Top Pick Of The Week

February 14, 2012


Jalapeno Chips

Have some sizzle with your beer. Photography by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Jalapeño chips—fried slices of fresh jalapeño.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Other “jalapeño chips” are jalapeño-flavored potato chips or tortilla chips. These are “real jalapeño chips.”
WHY WE LOVE IT: New, novel and nifty.

Jalapeno Chips

Deano’s jalapeño chips with raw jalapeño slices.


Hot Stuff: The Real Jalapeño Chips ~ No Potatoes!

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Stowe, Vermont is almost as far from Mexico as it gets on this continent; yet, it is the home of the jalapeño chip. Not the jalapeño-flavored potato chip, but real jalapeños, sliced and fried into crisp chips.

It’s hot stuff—but not too hot to be enjoyed by most of us. If nibbling a bagful is too spicy for you, then try them as a:

  • Garnish. Use a few jalapeño chips to garnish an appetizer, soup, salad or main.
  • Crust. Crumble the chips into a coating for chicken or fish.
  • Dip. For dipping, go hot with salsa or go cool with a yogurt-based dip.

The inspiration to make “real” jalapeño chips came to Doehne “Deano” Duckworth, chef and owner of The Cactus Café in Stowe, who uses all  kinds   of hot chiles in his dishes. “It occurred to me,” says Chef Deano, “that everyone was trying to make their potato chips taste like jalapeños. Why not just use a real jalapeño!”

It took a lot of trial and error, but the results rock. The original jalapeño chips proved so popular that there is now an expanded line:

  • Original (Sea Salt)
  • Cheddar
  • Ranch

We like all three, but in general are partial to the Sea Salt.

“The jalapeño chips are at what we call a medium heat level, although each batch is a little different depending on mother nature.” says Chef Deano.

The chips are produced by hand in small batches at The Cactus Café, and use the freshest jalapeños available (shipped daily from Texas and New Mexico). They have won Scovie Awards (for hot and spicy foods) each year: in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

You can buy the jalapeño chips in individual flavors or combination packs at and

Alas, for vegans and people with severe wheat allergies, the product contains milk solids and is made in a facility where wheat is present.

Everyone else: Come and get ‘em.

— Karen Hochman



Check out the article index, below.


More Top Pick Jalapeño Chips

Jalapeno Kettle Chips Jalapeno Popchips Jalapeno Tortilla Chips

Kettle Brand Jalapeño Potato Chips. The one-ounce and 2-ounces size (24 count) are good for grab-and-go snacking. If regular jalapeño is too mild for you, there’s also a Hot! version. Gluten-free and certified kosher by KOF-K. More information.

Popchips Jalapeño Potato Chips. These healthier chips, not fried or baked but popped, have been a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week—twice. Gluten-free, non-GMO and certified kosher by KOF-K. More information. Our Top Pick review.

Food Should Taste Good Jalapeño Tortilla Chips. From our favorite tortilla chip maker, in 1.5-ounce bags (5-ounce bags also available, plus Jalapeño & Cheddar). Gluten-free and non-GMO; certified kosher by OU. More information. Our Top Pick review.


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