The Impulsive Buy

REVIEW: Burger King Flamin’ Hot Mac N’ Cheetos

It’s an almost universally acknowledged fact that fast food marketers are about four years behind the rest of civilization. How else can you explain the packaging on Burger King’s new Flamin’ Hot Mac N’ Cheetos, which describes the item as “lit?” Jeez, you might as well throw in a “#BAE,” a “these are CRUNK” and maybe a couple of “shizzles,” for good measure.

Regardless of the groan-inspiring “no, we’re hip and with it, for sure, dawg” artwork, I can assure you the recently revamped Mac N’ Cheetos are much better than the paper container they come in. For those of you who have never tried the regular BK Mac N’ Cheetos, I’d liken them to humongous, deep fried cheese sticks – which, as the name suggests, comes with a hearty smattering of Cheetos-flavored dust on the batter. Well, this variation ups the ante with a thick coating of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos spices, and it tastes pretty much identical to the puffed cornmeal snacks we all know and love.

The exterior shell of these Mac N’ Cheetos is pretty dry, and the overall chewiness varies from piece to piece. Some pieces are fairly crunchy, while others are so hard it’ll snap the prongs off your plastic fork (which is what actually happened when I gave the product a taste test.) In terms of spiciness, I’d give it a respectable four or five out of ten, so if you don’t have a high tolerance for the hot stuff, you should still be able to enjoy them without breaking out the Tums or Kleenex.

On the inside, the macaroni noodles are squishy but otherwise unremarkable. I’m almost 99.8 percent certain that’s Velveeta cheese spread on the inside, and that flavor is extremely powerful. So if you’re not a fan of gooey, buttery processed cheese, there’s your warning.

Overall, the snacks are tasty and surprisingly filling, with a spiciness that’s a tad more potent than you’d probably expect. Alas, they’re not without their demerits. First off, these things are EXTREMELY dry, with a sodium count the equivalent of swallowing half a teaspoon of table salt. And be prepared to dust red flakes off everything, because that Cheetos detritus flies like confetti every time you take a bite.

The big problem is that this five-count product desperately, direly needs a dipping sauce to accompany it. None of the usual Burger King sauces complement it all that well, and if you’re going to sell something containing half a day’s recommended daily allowance of salt, you at least owe us some on the house dressing to lubricate that stuff down our esophagi.

Which raises the question – what are you supposed to dip Cheetos in? Not that I’m trying to influence BK or anything, but Frito-Lay does already have a soy sauce-flavored Cheetos permutation in Japan.

(Nutrition Facts – 390 calories, 22 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 1170 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 5 pieces
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: The cheesy interior is really hearty and flavorful. The Cheetos dust is respectably spicy. They’re basically humongous fried macaroni sticks, and I won’t ever complain about that.
Cons: These things will dry your throat out fast. Not having a decent dipping sauce option afforded to you. Wondering why the packaging is all but devoid of Chester Cheetah iconography.