I tried the viral TikTok air fryer pasta chip trend and it's not worth the hype

The air fryer pasta chips DO NOT pass the hype test.

Don’t trust anything on the internet — until Mashable tries it first. Welcome to the Hype Test, where we review viral trends and tell you what’s really worth millions of likes.

Viral doesn’t always mean good.

I have nothing against viral TikTok food trends — I wrote a whole article about some of them kicking ass — but I tried the viral pasta chip recipe and it left me unenthused. Oh and it left me feeling full. Really freaking full.

If you don’t know what the viral TikTok pasta chip is, well, it is what it sounds like. It first went viral with @BostonFoodGram, who boiled pasta, seasoned it with garlic powder, onion powder and parmesan, then popped it into the airfyer. Afterward, they dipped the pasta chip in marinara sauce. You can watch the original viral TikTok here.

The treat promised crunch and a novel, cutesy snack. Since the original took off, lots of other variations have cropped up as well.

I endeavored to give the recipe a whirl. I decided I should try the classic style and another of my own design. I settled on making a spicy rotini pasta chip that I could dip in ranch, since I really love hot wings.

Here were my supplies, minus a few spices I added later. (And yes I bought Emeril marinara as my dipping sauce because, sure, why not kick it up a notch, baby. Fun fact: I ran into him on the streets of New Orleans right after my best friend got married. Nice guy.)

Mashable Image

First things first, I boiled the pasta in heavily salted water because I am not a jabroni who cooks pasta in unsalted water. Here is picture evidence of that process.

I mean it's boiling pasta it's not the most exciting thing in the world.

I mean it’s boiling pasta it’s not the most exciting thing in the world.
Credit: Tim Marcin / mashable

From there, I seasoned half of my cooked pasta with more salt, a garlicky seasoning, and grated parmesan. The other half of my pasta I seasoned with salt, a spicy blend, some of the garlicky seasoning, and lots of cayenne to really imitate hot wings. I also added a bit of oil to both batches because that’s what the original recipe did.

Here’s what that looked like before mixing the seasonings in:

Left is the spicy flavor. Right is the classic.

Left is the spicy flavor. Right is the classic.
Credit: Tim Marcin / mashable

I decided to air fry the classic flavor first. I was a bit skeptical because while I love my air fryer — almost entirely for roasting veggies — I think basically using a convection oven to further cook already cooked pasta just wouldn’t be great. After about seven minutes I air fried the spicy batch. To be honest, the snacks looked good. They visually seemed as tasty, if not better, than what I’d seen on TikTok. Here’s the original flavor.

Mmmm, pasta chips.

Mmmm, pasta chips.
Credit: Tim Marcin / Mashable

Here’s the spicy flavor.

Spicy pasta chips with a side of ranch mixed with Valentina hot sauce for dipping.

Spicy pasta chips with a side of ranch mixed with Valentina hot sauce for dipping.
Credit: mashable / tim marcin

And here’s a sweet, sweet close-up pic for detail.

Looks pretty good, right?

Looks pretty good, right?
Credit: Mashable / tim marcin

The thing is, despite how good these pasta chips look, they were pretty disappointing. Yes, the chips crunched. But it wasn’t a crisp crunch like a good chip. It’s a dry crunch, which then reveals a toothsome, overcooked noodle interior.

I wouldn’t say it was bad. But I wouldn’t say it was good, either. The noodle has been cooked to hell. So while the crunch makes for a nice TikTok, you’re then left working your way through a chip that’s simply too thick. I felt vaguely like a dog with a bone. You’ll definitely want a dipping sauce if you make them.

I enjoyed the spicy ones better and I think it’s because I cooked them a bit longer, salted to the max, and, well, because I like spicy food. The longer cooking time really ramped up the crunch and the extra seasoning helped add as much flavor as possible to the noodle.

I didn’t eat all the pasta chips I made. Not even close. I made like half the bag of noodles and ate about half of that. After all…I was hungry and this was my planned lunch. And I tell you what. I felt awful like an hour later. Because it’s freaking pasta! It’s not really a snack. I had accidentally carbo-loaded like Michael Scott about to run a 5k. A chip is airy and crisp. Pasta chips made me feel like I needed a nap.

So the final verdict: I don’t see the point in making these pasta chips. I could see them being fun as like a novelty snack for a party but also…why waste your time? It’d honestly take the same amount of time to make homemade chips and salsa. (Shallow fry quartered corn tortillas, then season with salt. Blend up roasted tomato, quick-charred jalapeño, onion, cilantro, a little garlic, and season. Bam.)

If you want to make the pasta chips, knock yourself out. But I think life is too short to make meh snacks.