The Great Dorito Taste Test

 

All Doritos are equal, but some Doritos are more equal than others.

-George Orwell, Dorito Farm (1945)

What is a Dorito exactly? According to the ingredients on the back of the bag, a Dorito is little more than whole corn, vegetable oil, corn maltodextrin and an assortment of horrifying chemicals that give said Dorito its flavor. But it is these very chemicals that pit Dorito against brother Dorito, each chip using its own unique blend of subtle spices and seasonings to fight its way atop the Dorito hierarchy. Which is best? And how to tell?

With that idea in mind The Great Dorito Taste Test was born.

The goal is simple enough: to locate and consume as many flavors of Dorito as possible in an attempt to rank the Doritos in an unbiased, objective manner. We started this search for delicious Doritos flavors by sending a request for sample Doritos to Frito-Lay. After Janet Hoppe, the Public Relations woman for Frito-Lay, rejected our offer outright we took the next logical step: we went and bought a shitload of Doritos. To ensure our test captured the full breadth of the Doritos spectrum we visited several grocery stores and gas stations in the Chicagoland area. At one point, when we were buying ten bags of Doritos at a 7-11, a crotchety old man looked at us disapprovingly and muttered “Someone’s got the munchies.” This, of course, made us self-conscious. We weren’t even high yet.

In all, we ended up with twelve Doritos flavors ranging the gamut from the classics like Nacho Cheese, to the exotic Spicy Nacho, to the most lame, Baked Doritos: Nacho Cheese. The experiment was conducted blindly, the taste test participants left the room as our control, Larry, poured the chips into numbered bowls; we didn’t want our Doritos prejudices getting in the way of a fair and accurate taste test. 

The testing would have three participants, your dear writer, his roommate Curly, and his roommate/control, Larry. Curly and I, not knowing which Dorito was which, would taste first. We would then comment, rank and guess which flavor we though the chip was. After this, Larry would taste the Dorito in question and offer his own commentary and ranking.

Because we wanted to examine the full potential of each Doritos flavor, the scoring breakdown was as follows:

Overall Flavor (On a 0-10 scale): Overall flavor is self-explanatory, it describes the general tastiness of the chip, whether or not it was satisfying, filling or appealing to the senses.

Spiciness (On a 0-5 scale): Spiciness is…uh…also self-explanatory, though it is important to note that a low spiciness ranking is not always detrimental to the overall flavor of a chip. Rather, it is a simple ranking of the chip’s spiciness. 

Long-term Tastability (On a 0-5 scale): This ranking reflects how many of a certain flavor of Dorito the tester can see himself eating over a long period of time. If a Dorito loses its appeal after the third chip, then it’s a Dorito that needs work, dammit.

We must remind you that these rankings only compare Doritos to other Doritos, not to something gross like Funyuns. Or your girlfriend’s vagina, which tastes delicious.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, onto the rankings:

12) Baked Doritos: Nacho Cheese

Overall Flavor: 4

Spiciness: .67

Long-Term Tastability: 1.7


It’s hard to mask bias against the Baked Dorito. With its unnatural texture (even by Dorito standards) and general lackluster flavor the chip was easy to identify and hate on. Larry claimed it “tasted like a gay Cheeto.” That may be giving Baked Doritos too much credit, “cardboard ass” comes off as a more accurate claim.

 

11) Doritos Late Night: Last Call Jalapeno Poppers

Overall Flavor: 5.3

Spiciness: 3.3

Long-Term Tastability: 1.7


The Jalapeno Popper’s initial flavor wasn’t bad, but by the time the chip is swallowed you’ve had just about enough of them. It had an odd, creamy texture that no Dorito should ever have, ever. This made sense when we looked at the ingredients and one of them was actually cream.

 

10) Doritos Late Night: Tacos At Night

Overall Flavor: 6

Spiciness: 2.3

Long-Term Tastability: 2.3


Like most Doritos, the Taco At Night variety wasn’t a bad chip. Larry noted that “It tastes like a full meal.” Still, overall it was so…blah… that it was barely deserving of comment.

 

9) Doritos Cool Ranch

Overall Flavor: 6.7

Spiciness: 1

Long-Term Tastability: 2


Having this classic so far down on the list was a little surprising seeing as the flavor has been around almost as long as Doritos have. Still, all the commenters found this chip to be heavy on the ranch, or, in one case, “too ranchy.”

 

8) Doritos Zesty Taco

Overall Flavor: 7

Spiciness: 2.3

Long-Term Tastability: 2.3


As soon as he tried it Larry claimed that he could “taste some zest, but not spice,” and Curly was enamored enough with this chip that he actually took a picture of it. While it was a good Dorito, it wasn’t a great Dorito, and to be the king of the Doritos, you better bring your A-game.

 

7) Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili

Overall Flavor: 7.7

Spiciness: 3

Long-Term Tastability: 2.3


The Spicy Sweet Chili variety was a big hit initially, with Curly claiming that it was “his favorite chip” after eating just one. By the second or third chip the Spicy Sweet Chili love fell off, though, and the flavor simply didn’t hold up.

 

6) Doritos Ranch

Overall Flavor: 7.7

Spiciness: 1

Long-Term Tastability: 3.7


Ranch came in a combo pack, and surprisingly it performed better than the classic Cool Ranch. After the flavors were revealed all the tasters tried this and Cool Ranch again to see if there really was a difference between the two flavors. There was, the Ranch flavor was several notches less ranchy, giving it a milder flavor and ultimately the victory over Cool Ranch.

 

5) Doritos Pizza Cravers

Overall Flavor: 7.7 

Spiciness: 2.3

Long-Term Tastability: 3.7


Though all three testers were Dorito-eating veterans, none had experienced the Pizza Cravers flavor before. During the tasting there were no comments made, just rankings, as the tasters pondered this new and exciting flavor.

 

4) Doritos Spicy Nacho

Overall Flavor: 7.7

Spiciness: 2.3

Long-Term Tastability: 3.7


Curly claimed he could “totally eat a bunch of these.” All the tasters agreed with this assessment, the Dorito was spicy-but-not-too-spicy, and was offset by the inspired cheese flavor. 

 

3) Doritos Chipotle Ranch

Overall Flavor: 8

Spiciness: 1.7

Long-Term Tastability: 4


Like the Spicy Nacho variety, the mildness of the ranch flavor was properly offset by the zing of the chipotle kick. While the other ranch flavors were far too ranchy, this chip provided an unforgettable combination of well-rounded deliciousness.

 

2) Doritos Nacho Cheese

Overall Flavor: 8.7

Spiciness: 1.7

Long-Term Tastability: 5

 

The Granddaddy of Them All came in a close second, and unless you’ve been living in a Dorito-free cave for the past thirty-five years, it’s hard to be surprised. With an unprecedented 5 in Long-Term Tastability, it’s obvious why these have been a nerd/drunk/stoner favorite since the dawn of the Dorito. 

 

1) Doritos Blazin’ Buffalo Ranch

Overall Flavor: 8.7

Spiciness: 3.7

Long-Term Tastability: 3.7


Though Curly said it, all parties agreed that the Blazin’ Buffalo Ranch Dorito was “A pretty damn good chip.” Like the Chipotle Ranch flavor, Blazin Buffalo expertly blended the spiciness of buffalo sauce with the cool, soothing flavor of ranch.  This chip, the King of All Doritos, has earned the number-one Dorito spot.

Notice that Spicy Sweet Chili, Ranch, Pizza Cravers and Spicy Nacho all tied with a 7.7 Overall Ranking, while Nacho Cheese and Blazin’ Buffalo Ranch tied for first with an 8.7 Overall Ranking . For the tiebreaker we used the combined scores for Spiciness and Long-Term Tastability to decide overall rank, as a chip that scores highly in multiple categories deserves to be ranked over a less balanced chip.

In all, the whole ranking process made a lot of sense. There is a strong correlation between overall ranking and Long-Term Tastability that shows tasty Doritos generally remain tasty for long snacking sessions. The number seven Dorito, Spicy Sweet Chili, further evidences this. While it was rated highly overall and tied with three other chips in Overall Flavor, its lack of deliciousness sustainability ultimately relegated it to the middle of the pack. 

Looking at this experiment, there are several interesting observations worth noting. First, note that spiciness had little correlation with overall score. The highest-rated chip, Blazin’ Buffalo Ranch had a slightly higher Spiciness Rating than the Jalapeno Popper chips, the lowest-rated real Dorito flavor. This establishes two things. First, that the testers were not pussies. Second, that spiciness does not make or break a chip. Also of note is the dispersion of the ranch flavors throughout the rankings. Out of the four ranch-themed chips, they were rated ninth, sixth, third and first. This proves that one Dorito theme doesn’t dominate over others. Finally, one must take note of the Pizza Cravers Dorito. Pizza Craver captured fifth place even though no tester had tried it before. This makes an obvious statement: the Pizza Craver Dorito deserves a place among the full-time Dorito lineup, as it is delicious, bold and exotic. 

Though we’ve mentioned it before, it’s important to understand that all Doritos are good Doritos, and they are worthy of your honor and respect. Few things in life are perfect, but these powder-coated abominations of science come awful close.

 

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