REVIEW: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Pepper Puffs

Cheetos Flamin Hot Pepper Puffs

I’m more impressed with the shape of the Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Pepper Puffs than how spicy they are.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, these bring some heat, but I can’t help but admire how these look. In the photo below, it appears as if I’m holding a semi-cooled, pepper-shaped nugget of lava.

Cheetos Flamin Hot Pepper Puffs Pepper

Of course, Frito-Lay has shown over the past few years that it knows how to shape a corn puff. We’ve seen eggs, bones, paws, stars, snowflakes, and shapes only eBay sellers can see, but this one deserves the chef’s kiss because I imagine it must’ve been difficult to include the stem, which really sells the pepper shape.

The stem also has been influencing how I eat them. With each one so far, I’ve grabbed it by the small extension and used it as a handle to put the puff into my mouth. I think, and I’m sure it will never happen, this should be the default shape for any Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Cheetos Flamin Hot Pepper Puffs Closeup

The bag claims it’s the “Hottest Ever!” but I’m not sure of that because I have more painful memories with Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The heat takes some time to kick in, so these puffs kind of trick you into thinking they aren’t so bad. But these are noticeably spicier than original Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos, maybe 50 percent more intense.

I definitely can’t chain eat them like regular Flamin’ Hot products. Instead, I’m enjoying the puffs in small doses, like five or so. Even my nose knows these are spicier because normal Flamin’ Hot doesn’t turn my nose into a snot faucet when eating them.

In terms of flavor, these have the familiar Flamin’ Hot seasoning but amped up a bit. While they are spicy, they’re not so hot that it completely distracts your taste buds from the peppery, oniony, garlicky, and slightly cheesy seasoning.

Obviously, Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Pepper Puffs are not for everyone. If you find Flamin’ Hot, well, flamin’ hot, then I don’t need to tell you to avoid these. If you’re a card-carrying member of the Flamin’ Hot fandom, then you have to get them. But they’re around for only two weeks, so you should’ve started looking yesterday.

DISCLOSURE: Although, I bought this bag on eBay, I later received a free sample of the product from the folks at Walmart. I probably didn’t really need to tell you that since this review was finished before obtaining the sample. But I guess I disclosed it to let you know I like these enough that I’m happy I got another bag of it.

Purchased Price: Too much on eBay
Size: 7 oz. bag
Purchased at: eBay (being sold at Walmart)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 24 pieces) 170 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot Potato Chips

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Potato Chips

I feel certain there’s a chapter in the anthologies of Snacking Americana dedicated to Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot.

This iconic seasoning, which started on the hallowed Cheeto, has now donned the surface of nearly every chip, crisp, and crunchy snack the company produces. In 2019, Forever 21 even launched a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Collection and rumors of a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos origin story movie spread like, well, wildfire.

The challenge in this frenzy of Flamin’ Hot obsession is for the snack company to launch new products that aren’t just flavored with the seasoning but offer a different eating experience from the fire truck red snacks that have already been bestowed upon us. Enter, Lay’s Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Potato Chips Closeup

Their appearance immediately lives up to expectation. They are BRIGHT RED and look to be fully coated in the Flamin’ Hot seasoning, true to the front-of-bag image. It also seems like more of the chips are completely covered in the seasoning as compared to the plain Lay’s Flamin’ Hot. Maybe that has to do with the kettle cook method and how the seasoning clings to oil? I’m not sure, but it definitely adds to their appeal.

So, do they hold up to the tried and true Flamin’ Hot fame?

Oh, hell yeah. These chips rock.

As was previously mentioned in other TIB reviews, the flat chip shape (compared to the Cheeto shape) means that you can place a full crunchy layer of fiery flavored madness over your entire tongue at once. With a Cheeto, there’s way less available surface area, and your teeth take most of the direct hit. With these chips, the flavor is intense right away, in the best way. I also think the kettle cooked texture delivers a more satisfying crunch than plain potato chips. I’m surprised this variety didn’t launch sooner.

I was particularly happy with the cheesiness that comes through, a flavor which is lacking in the Lay’s Flamin’ Hot traditional potato chip variety. After going through a few historic Flamin’ Hot launches, it looks like “cheddar cheese” moves around in the ingredient line, sometimes not present at all. My recommendation to Frito-Lay would be to keep it in any future products because it adds a critical flavor element.

The cheesiness balances the heat beautifully and, when combined with the sturdy crunch of a kettle cooked chip, makes this one of the best all-around chips I’ve had in a long time. It was hard not to eat the entire bag in one sitting. And of course, your fingers will be left with the signature Flamin’ Hot red Cheetle.

Lay s Kettle Cooked Flamin Hot Potato Chips Cheetle??I will say, the one ever so slightly negative thing I have to say about these is that five minutes after eating about two servings worth, my tongue went numb to any other flavors for roughly half an hour. I’m no stranger to spicy things, so this surprised me a little, but didn’t bother me much at all. These chips are worth it.

Upholding their Flamin’ Hot family legacy, these kettle cooked chips receive my most heartfelt 10/10 rating and earnest recommendation for your snacking needs in 2020.

Purchased Price: $3.18
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 18 chips) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Flamin’ Hot Ruffles Potato Chips

I have to admit I went into this review with a small bias, as “Flamin’ Hot” is a very familiar Frito-Lay flavor for me. I am a big Flamin’ Hot Cheetos fan, being second only to Tapatio Doritos on my spicy chip tier list. What? Don’t tell me you don’t have a spicy chip tier list!

Based on the friendly flame mascot and smoldery font that is identical to the branding from Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, I assumed I was in for standard Ruffles blasted with the same atomic red seasoning.

Upon opening the bag that is exactly what I discovered. My chips were in good shape, with most of them whole. This was a good sign for a delicious, evil experiment I had planned for them.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Potato Chips 3

The chips themselves pack the standard Flamin’ Hot heat (not too over the top, but a little much for spicy wimps). The distribution of dust was a little light for my liking, but I’m a bit of a spice fiend, so most will probably find them quite balanced.

So how does this tried and true seasoning fair on crispy, fried potatoes? Oh my, Chester Cheetah better watch out. The Ruffles are probably on about equal footing with Cheetos as vessels for Flamin’ Hot dust. Things get interesting, however, when you consider the versatility of Ruffles.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Potato Chips 2

The one shortcoming of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is they’re a bit one-dimensional. It’s a straightforward chili powder type of spice without much variety or depth. However, with their sturdy ridges and wide surface area, Ruffles are tailor-made to combat this problem because you can dip them. Remember that delicious, evil experiment I mentioned earlier?

When I was at the grocery store picking up these bad boys, I realized that many of the tried and true potato chip flavors all had something in common: sour cream. Through all the promotional and crazy flavors Lay’s ships out, I can remember Cheddar & Sour Cream and Sour Cream & Onion even since I was little. Even plain Ruffles beg to be dunked in french onion dip.

Ruffles Flamin Hot Potato Chips 4

Let’s just say I did a dollop of Daisy with these suckers, and the bag quickly grew lighter. The combination felt natural and right. The sour cream cut through the somewhat bland spice to create a cool balance. Maybe Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and sour cream would be just as good, but that just doesn’t sit quite as well in my head. Ruffles have ridges for a reason!

(Nutrition Facts – 11 chips – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 323 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 8/5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Albertson’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Classic Flamin’ Hot flavor translates well. A new contender for the top of my spicy chip tier list. Dippability.
Cons: Chips themselves are a bit one dimensional. Getting greasy red smears on my notebook.

REVIEW: Giant Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Cheetos Giant Flamin' Hot

The look of each Giant Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is extremely frightening because it reminds me of the 3D computer graphic simulation of the Earth and the molten lava coming out of it after a killer asteroid hits it, which I’ve seen on a Discovery Channel show about the extinction of dinosaurs.

I don’t know whether I should eat them or hold one up in front of a video camera and record a voice over for a dinosaur documentary that begin with, “Some scientists believe the extinction of dinosaurs was caused by a meteorite that created the Chicxulub crater in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.”

As you can see below Chester the Cheetah’s ass in the packaging photo, the Giant Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is covered with a bright red color that’s usually found on the lips of mistresses and on the collars of cheating bastards. The red powder that covers its exterior, obviously, provides the heat, but perhaps there’s too much heat because I feel it overwhelms any cheesy flavor.

Actually the flavor from these great balls of fire make my tongue feel like it’s on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland — starts off boring, then there’s a little excitement (heat), then it’s slightly cheesy, more excitement (heat) and then disappointment.

Overall, I don’t really care for the ping pong ball-sized Giant Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. There’s not enough cheese flavor in it, making them pretty much flavorless. The red spicy coating seems to make the rest of it its bitch, not allowing it to say anything.

I also find the idea of giant Cheetos retarded, because I feel when a company makes a smaller or larger version of their product, it usually means that the creative juices have run out. I definitely think this was the case here and that the creative juices ran out because they needed to drink something to cool down their mouths after eating the Giant Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 4% vitamin E and 2% iron.)

Item: Giant Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Price: $2.88
Size: 7 3/4 ounces
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: It’s new. It’s hot, if you’re into that. The packaging looks like Chester the Cheetah is burning his ass.
Cons: I feel the heat overwhelmed the flavor. The red color is off-putting. It reminds me of the destruction of the Earth. Getting lipstick on my collar.