REVIEW: Cheetos Crunchy Buffalo

Puffy or crunchy?

Blue cheese or Ranch?

These questions have plagued humankind for… I don’t know how long, actually. I could probably research that, but I’m not here to do research. I’m here to review Cheetos Crunchy Buffalo.

Yup, we’ve got Buffalo-flavored Cheetos now – a massive win for the permanent orange-stained finger community.

At the risk of being shunned from society, I have a confession to make. I don’t worship Buffalo wings like seemingly every other dude on Earth. I like ’em. They’re fun every now and then, but I don’t inhale trays like you, Tim. I know you’re reading this, Tim.

The reason these appealed to me was not so much the Buffalo flavor but the fact they mixed said flavor with the standard Cheetos-style cheese. Sure, Buffalo and cheese isn’t exactly a novel duo, but Buffalo and that distinct Cheetos taste seemed like an interesting pairing.

My suspicions were spot on because these strike a nice balance between Buffalo sauce (do I need to capitalize Buffalo every time?) and a standard Cheeto.

The cheese acts as a chill pill for the Buffalo flavor, which I find to be a sauce that can easily go off the rails. I’ve tried Buffalo sauces that are so “Buffaloey” that they almost have an off-putting sour finish. You don’t get that here. They’re really good.

I might actually like these more than regular crunchy Cheetos.

I certainly like them more than Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which I’m on record calling one of the most overrated snacks on Earth. These have a heat to them that probably makes them more similar to the Flamin’ Hot line than the original. On a Buffalo wing sauce scale of “Mild to ‘You’ll Hallucinate Lucifer,’” these check in at around “Comfortably Hot.” I’d put the heat level a tick below Flamin’ Hot.

Since you’re wondering, yes, I dipped them in the superior chicken wing sauce, Ranch. It worked. I don’t think I’ve ever dipped Cheetos in anything before, but adding that Ranch cooling factor made me hope for a Buffalo ranch version someday.

I’m pretty impressed. These are Cheetos with a little twist, and dare I say the twist makes them better overall. They were some of the freshest Cheetos I’ve ever had and even lingered with a pleasant spiced corn aftertaste. I don’t know why I dug that, but it was a great capper.

My one complaint was not giving Chester a new, edgy Buffalo buddy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a buffalo in Oakleys before. They coulda named him “Butchie,” or “Bloo Cheez,” or “Dude, stop rambling and finish the review already.” I don’t know. Just something to keep in mind for the next bag.

Pick these up for sure. Hopefully, they’re successful, and Frito Lay runs the gamut on Cheetos and sauce pairings. BBQ, Ranch, Sriracha, whatever. Buffalo Cheetos made me think a lot of them would work.

Purchased Price: $4.38
Size: 8.5 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 Pieces) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

Spicy cinnamon is a flavor profile that’s never really taken off.

Unless we’re talking pre-Great Depression era JawBreakers, Hot Tamales, Big Red gum, or a shot of the worst whiskey on the shelf, I can’t even think of anything else with that kinda burn that’s made it to the mass market.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Back in high school, I developed a little bit of an addiction to cinnamon-flavored toothpicks. I used to chew on those Fire-pix so much that the corner of my lips started to look like bootleg Joker makeup.

The reason I bring those toothpicks up is because I needed one after eating a few handfuls of new Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn, a popcorn that almost turned me into a bootleg Joker because they left me wanting to watch the world burn!

Ok, that’s extreme, but this popcorn is Flamin’ Hot Garbage.

I’ll preface the review by saying I’m not the biggest fan of the “Flamin’ Hot” line from Frito Lay. I think the heat tends to alter the iconic flavors. With that said, I do like a little heat, I love cinnamon, and I dig Cheetos Sweetos. How could these possibly be a miss?

Before even getting into the flavor, this is just trash-tier popcorn. It tastes stale and has more rogue kernels than a treasonous misspelled army.

The “flavor” is the ultimate killer though.

If I reviewed these on the instant flavor burst of the very first bite… this would still be an extremely negative review.

These literally just taste like “hot.” That’s the flavor, “hot.” When you put a piece in your mouth, it’s like an air of cinnamon for half a second, and then it tastes like nothing but “hot.”

I expected these to taste like spicy Cheetos Sweetos with the sweetness still coming through. For something labeled “cinnamon sugar,” there is a blip of sweetness. Half a blip. A bl–. They barely taste like cinnamon, let alone sugar. Why couldn’t these be both sweet and hot? Have taste buds not evolved to experience both of those sensations at once?

It’s a shame because the level of heat is kinda perfect. I think it’s slightly less than the usual Flamin’ Hot stuff. I would have no problem eating a decent portion of these if they actually tasted good and weren’t popcorn rejected from the three-flavor Christmas tins. I enjoyed the after-burn feeling in my mouth more than the popcorn itself.

The pieces being bright red like regular Cheetos made me mad. The bewildering quote on the bag, “Deck the sweets with pops of heat,” made me madder. I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “hate” in a review, but I think I hate these. I’m flamin’ hot!

Ok, ok, I’ll calm down. “Why so serious,” and whatnot. I just really wanted these to be something new and exciting.

Like my terrible book, “The Hangman’s Folly,” it was a novel idea with a totally botched execution. I’ll bump it up one for the idea, but this attempt at spicy cinnamon crashed and burned.

Purchased Price: $4.38
Size: 6.5 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 2 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/4 Cups) 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 4 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Pretzels

Chester the Cheetah is on a quest for snacking domination.

With his latest conquest, he sprinkled cheetle dust onto pretzels to create the new Cheetos Pretzels!

If you’re not familiar with cheetle, you definitely know of it. There’s just a name now for the cheese powder left on your fingertips after eating Chester’s creations. Cheetle. If you didn’t know, now you know.

While he seems too cool to have an evil genius muahaha laugh, it was still what I envisioned as I tried the two new offerings: Cheddar and Flamin’ Hot Pretzels. As a Flamin’ Hot fanatic, I was stoked to see a spicy version. Although, it wasn’t that surprising seeing that Flamin’ Hot is everywhere these days!

What was surprising, however, was the shape. It had been a minute since I’d consumed a classic, thick pretzel like this. Usually, I nosh on bites like Synder’s, thin Pretzel Crisps, or twists from Dot’s, but Chester went classic.

This shape probably made the most sense to retain as much seasoning as possible, and it definitely did a good job of that. Even though it was only supposed to be seasoned on one side, there was quite a bit of transfer, so everything was nicely distributed for maximum flavor with both offerings.

Unfortunately, though, the cheddar flavor tasted muted compared to regular Cheetos. My layman’s working hypothesis focuses on the base. Pretzel uses wheat, whereas regular Cheetos are on a corn base, so the wheat is somehow muting the cheddar. It also smelled kind of weird and cardboard-y, which was not an appetizing smell.

The Flamin’ Hot flavor, on the other hand, was fire! It smelled exactly like all other Flamin’ Hot flavors and tasted as expected. The pretzel surprisingly didn’t tame the heat, which was a win.

The downside to both flavors? The thick pretzel combined with cheetle made me more thirsty than usual. The gummy pretzel-ness also globbed around my molars in true pretzel fashion. By the way, I found them next to the other molar globbers in the snacking section rather than next to the other Cheetos in the chip section.

The opportunities here are limitless with this new launch. I would 100% try a soft Auntie Anne’s pretzel dusted in Flamin’ Hot.

Are any snacks safe from Chester? Methinks not.

Purchased Price: $4.38 each
Size: 10 oz bags
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Flamin’ Hot), 6 out of 10 (Cheddar)
Purchased at: Walmart
Nutrition Facts: (28g – about 10 pretzels) Flamin’ Hot – 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Cheddar – 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs

I’ve never been much of one for eating something hot just for the sake of saying I did it. I don’t need a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper to make me feel macho. But I like spicy things. I usually get my Thai food “Thai hot.” I over-wasabi when I eat sushi. A little burn – when correctly applied – makes me feel alive.

While I’ve never had an ACTUAL ghost pepper, the flavor seems to have popped up everywhere over the past year plus. Burger King did an orange-bunned ghost pepper Whopper last October. Arby’s had the Diablo Dare last year, too. And within the past few months, Wendy’s has gotten in on the act with a ghost pepper sandwich and fries.

I’ve had none of these. It’s not because I’m not interested, don’t get me wrong. It’s more like if I’m not eating fast food to review for this site, I’m usually only interested in getting something tried and true. Something I know I’ll enjoy. Like everything else, fast food has gotten too expensive; my metabolism ain’t what it used to be.

The nice thing about the new Flamin’ Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Cheetos Puffs, however, is that it’s pretty low risk — even if they’re terrible, I’m only out a single Abe Lincoln. And I don’t mind tossing a bag of chips.

(Okay, that’s a lie. I’ll hang on to it for years, slowly nibbling away and also offering them up to unsuspecting guests with a friendly, “Hey, you like to consume food. Would you like a handful of these? How about the whole bag?” Eventually, they’ll grow stale and inedible, at which point I will still have a few pieces at a time for the next three months before I finally pull the trigger on a full expulsion.)

From an appearance standpoint, you know exactly what you’re getting into with these. In addition to being shaped like peppers, they are an aggressively violent shade of red. A slight smoky vinegar aroma wafts up when you open the bag. That artificial smoke flavor is prevalent in the first second of the bite – I was surprised by that and appreciated the layered flavoring – and then the heat immediately sets your tongue on fire. There was no “slow build” here, just immediate and unapologetic mouth-arson.

If you don’t like hot, well… come on. Did you really think you might enjoy these? If you’re someone who doesn’t like chili unless it makes you weep and you end each night with half a pack of Tums, you may be unimpressed. These didn’t make me cry. They were tolerable, but even still, the hottest Cheeto (or chip or cracker) I’ve ever eaten.

Additionally, I enjoyed the fact that these weren’t just novelty-hot. There were nuanced layers of flavor and an appreciable complexity you don’t find in many other “hot” snacks. But still, a little goes a long way, so let’s not be surprised if this bag sees the next presidential election. As long as the other people in my house keep remembering to close the bag up tight, anyway.

Purchased Price: $4.30
Size: 7 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams) 160 calories, 12 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Tangy Chili Fusion

I’m not sure if this is true in every region or state, but in the Bay Area of California, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos reign supreme. I would imagine it’s the same in at least Los Angeles, San Diego, and most of Texas, where the youth get adapted to heat seeking at an early age. Whether eaten straight, topped with fresh lime juice, or dunked into cream cheese, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have felt like a dominant force since they burst onto the snack scene in 1992.

Until relatively recently, though, Frito-Lay has kept it pretty modest with the varieties — Flamin’ Hot, Xxtra Flamin’ Hot, Puffs, and Limon being the only changes that come to mind until 2017’s Chipotle Ranch twist — one of my personal favorites. In recent years the Flamin’ Hot floodgates have opened and the seasoning has popped up on several other chip styles and flavor remixes, including the latest member of Chester Cheeto’s family, Flamin’ Hot Tangy Chili Fusion.

When I first saw the name and color of the bag of this new Cheetos, I envisioned a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos colliding with a purple bagged Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, and that’s kind of what these are like, but they’re absolutely in a spicy lane of their own, too.

The color is the same menacingly deep red that instantly stains your fingers, with a pungent, spicy, and smoky aroma that wafts from the bag. The most notable flavor that immediately jumps out is the smokiness, which has a sharp and intense bite like chipotle chili peppers. The smokiness quickly evolves into a more familiar Flamin’ Hot spice with just a touch of sweetness and finishes with a legit tangy acidic punch akin to vinegar and lemon juice. Crunching away at these slightly greasy airy delights is no problem at all, with the heat building as you eat, which encourages the salty snacking spiral like no other.

I was expecting a more pronounced sweetness, probably because of my Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos association, but it never really comes, aside from a bit of herbaceous bell peppery flavor. In fact, when tasting these side by side with a bag of Flamin’ Hot Limon, the Tangy Chili Fusion is less sweet and more sharply tangy than the Limon, which has a citrusy sweetness that’s even more pronounced next to the smoky charred tang and bold intensity of the Fusion.

It will be interesting to see how long these stick around because they’re very good, but I’m not sure many would choose them over the original Flamin’ Hot, and I certainly wouldn’t take them over my favorite all-time Cheetos Mexican Street Corn. Tangy Chili Fusion is a fun and surprisingly aggressive twist on a modern classic from the king of spicy, salty snacks.

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 8.5 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 pieces, 28g) 150 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, less than 1 grams of total sugars, and 1 gram of protein.