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Nachos are my best dish. Not breakfast, not salads, not homemade pizza, pasta, stews, casseroles, dumplings, or soups. People will say it’s a cheat code, “you’re using store-bought chips! You’re just putting on toppings! My two-year-old makes great nachos!” But my nachos are NFT-worthy — carefully topped, crafted, and monitored closely at a high temperature for optimal melt and crunch.
What does any of this have to do with blue corn tortilla chips? Well, I’ve never once used them for nachos at home. But with more and more brands crowding store shelves and restaurants incorporating them into their nacho offerings, I started thinking: should I be?
Surely, getting more familiar with all of the blue corn tortilla chips brands would help me navigate the landscape and explore the possibilities. But I also didn’t want to be influenced by big names from big brands. You picking up what I’m putting down? It’s time for another blind taste test!
A Note On Methodology:
For this blind test, three chips from each brand were tasted blindfolded. I recorded kneejerk reactions via voice recorder. No salsa or dip of any kind was involved (or harmed) in the tasting or results therein. We received a sample of Field Day blue corn tortilla chips after the taste test occurred and unfortunately were not able to include them here. Taki’s were tasted although it was uncovered during the process that they are not actually a blue corn tortilla chip.
Part One: The Tasting
Nice salt, nice and fresh, crunchy, a little bit cardboardy, but not too much. Pretty textbook here.
Mmm, these are a little thicker and a little saltier. Not as strong of a blue corn flavor. Nice ‘n mild. Really easy to eat. These are good.
These ones are a little harder, jaggedy. “Almost like a bone but not that flakey” — is a terrible sentence to write about a chip and made me cringe looking back. Crunchy, a little salt – lightly salted. More of an artisanal situation.
They don’t taste that fresh. Like they’ve been hanging out for a little while.
Light and pretty moderate salt. Thinner than the last chips for sure. Good curvature in the chip. These are a little bit cardboardy too, but still pretty tasty.
These chips are extremely large, nice girth to them. Good salt quotient. These are good. This is my favorite so far. Not too salty but… a little bit salty.
From my notes: “Good crumble in the mouth.”
These have some sort of citrus flavor. Something tangy. Still thick. These are definitely thicker. Have some interesting acidic, tangy, almost buffalo vinegary flavor. A little citrusy. Still salty, not too salty. Starting to get a salt thing around the corner of my mouth. These are nice n thick though.
From my notes: “The flavor though… I don’t know, it’s a little bit weird. Don’t love it.”
These are lighter than the last ones for sure, definitely thinner. No funny flavors – light thin crunchy. They might be the best ones so far… They’re light and thin, and taste really fresh. No cardboard situation. Nice crumble in the mouth.
From my notes: “These are really good.”
These ones seem like they have some other grain in them. I’m guessing sesame, amaranth, or some sort of ancient grain. Getting some of that flavor — not just tasting blue corn. Also, a little thicker. They have a nice crunch and seem pretty fresh.
Nice crumble, salty. Really pretty textbook, remind me of some of the other recent ones I said were really good. Tastes a lot like that. Can’t really complain about these. Pretty much what you want when you talk about a blue corn tortilla chip. Nice saltiness, nice crumble. Not too earthy but can still tell it’s blue corn.
Again very much what you want in a blue corn tortilla chip. Very straightforward blue corn, not too salty, nice saltiness though. Very fresh. Not too thick, nice thin. These are pretty much like the last ones I had.
From my notes: “#9 and #10 taste very similar.”
These are a little bit more earthy, can’t really tell what’s different about them but definitely like them. Better than the last ones. Definitely are salty but not too salty, crunchy, and just a little bit milder. In a good way.
From my notes: “Toastyness.”
Really starting to blend together here. Another standard, crunchy, fresh-tasting, salty, just nice plain toasty, great for salsa. Mmm, another textbook blue corn tortilla chip. Solid.
These remind me of #5 or #6 where the chips were a little bigger and a little wavy… in a good way. Folding on each other, good fold in the chip. Nice flakiness to the crumble. Not as textbook — these are a little more artisanal-tasting. Nice salt. These might be up at the top with the other big ones.
From my notes: “I could eat a lot of these.”
These definitely are an outlier. And I’m pretty sure I know what these are, and that’s only because they’re a different shape than the rest of the chips. They’re rolled up, they’re spicy. They’re pretty delicious, but definitely not a traditional blue corn tortilla chip. They’re spicy, tangy, vinegary – definitely need a drink, a little citrusy.
Definitely a little bit cardboardy and tastes almost a little bit stale. Eh, they have a little salt, not much flavor though. The crumble is not too flakey, it’s like cardboard crumble.
From my notes: “I’m going to pass on eating the third one of these.”
These are decently flakey, but there’s some off-taste about them. There’s definitely something that’s off about these. Salt’s there, the chip’s there, but the flavor is not my favorite. The outside flavor, grainy, earthiness, not getting me all the way there.
Nice crumble, not too flakey but a little bit flakey. Good saltiness – good chips. Nothing special about them just nice and plain. I wouldn’t compare them to the thin ones earlier that were really good. These are a little thicker but not as good as those artisanal ones that were delicious.
Another bigger chip, real nice flake to it. Nice toasty, saltiness. All the bigger chips so far seem like better quality. These are good. These would be in my top 3 or top 4 so far.
Nice ‘n light, not a lot of flavor but nice chip. Nice texture, nice freshness, nice crumble. Good, not as good as the last one.
Doesn’t have a lot of salt. A little earthy. I don’t know – a little deeper flavor but missing some of the elements, some of the other ones had. Chips are not very flakey, they’re kind of dried crisps. Definitely very natural tasting.
Very nice flakiness, nice kind of thickness to the chip, good saltiness, nice freshness. They’re a little bit grainy, not in a bad way. These are pretty high up too.
Thicker taste more like an artisanal chip for sure. Doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Definitely getting the earthy blue corn taste, but not much more than that. Very plain.
From my notes: “Quality but a little boring.”
DISQUALIFIED — Taki’s Rolled Blue Heat Tortilla Chips (Taste 14)
Hate or love them, there’s only one Taki. Dip them in Mountain Dew, eat them while you pop wheelies or attempt a fakie 180, wipe your blue (yes, these have blue seasoning powder) or orange dust on your shirt, and then come back for rounds 2-22. These semi-crave-able cylinders of spicy crunch and artificiality cannot be stacked against the triangle, rectangular, or hexagonal blue corn tortilla chip (distant) cousins. For one, once the spicy citrusy blue heat powder is dusted off, the chip itself is not actually blue corn despite the illusion the packaging presents – immediately disqualifying them from ranking. Second, despite them having the only blue powder I’ve witnessed since Lik-A-Maid or Sour Power Straws (and the only savory blue powder I’ve ever tried, period), the number of artificial ingredients, difficult to pronounce and not necessary for blue corn chips, also puts these tasty mini rollups in a different category than the rest.
Don’t worry, despite all of the chemical ingredients, your environmentally conscious self can feel warm and cozy knowing Taki’s are made with renewable wind and solar energy (yes, it says this explicitly on the back of the bag).
Taki’s can still be recommended for those looking for a unique snacking adventure, just don’t expect anything redemptive or nutritious about them – your tastebuds may be happy but be ready to potentially pop some Pepto in the near future.
21. RW Garcia – Blue Corn Big Bag (Taste 15)
RW Garcia, I really wanted to react well to your blue corn tortilla chips but they didn’t reach where I thought on these rankings. The bag has the same cantina feel as Xochitl (though they one-upped the brand by engineering their bag with freshness tabs on the fold-down panel), with a scenic landscape that conjures images of corn being baked in the heat of the desert sun, coyotes howling wildly in the distance; as well as a great clear plastic window to look at their larger size chips.
Sadly, I could not choke down more than one of their chips. It was more plain rigid cardboard than crunchy toasty blue corn goodness. The salt is there, the flavor is not awful, just not robust – texture and freshness being the main inhibitors to decent chip-dom.
Sampling other RW Garcia products in the future will tell whether or not I was merely a victim of a bad bag or market snafu. Meanwhile, these blue corn are the last pick in the rankings, until we meet again – destined for better days ahead.
20. World Market –- Blue Corn Tortilla Chips w/ Flax Seeds (Taste 16)
World Market is more than a standard grocery store – it is a snack lover’s playland; offering random products and goods often relegated to digital carts and specialty stores due to their seasonality, small batched-ness, or niche interest. To be a buyer for World Market’s snack aisles is truly a snack curator’s dream. As a byproduct of their skin in the snack game, they’ve gone so far as to produce some of their own, including, you guessed it – blue corn tortilla chips (this time with everyone’s favorite – flax seed!).
Now, these blue corns aren’t the only ones sampled with flax seed, but these are the only ones that have a strange, off-putting taste. Whether that’s the flax or another oil or ingredient used in the baking process, I don’t know — this snack taster has had trouble deciphering its precise derivation. Regardless, the taste is there. The packaging is cheery enough, speckled with blue designs of flowers, birds, corns, and other chippy regalia – the typography is also festive and the chips well-presented.
The initial bite is standard blue corn, but it’s the chew and finish on the stale-ish/sunflower/safflower/canola/flax seed/expeller pressed oil-snack that moves these close to the bottom of this tough tasting.
19. Food Should Taste Good -– Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 8)
It’s hard to disagree with such a profound brand name, Food Should Taste Good, but frequently, actually most of the time, food does not taste that good. Through processing, cooking/baking, seasoning, and human care – food can reach the flavor potential we’ve discovered through modern techniques. Let’s be honest though – food was not put on Earth for our pleasure, just sustenance.
Brand name aside, that’s mostly what we get with FSTG’s blue corn tortilla chips – replete with more seeds (sesame, flax + sunflower here) than an everything bagel and more grains (well not really, but brown rice and quinoa in one chip) than your multi-grain avocado toast. As a result, these taste healthy. Not in a good way.
And the packaging (which is the first to suggest a brightly colored mango salsa) admits that they’re reaching for more than just taste, their food “does good” so you’re getting slight amounts of your daily nutrient intake here for some mature snacking.
These taste a bit too mature to rank highly on our list – instead of three basic ingredients, there are 7-9 and they all make the flavor a bit different than the higher-ranked options. Mind you, there is nothing bad or off-putting here – just not typically what you may look for in a basic blue corn tortilla situation. And let’s not forget the offensive-to-triangle-tradition hexagon shape.
18. Made With – Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 22)
Made With’s blue corn tortilla chips have all the requisite makings of a dynamite snack chip — organic, natural, crunchy, flavorful, etc. Double badged up with the ever-popular chip photos on the packaging, plus a clean modern design suite – Made With has compelling shelf appeal. There’s even a diagram on the back with squiggly arrows pointing to a triangle chip showing evidently where they are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and lacking preservatives (as if these are things you can see with the naked eye, ahem).
Despite all of these positives, Made With’s blue corn tortilla chips are lacking in the salt and crave-ability criteria that typically keep us hydrating and reaching for another handful. Due to these essential factors, Made With has tumbled down the rankings towards the bottom, competing with a stiff (and crunchy) field of expert chip makers.
17. Vista Hermosa – Totopos Tortilla Chips Blue Corn (Taste 6)
Vista Hermosa’s take on the blue corn tortilla chip is a wild card within the niche snack chip cavalcade, taking the old tradition of blue corn tortillas and twisting them into a complexly flavored new thing. At first glance, Vista Hermosa’s packaging elicits an illusion of tradition; Mexican typography, a lovely lady with a flower in her hair (the beautiful view is she?), but then you notice it’s all a ruse – these blue corn chips are medium spicy? They have a flash of lime? They’re made by Tacombi???
Story goes that Aaron Sanchez was inspired by the totopos of Mexican markets to bring to the market this unique recipe, as well as the specific technique utilized in the production of these tasty chips.
The only reason these chips aren’t higher in the ranking is that they’re almost in a different category – these are dynamically seasoned chips made by a celeb Chef, not an inline store brand with three ingredients made by a corporate kitchen. Don’t let their low ranking stop you from enjoying the flavor if you’re into flavored chips.
16. Somos –- Unusually Thick And Crunchy Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 20)
Somos means “ours” in Mexico, however their brand boast of being “unusually thick & crunchy tortilla chips” is only half true. These tasty but lacking-salt triangles are not deficient in crunch factor, however, the only chip they were clearly thicker than was Xochitl — which isn’t “unusual” since most other brands were thicker too. Somos easily wins best design and packaging for their cheerfully colored bag, as well as their vibrant shipping container – both top of the snack class.
The chips are toasty and have a robust earthy flavor, but without any salt to take them all the way to the umami mountaintop.
15. Wholesome Pantry — Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 19)
Wholesome Pantry is ShopRite’s inline brand of organic snack offerings, and their claim of “Eat Wholesomely. Eat Well” rings true here. They did well with these blue corn tortilla chips, not very well, not excellent, not craveable – just… well. Only a single badge on the front package is the first hint of what’s going on, so these snacks are more geared towards the getting older in life, or actually old crowd looking for a Healthy Snack.
There are quotes on the packaging, profundities abound while you munch on slightly above-average chips; “Our Promise To You Is Simple. Food That is Just That: Food”. Well, they coincidentally make Blue Corn Tortilla Chips that are just that: blue corn tortilla chips.
Bottom Line: Yawn. These chips are fine.
14. Dona Lola — Blue Tortilla Chips (Taste 3)
Dona Lola’s blue corn tortilla chip tastes like a product you’d get at a local authentic Mexican restaurant that freshly makes their own chips constantly — they’re flakey in the best way. Made in Puerto Rico but with a Mexican origin story, Dona Lola touts their chips as low in salt, using organic blue corn non-GMO vegetable oil, and Puerto Rican sea salt as the only ingredients along with using a century-old recipe.
Lacking salt, these chips rely on their scrumptious flake to lure you back time and time again. You have to respect a chip whose company’s mantra involves the importance of love for your family, Sunday dinners, and their famous tortillas – which makes you yearn for a youth where you had homemade tortillas from Abuela Cada Domingo.
Respect does not translate to rankings and despite Dona Lola’s amazing tradition of texture and flavor (and sweet Granny logo), there are many worthy newcomers that execute tastier and better-seasoned blue corn chips.
13. Brad’s — Sesame Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 17)
Not only are Brad’s Organic blue corn tortilla chips triple badged up with a bountiful chip photo adorned with blue corn cobs, but their packaging also features a toddler photo of what they want you to assume is a joyous Brad time warping to his current multiverse self and finding out he is the face guy for a small business based in a sleepy upstate NY town, living the real American dream, closets in his house filled with nothing but chips.
You have to put some respect on Brad’s name (even if he is a Bradford and not a Bradley) — these chips are more than passable, they’re very good. If you do find these locally, and you may not, definitely give them a sample. Otherwise, Brad is definitely digital and ready to ship, as long as you’re buying.
Brad’s Organic didn’t make the top 10 but parity in the blue corn tortilla chip community is defined by a thin shred.
12. Green Mountain – Nantucket Blend Tortilla Strips, Blue Corn (Taste 2)
Green Mountain, the only color mountain I care for, has a monopoly on the rectangular blue corn tortilla chip experience. Experience is definitely a valid characterization of eating a rectangular tortilla chip as one is mystified and stupefied by the almost perfect execution. Not to mention, Green Mountain has three badges of flair on the front packaging (including the rare to this blind taste test, American Vegetarian Association badge of certification) — surely no easy feat.
But making a rectangular chip is kind of unfair in this ranking, which honors the tradition supposedly set forth by Late July’s anonymous Founder who created the first blue corn tortilla chip with their bare hands in the haze of the early 1970s. Green Mountain claims they killed the triangle chip to create an easy dipping shape (says the top right corner of the bag, verbatim), which subtly, by virtue of back package illustrations, is suggested to pair perfectly with their jarred salsa line.
Great chip, delicious chip, just can’t rationalize a chip hack cracking the top 10.
11. Organics –- Blue Corn Tortilla Chips With Sesame Seeds (Taste 1)
Organics brand is Acme’s (East Coast big box; it’s Stater Bros. out west) answer to everyone’s else organic line. Tidy suggestive packaging with the obvious salsa accompaniment depicted, Organics sets the tone for a basic blue corn tortilla chip and that’s what you get here. Could easily eradicate the flax seed’s flavor but I get that when you throw an additional ancient grain, or equivalent, to any product these days sales spikes immediately in certain mustachioed neighborhoods (I see you Silver Lake, Bushwick, Fishtown, Wicker Park, etc).
Organics produces a decent addition to the blue corn tortilla chip conversation (pretty sure there’s a Reddit out there about the controversial blue corn tortilla chip, it is one of the few blue foods, and very few blue snacks, after all) and nothing you should be ashamed to have in your chip cabinet, drawer, or stash.
10. Good & Gather — Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 12)
Good & Gather’s blue corn tortilla chips are Nice & Toasty. It’s weird to call a chip toasty but you can literally discern the toastiness on these. A solid chip sans toast, Target’s organic chip line bears a respectable blue corn tortilla chip entry. Though not a top pick, these still fall in the “nothing wrong with grabbing these off the shelf” category.
The packaging is overly basic, a giant chip backed by stylized text and nothing more.
Target is known for having decent everything and amazing nothing, Good (not great) & Gather’s (they make gathering easy by putting them in a bag for you) blue corn tortilla chips crunch and crumble right in line with that ethos.
9. Nature’s Promise — Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 11)
You have to respect and appreciate Nature for making a Promise – the fact that the promise manifests in the form of a bag of tasty blue corn tortilla chips shows how dedicated Nature is to feeding the voracious snacking appetite of us humans. Good ole Nature’s Promise is Stop N Shop markets’ answer to basically every other big box market chain’s now-existent organic line to keep up with these health-conscious times.
The package is anticlimactic, but the on-bag picture of the chips is quite vivid.
The chips are a little grainier than others, but they still rank among the best of the generic organic lines with a quasi-great blue corn tortilla chip.
8. Whole Food 365 — Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 10)
365 is Whole Foods inline brand for anyone who lives outside of the gentrified contemporary world and is not yet aware. Basic blue corn art and accurate chip photos are the focus of the packaging. No brand or ingredient boasts here, just simplicity in the form of recommendations to eat them with your next sammie (their copy, not mine) or Tex Mex spread (Whole Foods is based in Austin, play on).
These basic great chips go beyond doing the trick and get close to stealing the show.
7. Xochitl — Blue Corn Chips (Taste 4)
Xochitl or phonetically “so cheel” (just like I like to think I am when I’m not stressed about work or cranky from not getting my six hours) make thinner-than-the-comp tortilla chips. The packaging is a big sell here too, they come in a cantina-looking bag with the foldy top (yet oddly without the fold-around plastic jawnies that let you seal it up snugly). These could be the best crispest chips in a perfect world, but since they’re so thin, they also are quite perishable — beginning to staleify (my own creation, you’re welcome) the second the bag opens.
They claim origins from ancient Mayan and Aztec traditional recipes and they also claim to have some lime flavor (though I taste zero). Alas, what gringo am I to question such things? Regardless, while they’re fresh, they’re also delicious.
Xochitl it up.
6. Trader Joe’s – Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 9)
Gotta give it to TJ’s, their packaging is an instant attraction – the bright harvest sun and blue corn graphics, the simple patterns and layout, leaving a nice large window into the tasties. Who doesn’t want to drool at the chips they’re about to munch down on before they hit the checkout line? These blue corns are organic, but you’ll find zero other chest-thumping by TJ’s on the bag (one badge Madge).
They let the chips do the flexing and though they didn’t make the tippy top 5, these could easily make some other jabroni snacker’s top picks.
Bottom Line: Doubters say TJ’s is mid but their blue corn tortilla chips trend close to high grade.
5. Garden of Eatin’ – Salted Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 21)
Garden of Eatin seems like one of those brands that has been relegated to health food stores for the past several non-health conscious masses decades previous to now. That suspicion is immediately validated by GoE’s bold claim on their packaging that their founder created the first blue corn tortilla chip in 1971. Whether or not you believe this lore depends on whether or not you think anyone would be willing to challenge this claim in a court of law – if not, you acquiesce. So I’ll join the ride — these are great high-quality chips, though they didn’t take the full organic plunge, only the blue corn claims to be that.
They also claim to be “Now Even Tastier” which slightly calls into question the quantifiable data that could support such a seemingly subjective statement. But they are actually very tasty, so again GoE, you win. Your packaging involves a jubilant red fruit tree and meandering pasture onlooking a setting sun off to the horizon, which I once dreamt of in a salsa-fueled hallucination.
If the imagery on the bag is what the Garden of Eatin’ looks like, send me there and pack me only GoE chips to eat and bathe in.
4. Wegman’s –- Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips with Salt (Taste 7)
Wegman’s Organic may be putting other store brands to shame with their foray into the generic snack game. In 2022, nearly every market has their own snack line – why not cut out the middle man if you can do it in-house or white label it as good as the brands typically stocked?
Without exploring Wegman’s line further, it would be premature to call them the store brand snack champs, but this blue corn tortilla chip shows the potential. Packaging is pumpkin latte orange with a standard chip photo – honestly fairly boring presentation, but you do get a nice preview of the goods.
The chips are everything you’d jones for in blue corn — great for dips, snackable plain, and crisply fresh. Wegman’s not just a go-to for iced cookies and prepacked charcuterie treats anymore.
3. Tostito’s — Simply Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (Taste 5)
Simply is Frito Lay’s answer to the organic wave that has crested over our modern health-crazed universe. Three stamps official (USDA Orgo, Non-GMO, and no artificialities) the Simply line is doing blue corn tortilla chips how the founders of our modern civilization would approve. No surprise, other samplings of the Simply line have proven craveable (what up crunchy Cheeto’s and white cheddar Doritos, see y’all later) and delectable.
The packaging here cozies up to the rest of their line – life-size chip snapshots along with the basic ingredients that make these the natural version of standard Frito Lay snacks (would be great if they depicted the vials and test tubes of the chemical ingredients used in their regular line).
Though I’ve not craved anything blue corn previously, these certainly could draw me back again. And I wouldn’t fight it, guess I’m a simp for Simply.
2. Tortiyah’s – Dipping Chips, Superior Blue Corn (Taste 18)
Utz really has no beeswax having one of the finest blue corn tortilla chips on this list. Pretty sure they’re only toe-deep in the tortilla chip arms race, having only recently unveiled their signature chip line coined “Tortiyahs” (which is purposely misspelled – potentially for corny — no pun — marketing and social media purposes). Regardless, these are very good.
Packaging is pretty festive, the toppings on the chips remind me of the suggested gross recipes they had on miracle whip, Hidden Valley ranch, and hamburger helper TV ads back in the day. The illustrations of sea salt and stone ground corn are cutesy graphic reminders of the wholesome goodness you’re about to chow down on.
The bag bears no mention of organics, naturals or other wellness buzz words du jour, just good ole Utz. Tortiyahs yah yah!
1. Late July –- Organic Blue Corn (Taste 13)
These are as close to zen as you may achieve in the niche sector of snacking, known as the blue corn zone. Late July is clearly on their typical business, putting others on notice as to what a tasty chip is and can be – ear-awakeningly crunchy, luxuriously crumbly with a toasty salty earthy blue corn finish that either leads to the next chip or a cool beverage sip. Packaging is standard Late July tan and brambly, and apparently is recyclable through Terracycle (never heard of it), though I think my local situation is quite fine, thank you kindly.
They do have a double logo stamp on front (non-GMO and USDA organic) so feeling extra hipstery having these as my #1 pick. The see thru-window on the bag is a nice touch.
No notes. These are perfect.