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: Doritos Dinamita Flamin’ Hot Queso

Doritos has a long history of Super Bowl commercials. This year, it’s using the ad spot to relaunch its Dinamitas line with a handful of flavors that are not exactly new to shelves despite the packaging proclaiming newness in capital letters. Flamin’ Hot Queso Dinamitas first appeared in 2021 in bags considerably more cheese-colored and less bold than this iteration. A few years later, they’re back dressed in red and black, and the Dinameter’s pushing all the way to “EXTRA HOT.” It was impossible for me to approach these chips without picturing some sort of Looney Tunes character unwittingly ending up with a mouthful of dynamite so let’s find out if these cause my stomach to comically explode while smoke pours from my ears.

Opening the bag reveals these rolled up corn chips to be covered in classic red Flamin’ Hot dust, but the smell leans more traditionally cheesy-Dorito than anything intensely hot. They’re definitely extra crunchy, like the back of the bag notes, and the flavors that hit me first are corn and cheese. I wouldn’t really say the cheese represents queso in any noticeable way, but they reminded me of the Spicy Nacho Doritos variety. Despite every chip-tube being thoroughly coated in the finger-staining fire powder, I didn’t find these to be all that hot. I have a fairly high tolerance for heat and a very high tolerance for rapidly shoving snack food into my mouth, so even as my fingertips, knuckles, and wrists began to turn scarlet from repeated trips into the chip bag, I felt like the Dinameter was exaggerating. This is where I picture a greedy character gleefully gobbling up poorly disguised sticks of dynamite, unaware of the impending boom.

I don’t know if it’s the more compact rolled shape or what, but these are very easy to eat a lot of, and I didn’t find myself needing to reach for anything to quell the burn. Is it nice to have a beverage with them? Sure! If I found myself without one, would I still eat three servings? Also sure! The heat does start to creep in and slowly build in the back of the mouth, but they never turn the dial into “extra hot” territory for me or leave me feeling like I’m ready to spit flames at whatever nemesis tricked me into eating them. While these might fall short of their claim of being extra hot, they excel at being extremely snackable. With a solid cheesy base flavor and a hot-without-blowing-your-head-off heat, they’re a fun way to shake up your regular chip game. I can see people finding these hotter than I did, but if you’re heat-sensitive, you probably aren’t chasing down Dinamitas in the first place. If you’ve enjoyed anything Flamin’ Hot in the past, I think you’ll be more than happy to risk internal combustion and chomp on these.

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: 10.75 oz bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (14 pieces) 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 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: Ruffles Flamin’ Hot Queso Cheese Potato Chips

Do you like a “Groundhog Day” movie premise as much as I do? You know, the movies centered around a character who relives the same day over and over again. You’d think once they’d done the Bill Murray classic, it would be ironic and un-original to make it again. Yet, we still have fantastic films like “Edge of Tomorrow” (the action version), “Happy Death Day” (the thriller version), “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” (the romcom version), and of course “Palm Springs” (the Andy Samberg version). All of these movies are pretty great in their own unique twist of a classic theme. In much the same way, I come to you today with a review of Flamin’ Hot Queso Cheese Ruffles. Sure, you’ve probably had a really similar chip, but now these also exist.

They have the same distinct color found on other Flamin’ Hot line extensions. The flavor is overwhelmingly cheesy and balanced very well with the heat from the pepper. In fact, I’d almost say these don’t quite live up to the spiciness of other Flamin’ Hot varieties launched recently, but I think that’s a good thing in this case. It makes them much more addictive.

I was curious how these differed from the Flamin’ Hot Cheddar Sour Cream Ruffles (the LeBron bag) currently on shelves and could only dig up one or two minor discrepancies. First, the ingredient lines between this and the LeBron version are nearly identical. Apart from a few items being in different sequential order, the Queso chips have a few extra spices (onion and garlic powder) and no sour cream or butter. If you’re thinking that difference doesn’t sound enormous, I agree with you. These chips taste A LOT like the standard Flamin’ Hot Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles, but these are much more cheese-forward and the heat packs less of a punch.

The second difference is that these have the lil’ smiley guy in the corner, designating them as a Sabritas item (also owned by Frito-Lay and largely distributed in Mexico). I don’t think this necessarily makes a difference except to possibly justify why such a similar chip could launch with a different balance of cheese and heat.

I also decided to try the original Queso Ruffles against the Flamin’ Hot Queso Ruffles. The OG lacks heat and red color but has the same strong savory cheese flavor. I think heat lovers might be slightly let down by the heat offered in the Flamin’ Hot Queso version, but I’ll double down and say again that I prefer this balance. It makes the chips far more enjoyable overall.

If I had to live one day repeatedly, I wouldn’t be upset if it included these chips. I’m docking a point for lack of originality since the formulas look to be nearly a replicate of a chip that already exists, but I can’t deny how tasty these are. Did I already say that? Oh well, déjà vu.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (13 chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Spicy Queso Funyuns

I once played this video game… I don’t remember the exact name, but the object was to find as many golden rings as possible.

This furry blue dude ran around collecting them so that he could eventually buy his freedom from a mad scientist shaped like an egg. His name was “Static” or something. I think it was based on a true story.

Anyway, those golden rings always reminded me of Funyuns. Why? I don’t know. This is clearly a fake story, so just go with it. I mean, come on, who’s never heard of Sarnac the Muskrat?

I’ll say this: if ol’ Sarnac had to collect Spicy Queso Funyuns, he’d probably just end up keeping them all for himself and dealing with the consequences.

Yeah, those exist. In a rare move, Frito Lay has let Funyuns branch out with a new Spicy Queso flavor.

I needed a little ring redemption after my last review of Snyder’s Oktoberfest Rings, and while I liked these a lot, I gotta let you know the bad before the good – they don’t really taste like Funyuns.

I believe they set out to add a cheese flavor to the iconic flavor, but the onion essence basically gets spiced out. It’s a bit of a bummer, but I suggest approaching these as Funyuns in shape and texture form only. If you’re familiar with Frito Lay’s queso dip, I think these actually tasted like it in crisp form, so there’s some good brand synergy there.

As I crunched on, I started getting flavor vibes of two other snacks – Andy Capp’s Hot Fries and the recent Chili Cheese Doritos 3D’s. If you know Hot Fries, the heat level is slightly below those, but they have very similar textures. The lingering level of spice and cheesiness reminded me of 3Ds, although those leaned more towards a “beefy” chili flavor, so just imagine a Funyun ring that tastes like a spicy cheddar with a pinch of jalapeño. I’ve never tried Flamin’ Hot Funyuns, but I suspect those are slightly hotter overall.

As far as the crunch goes, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve compared Funyuns to Cap’n’ Crunch in the past because they usually tear my palate up. Thankfully, that didn’t happen here because the usual mouth shred paired with a spicy flavor probably would’ve destroyed my tastebuds.

Overall, these are very solid, but I was completely satisfied with a small bag. The flavor is nice, but I wish the typical Funyun flavor was ramped up. I’ve never dipped an onion ring in queso, so who knows, these could be 100% accurate. They’re not an improvement on the originals but a strong spinoff. As far as ring-based snack reviews go, I’m batting .500.

Maybe this will lead to further expansions of the Funyuns brand. Trader Joe’s used to make a Sweet Onion-flavored Funyun knockoff that was elite, and I’d love to see Frito-Lay try that next.

Here’s hoping my next review isn’t ring-based because I don’t feel like doing a bit about watching that one horror movie. It was about a ghost mime coming out of a videotape or something. I think it’s based on a true story.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 2 1/8 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 13 pieces) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of total sugars, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.