How do you get the cheese and onion flavour in crisps?

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn't even know you had

Recently, while staring lovingly at a cheese and onion crisp before popping it delicately into my greedy gob, I had a thought: how do they get the cheese and onion into a cheese and onion crisp?

Though debate rages on over whether King or Tayto can hold claim to the title of The Best Crisp, it must be noted that Tayto and cheese and onion crisps go back a long way; the company’s founder is credited with inventing them.

“Tayto Cheese & Onion was first developed in 1954 by Joe ‘Spud’ Murphy,” Tayto’s senior brand manager Carol McCaughy tells me. She explains that back in the 1950s, most crisps were imported to Ireland from the UK.

They were unflavoured but included a small blue bag of salt in each bag to enhance the flavour of the crisps. Murphy spotted a niche in the market and Tayto were the first crisp company ever to add seasoning directly to crisps.


Today in their production hub, Tayto’s cheese and onion flavour is added to the crisps in powder form, after frying, when the crisps are still warm. This powder seasoning is sprinkled evenly on the crisps, applied through a small flavour drum where the crisps are “gently tumbled” for a few seconds before moving down the production line to packing.


Though Tayto are pretty perfect just the way they are, you could open up a world of possibility for yourself by getting notions about your crisps, which are gloriously easy to make at home.

Just finely slice some potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, the choice is yours) and carefully deep-fry them in a heavy-based saucepan filled with hot vegetable oil – I said it was easy, not healthy. Remove them with a slotted spoon and let them cool on some kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.

Sprinkle with salt and other flavours while still warm. You can go to town on these bad boys by adding your favourite spice mix such as za’atar or ras el hanout, or a sprinkling of curry powder, or some fresh rosemary leaves and a sprinkling of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Pure notions.