I feel certain there’s a chapter in the anthologies of Snacking Americana dedicated to Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot.
This iconic seasoning, which started on the hallowed Cheeto, has now donned the surface of nearly every chip, crisp, and crunchy snack the company produces. In 2019, Forever 21 even launched a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Collection and rumors of a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos origin story movie spread like, well, wildfire.
The challenge in this frenzy of Flamin’ Hot obsession is for the snack company to launch new products that aren’t just flavored with the seasoning but offer a different eating experience from the fire truck red snacks that have already been bestowed upon us. Enter, Lay’s Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot.
Their appearance immediately lives up to expectation. They are BRIGHT RED and look to be fully coated in the Flamin’ Hot seasoning, true to the front-of-bag image. It also seems like more of the chips are completely covered in the seasoning as compared to the plain Lay’s Flamin’ Hot. Maybe that has to do with the kettle cook method and how the seasoning clings to oil? I’m not sure, but it definitely adds to their appeal.
So, do they hold up to the tried and true Flamin’ Hot fame?
Oh, hell yeah. These chips rock.
As was previously mentioned in other TIB reviews, the flat chip shape (compared to the Cheeto shape) means that you can place a full crunchy layer of fiery flavored madness over your entire tongue at once. With a Cheeto, there’s way less available surface area, and your teeth take most of the direct hit. With these chips, the flavor is intense right away, in the best way. I also think the kettle cooked texture delivers a more satisfying crunch than plain potato chips. I’m surprised this variety didn’t launch sooner.
I was particularly happy with the cheesiness that comes through, a flavor which is lacking in the Lay’s Flamin’ Hot traditional potato chip variety. After going through a few historic Flamin’ Hot launches, it looks like “cheddar cheese” moves around in the ingredient line, sometimes not present at all. My recommendation to Frito-Lay would be to keep it in any future products because it adds a critical flavor element.
The cheesiness balances the heat beautifully and, when combined with the sturdy crunch of a kettle cooked chip, makes this one of the best all-around chips I’ve had in a long time. It was hard not to eat the entire bag in one sitting. And of course, your fingers will be left with the signature Flamin’ Hot red Cheetle.
I will say, the one ever so slightly negative thing I have to say about these is that five minutes after eating about two servings worth, my tongue went numb to any other flavors for roughly half an hour. I’m no stranger to spicy things, so this surprised me a little, but didn’t bother me much at all. These chips are worth it.
Upholding their Flamin’ Hot family legacy, these kettle cooked chips receive my most heartfelt 10/10 rating and earnest recommendation for your snacking needs in 2020.
Purchased Price: $3.18
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 18 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.