REVIEW: Nashville Hot Cheetos

Nashville Hot Cheetos Bag

What are Nashville Hot Cheetos?

According to the back of the bag, “A new way to get a kick of heat from your favorite Nashville Hot seasonings with the crunch you love from Cheetos.” This is not the first Nashville Hot seasoned snack from Frito-Lay, who pumped out potato chips with the flavor last year.

How are they?

Nashville Hot Cheetos Closeup

They smell like, um, let’s just say you wouldn’t recognize them as Nashville Hot-seasoned snacks by their smell. When I give them a quick sniff, they smell like unseasoned corn puffs. Only when I put my nose right up to them and take a long yoga-like nasal inhale do I get a whiff of something and a little itchy nose. But, again, not something that would be recognized as a regional spicy fried chicken dish.

Nashville Hot Cheetos Stick

They have a noticeable flavor that could be considered fried chicken-like, but the “authentic blend of spices” that supposedly creates the Nashville Hot flavor is bland. Initially, I thought my taste buds were broken, so I ate other things to ensure they weren’t. They were working. There’s a “kick of heat,” and it registers just below Flamin’ Hot on the Scoville, I mean, Fritoville scale. But, overall, this basically has just chicken flavor and a bit of spiciness.

Anything else you need to know?

This is currently a Circle K and Dollar General exclusive.

Conclusion:

Nashville Hot Cheetos’ seasoning isn’t that flavorful. It’s not something I must lick off my fingers or knees. And that makes for a disappointing and unsatisfying snack.

Thanks to TIB reader and regular Spotted contributor, Robbie, for sending me this bag.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 8 1/2 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 21 pieces/28 g) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Flavor Swap Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Wavy Funyuns Potato Chips

Lay s Flavor Swap Bags

Looks like Frito-Lay is taking a cue from the entertainment industry and rebooting some of its classics.

Now before you start whining about your “ruined childhoods” or your disdain about swapping Chester Cheetah from corn to potato, just take a step back and admit that you’re intrigued. You know you are. You can’t tell me the entire idea of Frito-Lay Flavor Swaps isn’t exciting. I won’t believe you.

In my opinion, this is the most exciting thing it’s done in years. I was way more pumped to try these than the usual “Do Us a Flavor” releases. I mean, I already know I love the flavors. I’ve been eating them my entire life. My only question is, will said flavors translate in a potato chip form?

I figured the best way to attack the review was to tackle each flavor one at a time, then obviously compare them to the iconic snacks that inspired them.

Cheetos

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Bags

First off, I’m shocked these weren’t kettle chips. Usually, when Frito-Lay does one of its gimmicky multi-chip rollouts, each style of chip is represented. I’d imagine most people think of the Crunchy Cheetos when they hear the name, so a crunchier chip would have made sense.

Whatever, I’m more of a puff guy anyway, so I’m fine with the decision to just make these Cheetos-flavored normal(?) chips. #PuffGang sound off in the comments!

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Swap

Initially, these just had a generic cheese flavor. If you told me they were some kind of fancy “sharp” cheddar without showing me the bag, I wouldn’t have ever guessed “Cheetos.”

Once I tried them side by side with the actual Cheetos, I got it. I had to jog my flavor memory, but they definitely taste like Cheetos.

So yeah, they deliver. These chips taste like Cheetos dust, but they’re a little weaker. Of course, therein lies the problem – they taste like Cheetos dust, not necessarily Cheetos. More on that topic when I review the next flavor.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cheetos Bowl

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2.63 oz bag
Purchased at: Wawa
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 17 Chips) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Cool Ranch

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Bags

Cool Ranch Doritos might be one of the ten greatest flavors to ever grace the Earth. How could they possibly mess this up?

Well, as it turns out when Cool Ranch dust isn’t on a triangular tortilla chip, it just kinda tastes like a remixed sour cream and onion. Actually, I’d say it’s more like 1/4 ranch and 3/4 sour cream and onion.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Swap

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Specks

I think you could be fooled into thinking that’s what they are. The chips do have that classic Cool Ranch speckle to them, but it’s not nearly as caked-on as the Doritos you’re used to. It’s kind of a bummer.

I mean, once you know what they are, you’re definitely gonna taste the Cool Ranch, but these are more like a Diet Cool Ranch if that makes sense. These suffer from the same thing as the Cheetos chips – thin potato chips are not an ideal delivery system for these flavors.

To be fair, I’m accustomed to the norm, so that might be clouding my scoring. That being said, I just think this flavor needs the crisp of a tortilla chip to really shine.

Cheetos and Doritos are as much about texture as they are about flavor. Sure, I knew what I was getting into, but when you take away that key corn-based component from both of them, the flavors really don’t pop as much.

Lay s Flavor Swap Cool Ranch Doritos Bowl

But look… it’s still Cool Ranch. Even if they lean sour cream, they’re still delicious. They’re just nowhere near the 10 out 10 Cool Ranch Doritos they’re mimicking.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7.25 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 17 Chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

Funyuns

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Bags

Now we’re talking!

For everything I just said about the texture of Cheetos and Doritos, Funyuns are the opposite for me. I love the flavor of Funyuns, but I absolutely hate the texture.

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Swap

For all the crap Cap’n Crunch gets for shredding your palate, Funyuns should get double. They always taste stale and salty, so my mouth feels like the Sahara after chomping about seven rings.

These Funyuns-flavored chips are easily the best of the three, even though they probably have the most diminishing returns.

Whereas the Cheetos flavor bloomed as I went on, the onion flavor faded as I ate them, but Funyuns is the most lowkey flavor of the three, so it didn’t bother me. I ate the most of these in one sitting, and the first few chips were incredible.

Lay s Flavor Swap Funyuns Bowl

The choice to make these wavy was also brilliant. Even though I don’t like the rings’ texture, I still appreciated a bit more crunch than the usual thin chips.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 15 Chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

So, I have to say Funyuns was the overall victor here. Can’t say I expected that. Maybe if Cool Ranch and Cheetos were wavy or kettle chips, they would have won out, but I guess we’ll never know.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all good, and I love the Flavor Swap concept, but two of the three suffer from the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage.

One thing that really excites me about this release is that we might be one step closer to finally getting Frito-Lay-flavored dusts in the spice aisle. I’ve been calling for that since I was a kid. If you can sprinkle a potato chip with Cool Ranch, I should be able to sprinkle a piece of chicken with it. Let me put Cheetos dust on my burgers! Is that too much to ask?!

Maybe.

In the meantime, check these out. You know you’re probably gonna anyway. Cheetos and Doritos can’t be beat, but apparently, Funyuns can.

If these do well, we might even get some more swaps in the future. Please, keep ruining my childhood.

REVIEW: Mexican Street Corn Cheetos

Mexican Street Corn Cheetos Bag

Mexican Street Corn, often referred to by its proper street name, elote, which roughly means “corn cob” in Spanish, is grilled corn covered in mayonnaise or sour cream, topped with chili powder, Cotija cheese, and lime.

Growing up in California’s Bay Area, I came across this savory delight every week, oftentimes from street vendors also peddling Chicharones de Harina, fried orange wheel chips soaked in lemon juice and Valentina hot sauce, and on a lucky day, mango adorned with a generous sprinkling of Tajín. Needless to say, these are good eats.

I’ve also come across a more modern trend where the traditional Cotija cheese that cakes the outside of the grilled corn is replaced with crunched up Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which brings me to the natural progression and potential dream creation of Mexican Street Corn Cheetos.

The bag boldly states “TANGY – SPICY – CHEESY” on both the front and back, so before digging in, even though I’ve had actual elote, I know exactly what I’m expecting. The aroma from the slightly slime-colored but eye-catching green bag nails those three elements. I get a citrusy tang flirting with spice and a general fried smell wafting up from the uniquely yellow-tinted crunchy Cheetos.

Mexican Street Corn Cheetos Pour

The first thing I notice in the flavor is the cheese, but it’s not the typical cheddar-meets-nacho kind of artificial cheese that defines Cheetle seasoning. It’s sharper with a touch of that umami quality you get from parmesan with its earthiness and slight funk. Not only is it cheesy, but it’s also creamy, with the distinct tang of sour cream that really stands out with a hint of buttery richness as well. Cotija cheese is really similar to parmesan when dried and aged, and I’m impressed with the depth and uniqueness of this cheesy flavor that is truly as luscious as something that’s crunchy can be.

Mexican Street Corn Cheetos Closeup

The cheesiness is followed quickly by the taste of lime and rounded out by spice, but it’s far from the type of spicy usually associated with the brand. It’s a much more of an ancho chili powder taste than heat, and the flavor does a pretty good job of emulating the balance of an elote experience, which isn’t particularly hot. There are also notes of garlic and onion floating in the background.

Since the first ingredient in Cheetos is enriched corn meal, it goes without saying that the corn-flavored chips have an inherent corniness to them that permeates every bite. The only thing absent from the profile of an actual elote stick is the sweetness of fresh corn, which Trader Joe’s added to its sensational Elote Organic Corn Chip Dippers (my favorite chip of all time). But I don’t really mind that missing element here. The cheesiness’s depth and tang are impressive, and they make these Cheetos unlike any that I’ve had before.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3.25 oz bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 pieces – 28 grams) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix

Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix Bag

What is Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix?

If you have tiny panic attacks trying to decide which popped or fried processed corn snack you want to buy at the grocery store, Frito-Lay has swooped in and made things worse with another option — Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix. As a follow-up to 2020’s Cheetos Popcorn, the popped corn has a new corny best friend that goes by the name of Crunchy Cheetos.

How is it?

I won’t lie, when I first saw the announcement of this product, I thought it was kind of dumb, but this cheesy mix SMACKS. I’m a bigger lover of popcorn than I am Cheetos, and I don’t buy regular Crunchy Cheetos very often, but this serves as a great reminder of how satisfying the classics are. The bag is loaded with cheesy seasoning (cheetle) and is as beautifully luminously orange as ever.

Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix Closeup

In general, Cheetos are a solid snack but can be kind of heavy and greasy when eaten in large quantities, no matter the flavor. The popcorn acts as a perfect companion to the denser, greasy Cheetos. It allows for a full-on salty and creamy snack spiral without the heftiness.

It’s a fun textural juxtaposition to have two totally different types of corn with the same seasoning. They taste and feel pretty different but maintain the intense glowing cheesy symphony that builds as I crunch and crunch and crunch.

Anything else you need to know?

I would love to see a bag with Cheetos’ classic cheesy and spicy flavors combined. Perhaps incorporating Cheetos popcorn with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for an addictive back and forth.

Conclusion:

This simple little snack surprised me, and if you like the salty cheddar explosion from Chester, there’s no way you won’t enjoy going for a cheesy dive into Crunch Pop Mix.

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 2.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup/28 grams) 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Roll

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Tray

What is the Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Roll?

A unique and insanely creative sushi experience where Eastern cuisine meets Western snacking in the form of a Cheetos Flamin’ Hot sushi roll. The red-hot roll features spicy krab, crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, a drizzle of hot mayo along with avocado, cream cheese, and cucumber.

How is it?

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Tray Closeup

Just like those Cheetos Rorschach tests where you try to come up with what your cheese puff looks like (Is that a beluga whale or Jesus Christ?) I’m having some trouble with this one. There are certainly some moments of divine intervention. The red color is spot-on and perfectly reminiscent of the spicy snack.

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Back

It has some great heat and the cooling trifecta of avocado, cream cheese, and cucumber was a genius idea. They are the perfect antidote to the spice that builds, especially from the hot mayo. Although it never gets as hot as the actual snack. The cucumber also offers a satisfying crunch, while the cream cheese has the most significant impact on flavor, really coming through amongst all the components with the krab and avocado occasionally showing up to the party in your mouth.

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Closeup

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Rice

However, there are also some shortcomings considering the crazy concept. For this dangerously cheesy mashup, I couldn’t detect any cheese. The mashed-up Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and cheetle (the official name of the Cheetos dust!) are visibly present as they provide the fantastic bright red hue. Because of that, you would expect they would shine, but as far as any flavor or crunch goes, they are mostly just rendered inert by unfortunately dissolving into the moist sushi rice or mayo. It’s like a disappointing prank from the sly Chester Cheetah.

Anything else you need to know?

Hissho Sushi Cheetos Flamin Hot Roll Sign

There is nothing bootleg here! This is an official collaboration between Frito-Lay and Hissho Sushi, and they are putting some serious money/resources behind it. Look at the sign that greeted me on my hunt for this. This is not at the sushi counter. This is at the front entrance to the entire grocery store!

Conclusion:

This is an absolutely delicious spicy sushi roll with good heat, a gorgeous hue, and a multi-layered and refreshing cool crunch. I gobbled it up pretty quickly, actually. However, the spicy mayo and cream cheese overpower the star ingredient. I wish there was a hint of cheesiness and a heavier-handed approach to how the snack is showcased.

Purchased Price: $5.55
Size: 8.1 oz
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 roll) 510 calories, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1160 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 4 gram of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein.