Pairing Wine With Crisps | Simple But Effective

Harry Lambourne
28th February 2024

Obviously we all have dreams of the perfect bottle of wine, which you’ve been saving, paired with a beautifully prepared luxury meal. However, sometimes time and money are tight. So, we’re bringing you a guide to pairing wine with crisps.

These salty snacks are always a welcome accompaniment to a glass of vino, but there are a few pairings that we think might stand out. We will pick a specific grape variety and pair it with one of the nation’s favourite crisp brands and flavours.

If you know you’ve got a bottle of that style of wine at home and you find yourself in the crisp aisle at your local supermarket, pick some up! Pairing wine with crisps is a fun way to see how wine and food interact with one another. Indeed, pairing wine with crisps will actually give you some insight into wine pairing that you can use for something a bit more special!

Let’s look at the light-hearted pursuit of pairing wine with crisps.

Pairing Wine With Food – The Basics

Pairing Wine With Food
There’s A Lot To Consider When Pairing Wine With Food

Before we jump into some of the nation’s favourite salty snacks. We are going to introduce you to some of the basics of pairing wine with food in general.

Certain components of food will interact with wine in a host of unique ways. The most common ones which you will encounter are salt, fat, acid and spice.

Salt, (which is a key aspect of any crisp), is an incredibly wine-friendly ingredient. So, you’re in luck! The salty crisps will accentuate the fruity flavours of the wine.

Then, we have fat. Again, fat is a core component of crisps. If you’re pairing wine with crisps or other fatty foods, then you should be aware of the acidity in the wine. Acidity has the effect of cleansing the palate from fatty foods. So, wines with a good amount of acid are desirable.

The next component of food which we will move onto is acidity itself. This will not apply to all types of crisps, but things like salt and vinegar or scampi fries certainly display some pronounced acidity. If you’re pairing a wine with acidic food, the acidity in the wine must match the acidity in the food. If the food is more acidic than the wine, it will make the wine seem bitter by comparison.

Last up, we will move onto spice. There has been an increasing demand for crisps with a genuine kick to them, but if these are your thing then you should keep an eye out for the alcohol content of the wine. Alcohol ramps up the feeling of heat in food. So, if you aren’t overly keen on spice get a lower ABV, (Alcohol By Volume), wine. If you love spice, then feel free to get a higher ABV wine and feel that burn!

These quick tips should give you the basis for pairing wine with food, but for the here and now it will inform your decisions when pairing wine with crisps.

Pairing Wine With Crisps – Walkers Cheese & Onion

Walkers Cheese and Onion
Walkers Cheese and Onion – Pair With A White Rioja

This appeared top of a poll on the nation’s favourite crisp flavours – Walker’s Cheese and Onion. It would be almost impossible to have not at least sampled this particular offering at some point in your life. So, it seemed the perfect place to start when discussing pairing wine with crisps.

They are a staple from lunchboxes, to pubs, to kitchen cupboards and there is no reason, (that we can think of), that you shouldn’t try them alongside a glass of something delicious.

They possess a relatively strong flavour with cheese and onion being a powerful combination, so we think it is best to opt for a wine with not only a bit of body, but also a strong flavour intensity. If you go for something to light, then it’ll get drowned in a river of Somerset cheese, (and not in a good way).

Our pick is a white Rioja, preferably one that has seen some MLF and oak ageing. This notes only adds body, but it will add savoury and creamy notes that will work with the flavour profile. However, make sure that the white Rioja still retains those fresh fruit flavours as these will only be ramped up thanks to the wonderfully salty crisps.

Pairing Wine With Crisps – McCoy’s Flame-Grilled Steak

McCoy's Flame Grilled Steak
McCoy’s Flame Grilled Steak – Pair With High-Altitude Argentinian Malbec

Next up on our list of pairing wine with crisps is McCoy’s Flame-Grilled Steak. This is another powerful crisp with intensely beefy flavours. Luckily they’re also vegetarian! We are once more met with crisps which have a lot about them, so a wine will need to match. This time we’re moving onto red wine when pairing wine with crisps.

Though you need to be careful when choosing a red wine. Red wines which are really full bodied and tannic will just drown out whatever the crisp has to offer. Equally, with a crisp like the one in question, if you pick something exceptionally light such as Beaujolais Nouveau then you run the risk of your wine tasting like beef!

Something in the middle is what we would recommend. Specifically, we are opting for an Argentinian Malbec which has not been overly oaked. Many Malbec’s are particularly heavy on the oak ageing, (often to mask imperfections in the fresher flavours, or imbalances in the wine itself). So, a Malbec with a touch of oak to add a bit of charred wood spice to your steak flavours is ideal. However, as with the white Rioja it must retain those fruit flavours which will benefit from the salt.

This pairing should translate to any beef heavy flavouring. So, if you’re a fan of Beef Monster Munch or Hula Hoops – pick yourself up a bottle of Malbec!

Pairing Wine With Crisps – Walkers Prawn Cocktail

Walkers Prawn Cocktail
Walkers Prawn Cocktail – Pair With Muscadet

We’re back to more classic Walkers crisps for the next stop on our pairing wine with crisps guide. However, we’d like to lump in not only all other prawn cocktail flavours, but also the pub classic – Scampi fries. This is because they’re all got that fishy flavouring, but also they’ll all come with a real hit of acidity which we need to consider when choosing our wine pairing.

For us, we think that the speciality of the Western Loire Valley wins the right to be the ultimate wine pairing for any fishy crisp flavour. Muscadet is sometimes referred to as the ultimate seafood wine and we think this carries over when pairing wine with crisps. It is fresh and acidic, with delightful citrus heavy notes and touches of salinity.

Prawn Cocktail tends to possess quite rich flavours, alongside this flavour of prawns, (shock), tomato and lemon. So, acidity is crucial. A low acid white wine such as Viognier may seem bitter alongside these more acidic crisps. Instead, the Muscadet will stand up to the acidity of the crisps, while once more the salt will accentuate the fresh citrus fruit flavours.

Pairing Wine With Crisps – Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos

Flamin Hot Twisted Cheetos
Flamin Hot Twisted Cheetos – Pair With Gewürztraminer

Now, we are ramping up the spice flavours. One of our favourites are the intense and spicy Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos. However, this wine pairing would work well with sweet chilli and any other spicy flavoured crisps. Don’t forget to check the ABV on your bottle of wine, if you want to be in control of those spice levels when pairing wine with crisps.

Our pick for this wine pairing is a Gewürztraminer. Alsace or Germany are both great places to start with this grape variety, but there have been an increasing number of promising examples from South America, (especially Chile).

Gewürztraminer is often a perfect wine pairing for particularly fragrant and flavourful foods. You’ll regularly see it as a preferred wine for Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai and Chinese food. While these flavours don’t necessarily match those in a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto, we think the wine is a great match.

Gewürztraminer has a rich and unctuous mouthfeel which will prevent it getting lost against that intensely flavoured dust that will be beginning to coat your fingers as you make your way through a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It also delivers a wealth of aromatic notes, such as rose and ginger which we think actually work surprisingly well with these fragrant styles of crisps. This pairing is also about flavour intensity. You need a strongly flavoured and aromatic wine with some body, otherwise the spice will overtake the flavours of a more delicate wine.

Pairing Wine With Crisps – Ready Salted Hula Hoops

Ready Salted Hula Hoops
Ready Salted Hula Hoops – Pair With Crémant

The last stop on our tour of pairing wine with crisps is the classic ready salted Hula Hoops. Of course, this pairing could translate to any ready salted crisp, (Hula Hoops are just the best version in our humble opinion).

This is one of the first examples where the flavours of the crisps aren’t particularly strong. The only real consideration for pairing wine with crisps in this example is the salt and fat.

So, we want a crisp and fresh wine with a lot of acidity, however we also want it to be very light in body or it will nullify the crisps reserved flavours. We wanted to end on something special so we are giving the go ahead to a bubbly wine pairing.

We really think that most sparkling wines will absolutely work a treat here. They fit the bill entirely and will really benefit from the salty accompaniment. So, you can really pick your own style here. Cava from Catalonia, Prosecco from Veneto, or even the classic Champagne will work a treat here. Yet, these aren’t our pick.

We are big advocates of Crémant. Two favourites are Crémant d’Alsace and Crémant de Loire. It often delivers the complexity and general deliciousness of Champagne at a fraction of the price. Since we’re talking about pairing wine with crisps – let’s keep the activity as tasty, but budget-friendly, as possible.

Crémant is light and acidic, (as all good sparkling wine should be), this means that it’ll cut through the fatty crisps, but also not completely overpower them due to the delicate nature of the drink. Then, all those lovely fresh fruity flavours will become even more powerful and delicious. It is a wonderfully simple pairing, that works an absolute treat. If you’re opening a bottle of bubbles, it is always worth having some salted crisps on standby.

Pairing wine with crisps is a simple and fun exercise to do at home the next time you feel like opening up a bottle of wine. It is clearly a delicious way to spend an afternoon or evening. However, it really can help to improve your palate and your abilities to pair wine with food.

You will be able to note how the different flavours and components of a crisp can have an impact on the wine that you’re drinking. It is a budget-friendly means of learning how food and wine interact with one another, that will leave you well equipped to pick out wines for your next big dinner party.

Who’d have thought that the pursuit of pairing wine with crisps could have an impact on your finer dining experiences? Now you know, so get yourself a multi-pack of crisps and get going!

If you’re not done learning about how wine interacts with food, then we have some more recommended reading for you. Take a look at the articles below which looks at pairing wine with cheese and some other British classics.

If you want to treat yourself, or someone else in your life, don’t forget to check out our Monthly Wine Subscription and Gift Wine Subscription products. Each month you’ll receive hand-picked wines from small, independent family winemakers who focus on organicbiodynamic and sustainable viticulture. Learn more here:

If you’d simply just like to learn more about wine from the comfort of your own home, be sure to check out our online blog and sign up to our mailing list. We’re always looking to teach people about different regions, grape varieties and producers. Beyond that, you can expect to find a whole host of playlists, cocktail cards and recipe cards packed full of wine pairing ideas. There might even be some special offers along the way so make sure that you don’t miss out!

Sign Up To Our Mailing List

Never miss out on great content or special offers again!

Join our mailing list to get exclusive access to our weekly wine offers

20 mixed cases of wine a week on sale at cellar door prices