I feel comfortable sharing something rather controversial with you all: I can’t stand Cheetos, crunchy or puffed. (Feel free to express your outrage in the comments.)
As the tastebuds of my peers developed to handle Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, I was envious that there wasn’t a Flamin’ Hot food for me to call my own. Luckily Frito-Lay began to add the seasoning to other munchies, and I could finally join my friends in doling out some bright red high fives. The newest snack to stain my fingers is the Ruffles Flamin’ Hot Cheddar & Sour Cream Potato Chips.
The bag says the flavor is by LeBron James and it features a large photo of him and some inspirational words that tie into Ruffles’ “Own Your Ridges” campaign. I’m not sure if the flavor was LeBron’s idea or if he just supports Ruffles Flamin’ Hotting its cheddar and sour cream potato chip, but with the popularity of Flamin’ Hot snack foods in Los Angeles, a partnership with the Lakers star makes perfect sense.
In the bag, the chips smelled very similar to the regular Cheddar & Sour Cream but with an added vinegary tang. They had that same richly colored Flamin’ Hot powder that coats other chips and puffs, and it was a generous covering that made the not hot version seem under-dusted by comparison.
True to the name, these tasted like a Flamin’ Hot version of the Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles. Cheese and sour cream have long been standard accompaniments for spicy foods, and the pairing made just as much sense on these chips. The Flamin’ Hot powder felt comfortably at home with the cheddar and sour cream dust, but also switched things up a bit. Unlike the regular Cheddar & Sour Cream, which is very cheese flavor-forward, the acidic coating on the Flamin’ Hot version really brought out the sour cream, which was a welcome change for this fan of sour ‘n’ spicy foods. Additionally, Ruffles are robust chips and really hold their own when given the Flamin’ Hot treatment. I loved the substantial crunch and full potato taste of the chip underneath all that zesty seasoning.
Like other Flamin’ Hot snacks I’ve tried, the spice level disarmed me by being minimal at first but then building after a serving or two. Even then, these chips never noticeably burned my mouth or stomach, and I only realized they were getting to me once my nose started to run. Others may wish these Ruffles were more picante, but I feel like they had the right amount of heat to allow one to eat them by the handful without a night of heartburn.
On that note, it seems I almost finished the entire bag as I wrote this review. Bright red high five to whoever can tell me the best way to get Flamin’ Hot Cheetle out of a laptop keyboard.
Purchased Price: $3.49 (on sale, originally $4.79)
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Ralphs
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams/about 13 chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.