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I Tried 7 Popular Tortilla Chips & the Best Was Habit-Forming

Finally, the search for the best tortilla chip—for dipping or just crunching all by itself—is over.
The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

Tortilla chips and salsa are one iconic food pairing. The duo is on the same level as peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese and tomato soup, and bacon and eggs. The combination is so natural in American culture that you might sometimes forget its Mexican roots. Salsa, of course, has been named America's favorite condimentover the likes of ranch, mayonnaise, and even ketchup.

The availability and affordability of chips and salsa help with popularity. Both are low-expense foods to manufacture. And, tortilla chips have an exceptionally simplified ingredient list, usually consisting of only corn flour, some form of oil, and salt.

Throw in strong demand, and you'll find no lack of tortilla chips options on the market, with new brands frequently popping up. If you're anything like me, you may tend to just stick with the most recognizable and mainstream names to bring to the party or snack on at home. But, what if there was something better out there? A chip with a more authentic corn flavor and the perfect crispy texture—thin enough to almost dissolve in your mouth but thick enough to stand up to salsa or another dip of choice like queso or guacamole.

To get a better sense of which brands are worth their salt, I picked up seven different bags at my local Kroger—some of which I have dipped and dunked before and others which were completely new territory. Let's find out which ones didn't fare so well and which ones deserve a spot at your table. Here's how they stacked up, ranked in descending order from my least favorite to the overall best chip.

Santitas Totopos de Maiz (White Corn Chips)

santitas white corn chips
Megan Hageman / Eat This, Not That!
PER serving (9 CHIPS): 140 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Santitas tortilla chips, part of PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, debuted with the goal of delivering a Mexican-inspired taste while only using simple ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. High-quality corn, vegetable oil, and salt are the three key components at the core of all Santitas chips, which come in Yellow Corn, Cilantro Lime, and White Corn varieties.

This is one of the most economical choices for your snacking needs. Most bags come with the price, typically around $2, stamped right on the front so customers know the cost. The bag of White Corn Chips I purchased did not carry this emblem. But, it did ring up for $1.99 for an 11-ounce bag—the cheapest option in my haul.

The look: They are white corn chips, so they come in a more cream-colored shade rather than yellow. They match the coloring on the bag rather well. In terms of shape, each chip has a classic triangular cut.

The taste: Too stiff to the point that they tasted stale even fresh out of the bag. This does help them to stay intact, and you won't lose half your chip in the dip bowl. The chips are also a bit grainy and corn-forward, while the salt is mild. I would say Santitas is still a great option considering its budget price, but it's not outstanding.

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Mission Tortilla Strips

mission tortilla strips
Megan Hageman / Eat This, Not That!
PER Serving (12 CHIPS): 140 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Mission Foods is owned by the Gruma Corporation, a company responsible for a range of other Mexican-inspired brands including Delicados, Calidad, and Guerrero—it's something of a tortilla conglomerate.

You have likely seen Mission's flour and corn tortillas with its red and yellow logo in the grocery aisle, as well as its wraps, flatbreads, salsas, and, of course, tortilla chips. Its chips are always sold in its "original" brown bag for a more authentic experience. Multiple styles are available, including the 11-ounce bag of Tortilla Strips I bought for $2.99. These strips consist of four ingredients: corn masa flour, water, vegetable oil, and sea salt.

The look: Off-white and stamped out into 3-inch long by 1-inch rectangles. All tortillas and tortilla chips typically have some brown spotting. Here, they almost look burnt.

The taste: Dry and not as authentic tasting as the brand would have you believe. They have a very subtle corn flavor that reminds me of popcorn, but salt levels are low. On the bright side, each strip is hefty and firm. Their lack of flavor might make them a better choice for something like nachos rather than eating straight or pairing with salsa.

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Tostitos Scoops!

tostitos scoops
Megan Hageman / Eat This, Not That!
PER Serving (11 CHIPS): 140 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Tostitos is that brand you're most likely to see sitting next to the salsa and feeding the masses at tailgates or potlucks. It is under the PepsiCo/Frito-Lay umbrella, and it happens to be cousins to one of America's all-time favorite flavored tortilla chips: Doritos. But, we won't let that detail cloud our judgment.

On its own, the Tostitos brand has amassed a small army of both flavor and shape options to satisfy everyone at the party. Hint of Lime, Black Bean & Garlic, Habanero, Salsa Verde, and Blue Corn are all up for grabs. Available forms include Restaurant-Style, Rounds, Hearty Dippers, and the infamous Scoops!. The latter is the bag I picked up at a cost of $3.99 for 10 ounces.

The look: Sporting a one-of-a-kind tiny bowl shape with sturdy ridges all around. The color is on the lighter side for a corn tortilla chip.

The taste: These chips are crunchy to the max, but that's also part of their charm and what makes them such a reliable tool for even the chunkiest dip. Aside from their scoopability, I wasn't impressed. I picked up on a slightly artificial taste as I munched, and the salt wasn't well dispersed, leaving some bites bland and others with a sodium surplus.

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Siete Maiz Sea Salt Totopos (Corn Tortilla Chips)

siete maize tortilla chips
Megan Hageman / Eat This, Not That!
PER Serving (10 CHIPS): 140 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Siete Maiz Sea Salt Corn Tortilla Chips are the most expensive in the lineup at $5.19 a pop for a 7.5-ounce bag. They're also the most unique in terms of ingredients with a nixtamalized corn blend at the forefront. Nixtamalization is the process where kernels are soaked and cooked in water and lime, and in Siete's case, they are then stone-ground. Avocado oil is used to fry the chips before sea salt is added, and the bag calls out that it may contain coconut.

Siete has a collection of other products in addition to its tortilla chips. These include potato chips, puffs, tortillas, taco shells, seasonings, sauces, beans, and even sweets like churro strips.

The look: These look like classic corn tortilla chips in a shade of deep golden yellow. Shape and size are standard, and thickness is average.

The taste: Siete's chips automatically have a leg up since they are made without vegetable or seed oil. But, I think the swap for avocado oil is what gives them a curious flavor that almost tastes packaged. Something is a little bit off, despite appropriate crispiness and salt levels. I can't identify any standout elements to justify the inflated price.

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Xochitl Totopos de Maiz (White Corn Chips)

xochitl white corn chips
Megan Hageman / Eat This, Not That!
PER Serving (21 CHIPS): 140 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Xochitl (pronounced so-cheel) is a minority-owned company that started in 1995 with a primary focus on salsa. Since every salsa needs a snack buddy, Xochitl grew into the business of tortilla chips, as well. Now, you can find seven different options on the market, and each one comes in a sturdy brown bag, similar to Mission's. Additionally, all are organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and are made up of ingredients similar to the following: organic white corn, organic palm olein oil, water, lime, and sea salt. I ended up with the brand's 12-ounce White Corn Chips for $4.49.

The look: Pale, yellow triangles—similar in look to Santitas, but with less defined brown speckles. They fall somewhere in between thick and thin.

The taste: Extra salty, but I can see how they could be addicting. A process of oven baking before frying makes these chips nice and crispy, delivering that perfect crunch with every single bite. I think I agree with the bag that Xochitl is "Xo good," and I am tempted to grab a jar of the company's salsa to see if that brings these chips to the next level. I'm thinking the garlicky chipotle salsa with a medium spice would be a great place to start.

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Late July Organic Sea Salt Tortilla Chips

late july tortilla chips
Megan Hageman / Eat This, Not That!
PER Serving (8 CHIPS): 130 calories, 7 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

If it weren't for its more recent line of crackers, Late July would fall into the category of a one-trick pony, as a company focused solely on tortilla chips. The brand carries nearly every kind of tortilla chips imaginable, from Multigrain to Dippers to flavors like Mexican Street Corn or Chia & Quinoa.

I kept things classic with a bag of the Late July Organic Sea Salt Tortilla Chips, which were priced at $3.99 for a very specific 10.1 ounces. And, just like every other tortilla chip here, the ingredient list is short and sweet with organic whole ground corn, organic sunflower oil (and/or organic safflower oil), and sea salt making the cut.

The look: Triangular shaped and in a darker champagne color with the slightest yellow tint. All in all a very customary look for a tortilla chip.

The taste: Crisp and thin with air pockets—something I hadn't seen in any chip prior. They are also salty, slightly oily, yet not greasy, and flavorful for chips made with all organic ingredients. I am late to the party on this brand. I can see them turning into one of my go-to's in the future.

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On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina Cafe Style Fiesta Size

on the border corn chips
Megan Hageman / Eat This, Not That!
PER SERVING (7 CHIPS): 150 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

There's absolutely nothing better than sipping on a margarita and devouring an endless helping of chips with salsa at a Mexican restaurant. But, does that same indescribable feeling carry over when those chips are enjoyed at home? I included a bag of On the Border's tortilla chips in my taste test to find out. Specifically, I went with the Cafe Style chips—which are just like what you would find in the restaurant—in a 15-ounce fiesta-sized bag for $3.99.

If Cafe Style isn't your preference, the Tex-Mex eatery additionally has an entire lineup of other choices like Organic Blue Corn, Cantina Thins, Tortilla Rounds, and Fiesta Dippin' Chips, which mimic the shape of Tostitos Scoops. Flavors like Salsa, Queso, and Jalapeño Ranch also exist if you want to crank things up a notch.

The look: Three-sided and sizable—definitely the largest chip in the bowl. They're also a deeper saffron or even mustard yellow, as the corn flour takes over.

The taste: A step above wafer-thin, but with a flakiness that almost melts in your mouth on impact. These are light, airy, and a bit oily but not overly so. Plus, they are salty enough to leave a bit of residue on your lips and keep you coming back for more. I think On the Border did a great job recreating this essential in-restaurant menu item for retail. And, while nothing can replace the experience of dining at a Mexican restaurant, these tortilla chips get you pretty close.

Megan Hageman
Megan is a freelance writer based in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Megan