What’s the Best Potato Chip and Strain Flavor Pairing? We Held a Tournament to Find Out

Judging Criteria

Chip and strain matchups were given to a group of eager Leafly employees who judged each baggie of chips and cannabis strain sample on a scale of 1-5 (1 = Awful, 2 = Pretty Bad, 3 = Decent, 4 = Good, 5 = Fantastic). Neither the chips nor the strain was labeled, making this a blind taste test. Judges tried the chips first, then the cannabis, then revisited the chips after vaporing the cannabis for a while. Winners advanced based on which combos had the highest pairing score out of 20 possible points.

Elite Eight Round: ‘Breakfast’

“I still have no idea what flavor they are but the cannabis made it taste more like BBQ, which is a winner in my book.”

Maple Bacon and Presidential OG pairing feedback

Southern Biscuits & Gravy/Tillamook Strawberry vs. Maple Bacon/Presidential OG

Described as having an “almost Italian seasoning type of aroma,” Southern Biscuits & Gravy chips were paired with the “refreshingly piney-scented” Tillamook Strawberry cannabis that smelled “like a nice forest.” One judge felt the sweeter flavor of Tillamook Strawberry offset the savory flavor of the Biscuits & Gravy Lays to create a “potent and delicious combination.”

Southern Biscuits & Gravy/Tillamook Strawberry Pairing Score: 15 / 20

Keen-eyed judges noticed the “kettle-cooked style” of the Maple Bacon chips, and admired how Presidential OG looked “really frosty and fiery all at once, with red hairs and prominent trichomes.” Despite the fact that one of our judges wasn’t “normally a BBQ chip guy,” he felt the pairing created a nice combo that “definitely cured [his] munchies.”

Maple Bacon/Presidential OG Pairing Score: 16 / 20

Elite Eight Winner: Maple Bacon and Presidential OG

‘Breakfast’ Region Winner: Kettle Foods Maple Bacon Potato Chips and Presidential OG

In the end, the smoky sweet BBQ pairing edged out the southern classic.

Elite Eight Round: ‘Herbs ‘n Spices’

“The sour pickle chips and the warm sunny hug from this strain reminds me of sitting outside on a sunlit café terrace with a sandwich in front of you that comes with a pickle slice on the side.”

Dill Pickle and XJ-13 pairing feedback

Kettle Dill Pickle/XJ-13 vs. Sea Salt Sweet Potato/Humboldt Royal Kush

Our stoned judges dug the wavy ruffle of the Kettle Dill Pickle chips, but were split when it came to the flavor. Some described it as “delicious!”, while others were less than kind, saying, “I don’t…I don’t know how I feel about this. Sour, vinegary, pickley. What is happening here?” XJ-13 was described as having a similarly sour smell, with “earthy, peppery,” and “a little spicy” notes.

Dill Pickle/XJ-13 Pairing Score: 16 / 20

The judges were pretty tough on the sweet potato chips, remarking that they “could use a little more seasoning” and complaining that the texture was “too thick and crunchy.” The Royal Kush fared better, as it was “sweeter when heated” and had “a hint of citrus in the first few hits.”

Sweet Potato/Royal Kush Pairing Score: 15 / 20

Elite Eight Winner: Kettle Dill and XJ-13‘Herbs ‘n Spices’ Region Winner: Kettle Dill Pickle and XJ-13

Surprisingly, even though pickle chips are a polarizing flavor, our judges enjoyed them more when paired with the skunky, potent XJ-13

Elite Eight Round: ‘Tropical’

“When I smoke weed, it always tastes like dank basement.”

Non-sequitur while judging the Funyuns and Pineapple Express pairing

Mango Habanero/Mango Kush vs. Funyuns/Pineapple Express

Judges loved the Mango Kush, calling it “incredible” and hailing its notes of “mango, diesel, and soft zest.” Unfortunately, the mango habanero chips, while sweet, had a spicy kick that “never goes away and becomes quite cloying.”

Mango Habanero/Mango Kush Pairing Score: 11.7 / 20

Oh, Funyuns. You may not look appealing (one unimpressed judge succinctly described them as “dry. Full of holes. Yellow”), but you’re a guilty pleasure among cannabis enthusiasts. When consumed, judges said the chips “shattered into tiny, crispy morsels” and “were nice and salty.” Pineapple Express had notes of “burnt rubber, fuel, lime, spicy astringent,” and “7-Up effervescence.”

Funyuns/Pineapple Express Pairing Score: 15.1 / 20

Elite Eight Winner: Funyuns and Pineapple Express‘Tropical’ Region Winner: Funyuns and Pineapple Express

When it came to the popular Funyuns and Pineapple Express duo, as one judge put it, “These two really tasted better together.”

Elite Eight Round: ‘Hot ‘n Dirty’

“After one bag full I was on a one-way ride to Smaaaaacked-City.”

Honey BBQ Frito Twists and Sour Diesel pairing feedback

Spicy Nacho Doritos/Dutch Haze vs. Honey BBQ Frito Twists/Sour Diesel

Our judges loved the “exceptional” crunch of the Spicy Nacho Doritos and felt the Dutch Haze offered a pronounced “lemony flavor” and “some earthiness” on the exhale, enjoying the strain’s “subtle, uplifting yet relaxing effects.” However, when paired together, there wasn’t much increased enjoyment. As one judge put it, “The flavors of the pairing didn’t augment or accentuate each flavor; rather, the lemony diesel competed unfavorably with the cheesiness.”

Spicy Nacho Doritos/Dutch Haze Pairing Score: 12 / 20

Sour Diesel is a fan favorite, with one judge exclaiming that her sample had “pistils for days!” and “a nice burnt sienna color.” The Frito Twists had a “nice strong corn flavor and good texture,” although the powder flavoring was “bleh.” Vaping the Sour D released “notes of orange zest, fuel, and even some mint,” offering a “spacier high behind the eyes.”

Honey BBQ Frito Twists/Sour Diesel Pairing Score: 16 / 20

Elite Eight Winner: Frito Honey BBQ Twists and Sour Diesel‘Hot ‘n Dirty’ Region Winner: Honey BBQ Frito Twists and Sour Diesel

Although the Frito Twists weren’t favored on their own, our judges conceded that the “spacey high” of Sour Diesel let them “forget the flavor of the chips and just enjoy the crunch” as our hungry participants ate the whole bag, enjoying the nice mix of sweetness and earthiness.

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