Popular Sun Chips Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

At this point, Sun Chips have been around for three decades, since launching in 1991 (via their website). But while they're owned by PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, they don't have quite the same shelf presence that some of the larger chip brands have. Sun Chips have always been a bit of a niche chip, catering to people who want less fat and more natural ingredients in their snacks. The chips are primarily made with corn, resembling corrugated tortilla chips. They also include whole wheat, brown rice flour, and occasionally oat flour, making them 100% whole grain-based.

Sun Chips might not be as popular as other chips, they've got a devoted following of fans that are attracted to the particular taste and texture these chips offer. The current flavor lineup includes five devoted Sun Chip flavors: Original, Harvest Cheddar, French Onion, Garden Salsa, and the newest addition of Chili Lime. Since their inception, the makers of Sun Chips have tried out a wide variety of flavors, including Peppercorn Ranch, Sweet Potato, and Apple n' Caramel — most of which have been discontinued. These are the flavors that Sun Chips currently has to offer, ranked worst to best.

6. Chili Lime Sun Chips

Chili Lime is the newest flavor in the Sun Chips lineup, having been released early in 2021. The biggest problem with the flavor is that it's still difficult to find in some smaller grocery stores, but it should be easier to find at major retailers, online, and through grocery delivery services. Aside from that, this Sun Chips flavor packs a little bit of heat, which is nicely balanced with a hit of lime zest. According to The Impulsive Buy, the chili spice doesn't overwhelm you with the first bite, but builds up with several chips before you really start to feel the heat. The lime flavor is a supporting player in the overall flavor profile.

We think these chips are satisfying enough as they are, but would be a great accompaniment with salsa or dips that could benefit from a touch of spice. But if you're an ultra-spicy food junkie, these are probably not going to blow you out of the water. Don't let that dissuade you from tasting some of the tried-and-true Sun Chips flavors though. With decades in the making, several of the flavors that follow have a cult-like following.

5. Munchies Flamin' Hot Snack Mix

Okay, this isn't specifically a Sun Chips exclusive flavor, but instead it's a Frito-Lay mix that includes Doritos, Cheetos, Sun Chips, and Rold Gold Pretzels. According to the Munchies Flamin' Hot Snack Mix nutrition information, the Sun Chips are actually the "Baja Picante" flavor and include both cheese and paprika. The flavor is so popular that while it isn't sold individually, die-hard Sun Chips Baja Picante fans have petitioned for Frito-Lay to sell it as a unique flavor on Change.org, which still gets attention. Finally, the Doritos in the mix are salsa-flavored, and the Cheetos are the same popular Flamin' Hot flavor that can be found as a unique Cheetos flavor. 

Something about that Flamin' Hot powder rubbing off on everything in the bag seems to have sparked a phenomenon that people can't get enough of. This snack mix is spicier than the Chili Lime Sun Chips for those looking for more heat. Since it's a mix, it's obviously great for snacking, but less reasonable for dipping. And if it turns out that you really enjoy the Baja Picante Sun Chips, they're impossible to enjoy on their own in this mix.

4. French Onion Sun Chips

French Onion is a staple flavor that most potato chip brands offer, usually as Sour Cream & Onion. Since Sun Chips markets itself as a healthier alternative to potato chips, it makes sense that this flavor is included in the lineup. What we weren't expecting was how hit-or-miss the flavor would be with our tasters; it seems to be a flavor that's either generally enjoyed or blanketly disregarded, without too much middle ground or enthusiasm on either side of the spectrum.

With that said, for those who are into sour cream and onion flavored chips, these are a nice alternative to potato chips. Sun Chips claim to have "30% less fat than regular potato chips," an assertion we found to be true when comparing directly to Lay's own Sour Cream & Onion potato chips. For an identical serving size of 28 grams of chips, Sun Chips contain 6g of fat and Lay's contain 10g of fat — technically 40% less fat, even. The Sun Chips contain authentic flavors, like sour cream, mozzarella, and cheddar cheeses, as well as green onion for the classic french onion taste.

There are some people who prefer the potato chip version of this flavor; their argument is based on the idea that this flavor combination is essentially a baked potato flavor combo. The corn, wheat, and flour-based Sun Chips are naturally a little sweeter than their potato counterparts, which some people dislike. Ultimately, this one's a matter of personal preference.

3. Original Sun Chips

The one that started it all. Part corn tortilla chip, part healthy multi-grain snack, these chips were created as an alternative to the deep-fried nutritionally sparse potato chip options on grocery store shelves. Additionally, the Original Sun Chips ingredient list is quite a bit shorter than the flavored options: It contains corn, whole wheat, brown rice flour, and whole oat flour to round out the 100% whole grains list. 

While the bag itself doesn't make the claim, many consider the Original Sun Chips to be vegan. Eat This, Not That! reports that the snack is the only Sun Chips product to be made entirely dairy-free. The chips are also made with sunflower and/or canola oil instead of palm oil, the latter of which many people have ethical issues with consuming due to the repercussions of deforestation. Ultimately, however, Original Sun Chips aren't labelled as vegan, most likely due to being produced or packaged using the same space or equipment used for the other flavors.

For anyone who likes the sweet and salty corn taste of tortilla chips, Original Sun Chips will likely be a pleasing snack. The addition of whole wheat, brown rice, and oat give the chips more texture, and an earthier flavor than corn chips alone. The slightly more complex crunch also makes them great to pair with a wide variety of dips from queso dip to hummus.

2. Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips

At first taste, we couldn't exactly tell you why we like the Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips, apart from the fact that they're satisfyingly cheesy without being overwhelmingly fake. Not that we've got anything against neon orange cheesy snacks, of course, but something about these tastes familiar. It's almost as if Frito-Lay was trying to create a healthier-tasting version of the Nacho Cheese Doritos. In a side-by-side comparison, the Sun Chips have a slightly wheatier taste and texture; the cheese flavor of the Doritos is more amplified, but we can't be sure that isn't an illusion brought on my the bright cheese powder color.

Both the Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips and the Nacho Cheese Doritos are incredibly similar nutritionally-speaking. The serving sizes are the same by weight, both allowing for 28 grams of chips. Per serving the Sun Chips have about 10 less calories, and most of the other nutritional factors are nearly identical. The only exception is with the sodium content, where the Doritos clock about 40mg more per serving than the Sun Chips. 

Additionally, the ingredient lists are different, but both chips are made with real cheese. Both include cheddar and Romano cheeses, while the Sun Chips also include parmesan cheese. So while the truth is that the nutritional benefits of Sun Chips over our favorite nacho-flavored tortilla chip aren't as great as they might seem, we like the extra flavor and texture the Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips bring to the table.

1. Garden Salsa Sun Chips

In the Garden Salsa Sun Chips, a truly unique chip flavor was developed. While the label boasts red tomatoes and jalapeños, it's actually so much more than that: It tastes like all of the best parts of all of the Sun Chip flavors were combined, for a taste everyone should be able to enjoy. There's a cheddar kick reminiscent of the Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips, and a little bit of tang and onion flavor for those who like to dip their veggies and chips in French Onion dip. The spice is very subtle, and shouldn't overwhelm even the most sensitive palettes. Favored by our testers and the voters over at Ranker, the Garden Salsa Sun Chips were so much more impressive than we thought they would be, making the other flavors taste simple in comparison.

If you're still not sure which Sun Chips flavor you'd like to try next, they're also available in variety packs. For the time being, the variety packs include Classic, French Onion, Harvest Cheddar, and Garden Salsa Sun Chips — which we think you'll find rewarding snacking all around.