We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (2024)

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We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (1)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

ByJenn Carnevale|

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In the ever-evolving landscape of snack foods, one brand has consistently stood out for its innovation, quality, and delectable flavor profiles –-Smartfood. From its humble beginnings in the '80s, the company has transformed the popcorn snacking experience, offering a delightful fusion of wholesome ingredients and irresistible tastes. As foodies continue to seek unique and satisfying options, Smartfood has risen to the occasion, presenting a diverse array of flavors to suit every palate — and I sat down to try every one of them.

For this ultimate ranking, I considered not only taste but also factors like crunchiness, balance of seasonings, and my overall snacking experience. From classic cheddar to adventurous exotic blends, along with limited edition flavors from Doritos, this article delves into the diverse selection Smartfood has to offer, making it easier for you to make informed choices and embark on your next snacking adventure. Discover new favorites, rekindle your love for the classics, and celebrate the snack that has been redefining the popcorn landscape for decades.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

7. Doritos Nacho Cheese

We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (2)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

Last on the list is the Nacho Cheese Doritos crossover. Boy, does this popcorn have a kick to it, however, it definitely doesn't taste like Doritos Nacho Cheese chips. After taking a few bites, I found an overwhelming presence of cayenne and chili pepper, and those spices definitely lingered the more I ate. In fact, the cheesy, tangy profile we all associate with Doritos takes a backseat to a spicy rollercoaster ride.

It's essential to clarify that these spicy kernels aren't inherently bad; in fact, they could be your perfect snack if you're in the mood for something that ignites your taste buds. But here's the caveat -– if you're hoping to relive the Doritos Nacho Cheese chip experience, you're in for a letdown. The expectations set by the Doritos name can be misleading, and the transition from the familiar taste to this spicy twist may not sit well with everyone. In other words, if you're craving the genuine Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor, you might want to stick with the chips.

6. Flamin' Hot White Cheddar

We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (3)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

At first glance, Smartfood's Flamin' Hot White Cheddar flavor made me pause. I was legitimately scared, staring at those fiery red kernels, but I was ready for the challenge. And oh, was this one a challenge. I ate one piece to start, acting like a cautious cat around a new person. The first few seconds offered a bland, cheesy taste. But give it a second because your mouth will be on fire from just one piece!

So, what's the verdict? The only real flavor I could find was fire. And it's not necessarily bad, but you have to like spicy things to enjoy this one. It's not for the faint of heart.

While it might not be the well-rounded, multi-layered experience you'd expect from a traditional popcorn snack, Flamin' Hot White Cheddar carves a unique path with its intense spiciness. Just remember to keep a glass of milk or water handy –- you're going to need it.

5. Movie Theater Butter

We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (4)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

In the realm of snacking, few experiences can rival the nostalgia of a tub of movie theater popcorn. Smartfood's Movie Theater Butter flavor certainly endeavors to capture that magic, landing at a respectable 5th place on the list.As you dive into a handful, the first thing you'll notice is the quintessential Smartfoods texture. It's that airy, ethereal quality that seems to dissolve effortlessly on your tongue.

The flavor profile kicks off on a high note with a dash of salt that's reminiscent of the popcorn counter at your favorite cinema. This savory prelude is followed by the rich embrace of butter, contributing to a genuinely enjoyable snacking experience. However, it's the journey's end that leaves a subtle question mark.

The artificial flavoring that emerges toward the back end of the profile isn't quite in harmony with the nostalgia I associate with movie theater buttered popcorn. It doesn't quite mellow out as you might hope, leaving you with a taste that, while not bad, doesn't quite transport you to the same level of cinematic bliss.

And it's that artificial flavoring that's just a little bit off that keeps this one from breaking into the top three. It's not movie theater level, but it's a pretty good substitute. If you're in the mood for a taste of cinema at home, this option is a worthy contender that's definitely worth a try.

4. Doritos Cool Ranch

We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (5)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

Smartfood paired with Doritos for a second limited-time flavor: Cool Ranch flavored popcorn. Compared to the Nacho Cheese, this flavor almost tastes like Doritos. The initial nibbles do indeed offer subtle nods toward the cool ranch flavor profile. You can detect the tangy undertones that make it so distinctive, creating a promising start to your snacking adventure.

But that corn chip really packs the flavor punch while the popcorn doesn't soak up too much of the seasoning. The popcorn, while boasting the signature Smartfood texture that fans adore, doesn't absorb the flavors quite as thoroughly as the classic Doritos corn chip does.

Overall, if you didn't tell me these were Cool Ranch, it's probably not the flavor profile I would have guessed, but it's still not bad by any means. While it may not entirely replace the classic Cool Ranch Doritos chips, they still manage to intrigue and delight with a fusion of flavors. Although it's not my first choice in a lineup bursting with great flavors, Cool Ranch is an experience that adds a unique dimension to the snack world.

3. White Cheddar

We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (6)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

In the fast-paced world of snack innovations, there's always room for a classic, and Smartfood's White Cheddarstands as a testament to the timeless appeal of simplicity. Breaking into the top three, this snack option harkens back to the basics, delivering a delicate yet satisfying experience that's sure to please.

The beauty of white cheddar popcorn lies in its unpretentiousness. It doesn't need a riot of flavors or an explosion of spices to make an impression. Instead, it relies on the delicate dance between white cheddar and a touch of salt to win over your taste buds. This pairing creates a well-balanced flavor profile that doesn't overwhelm but offers just the right amount of zest to keep you coming back for more.

And let's not forget the texture. This popcorn retains the hallmark softness that practically makes each kernel melt in your mouth. It's the kind you could easily find yourself munching through an entire bag without even realizing it.

There's something to be said about the classics, and while thisclassic white cheddar flavor may not boast the same intensity as some of its more adventurous counterparts, it's precisely this subtlety that earns it the third spot in my ranking. The flavors here are composed, restrained, and dependable — the perfect option for parties, snacking, lunches, and beyond!

2. Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (7)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

Smartfood's Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn should be your next snacking obsession. I loved the puffy texture. This kettle corn strikes the perfect balance between a soft, almost melt-in-your-mouth interior and a satisfying crunch on the exterior. It's the kind of snack that engages all your senses, from the first bite to the last.

When it comes to flavors, this one is a masterclass in harmony. You get the best of both worlds with a subtle saltiness leading the charge on the front end, followed by a delightful surge of sweetness on the back. The combination is a nuanced play of contrasts that kept my taste buds engaged throughout my snacking adventure.

Overall, this flavor definitely leans sweet, but it's by no means a drawback. In fact, it's this subtle sweetness that adds to the charm of the snack. The flavors here are anything but overpowering, making this a go-to choice for those who appreciate a snack that doesn't overwhelm the palate. This flavor option is truly delicious and is highly recommended — a must-try for sure!

1. Caramel Cheddar Mix

We Tasted And Ranked Every Flavor Of Smartfood Popcorn - The Daily Meal (8)

Jenn Carnevale / Static Media

Looking at the bag of SmartFood's Caramel Cheddar Mix, I didn't know what to expect, but this option was the ultimate surprise. There are literally two flavors in the bag: caramel popcorn and cheddar popcorn. I know it sounds weird, but when eaten together, it's actually really good!

This flavor option is a balanced combo of sweet and salty. The combination of caramel sweetness and cheddar cheesiness, which leans slightly towards a "nacho" essence, is nothing short of extraordinary. The result is a rollercoaster of flavor that's sure to keep you munching.

The texture of this mix is on par with Smartfood's reputation for offering soft, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. But what sets it apart is the delightful caramel coating on the caramel pieces that provides a pleasant crunch before the popcorn dissolves into deliciousness. Salty and sweet; soft and crunchy. It's a truly fascinating textural experience.

Overall, Smartfood's Caramel Cheddar Mix is a snacking revelation and the undisputed champion on my list. It's an innovative combination of sweet and salty that delivers an unforgettable flavor experience. Whether you're a fan of caramel, cheddar, or just good snacks, this blend offers a little something for everyone. I have no notes or reservations, just one solid recommendation: These are a must-try!

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