Any crisp worth its salt will be on this list …
Unless you empty them all into a bowl and call it a 'mixed salad', choosing the right packet of crisps is one of life's occasional challenges.
And while each and every flavour is special in its own way, it's only natural that some crisps will rise up as champions of the snacks, while others are really only good for flu season and very long car journeys.
To save you the hassle of trying to remember which flavours are the best each time you find yourself in the crisp aisle, we've helpfully ranked them all for you. Go off-chart at your peril.
There are two types of people in the world: those with a discerning palate who appreciate a nice packet of Scampi Fries, and those who forcefully hand you chewing gum before backing swiftly out of the room.
14. Roast beef
They’re a reliable stalwart of the crisp scene but if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, the standard beef crisp tastes more like a smear of Bovril than a Sunday lunch with all the trimmings.
We’ve got beef with beef. Dress them up with imaginary hints of mustard and rosemary all you like, they’ll still only serve to remind us that bacon is so much more delicious.
13. Ready salted
Undeniably the dullest of all the flavours in the land, ready salted’s popularity is sustained only by nostalgia for a time when the highest in luxury living was not having to salt your own crisps.
If you hang around a packet of ready salted for long enough, it’ll ask for help programming its video recorder and tell you kids today don’t know they’re born.
12. Sour cream and chive
Did Abigail serve crisps at her famous party? Almost certainly, and they would have been sour cream and chive. It’s impressive that the flavour has stayed on the national menu for so long, considering they’re really nothing but cheese and onion with bourgeois aspirations. Even their packet is a fancier green.
11. Tomato ketchup
Ketchup and potato are best friends in virtually every format, so it was always natural that eventually the two would become one.
Tangy, sweet and totally unlike tomatoes in every single way, the real strength of ketchup crisps is in making you really want to squirt ketchup ON some crisps, and then put that in a sandwich. Sorry, ketchup crisps. You’re a pale imitation.
They’re apparently the nation’s favourite flavour, but we’re sceptical. Firstly, we really can’t lump cheese together as one category because it is such a broad spectrum. Can a Wotsit really stand up beside a Mini Cheddar, a Quaver and a Dorito and be judged equal? Secondly, and because aroma is a very important part of taste, cheese crisps will only ever really have the fragrance of a well-worn gymnasium.
And lastly, because we can’t think of a single situation in which a cheese crisp is preferable to just having some cheese – unless you’ve melted cheese ON a cheese crisp, in which case by all means carry on.
9. Roast chicken
We all love roast chicken, it’s true. But unless you tip them onto a plate and add stuffing, yorkshire puddings, gravy and a nap on the sofa, crisps will always fall sadly short when it comes to recreating the true roast chicken experience. See also: roast beef.
Crisp manufacturers might want to think about focusing their efforts on fried chicken instead, because ‘under a fluorescent light at 2am’ is a much easier setting to improve upon.
8. Worcestershire sauce
A delicious burst of umami flavour, these are notable for their regal purple packet and for being the only crisps flavoured by an entire county. Unless Devon suddenly perfects the cream tea crisp, it’s a distinction they won’t have to fight for any time soon.
7. Pickled onion
Unarguably delicious (no really, shush), we could never give pickled onion first place because they don’t really function on the same plane as other crisps. They belong in another distant galaxy, a place where Monster Munch and Space Raiders rule together in a pungent crisp coalition and everybody merrily eats a full Ploughman’s for breakfast.
NB: A distant galaxy is also the ideal place for you to stand while you eat them.
5. Cheese and onion
Cheese and onion crisps are that rare phenomenon, a crisp flavour that has become more familiar than the thing it was meant to taste of in the first place. When was the last time you fixed yourself a plate of cheddar and sliced onion as a snack, mmm?
On the other hand, the umami tang of a pack of C & O Walkers is so inviting we can even overlook the fact they’re still pressing on with this blue packet nonsense.
4. Thai sweet chilli
One of the few international flavours that have been happily adopted into the British crisp oeuvre, Thai chilli is proof that even the most conservative eater will embrace sweet-and-salty food in the right circumstances.
It’s worn especially well by McCoy's, like a fiery ridgeback dragon, though the turquoise packet can be confusing when searching for salt and vinegar on a hangover.
3. Prawn cocktail
Imagine a world in which prawn cocktails really taste of prawn cocktail crisps. That’s a world you want to live in, isn’t it?
Of course, we’ve suspected for years that the only prawns going into prawn cocktail crisps are the foam shrimps from the pick ‘n’ mix, but that doesn’t detract from their luminous retro appeal.
2. Smoky bacon
Stop it, you flirt. Whether a streaky Frazzles, a cheeky Wheat Crunchies or a fragrant bag of Golden Wonder, there is nothing modest or unassuming about this, the most sizzling of all the crisp flavours. They’re sexy and they know it.
Smoky bacon crisps are to be revered because they gifted us with smoky bacon dust, the greatest of all the dusts after ‘star’ and ‘gold’. Dab a pinch behind your ears and you’re guaranteed a good night.
1. Salt and vinegar
Riding high at the top of our crisps chart – oh salt and vinegar, where do we even start? The countless hangovers you’ve soothed, the sandwiches you’ve saved, the times you’ve come to the rescue when we just didn’t fancy eating anything else in the world.
You walk with princes and paupers alike, whether dressed up all schmancy in Himalayan pink salt and aged cider vinegar, or playing it cool in a 20p bag of Chipsticks at a youth club tuck-shop. You’re familiar as an old blanket, but tangy enough to keep us on our toes.
We even forgive you for every time you’ve got into a paper cut and made us weep. Salt and vinegar, you scamp.