Best British Crisps: Exploring the UK's Top Flavors and Brands

crisps uk
Back To Blog Posts

Best British Crisps: A Crunchy Journey Through the UK's Top Snacks

The United Kingdom is renowned for many things: its rich history, iconic landmarks, and, of course, its love for crisps. British crisps are more than just snacks; they are a cultural phenomenon, enjoyed by millions across the country. From classic flavors to innovative creations, the world of British crisps is vast and varied. In this blog, we will embark on a crunchy journey to explore the best British crisps, delving into their history, popular brands, and unique flavors. By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of what makes British crisps so special and which ones you must try.

The History of British Crisps

Crisps, known as potato chips in the United States, have a fascinating history in the UK. The first crisps were produced in the early 19th century by an enterprising chef named George Crum in Saratoga Springs, New York. However, it wasn't until the 1920s that crisps became popular in Britain. Frank Smith, a London-based entrepreneur, began selling crisps in small, greased-proof paper bags, with a small twist of salt included to add flavor. This simple yet ingenious idea paved the way for the crisp industry in the UK.

Over the decades, crisps evolved from being a simple salted snack to a gourmet experience with a plethora of flavors and textures. The introduction of flavored crisps in the 1950s marked a significant turning point. Cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, and prawn cocktail became household favorites, each with its unique fan base. Today, the British crisp market is a multi-billion pound industry, with countless brands and flavors catering to every taste.

Top British Crisp Brands

Walkers

When discussing British crisps, Walkers is a name that inevitably comes up. Founded in 1948 by Henry Walker, this Leicester-based company has grown to become the most prominent crisp brand in the UK. Walkers' dominance in the market is due to its consistent quality, wide range of flavors, and innovative marketing campaigns. Some of the most beloved Walkers flavors include:

  • Cheese and Onion: A classic favorite with a perfect balance of tangy cheese and sharp onion.

  • Salt and Vinegar: Known for its sharp, tangy flavor that packs a punch.

  • Ready Salted: The original and simple crisp, loved for its straightforward saltiness.

  • Prawn Cocktail: A unique flavor that offers a sweet and tangy taste, reminiscent of prawn cocktail sauce.

Kettle Chips

For those who prefer a more artisanal approach to their crisps, Kettle Chips is the brand to consider. Known for their hand-cooked process and use of high-quality ingredients, Kettle Chips offer a more rustic and authentic crisp experience. Some of their standout flavors include:

  • Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar: A sophisticated twist on the classic salt and vinegar.

  • Mature Cheddar and Red Onion: Rich and savory with a hint of sweetness from the red onion.

  • Sweet Chilli and Sour Cream: A perfect blend of spicy and creamy, offering a delightful kick.

Tyrrells

Tyrrells is another brand that has carved a niche for itself in the British crisp market. Based in Herefordshire, Tyrrells prides itself on using locally sourced potatoes and traditional cooking methods. Their crisps are known for their crunchiness and bold flavors. Popular Tyrrells flavors include:

  • Sea Salted: Simple yet delicious, showcasing the quality of the potatoes.

  • Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt: A unique flavor combination that offers a tangy and crisp taste.

  • Beetroot, Parsnip, and Carrot Crisps: For those looking for a healthier option, these vegetable crisps provide a delicious alternative.

McCoy's

If you're looking for crisps with a bit more bite, McCoy's is the brand for you. Known for their ridged texture and robust flavors, McCoy's crisps are a favorite among those who enjoy a hearty snack. Some of their popular flavors include:

  • Flame Grilled Steak: A meaty and savory flavor that stands out.

  • Salted: Simple and satisfying with a satisfying crunch.

  • Cheddar and Onion: A rich and cheesy flavor with a hint of onion.

Hula Hoops

While not technically crisps, Hula Hoops are a beloved British snack that deserves a mention. These ring-shaped potato snacks offer a fun and crunchy alternative to traditional crisps. Popular Hula Hoops flavors include:

  • Original (Salted): A classic and simple flavor.

  • BBQ Beef: A smoky and savory option that is highly popular.

  • Cheese and Onion: A cheesy and tangy favorite.

Unique British Crisp Flavors

One of the most exciting aspects of British crisps is the sheer variety of flavors available. British crisp manufacturers are known for their creativity, often pushing the boundaries to create unique and sometimes unconventional flavors. Here are some of the most notable and unusual British crisp flavors:

  • Marmite: Love it or hate it, Marmite-flavored crisps are a bold choice that delivers the iconic yeasty flavor in crisp form.

  • Roast Chicken: A savory flavor that mimics the taste of a Sunday roast chicken.

  • Worcester Sauce: A tangy and slightly spicy flavor inspired by the famous sauce.

  • Pickled Onion: A sharp and tangy flavor that is both pungent and delicious.

  • Prawn Cocktail: A unique combination of sweet and tangy flavors, reminiscent of prawn cocktail sauce.

Healthier Crisp Options

As consumers become more health-conscious, the demand for healthier snack options has increased. Fortunately, the British crisp market has responded with a variety of healthier alternatives that don't compromise on taste. Some of the top healthier crisp options include:

Popchips

Popchips are a popular choice for those looking to reduce their calorie intake without sacrificing flavor. These crisps are made using a unique popping process that results in a lighter, airier texture. Popular Popchips flavors include:

  • Sea Salt: A simple and classic flavor.

  • Barbeque: A smoky and sweet option that is full of flavor.

  • Sour Cream and Onion: A creamy and tangy favorite.

Properchips

Properchips offer a healthier alternative with their range of lentil and vegetable-based crisps. These crisps are lower in fat and calories compared to traditional potato crisps. Some popular Properchips flavors include:

  • Sweet Sriracha Chilli: A spicy and tangy flavor with a hint of sweetness.

  • Barbecue Lentil: A smoky and savory option that is both delicious and nutritious.

  • Salt and Vinegar Lentil: A tangy and sharp flavor that is satisfying and guilt-free.

Eat Real

Eat Real offers a range of crisps made from alternative ingredients such as quinoa, lentils, and hummus. These crisps are gluten-free, vegan, and often lower in fat. Popular Eat Real flavors include:

  • Chilli and Lemon Quinoa Chips: A zesty and spicy option that is full of flavor.

  • Sea Salt Hummus Chips: A light and crispy snack with a hint of sea salt.

  • Sour Cream and Chive Lentil Chips: A creamy and tangy flavor that is both delicious and healthy.

Pairing Crisps with Drinks

Crisps are a versatile snack that can be enjoyed on their own or paired with a variety of drinks. Here are some pairing suggestions to enhance your crisp-eating experience:

Beer

Beer and crisps are a classic combination. The carbonation and flavors of beer complement the saltiness and crunch of crisps perfectly. Some recommended pairings include:

  • Lager: Pairs well with classic flavors like ready salted or cheese and onion.

  • IPA: The hoppy and bitter notes of an IPA work well with tangy flavors like salt and vinegar or Worcester sauce.

  • Stout: The rich and malty flavors of a stout are a great match for savory options like flame grilled steak or roast chicken.

Wine

Wine and crisps may not be a traditional pairing, but the right combination can be a delightful surprise. Some suggestions include:

  • Chardonnay: A buttery Chardonnay pairs beautifully with creamy flavors like sour cream and chive.

  • Sauvignon Blanc: The crisp acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc complements tangy flavors like pickled onion or salt and vinegar.

  • Pinot Noir: The light and fruity notes of a Pinot Noir are a great match for savory options like mature cheddar and red onion.

Soft Drinks

For those who prefer non-alcoholic options, soft drinks can also be a great pairing for crisps. Some ideas include:

  • Cola: The sweetness and carbonation of cola balance well with salty and savory flavors like barbecue or cheddar and onion.

  • Lemonade: The refreshing and tangy taste of lemonade complements flavors like prawn cocktail or sweet chilli and sour cream.

  • Iced Tea: The subtle flavors of iced tea are a great match for classic options like ready salted or sea salted.

Conclusion

The world of British crisps is diverse and exciting, offering a wide range of flavors and textures to suit every taste. From the classic favorites of Walkers to the artisanal offerings of Kettle Chips and Tyrrells, there is something for everyone. Whether you prefer the robust flavors of McCoy's or the fun and crunchy rings of Hula Hoops, British crisps are a snack that never disappoints.

As you explore the best British crisps, don't be afraid to try new and unique flavors. The creativity and innovation in the crisp market ensure that there is always something new and exciting to discover. So grab a bag of your favorite crisps, pair them with a refreshing drink, and enjoy the delightful crunch that only British crisps can offer.

crisps uk uk chips
Back To Blog Posts