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Taste Test: Spicy Chips

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[Photograph: Bill Milne]

Between the abundance of college football bowls and NFL games on television right now, who doesn't want to dive into a bag of tasty chips while watching? And what could heighten the salty perfection of chips better than a dash of spice.

From a dusting of chipotle powder to the slow heat of salsa baked right in, these chips kept us reaching in the bag for more. And if you need some creative ideas to spice up chips, we have some recommendations. Irish nachos anyone? Check out our favorite spicy chips, after the jump.

Corazonas Salsa Picante: On first glance, we were dubious of this chip ultra-packed with oats—but we were happily very wrong. The added oats create a nutty, hearty-tasting chip, and with a little hint of salsa, this is both a great chip snack that's also a super-duper healthy alternative.

Food Should Taste Good Jalapeño: With bits of jalapeño and a gorgeous red color, these sturdy chips can stand up to the thickest salsa. Lower on the heat scale than some of our other samples, these chips still brim with a massive dose of jalapeño flavor.

Blair's Death Rain Chipotle: Use caution for this bold chip—it has a sneaky yet manageable heat. Packing a chipotle smokiness, this crispy wonder is still sweet and tangy without the powdery coating that plagues so many flavored chips. With a one-of-a-kind seasoning blend, the boldness adds just the right touch to your tongue—sweet and tangy with a prominent chipotle flavor.

Kettle Buffalo Bleu: The ripples in this chip make this thick, sturdy chip ideal for crunching. Tasters were amazed at how much these babies tasted like hot wings: "This honestly tastes like chips dipped in buffalo sauce with a hint of blue cheese." Is there an easier way to get that great buffalo wing taste than by opening a bag? We doubt it.

Mama Zuma's Revenge Green Chile Enchilada: Lots of bold spices dance together in this chip's homage to green chiles. The divinely mild but flavor-packed green chile combines with enchilada seasoning for a tangy, supercrunchy experience. Note to other chip companies: Why don't you have this flavor?

Zapp's Hotter 'n Hot Jalapeño: The aroma alone will get your tastebuds roaring. It's like the chips have been rubbed with fresh (and hot!) chiles for a combination of classic flavor with a zingy pop.

Think Outside the Bag

About the author: Andrea Lynn is senior editor for Chile Pepper magazine, where she not only creates a wide range of zesty recipes for readers, but also participates in numerous tastings for hot sauce, salsa, and other spice-laden products (even chocolate!). Her favorite chile? A tie between the mild yet flavorful poblano and the mighty, reliable fire of the serrano.

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