Tonight, we’ll explore the fourth and final category in the Lay’s Flavor Swap contest – the Heat Category. This battle is subtitled: “The One That Nobody Cares About.” Let’s meet the newbie fighting for its life: Lay’s Fiery Roasted Habanero potato chips!

Lay's Fiery Roasted Habanero

Lay’s Fiery Roasted Habanero

Look, it’s not that nobody cares about spicy foods. We do. The reason that nobody cares about this battle is twofold. The first is redundancy. Lay’s Fiery Roasted Habanero chips are threatening to replace Lay’s Flamin’ Hot. I get it… Habanero vs. Jalapeño; different peppers. But really, we’re talking straight heat vs. straight heat. How different can these really taste?

I won’t actually answer that tonight, due to the second reason that nobody cares about this battle. I’m not entirely certain that Lay’s Flamin’ Hot has ever existed.  I think I may have seen it before, like… once in an airport or something, but I just can’t be sure. And when I first heard about the Lay’s Flavor Swap contest, I actively searched for and couldn’t find Lay’s Flamin’ Hot – a “classic” flavor that should have already been on store shelves. This was a big deal for someone with a world-class track record in food-hunting. I later found them in an all-inclusive Flavor Swap promotional display long after I located all the new chips. But because nobody cares about this battle (or this contest, or this blog), I didn’t even bother to buy them. I may vote for Lay’s Flamin’ Hot just to put some pressure on Lay’s to actually produce them in wider availability. Or I won’t vote at all, because of the aforementioned lack of care.

Lay's Fiery Roasted Habanero

Lay’s Fiery Roasted Habanero are made with habanero seasoning, red bell pepper, tomato powder, onion powder, spices, garlic powder, and real habanero chile peppers. Sampling a few, I first get a familiar vinegar/garlic/tomato sauce combination that you often get with chips like this. The combo usually works well on chips, and it certainly does here. Soon after, the heat mounts fairly quickly. This heat is commendable. (Cue everyone complaining that these aren’t spicy). I didn’t find this heat too intrusive, but I’ll go as far as to say people with low spice tolerance will find these too hot. Spice enthusiasts won’t be impressed because they never are.

Lay's Fiery Roasted Habanero

The heat on my tongue lingered for quite a while. I really have to give Lay’s their due on spice – it’s not often a big-time chip producer really goes bold on heat. But as I continued to eat more chips, this lingering heat kind of overpowered all of the savory flavors that I was enjoying initially. Just vinegar and heat is all I got after a few rounds. And as a spicy snack, Lay’s Fiery Roasted Habanero wasn’t something I really wanted to keep eating. There’s not much potato-y flavor, and I really appreciate when my potato chips still taste like potatoes. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you these were habanero peppers, nor that they were roasted – this is just a spicy chip.

I didn’t care before, and I don’t care now. I’m exercising my right to not vote. America.

How Much People Care About This Battle Rating: 2 out of 10
How Much People Care What I Have to Say Rating: 1 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Read all of our 2016 Lay’s Flavor Swap reviews:
Lay’s Korean Barbecue
Lay’s Smoked Gouda & Chive
Lay’s Olive Oil & Herbs

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7 Responses

  1. Jan Michael Sauer says:

    I have to say that I for one enjoy these. They have a strong habanero flavor that builds as you eat them. They have a better flavor than jalapeno chips. I rate them an 8 out of 10.

    • Junk Male says:

      Glad you’re enjoying these, Jan! I enjoyed them more initially than I did after a longer snacking session. But to your point, this heat does increase with quantity, which will likely satisfy the consumer niche that Lay’s was targeting here. Not bad!

  2. Marc P says:

    I have to admit that I loved the original Do Me A Flavor competition but year after year, the names sounded great and let me down (looking at you truffle). But I just have no interest in this one – unless they come hard with a S’mores chip :).

    I just feel like Lay’s should let it go as this could be their jump the shark moment.
    Still great review as usual my friend.

    • Junk Male says:

      Thanks brother. I loved the Do Us A Flavor Battles, even if some were disgusting (Mango Salsa). Agree that truffle fries was a name fail – it was just pretentious sour cream n onion. I reviewed all four of last year’s chips as well as all four Canadian ones if you search the archives!

  3. Anonymous says:

    These are not available in my area. I wouldn’t try these, I don’t like sour (vinegar) with spicy (even though I do like spicy foods). And I don’t really like snacks that leave red powder on your fingers.

    • Junk Male says:

      I don’t think you’re missing much here, personally. But are you sure the Flavor Swap flavors aren’t available near you? Lay’s usually has pretty good coverage with their promotions!