Probably the question we get asked the most since starting The Chip Review: “Juanita’s or Josefina? Which is the best tortilla chip?” Below you’ll get our honest take.
When I worked for [large all natural grocery store chain that is now owned by an even bigger company], Juanita’s was just coming onto the chip scene. Having been around since 1977, they were finally starting to get nationally popular in the late 2000s.
And what perfect timing.
The economy was still in the shitter, the housing market underwater, and the general tone of the country was pretty negative. But then, and I don’t think this is a coincidence, Juanita’s Tortilla Chips started to adorn the end caps of our favorite grocery stores, bringing what was then arguably the best replacement for Mexican restaurant pre-appetizer chips for home consumption. Soon the economy turned around, jobs returned, the stock market rebounded, and now we’ve been in a decade-long period of national prosperity. We built shrines to the chip gods at Juanita’s in the aisles of [large all natural grocery store chain that is now owned by an even bigger company], and we couldn’t keep them re-stocked fast enough.
Do we have Juanita’s Tortilla Chips to thank for all of this? Possibly!
But we have our complaints. Specifically, the last 25% of a Juanita’s bag is virtually un-dippable as the remaining chips turn into crumbs after a hefty chip-eating session. And that grease… oof!
Regardless, Juanita’s has been a staple at almost any party we’ve been at over the past decade, and deservedly so.
As we all know, success breeds competition. Other brands started to step up their tortilla chip game. Brand lines like Tostitos, who likely once felt comfortable atop their corn thrones, lazily slapping a little lime or jalapeno powder on the chip and calling themselves innovators, suddenly felt the pressure of an independent brand stepping on their turf. Owned by Frito-Lay (who is owned by Pepsi), they knew they needed to make an aggressive play here.
Already being considered Big Chip meant the company couldn’t just re-brand a line of their already mediocre Tostitos. No, they needed to virtually clone the Juanita’s branding and launch a new line. Please don’t let their humble site confuse you, this is a massive brand.
Enter La Cocina de Josefina.
If one is moving quick enough through the grocery isle, it’s easy to mistake the two bags. Bright red borders with green accents, a Hispanic women’s name front and center, “gluten free” in big letters at the top. We could forgive you if you intended to grab one and not the other. And that was likely Frito-Lay’s intention.
Regardless, being unbiased in our reviews of any chip, no matter how big the corporate backing, we must say, the Josefina line might be one of our favorite tortilla chips on the market today. The bag lasts at least to 90%, the sturdiness survives a heavy serving of salsa or queso, and the salt ratio on these triangles is near perfection.
Perhaps it makes sense that a company as large as Frito-Lay would have the resources to clone and make small improvements on what was becoming some hefty competition. Does it totally suck to see a little guy getting squeezed by a bigger company? Absolutely. But Frito-Lay made a great chip, and for that they get our official nod as best tortilla chip.
If we were Frito-Lay, we wouldn’t sleep on Juanita’s, who has been getting pretty creative with different flavors, all of which we have enjoyed immensely so far. We’re rooting for you, Juanita.
OVERALL WINNER: La Cocina de Josefina
22 thoughts on “Juanita’s vs La Cocina de Josefina Tortilla Chips Review”
Yeah, wrong. Side by side the Juanita’s definitely wins, yall need to recheck your taste buds and look at what the people are saying. Namely Reddit. Real people know what’s up and its not the white man’s knock off.
Arealhispanic, I totally Disagree Side by Side on your table Josefina’s YES Josefina”s make Juanitas taste like Cardboard…….. Once you Have tried Josefina’s You will seek them OUT above all other Plain Tortilla Chips……
Amen to that! It’s Juanitas or nothin!
Well said and I shall pass your message on to the beloved Dominguez family who I have had the privilege of knowing since grade school!
Interesting comparison, one could tell looking at the picture of both products which would come out on top-could you have found/made a more poorly squashed bag of Juanita as compared to the “pristine full” looking Josephina.
Seriously, I just purchased Josephina (Juanita’s were out as I could not locate OR had been moved AGAIN) the entire bag of “chips” are too salty AND all look like fry bread-puffy not at all good for dipping, also greasy. My suggestion is for EVERYONE to do their own test. Believe this is a Frito Lay product-it should say so on the bag, if proud of the product don’t attempt to mislead with branding of the package and pushing “made in Vancouver, WA”-include this is a Frito Lay product
We were Juanita’s fans simply by doing our own taste tests. Our baseline was our favorite local family owned Mexican restaurant. Then we discussed Josefina’s. Yep…they replaced Juanita’s easily. We think they are close enough where we are happy with either but we have our preference. Side note: our market has tons of shelf space for Juanita’s but barely a sliver for Josefina’s. Frito lay must not be pushing to hard.
Josephina’s is the winner at our house! They are light with just the right amount of oil and salt. Josephina’s are not as greasy as Juanita’s which may be what makes Josephina’s taste better. The chips at the bottom of the Juanita’s bag were soaked with oil as were our hands. The oiliness also made them taste a bit rancid.
You are so right
Over the years, I’ve tried several brands of chips. I few years back, I found Salena’s and made them easily my first choice. They were perfectly salted (I like salty chips), and they nearly melted in your mouth – delicious. Because they were not hard or crispy they tended to break easily and leave a pile of chip pieces in the bottom of the bag.. I didn’t mind that because they tasted so good and had bubbles in most chips because of the softer chip. Then, the formula was changed to harden the chips so they would not break in the bag and leave chip crumb in the bottom of the bag. With the change in formula, the texture was rougher and the taste was not as good. I stopped buying because of that change. That brings us to today. A couple of years ago, I discovered Josefina La Cochina chips. They reminded me of the original Salena chips that I absolutely craved before the formula change. Josefina chips were a wonderful discovery – Since that discovery, I have eaten them, daily, for lunch and as a snack before dinner. I’ve been a Josefina junkie. …until recently, when I noticed that the chips are harder, rougher, the delicious bubbles were nearly all gone, the flavor was different, and the chips were less salty because the new surface doesn’t hold the salt as easily. They are not as easy to chew. And, of course, there are very few broken chip pieces in the bottom of the bag. Clearly, the formula was changed to harden the chip and make them less breakable in the bag. HUGE MISTAKE! For the many of us who loved the original flavor, softer texture, and the saltier taste, this change is a huge disappointment. I will stop buying them. It is not the chip I craved. Now, it’s just another chip with average flavor and texture. My suggestion to the Josefina product manager: Make two versions: The Melt-In-Your-Mouth version (Original formula), and the new Crunchier Chip the doesn’t break in the bag (New formula). If you do that, I will continue buying Josefina chips (Melt-in-your-mouth option). Otherwise, I’ll find another brand with a chip closer to your original. I’m guessing that there are many other Josefina customers who be leaving you, too. I’ll be checking for a return of the original chip.
What has happened to the Josefina chips! Cannot find them anywhere and we all love them!
Same!!! Please reply and help out
Totally agree if you actually have them side by side there is no comparison. Josefina’s has won multiple times at gatherings I’ve run this experiment.
Speaking of what happened to Josefina’s as I haven’t seen them in a month at qfc or Fred Meyer. 04/05/2020
Josefina is easily the winner here, although Juanita is no slouch, either.
However, it’s May 2020 and I can’t find Josefina’s anywhere (I live on the Kitsap Peninsula, WA). Are they out of production? I emailed Frito Lay but have not received a response.
Fingers crossed it’s just a production issue.
We love Josefina but can’t find the chips anywhere Safeway Walmart can’t seem to find them anywhere are they still being made? We’re having with drawls please let us know where we can get some
La Cocina Josefina Chips are hands down the best . Light ,Crispy and the perfect touch of salt. We used to always buy Juanitas, Never again.
Juanita’s changed their product AGAIN in the past couple months. It’s not good.
La Cocina De JOSEFINA Tortilla chips are by FAR My favorite tortilla chip!!! I will never buy another brand.
👍100% AGREE I SWITCH FROM JUANITAS LONG AGO TOO JOSEPHINIAS CAUSE JUANITA SO CREASY AN CRUMBLES IN BAG THEY TASTE RACID OILY !! *HANDS DOWN *JOSEPHINES WINS *! THEY DO NEED TO CUT BK THE SALT ALSO BUT THERE NICE A LITE AN NOT FULL OF CREASE!!
I think you are right about how Josephina´s is the winner because they have more chips and they taste WAY more better than the other chips.
I can’t believe people actually like Josephina’s. My mom recently announced that she had stocked up on “those amazing chips you had” (Juanitas) when in fact she had been duped by Josephina’s salty tricks. It was a major chore eating Josephina’s for a few weeks. They are so unbelievably over-salted. It’s a disgrace to chips, dip, and tortilla chips as a product.
Salt is life.
I will always defer to Juanita’s and none other will do. Call me a bit biased since I have known the Dominguez family since they first came to the Hood River Valley of Oregon from the old country and I know their back story and Juanita’s dream realized in those chips. Made with love and care just like the ones in her native Mexico. There is no better tortilla chip on this Earth and if you want authentic, Juanita’s is the only choice made in the Hood River Valley of Oregon with love, hard work and dedication. No corporate knock off will ever come close!