REVIEW: Cheetos Popcorn (Cheddar and Flamin’ Hot)

Cheetos Popcorn  Cheddar and Flamin Hot

Some of you might have questions after seeing these bags of Cheetos Popcorn, like:

Is this like Chester’s Popcorn that has been around for a while?

Will Cheetos and Flamin’ Hot seasoning ever be bottled so I can put it on my own popcorn, chips, pretzels, and fingertips?

Is Chester Cheetah skinny because he runs a lot or because he doesn’t have a typical cheetah diet and eats only Cheetos-flavored products?

I can’t answer any of those questions, but I do know Cheetos Popcorn, both Cheddar and Flamin’ Hot varieties, taste like what you would expect from popcorn that’s coated with Cheeto Dust. Oh wait, I’m sorry. I’m obligated to write, “coated with Cheetle.”

Now I’m sure the term “Cheetle” brings up more questions, like:

Is that some kind of orange beetle? Are these coated in orange beetles? Is this like a real-life Slurm?

Why is the cheesy dust on Cheetos named after Don Cheetle? Also, how come he doesn’t get to have his own Marvel movie?

“Cheetle” is the official name of what we used to call, unofficially, Cheeto Dust. It’s the stuff that gets stuck to our fingers while eating Cheetos with our hands and goes down our noses when we pour the cheesy snack into our mouths from the bag.

Cheetos Popcorn Cheddar

And it’s Cheetle that gives Cheetos Popcorn Cheddar its vibrant orange color and that cheesiness we know and remove from our fingers using our mouths. Like a bag of Cheetos (Puffs or Crunchy), I could eat this popcorn all day. It’s that good. However, I could see how some folks might find the level of flavor to be too mild.

There is one odd thing I noticed about the snack. When I suck the Cheeto Du…I mean, Cheetle off my fingers, it tastes like Cheez-It crackers. Maybe that’s just me and my fingertips excrete cracker-flavored sweat. Yeah, suck it, dogs and your Fritos-smelling paws!

Cheetos Popcorn Flamin Hot

As for the Flamin’ Hot one, I didn’t care for it at first. Initially, it tasted like Cheetos was doing a crossover with Campbell’s to create spicy V8-flavored popcorn. But after eating a few more, the popcorn began to taste more like the Flamin’ Hot I’ve come to love.

Despite our rough introduction, I ended up liking the red-coated popcorn, although not as much as the Cheddar ones. Also, I don’t know if it’s just me again, but I found the level of spiciness to be lower than other Flamin’ Hot products, even though every kernel is coated so well that they look like the head of Captain America’s nemesis, Red Skull.

With both varieties, I thought the popped kernels were noticeably smaller than other packaged popcorn I’ve procured, but I guess that means more could fit in the bag.

If you’ve wanted Cheetos (or Flamin’ Hot) flavoring on a snack with slightly better nutritional values than corn puffs and chips, then there’s no question Cheetos Popcorn is what you want.

DISCLOSURE: I’d like to thank Cheetos for sending me free samples. Receiving them did not influence my review in any way. Although, the 8 out of 10 rating might make you suspicious. But I assure you getting free samples did not.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 7 oz. bag (Cheddar), 6 1/2 oz. bag (Flamin’ Hot)
Purchased at: Received from Cheetos
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Cheddar), 7 out of 10 (Flamin’ Hot)
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams) Cheddar – 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Flamin’ Hot – 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 320 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: KFC Cheetos Sandwich

KFC Cheetos Sandwich

I’m sure the culinary elite among us will be the first to loudly show their usual disdain for the junk food collision that is KFC’s latest inventive foodstuff, the rather tasty Cheetos Sandwich.

If they do, it really is a shame — mostly theirs — because this pile of fried chicken and cheesy doodles is practically every child’s dream dinner come to neon orange fruition.

My reasonably clean fingers were almost immediately coated in the fine Cheeto dust as I inspected the sandwich, its festive Chester Cheetah-designed box receiving two paws up for its lovingly creative branding; with the usually plump bun making for a truly inviting sandwich, errant Cheetos poked out of the sides, causing even the edges of the fried chicken to turn a bright orange hue.

KFC Cheetos Sandwich Mountain

While, as an aforementioned child, I used to absolutely love the use of the crunchy cheddar snack as a full-on sandwich accoutrement, usually to give the cheap ham or cheaper bologna my mother bought some semblance of direct flavor. But here, the fried chicken of the Crispy Colonel Sandwich is delightfully flavorful enough, the cheddar crunch of the added Cheetos is a well-proportioned riff on an already indelible menu item.

KFC Cheetos Sandwich Topless

But it’s the added flavor of the provocative Cheetos Sauce that is a perfectly zingy taste sensation that should replace those bland slices of that American cheese nonsense in most sandwiches and burgers across the country, starting right here, right now. The sauce — very much with the look and feel of somewhat wet macaroni and cheese powder, with the Cheetos taste, natch — keeps things perfectly crunchy and crispy, making sure it coats everything it touches.

While there is a buttery aftertaste of sorts, it’s not entirely unwelcome. As a matter of fact, my main fear with the Cheetos Sandwich was that, sure, it might be good for a couple of bites, but after a few minutes alone with it, a sort of cheesy fatigue would set in. This should have been the obvious example of too much of a good thing — and it truly is — but this is a good thing that, like sitting on the couch in front of the television and downing a full bag of Cheetos, you don’t get tired of it.

Yes, this is a “limited time only” thing, per usual, but I would like to see KFC expand on this, much like how Taco Bell has exploited its Doritos offerings. Maybe various flavors like a Chipotle Ranch or, Lord forbid, a Flaming Hot variation of a chicken sandwich? Or how about some Jalapeno Cheddar-infused potatoes wedges or, and here’s an idea you can have, KFC, a Mexican-style Cheetos elote.

But, Hell, to be fair, I would pay extra for a couple of packets of that crazy Cheetos sauce to liberally squeeze on my two-piece or, if I’m being grossly honest, to suck straight from like it was directly drained from Chester Cheetah’s nipples. I’m not that hard to please, guys.

Purchased Price: $4.79
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out 10
Nutrition Facts: Currently not available.

REVIEW: Cheetos White Cheddar Bites

Cheetos White Cheddar Bites

Cheetos White Cheddar Bites continue Cheetos’ trend of rolling out white cheddar-flavored snacks during winter because “white cheddar” equal “winter.”

While their flavor is familiar if you’ve had Cheetos White Cheddar Bag of Bones for Halloween, Cheetos Winter White Cheddar Cheetos Curls during last year’s Olympics, or Cheetos Snowflakes White Cheddar during previous winters, their shape is new to the Cheetos Universe.

Like I wrote, if you’ve had any of the snacks I mentioned in the previous paragraph, you’ll know precisely what these taste like.

If you haven’t, they have a milder cheesy flavor than original radioactive orange Cheetos. But I find them to be as addictive. I ate the entire bag within 12 hours, looked into the mirror, asked my reflection if it was worth it, and it replied with a “yeah.”

What helped make that disappearing act happen is the size of the crunchy snack.

Cheetos White Cheddar Bites Closeup

Since I ate all of them before I could make a size comparison with regular Cheetos Puffs, I want you to imagine a straight Cheetos Puff. Then imagine that Puff split into thirds. That’s approximately how big they are. Although, their crunch is slightly different from their curvy cousin because they seem to be somewhat less airy.

They’re the textbook definition of “bite-sized.” Sure, I can fit an entire Cheetos Puff in my Cheetos hole. Heck, I could shove several if I really wanted to, but it would be a little uncomfortable. With these Bites, I can comfortably fit many in my mouth like I’m a Cheetos-loving pelican. I guess what I’m trying to say is, this bite-sized version should be the default Cheetos Puff. You hear me, Frito-Lay! D-fault! D-fault! D-fault! (everybody) D-fault!

Or just make Cheetos Balls.

Because they’re yellow and shaped like botulism-affected canned goods, if you have a fine point Sharpie pen, you could draw eyes (or an eye) on them to turn them into Minions. I would’ve shown that, but, again, I ate the entire bag within 12 hours and way before the idea for Cheetos Minions popped into my head.

Cheetos White Cheddar Bites are a snack that I will never buy again because they’re too easy to eat. Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t get off this white cheddar horse.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 7 1/2 oz. bag
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 38 pieces) – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cheetos Stars Summertime Ranch

Cheetos Stars Summertime Ranch

Back in the olden days, there were two varieties of Cheetos: regular (crunchy) and puffs.

Those were dark times for snack food lovers, although as someone who lived through that deprived era I guess I didn’t know what I was missing. Perhaps I was even thankful to have two choices, laughing at my parents who grew up with just the regular version of cheezy goodness.

Of course, now there are so many flavors that I doubt even Chester Cheetah himself can keep track, and he seems too cool to care about such things anyway. Enter the latest addition to the list, Cheetos Stars Summertime Ranch.

Unlike many of the recent introductions, this version doesn’t feature any variation of Flamin’ Hot, spicy, fire, jalapeno, habanero or anything of that ilk. And even though cheddar cheese is far down in the ingredients, there is no orange hue and no cheese taste to these star-shaped puffs.

Cheetos Stars Summertime Ranch 2

So, what do these have to offer? Well, not a whole lot. Basically, these are plain puffs covered with Cool Ranch Doritos dust. Cheetos and Doritos are both owned by Frito-Lay, so maybe there was some kind of accident where uncoated Cheetos puffs fell into a vat of Cool Ranch dust. Or maybe someone in management just wasn’t feeling very creative and lazily decided to just combine two of their products (but wait, they are star-shaped!). Either way, the ingredient lists of both are strikingly similar.

If you are a devotee of Cool Ranch Doritos, you’ll probably like these but not love them. In puff form, these are not as satisfying as chips. These could have been more interesting with more of the original Cheetos cheese flavor mixed with Cool Ranch or even with the crunchy Cheetos base instead of puffs, but Frito-Lay never asked me. They also have not acted on my perfectly reasonable suggestion to bring Mountain Dew-flavored Cheetos to America. (Yes, that’s a real thing, or was a real thing, but only in Japan).

Cheetos Stars Summertime Ranch 3

One of my favorite things about original Cheetos is the orange dust on my fingers at the end of a snacking session. Even when the bag is gone, you still get the bonus of licking the magic dust off your digits. (I would tell you that my dog also likes licking Cheetos dust off my fingers, but that would be gross). As for the Summertime Ranch dust, it’s more of a greasy, speckled coating.

I can’t say that I’ve tried every variety of Cheetos, but I’m pretty sure I’ve munched through at least half, and this one lands toward the bottom of the rankings. Ranch flavor goes well with many things — chips, chicken wings, pizza — and I’ve even heard people use it on something called a “salad.”

Maybe it’s because the snack food industry has conditioned me to believe that Cool Ranch goes with chips and cheese flavor goes with puffs, but this flavor flip was a bit of a disappointment.

(Nutrition Facts – About 37 pieces (28 grams) – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 60 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.48
Size: 2 5/8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Nice replication of Doritos Cool Ranch flavor. Pretty cool photo of Chester Cheetah on the bag.
Cons: Lack of any Cheetos cheese flavor. Instead of magical cheese dust on your fingers you just get a greasy coating. Not really anything “summertime” about it.

REVIEW: Cheetos Sweetos Caramel Puffs

Cheetos Sweetos Caramel Puffs

If a Cheeto isn’t cheese flavored, is it even a Cheeto? Would a Cheeto by any other name smell as sweet?

These questions have puzzled scholars and philosophers for ages. Ok, well at least since 2015 when Frito-Lay first introduced Cheetos Sweetos Cinnamon Sugar Puffs. The brand’s first foray into sweet snacks was, shall we say, a little underwhelming. So imagine my surprise to see that Cheetos Sweetos have multiplied and their new Caramel Puffs have bounced onto grocery store shelves just in time for what Frito-Lay calls the “spring snacking season,” but normal people might call “Easter.”

I imagine that this is all a sneaky ploy by Frito-Lay so that moms and dads – sorry…I mean, Easter Bunnies – everywhere might make room in Easter baskets for some crunchy snacks. Judging by the caramel-induced sugar high that Chester Cheetah seems to be having on the packaging, I imagine that this would be welcomed by children all over the world.

I opened my bag of Caramel Puff Sweetos, and was immediately accosted by a horribly artificial caramel scent, reminiscent of an off-brand candle you’d pick up at a drug store on the way to a birthday party you forgot about. The smell wafted throughout my entire apartment, causing my boyfriend to shriek with disgust from another room.

Each Sweeto is vaguely “Neil Armstrong’s bootprint on the moon” shaped, and is dusted with a heaping helping of brown powder. Surprisingly, unlike regular Cheetos, the powder stays firmly adhered to the Sweeto and doesn’t come off on your fingertips, which I guess is good for keeping astronaut gloves clean.

Cheetos Sweetos Caramel Puffs 2

Preparing for the worst, I popped a Sweeto into my mouth, and was shocked by how quickly the Sweeto dissolved on my tongue like a sickly-sweet breath strip. The artificial caramel flavor is only recognizable for a second, and then is immediately replaced by the taste of corn, which is then further replaced by an off-putting aftertaste. It’s like the Matryoshka doll of bad snack food.

Cheetos Sweetos Caramel Puffs 3

While Chester the Cheetah’s caramel-induced-fever-dream on the packaging would make you think differently, there’s really no fun in eating Sweetos. When it comes down to it, they’re a jazzed up snack that blasphemes Cheetos. Sweetos aren’t sweet enough to earn that name, although I suppose Corntos doesn’t have the same ring to it.

In conclusion, a bag of Sweetos Caramel Puffs in your Easter basket is like the coal in your Christmas stocking. Be a good boy or girl and you’ll get some Flamin’ Hots instead.

(Nutrition Facts – about 25 pieces – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 7 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: “Look Ma, clean hands!” The Electric Sweetos Acid Test. Making bad Easter puns.
Cons: Eau du drug store candle. Barely discernable sweetness. Incredibly artificial.

REVIEW: Frito Lay Mountain Dew Corn Snack (Mountain Dew Cheetos)

Mountain Dew Doritos 1

I like spaceships. Serenity, the Enterprise, Galactica, Bebop, the Nostromo, the Yamato, the Heart of Gold, the Protector, the Discovery, Prometheus. All of them. I even like real spaceships like the space shuttle Atlantis and the Millennium Falcon.

They represent what’s out there. The great unknown. The vast expanses of the galaxy and the universe. And it saddens me that the national space program is in such a state of decline. If we don’t continue to expand our presence into the Local Group, how are we going to colonize and terraform Mars? How are we going to make first contact? How can we even start to think about making the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs?

The answer is that none of these things is going to be happening anytime soon unless we find a major reason to motivate us. Clearly the huddled masses aren’t interested in learning or human achievement, so I believe the motivation lies in snack food.

At some point, we’re going to run out of food ideas. Mathematically this seems inevitable. There is a finite number naturally occurring foods on our planet, so there is an equally finite number of ways to combine them. We are already there. When molecular gastronomists are forced reduce garden peas to their essence to be huffed from a balloon animal made from a section of a bison’s intestinal tract, it seems the end is almost nigh.

We’ve already started remixing with our processed foods. Bacon’s been smashed into every product in every grocery aisle. Name something you bought in October or November that didn’t have pumpkin in it. Impossible.

Even the corporations who are in charge of these things are running out of ideas. They’ve been reduced to farming out ideas to the common man through flavor contests.

The end is on its way, you guys. And that end, that day when everything has been combined with everything else, is going to be the day we head back into space. People may not be excited about studying moon rocks, but they’ll sure as hell be excited about the possibility of Limited Edition Romulan Ale Doritos and Blue Bantha Milk Oreos.

Until that day, we’ll continue dreaming and smashing together things we have. And we do that today with these Mountain Dew Cheetos from the Japanese arm of Frito-Lay.

Mountain Dew Doritos 3

As with the Pepsi-flavored Cheetos I reviewed a while back, the color of these things bothers me. Not making them bright Mountain Dew green is a wasted opportunity. This kind of product is a novelty and an attention getter, and their color should reflect that. Orange Cheetos-dusted fingers are a tradition. How great would obnoxiously green Mountain Dew Cheetos fingers be?! Pretty damn great.

The nosegrope of these Cheetos is very intensely citrus. There is a lot of lemon, and they smell sweet. There is also an underlying current of stale, flat cola. They smell very similar to the Pepsi Cheetos but with the lemon ratcheted up.

The flavor recreation they were going for falls a bit short of their goal. There is an initial blast of sour lemon flavor that is followed by some underlying sweetness. The lemon flavor tastes pretty artificial. I don’t have a problem with artificial flavors, obviously, but it tastes artificial to the point where it forces you to stop and think of the artificialness.

Mountain Dew Doritos 3

The sour blast is a bit too much here. It takes the Cheetos from the realm of “Mountain Dew” to the realm of…something with a lot of lemons. I know people who have consumed a Star Destroyer’s worth of Mountain Dew in their lives, and I’m not confident they could blind taste this and come up with anything other than a quizzical “something lemony.”

Like the Pepsi Cheetos, the aftertaste of these lingers for a very long time. I also didn’t get as much mouth-fizzing action as I hoped for. The Pepsi Cheetos are definitely the superior hybrid food, but that’s not saying a lot.

Mountain Dew Doritos 2

These are not bad. A lemon-flavored corn snack is not a terrible idea, but a lemon-flavored corn snack is really all we get here. Nothing transcendent, nothing revelatory. Just a good idea that is off the mark.

I’m already looking forward to Dr. Pepper Cheetos (and distantly to Klingon Bloodwine Kit Kats.) Until then!

(Nutrition Facts – 188 kcal, 10.3 grams of fat, 221 milligrams of sodium, 22.1 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.8 grams of protein.)

Item: Frito Lay Mountain Dew Corn Snack (Mountain Dew Cheetos)
Purchased Price: $4.50
Size: 35 grams
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Lemons. Sour blasts. Spaceships.
Cons: Wrong color. Too much lemon to be Mountain Dew. Lingering aftertaste. Lack of fizz.