Kitchn Love Letters

Leave It to the Irish to Make the Best (and Wittiest!) Potato Chips

published Mar 16, 2023
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Various types of potato chips on a surfaces.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Thanks to the ’80s British TV show the Young Ones (imagine SNL had a love child with Monty Python), I have become a connoisseur of creative flavored potato chips from across the pond. In one episode of that show, hippie character Neil asks punk roommate Vivian to order him a bag of “non-meat-flavored” crisps when on the way up to the bar at the local pub. Vivian, ever the contrarian, orders Neil a bag of oxtail-flavored chips. I thought it was a joke, until I went to Ireland with my family. 

There we found a vast array of new-to-us flavored crisps including prawn cocktail, ketchup, and even haggis! Oxtail suddenly didn’t seem so far-fetched. This multitude of flavors was a revelation to us because, up until about a decade ago, we Americans were hemmed in by just sour cream and onion, barbecue, or plain potato chips. 

Credit: Ivy Manning

Upon repeated trips to the EU, it became my mission to suss out the best flavors of potato chips. My favorite brand is Keogh’s, a family owned business based just outside Dublin. Thankfully, they’re available in the United States at World Market and other outlets, and online. While there’s now a plethora of creative flavored potato chips available in the U.S., I still love Keogh’s the best for its subtle flavors served with a dash of Irish humor. 

Credit: Ivy Manning

What’s So Great About Keogh’s Irish Potato Chips?

Keogh’s potato chips are made from thin, skin-on spuds that are cooked in small batches. So small, in fact, that the cook of each bag is named on the back of the bag and you can look them up online on the “spud nav” tool on Keogh’s website. They’re never greasy, never burnt, and not overtly salty, either. They’re a great specimen plain, but oh, the flavors! 

My first love was the Mature Irish Cheese and Onion chips. Unlike more pedestrian cheese-flavored chips, these have a sharp, gourmet aged cheese flavor that’s more complex.

As a truffle-lover, I’m super into the Truffle and Butter flavored chips, too. They greet you with a big whiff of earthy mushroom, without any of the synthetic truffle that’s added to some snacks. The authentic fungi taste is followed immediately by a buttery flavor and creamy mouthfeel, with a touch of sweetness. In other words, I find it hard to stop eating them. Piled on top of a tuna sandwich, I have found my Achilles heel.

And then there are the other creative (witty, even) flavors you really wouldn’t find anywhere but Ireland. I had no idea that shamrocks were edible (save for a certain fast food shake, which I surmise relies on artificial mint flavoring in lieu of actual shamrocks). Keogh’s works with a shamrock farmer in County Clare, Ireland, to create a Sour Cream and Shamrock chip that contains ground shamrocks! 

It turns out shamrocks taste a bit like dried herbs with a touch of citrusy sourness. Ditto for the Irish Whisky Barbecue flavor and the Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion flavor, vaguely reminiscent of French onion soup, with a lovely, salty hit of blue cheese in the finish. Is there such a thing as a grown-up potato chip? If so, these are it.

Keogh’s regularly comes out with new flavors of chips, which keeps it all very interesting for potato chip lovers with sophisticated palates. I’m a big fan of the Guinness and Flamed Grill Steak crinkle-cut chips, although they don’t taste so much of a pint of stout as they do savory prime rib. I tried the Roast Turkey and Secret Stuffing chips, and they were sagey fun. 

I am definitely on board to try the Guinness and Oyster and Chorizo and Cherry Tomato flavors next. Call it a vocation. There’s no oxtail-flavored potato chip as of yet, but I’ll be the first to let you know when that flavor drops.  

Have you tried these chips? Tell us about your favorite flavors in the comments below.w