Snack Review: UTZ Crab Chips

Take a look at college campuses across the country right now and you’ll see the depressed faces of young minds “back to the grind” of academic courses, low paying part-time jobs, and rip off meal-plans.

Not exactly how you remember it?

Ok, so I may be exaggerating things quite a bit, but one thing that the end of winter break does bring, is the sometimes painful move away from our homes and our favorite local foods. Take me, for example. Like Ryan, I’m a Marylander, long used to the fine tradition of east coast snacks and fast food chains. But when I returned to Utah for the spring semester a few days ago, I left behind some of my favorite go-to snack items, including UTZ Potato Chips. Not to worry though, as I brought a bag of some of my favorite UTZ chips on the plane back to Salt Lake: Crab Chips.

Utz Crab Chips Bag

Don’t be fooled. These chips aren’t anything new, and they ain’t the fanciest chips around either. I’m not even sure they’re my favorite “Old Bay” style of chips (Route 11’s Kettle Style Chesapeake Crab chips are potato chip perfection, in my opinion). But for what they lack in crunch, sex appeal, and fancy bagging, UTZ’s Crab Chips more than make up for in flavor and nostalgia. “Crab” chips, for you non-east coasters out there, are a potato chip flavor based around the concept of Old Bay seasoning, a favorite in the Chesapeake Bay region that combines spices like Paprika, Celery Salt, and Black Pepper.

Utz Crab Chips Collage

The thing I love about the UTZ version of this classic flavor combination is the addition of a sweet element (found in honey powder on the bag’s list of ingredients). I think it’s important to have, because these chips are quite a bit more salty than regular UTZ chips. Still, the flavor combination is unmatched, as the paprika/dry mustard combo leaves you with a lingering “heat” that tingles the top of your lips. You also can’t beat the price of these chips. Walk into any run-down gas station in the mid-Atlantic and chances are you’ll find the perfectly portioned 1 oz. bags of these chips for no more than 50 cents. Trust me, it’s the kind “take me back to the elementary school snack line” cheapness that we college students appreciate. In short, UTZ’s Crab Chips have their flaws, but when it comes to food and memory, this little potato-chip-that-could will always hold a special place in my heart (not to mention, you know, my stomach).

Utz Crab Chips 3

You’ve heard from me, so now I ask you:

What is your favorite “local” snack that you’re unlucky enough to be divorced from by location?

Pros: Intriguing blend of sweetness, heat, and pepper that goes above and beyond the traditional Old Bay seasoning blend. Well balanced flavor and saltiness which leaves you licking your fingers after each handful. The ultimate "take me back home" chip that cannot be replicated.

Cons: Lacks ideal crunch of a kettle style chip. Can leave a lingering sense of peppery heat that dulls the flavor of sweet foods. Somewhat messy seasoning blend. Flavor of the chip (and cottonseed oil) is subdued because of the amount of seasoning.

Price: 50 cents or less (1 oz bag)

Overall GrubGrade: 8.50 (Very Good)

More Info: UtzSnacks.com
Nutrition Facts:
Utz Crab Chips
Serving Size: 1 oz.
Calories: 150
Calories from Fat: 80
Total Fat: 9 grams
Saturated Fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 300 mg
Fiber: 1 gram
Sugar: 1 gram
Protein: 2 grams

9 comments on “Snack Review: UTZ Crab Chips

  1. Katie Ann says:

    Well I’ve always lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so nothing has been too terribly wrenched away, but I sure do miss the breakfast burritos from high school. They were a dollar I think, and the greasiest things ever. A fried tortilla wrapped around a greasy mess of cheese and sausage and eggs. Mmmm…I had those most mornings in high school. Ahh, the metabolism of a teenager.

  2. marianne says:

    When I tried these … I was just not digging the flavor … crab seasoning …. belongs with crab.

  3. How cool! I’m going to be covering these (along with other Utz chips) in a couple of weeks.

    I know what you mean about the lack of crunch, but I kind of like that. It’s weird, but I like it.

  4. For a deeper seafood flavor, try “Zapps” or “Dirtys” crawfish, small batch kettle cooked, (same manufacturer in New Orleans)

  5. laurabumblebee says:

    I went to college about half an hour from where I grew up in Houston, so I didn’t have to miss anything. Then I up and moved to New York and oh my GOODNESS the food nostalgia dogged me the entire time I lived there. Mostly I missed Mexican food. And Dr Pepper. I was nigh inconsolable when I discovered how hard it was to find DP in Manhattan.

    These chips though…I love them. I haven’t had a single one of them since I moved back to Texas. BurgerDogBoy is right, the Zapps Cajun Crawtaters (no seriously) are a spicier alternative. They even have the slight sweetness to them. Still…I wish I could find Utz ANYthing here. Good stuff.

  6. SkippyMom says:

    When we buy chips these are the NUMBER ONE choice in our home [we are also blue crab whores, but that is another story] These rock. I am definitely a kettle chip fan, first, but the kids love ‘em.

    I remember growing up in VA [where we still live] and UTZ being strictly a Maryland product. You could not buy them outside of MD. I spent a lot of time begging my sister to bring UTZ from her town when she came to visit. I was so happy when they were able to ship them out to other states.

  7. Chaz says:

    LOVE THESE!!! Nice review Adam.

  8. ChrisLad says:

    Interesting product review. I like these chips alot. They are a 7-11 staple in NoVA. Probably the most flavorful cheap chips you can buy that aren’t artificially flavored and gross. The Utz are in my opinion the most appealing to the mainstream chip eater. They have a nice balance of seasoning to chip and also the subtle sweetness Adam mentioned really mixes well. Sometimes crab chips can be overly hot or peppery and these are not.

  9. Stefan says:

    NICE. Love seeing a snack on here that’s made and distributed close to me. I live in York, PA and these are made and Hanover, PA. York is also known for Martin’s Potato Chips (and the York Peppermint Patty). You should check those out. Good stuff!