Photo: AbbieImages/Kwangmoozaa/AnikaSalsera (iStock)

A simple question on Twitter has, as usual, inspired a lot of responses:

Ah, the classic Frito-Lay Variety Mix, which many of us remember from school lunches, or use today to pack lunch for our kids (or ourselves). Six glorious, individual snack varieties, but how should they be lined up from best to worst?

Snack preference, after all, is extremely individual, especially for snacks we know as well as the Cheeto, Frito, and Dorito. Even among The Takeout staff, we failed to reach a consensus. How do your six stack up?

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Kate Bernot

1. Cheetos
2. Doritos Cool Ranch
3. Nacho Doritos
4. Regular Lays
5. Fritos
6. BBQ Lays

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Spicy-cheesy reigns here, obviously. Why choose a chip with just one flavor when you can choose a chip with both vague cheesiness and undefinable “spice”? I like the gnarled crunch of the Cheetos logs, which gives them the slight edge over Doritos. Regular Lays are fine, I guess, though they tend to shatter into a disappointing dust in these tiny packages. Fritos are too salty, even for chips, unless you have a creamy dip next to them. And I just don’t like barbecue-flavored chips, so they’re knocked to the bottom rung.


Gwen Ihnat

1. Fritos
2. Cheetos
3. Regular Lays
4. BBQ Lays
5. Doritos Cool Ranch
6. Nacho Doritos

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I just can’t with the Doritos. At least not when the sublimer snacks of Fritos and Cheetos exist. The corny crunch of Fritos, particularly, are extremely underrated, while I find the bumpy appeal of Cheetos addictively satisfying (just keep the Flamin’ Hot version far away from me, please). As a purist, I also appreciate the plain salty, unadulterated Lays potato chip, followed by its slightly spicier BBQ cousin. But fake nacho finger-staining spices? No thank you, Doritos.


Kevin Pang

1. Doritos Cool Ranch
2. Cheetos
3. Nacho Doritos
4. Fritos
5. BBQ Lays
6. Regular Lays

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Cool Ranch is the most interesting of the available flavor profiles. You’ve got salt, creaminess, umami, tang, all on a crispy vehicle. Texture is an essential trait within Snackdom, so the next two on my list feature much crunch and sodium. I surprised even myself with Fritos appearing in the bottom half, thinking they might be ranked higher—those corn jai alai rackets are an incredibly versatile topper in chilis and salad. The Lays I find to be an inferior and flimsy potato chip, when more texturally interesting options are available.


Just for kicks, we assigned each of our first-place choices with six points, second place with five, third place with four, and so forth. After tabulating our individual lists, The Takeout’s collective ranking is such:

1. Cheetos
2. Doritos Cool Ranch
3. Fritos
4. Nacho Doritos
5. Regular Lays
6. BBQ Lays

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