Baby boomers reared on play-it-safe Jello molds and tuna casserole live in a much different world today, where over half of American households carry hot sauce in their pantries. From the looks of it, our country has quickly shed its risk-adverse stance towards spicy food, as mega franchises like KFC swagger-jack hot chicken recipes, and schools even feel compelled to ban Flamin' Hot Cheetos for fear of their addictive qualities. The exponential growth of hot sauce challenges and buffalo hot wings franchises all goes to prove that that America is more or less obsessed with tongue-numbing grub.
It would only make sense that the snack game has followed suit, as nearly every variety of chip, cracker, or doodle seems to showcase some version of its spicy self. See, ‘merica isn't only smitten with a baseline "Buffalo" level of heat. Now we are game for body-warming, cheek-reddening spice from all cultures—whether we’re talking Asian (Sriracha, wasabi), Hispanic (habanero, jalapeños), or otherwise. From the big brands like Frito Lay, to the indie producers, everyone is shooting their shot right now in the spicy snack game. We figured we’d shed some light on some of the new come ups in spicy snacks right now, and also test whether there’s legit spice, as often advertised, in our Spicy Bangers of the Month.