙁 I do still like Lay’s efforts at matching flavors more than Herr’s (Sorry Herr’s)

  4. Kn says:

    Walmart is selling a contest pack with small bags of these for you to have a contest with your friends.

  5. Elisa says:

    I remember this contest announced last summer so good to see what the final 3 are. I’d get the sampler pack just to see how they tasted.

  6. Chip Review says:

    Great reviews! We respectfully disagree with your Sriracha one, but that’s just our opinion, and definitely some of the fun of a great contest such as this! Lay’s really hit is out of the park with this one!

    In case you didn’t catch our takes on the flavors, you can take a look here:

  7. Craig says:

    @Devin et al – my Walmart is selling a ‘try all three’ pack consisting of two small bags of each flavor for $1.98. Not in the chip aisle, in a display near the registers.

  8. Jeremy says:


  9. Tara says:

    ALL of these chip flavors can be found in the 1.09 or .99 cent bags (the 3 oz bags)!!! You CAN try them without having to purchase big bags of chips!!

    I bought the Sriracha (which is my FAVORITE hot sauce) and chicken and waffles today. I am definitely going to be on the hunt for the cheesy garlic bread!


  10. non says:

    Found the sampler pack tonight. Not terribly impressed with any of them (meaning I’d uncontrollably wolf down a 16 oz bag in a sitting). If I had to choose I’d choose ‘Sriracha’, but I think the ‘Chicken & Waffles’ will make the cut.

    Given a choice, I’d much rather have Gold N’ Krisp Potato Chips, which are cooked with lard.

    Does anyone know if there is a list of flavors that didn’t make the final three????

    Sorta wish there were a ‘Kung Pao Chicken’ or (more seriously) a ‘Chorizo Queso’ flavor, since if you wouldn’t put it on a baked potato or thick fried potato slices it might not be such a good idea in the first place….

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @Non: Oh nice, I gotta try some Gold N Krisp. And I love you suggestions – Kung Pao or even just a General Tsao’s Chicken chip would be amazing!!! Also, I too would like to see a list of flavors that didn’t make the cut

  11. non says:

    You also might like Dieffenbach’s Old Fashion Potato Chips, Grandma Utz Potato Chips, Gibble’s Potato Chips or Good’s Potato Chips which are also made with lard. I’ve only had Gold’N Krisp which are fried in a mixture of soybean oil and lard.

    Incidentally (off topic), if you want a really good Kung Pao Chicken recipe you should try Fuchsia Dunlop’s which has a wonderful balance of sweet, sour, spicy and numbing (from Sichuan Peppercorns) —

    Best Kung Pao Chicken you’ll probably ever make (Just find quality ingredients in an Asian market). That (along with a chorizo variation) is the kind of potato chip flavor I’d like to try.

  12. ArndtYouErin says:

    Been to my local Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter and 2 Walmarts. No luck in my area of Fairfax. 🙁 Would love to know where these are.

  13. Michelle says:

    OMG! Those all look amazing. I thought that the chicken and waffles looked the best… but then I started to drool when I saw the sriracha ones.

  14. Billy Castillo says:

    I’ve been looking all over…every store within a 30 mile radius is sold out. I managed to grab the Sriracha and Cheesy Garlic Bread ones about a week ago, but NO store in Houston or surrounding areas (I live in Alvin,TX) have restocked them. Apparently, Chicken & Waffles sold out quickly. According to a vendor I spoke to this morning at about 5:30 (yes, I went to Wal-Mart that early) there are no plans for Houston to get additional shipments because, and I quote, ‘Houston is not considered to be a vital market’. 4th largest city in the US, and we’re not a vital market. So, needless to say, I won’t get the chance to do my own review!

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @Billy: I HAVE to imagine that Lay’s will do a re-release…I mean, the contest lasts until May 4, 2013. That’s over two months away! They can’t lose this opportunity to make profit 😉

  15. benamore says:

    I really like the Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor. I could taste Cheddar, Jack, Swiss, Parmesan, and Gouda. It has a really buttery garlic taste to it as well. I wish they had the seasoning for popcorn.

    Rating out of 100: 92/100

  16. Billy Castillo says:

    I finally found them…Walgreens is pushing the hell out of them from now until 30 March 2013. They are NOT located by the rest of the chips;rather, they are right at the checkouts. 2/$2.

    I think that vendor I was talking about was just hatin’

  17. Mr.Poop says:

    Quick question. After you eat a lot of chips, what does your poop look like?

  18. Jack says:

    Karen (the creator of Cheesy Garlic Bread) is from the town that I reside, Land O’ Lakes, WI. I’m glad to see reviews describing all the flavors like this! At our highschool girls basketball game last Friday, Karen walked in the field house (her daughter plays) and the entire crowd started chanting “Cheesy Garlic Bread”. Real funny sight to see. Anyways thanks for the review!

  19. Roxanne says:

    Wow!! I don’t know who thought “Chicken and Waffle” would make a good flavor. These chips are disgusting!! Even if you can get past the unsavory maple syrup aroma and bravely put one in you mouth … you will NOT find pleasure!! One wonderful co-worker brought in a bag today and not one person has finished a whole chip. The after taste lingers ino something that should NEVER be placed in your mouth!

  20. tirah says:

    i dont like chicken and waffles

  21. Alisa says:

    Are they still selling them in walgreens ?! Im searching for all 3 flavors in the dollar bags!

  22. anonymous says:

    We found small bags of these yesterday at a gas station, a Shell station with a Circle K convience store, and they were 2 for $2.50

  23. Ami says:

    Still looking in Howard and AA County in MD for these chips. I have not dedicated time to hunt them but check every store I go to. Anyone seen them in my area? Would love to try all three.

  24. Anthony says:

    I’m from lake Zurich and I’ve tried all of them and its not that I’m form LZ but sriracha I think tastes the best but I still wish lays made sweet and spice buffalo wing chips are they still around any one know

  25. Beth Welsh says:

    Loved your review and well-thought conclusions. I have to say that one of the things I liked the most was seeing the ingredients. I couldn’t find it on the Lays site. My kids are gluten free, so they can eat some Lays chips. My son desperately misses barbecue since they added barley extract (although he can eat Carolina barbecue). So I was hunting to see if the kids could try and vote. You provided that information. Thanks a million!

  26. Kaitlyn says:

    found it! now i’m even more disappointed that i didn’t try the chicken and waffles flavor! but this review made me really want to buy a bag of the cheesy garlic bread..

  27. Chris pazdur says:

    why doesn’t lei make a new flavor avocado ranch it would be fantastic.

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