REVIEW: Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls (2018)

Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls

You know when something tastes better in your memory than it actually does? That’s Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls for me.

I distinctively remember Mr. Peanut and the blue cylindrical can sitting on the coffee table, which was the designated snack table, in our family’s living room. So, was I excited to see Planters bring it back for a limited time? Heck yeah! But, Chester Cheetah has ruled the curl and poof category uncontested for over a decade now and for good reason.

Looking at the can now, I wonder why I didn’t ever question a peanut mascot on a corn-based snack. Anyways, when I opened them with said odd graphic, I was taken aback by the fluorescent orange because I forgot how traffic cone-colored they were. I know that’s part of the charm because they’re from a time when we had purple-colored ketchup and neon-colored soda. But in today’s push for less artificial flavors or colors, it’s a bit jarring. It didn’t help that they were noticeably more neon than Cheetos. But, props to Planters for keeping these babies true to form.

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Because I wanted to save the best for last, I started with the Cheez Curls. They were noticeably more flavorful and saltier than Cheetos. The fluorescent-ness translated to better cheez coverage. But, I enjoyed Cheetos’ crunchier texture and that the last flavor was more corn-forward.

I was curious as to why the corn was more pronounced, so I looked into the ingredient list. The first ingredient is degerminated yellow corn meal, but for Cheetos it’s enriched corn meal. I’m not a food scientist so don’t quiz me, but Google says that the degerminating process strips some pieces off of the corn to make it shelf stable. The enriching process adds back some the lost vitamins and nutrients from the degermination. Maybe in this process, Chester also adds back some corn flavor. I wouldn’t put it past that Cheetah!

Another theory I have is that the Curls (and Balls) contain semisoft cheese whereas Cheetos just uses a cheese seasoning. Again, no food magician here but I think of how cheese-forward a semisoft curd is versus a dried cheese seasoning. In my mind, this translates as the corn really just being a base vehicle for the cheese, which is why it’s not as corn flavored as the Cheetos.

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As for the Cheez Balls, it’s clearly the same cheez so points for consistency. However, there was a subtle stale oil smell wafting from the can that I didn’t get with the other. Besides that, unlike the Curls, there were less texture and flavor differences with Cheetos Puffs. Interestingly enough, the Balls have both semisoft cheese and dried cheese seasoning.

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All in all, pick up a can of Cheez Curls and Balls for nostalgia’s sake because it’s only around for a limited time. And I don’t foresee Planters extending that because they simply can’t stand up to Cheetos’ dominance and better taste. Sorry!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – Cheez Curls – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein. Cheez Balls – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.98 each
Size: 4 oz. containers
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cheez Curls)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cheez Balls
Pros: Fluorescent orange glory and retro packaging. The Curls and Balls use semisoft cheese instead of just dried cheese seasoning which makes me think that it’s a bit more of a premium product than Cheetos! Great cheez coverage!
Cons: They’re just not as good as Cheetos, IMHO. Cheez Balls have a bit of weird stale oil smell.

20 thoughts to “REVIEW: Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls (2018)”

  1. This packaging brings back memoriers. While they’re at it… Planters, bring back P.B. Crisps!

  2. I have not tried these yet but back in the day, these were so MUCH better than Cheetos. Every review I have read has said the same thing;, the taste is no where near the same. Maybe that is simply because we have aged but, I don’t know. By the way, Wal-Mart brand of Cheetos are better than Cheetos IMO.

      1. Cindy is 1000% correct. Store had 3 cans for $5. Opened one, tasted horrible, trashed all 3 cans

  3. I LOVED the cheese balls as a kid, but after eating a couple handfuls, they would start to rip up the top of your mouth. Similar to Cap’n Crunch. And they would also, start to clump up in your molars, so you ended up chewing like a cow with their cud.

  4. My mom was so excited when she saw the curls while we were out grocery shopping that she was SCREAMIMG. She bought 4 containers and we couldn’t wait to indulge…Only to be disgusted. My mom used to hoard these in her “secret bathroom cupboard junk food pms stash” and my siblings and I would sneak in to eat them. Lol. They were amazing, but I literally couldn’t eat more that one curl because they were so bad. Greasy. Tasted stale. Bleehhh. Just nasty. My mom pawned them all of on my nephews and niece since they eat anything.

  5. Man. I so wanted to get of these. especially the Balls. But, alas, the closest Wal-Mart is 35 miles away. And, I’m not gonna travel all that distance (by train, as I don’t drive) for them to be sold out. I truly HATE when products are released as store exclusives.

  6. They’re back!!! But where? 🙁 C’mon Planters, i dont want to pay a arm and leg for sime of these.

  7. How limited was this release? Like one and done? I never got to see them ANYWHERE, NONE of the Walmarts near me sold them, and it said on the websites that they’d be released more widely after July… and nope. What a rip, I’m so disappointed in Planters for getting my hopes up like that.

  8. Not the same as the originals. My bet is that they cut out some trans fats or other ingredients that have fallen out of favor. If I’m scarfing some cheese curlz, i’m not looking for “healthy.” They need to try again with the original recipe.

  9. The cheese balls are horrible. It was my favorite snack. Couldn’t. wait to
    some cans. Luckily, I only bought one. They are just like all the other
    cheese balls, horrible. Where’s the original?

  10. I was very disappointed with dissatisfaction they changed the cheese and flavor it didn’t even smell good when I went to open the can and smelled stale I tried a couple and ended up spitting them out so I won’t be buy this product again.

  11. First of all I just wanted to say that the ones they re-released are not as good as the original. The old Planters Cheez balls had more a smooth almost creamy cheesy taste, unlike the harsh chemical taste of most brands of cheese balls. They were not loaded with dust either like these are. They were also bigger and had a more uniform shape. The old cheez balls were just a cleaner more refined, all around better snack than the ones they brought back.

    I have to wonder if this was not a quality control issue, because I have had cans that are darn close to being as good as the original and ones that were almost inedible. For instance balls from different batches being drastically different in size. Same with the amount of cheese powder and even how much is in a can. Some of them taste like old grease while others are ok. Whatever it is, it was a very poor showing by Planters. I would not expect this level of deviation from a company like Planters. This is what I would expect and often find in off brand cheese balls

  12. Saw them at the grocery store today and I, like all the rest of you, recalled how great they were. Key word in that sentence is WERE. I quickly opened the 2.75 oz container and it wasn’t even 75% full. They have a weird color and smell. I paid $2.79 for them. Planters should just stick to what they are good at.

  13. The flavor was completely off for me. I remember an almost buttery flavor to the cheez powder and a melt in the mouth quality. I figured my memory must be tainted, or I now have a more mature and sophisticated palette. From the first one I was disappointed, but I continued to eat a handful. A half hour later I had a stomach ache. I was so looking forward to these. My children will never get to experience the real Planters Cheez Balls. It’s a pity to bring them back if they can’t make them the same as they were previously.

  14. Thank you for allowing me to know that in my being a Super Taster, I was not losing my mind!

    As a child, we bought the Curls and the Balls. For years. I remember exactly what they tasted like. I’ve eaten Cheeto’s, some store brands are OK, but not the same. My SO just bought 3 cans of the Curls. Like everyone else, I was super excited!

    Holy crap. They looked, tasted, and smelled NOTHING like what we grew up with. I think the Balls and Curls were the same cheese prior, sound like they are now too, so no need to buy the Balls to compare. They taste kind of stale, dusty, they do not “melt in your mouth” like the old ones did.

    Consistency is different, not a whole lot, Planters might be using the same machines. But the TASTE was so bad, I thought they switched the Dollar Tree Curls with the Planters Curls, bought at Walmart.

    Looking for an official statement by Planters, I see none, ran into this Board. My SO is on the 3rd can, which I opened, it is only about 75% full. Remember the originals? They would be right to the top of that liner, skimming on it, leaving a cheesy residue. The Sodium and Sat. Fat are so low, that’s probably what changed, to be “healthier”.

    Well coming from someone who has been a “healthy” Vegetarian for 35 years, I’ll say they need to bring back the old flavor! These are really disgusting, and what a total let-down. They are NOT the same, anyone who is rating them fondly either never ate the originals, or only had a few of the originals, or their taste buds and sense of smell are way off because you can buy better at the DT and store brands. Thanks for letting me know my tongue hasn’t matured that much!

    1. Being a “supertaster” doesn’t mean you have eidetic taste-memory. It means you taste chemicals that 75% of humans don’t. More specifically, it means you probably have heightened sensitivity to bitter tastes, and are more likely to be seen as a picky eater because you avoid certain foods.

      The one notable change that people have been able to identify is that these are no longer cooked in peanut oil. Since I don’t really like peanuts, that was a bonus for me, and I prefer the cheese powder to Cheetle. I really don’t remember what they used to taste like, other than that they weren’t as good as Cheetos. I actually love these, though I found the white cheddar and nacho cheese varieties to be incredibly bland. And myself? I’ve never been tested as a supertaster, but my dad and I have disagreed on more than one occasion about whether or not bell peppers taste bitter (they totally do), and both of my parents have given me grief for not liking more foods.

  15. I was so excited to see Planters Cheese Balls again and so disappointed when I tried them. The original Cheese Balls were my favorite snack and had a taste unlike any other cheese snack. The new ones taste like styrofoam coated with a hideous, dry, fluorescent orange powder. They are not even close! Planters, please dig out the original recipe and try again!

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