I’m as angry red as the Flamin’ Hot version of Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese (there are also Bold & Cheesy and Cheesy Jalapeno varieties).
For years, I’ve been longing for Cheetos-flavored seasoning to be bottled so that we all can sprinkle some Cheetle on whatever our taste buds desire. But here we are with a Cheetos-flavored powdery substance, but it’s not bottled. Instead, I have to mix it with cooked noodles and water to make mac ’n cheese in a cup.
WHY CAN’T WE HAVE NICE THINGS, LIKE BOTTLED CHEETOS SEASONING!
(Oh, Cheetle is the official term for what we’ve all called Cheeto Dust. Since Cheetos sent me these, I thought I’d be courteous and use the correct terminology.)
Can you imagine topping pasta with Cheetos seasoning instead of grated parmesan cheese? Or maybe put it on McDonald’s French fries, scrambled eggs, potato chips, hash browns, chili, anything from Taco Bell, anything made by Chef Boyardee, a Costco hot dog, Costco pizza, Costco rotisserie chicken, the frozen cauliflower crust pizza I always pick up from Costco…
Sorry, as you can see, I’ve imagined a life with Cheetos seasoning for a long time, and I often shop at Costco.
Cheetos Mac ’N Cheese is available in these single-serve cups, but they’re also sold as box dinners that involve doing more than adding water and mixing.
The Bold & Cheesy variety is pretty much the adjective-heavy way of saying original Cheetos flavor. Does it taste like the beloved snack? It does, but it’s a bit unsatisfying to get the famous cheesiness this way. I’ll explain more after I go through all the varieties. But this one is my favorite of the three.
Cheesy Jalapeno is a Cheetos variety I’ve eaten twice, but I can’t remember the last time I had it or how it tastes. So I don’t know if this mac ’n cheese’s flavor comes close to it. It has a strong jalapeno scent and taste that’s slightly more potent than the cheese. It’s also a tad spicy, but not as much as the Flamin’ Hot one. As I ate it, I kept thinking chile con queso.
As for the Flamin’ Hot Mac ’N Cheese, it was, unfortunately, disappointing. It made me sweat a little, but I don’t know if it was the hot noodles or Flamin’ Hot seasoning that caused it. Also, it started off tasty, but about halfway through the cup, it became a bit bland, and the spiciness kind of fizzled. Also, and this might be just me, the angry red/Swedish Fish/B-movie blood color is a little off-putting.
The Bold & Cheesy and Cheesy Jalapeno varieties are decent, but with all three, it’s like I’m eating a cheesy Cup Noodles instead of mac ’n cheese. Look, I’ve had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Cups, so I kind of expected the slightly watery texture of the sauce. But I feel like something that’s Cheetos flavored deserves better because most variations of the snack are addictive and hard to put down. I can’t say the same about these.
They could be improved, though. Most of the appeal for Cheetos is its cheesiness, but there’s also the crunch factor, which these lack. Yes, we could add some of the crunchy snack ourselves, but it would be easier for Frito-Lay to include some crushed Cheetos that we could use like bread crumbs to top the mac ‘n cheese. I’m pretty sure the folks there have no problem getting access to tons of the stuff.
As I mentioned earlier, Cheetos Mac ’N Cheese is also available in boxes that call for butter and milk to prepare them, which seems like you’ll get a better end result. So I’d recommend purchasing those instead of these single-serve cups.
DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of the product. (Thanks, Cheetos!) Doing so did not influence my review.
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 2.32 oz cup (Bold & Cheesy), 2.25 oz cup (Cheesy Jalapeno), 2.11 oz cup (Flamin’ Hot)
Purchased at: Received from Cheetos
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Bold & Cheesy), 6 out of 10 (Cheesy Jalapeno), 4 out of 10 (Flamin’ Hot)
Nutrition Facts: (1 package) Bold & Cheesy – 240 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 690 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Cheesy Jalapeno