In my own personal diary of Doritos flavor rankings, Cool Ranch is near the bottom. It’s not that I hate Cool Ranch, it’s that I think there are several Doritos flavors that have since surpassed it. Cool Ranch Doritos came out in 1986. You mean to tell me that a flavor from 1986 is still your favorite flavor? That you’ll reach for that blue bag before a new and exciting option like Hot Mustard or Tapatío? It’s 2023, and that means embracing updated chip flavors for the modern palate—including Salsa Verde, Doritos’ most underrated flavor.
Doritos have had several awesome additions to the lineup over the years, but Salsa Verde, an early-’00s release, has become an unheralded mainstay. For whatever reason, Salsa Verde Doritos don’t get enough love, and they never have. I deem them the “most underrated” because they usually score pretty low in rankings such as this (which can go ahead and eat shit).
I strongly believe Doritos are best when they pack a little heat—a corn chip’s best friend is spice, after all—and Salsa Verde has a subtle heat. There’s a reason you get salsa with your fresh corn chips and not ranch, ya feel me? So, in theory, salsa verde is the perfect flavor partner to Doritos. As for whether this chip nails the execution, the answer is a little complicated.
Though I don’t think they’re nearly as good as the other spicy Doritos, they do have a mild, lingering salsa flavor that’s achieved through great flavor alchemy.
The ingredients list jalapeno pepper powder, tomato powder, paprika, onion, vinegar, garlic, MSG, parsley, and lemon juice. That’s an awesome roster of ingredients, though I notice there’s one glaring omission to the quintessential salsa verde flavor: cilantro. Ground coriander should be a seamless addition to these chips, but alas, I assume that cilantro/coriander would alienate those 1 out of 5 people who taste soap when they eat this herb. It’s a shame, because cilantro would really drive the salsa point home.
And while lemon juice is great, I still prefer lime. These chips could absolutely be stronger (in a perfect world, this would be heavy on garlic, lime juice, pepper, and cilantro), but even with the watered-down version you get a pretty tasty chip. It’s spiced, not spicy, as well as pungent, herby, and slightly tangy—the type of chip you can happily munch on without any dip or salsa. It’s a little bit like Cool Ranch in that way, just made with more interesting ingredients. Cool Ranch is just buttermilk powder, garlic, and onion.
Salsa Verde Doritos excel in their balance of flavors, and although they’re not as strong as salsa verde should be, they’re a worthy offering in the catalogue of spicy Doritos flavors. They deserve more love than they get.