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: Takis Intense Nacho

It’s weird that the Takis Intense Nacho line is not spicy.

It’s not as weird as having something called pickleball become a national sensation, but after having many spicy varieties and being known for products that burn, it seems so out of character for Takis to offer something tame that it makes me worry about its well-being. Maybe the brand has run out of new spicy product ideas? If that’s the case, I’ve got one — Flamango, a sweet and spicy rolled tortilla chip with a splash of mango that’s pink colored and bent in the middle. Feel free to take it, Barcel.

Takis Intense Nacho seasoning is available on three products — original Takis rolled tortilla chips, Waves Potato Chips, and POP! Popcorn. After tasting all three, I’m surprised they have noticeably different nacho intensities.

Takis POP! Intense Nacho Popcorn

Let’s start with the one that can truly call itself “intense nacho” the most — Takis POP! To be honest, I’m surprised about this because there’s less surface area for seasoning on popcorn. But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be because popcorn has a milder flavor than fried chips, and kernels have nooks and crannies where the seasoning can be trapped. Anyhoo, the cheesy and salty nacho dust pops on these, and there’s also a slight tanginess that I didn’t notice with the other products. Surprisingly, this was my favorite of the three. Oh, a few other things. I’ve never had Takis POP! before, but I was stunned by how small-ish the kernels were. Also, these don’t have a cheesy aroma, which I thought was weird.

Size: 2 oz bag
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 package) 350 calories, 27 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 14 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Takis Intense Nacho Rolled Tortilla Chips

Lower on the Intense Nacho spectrum is regular Takis. With my initial bites, I thought these were less cheesy than the Waves. But after comparing them again a day later, my taste buds thought differently. My original opinion was probably based on how the corn chip overwhelms my taste buds once I get a few chews in. There’s an initial cheesy burst, and it lingers somewhat, but it quickly yields to the flavor of the corn. So I wish that cheesiness was a bit more lasting. Of course, these have the typical Takis rolled tortilla chip crunch.

Size: 3.25 oz bag
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz/about 10 pieces) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Takis Waves Intense Nacho Potato Chips

When I first took a whiff of these in the bag, I wondered if they would be spicy because they have a chile con queso-like aroma. Of course, they’re not, but these chips taste like queso, but with heat that never shows up as if they’ve been made with neutered jalapeños. I do like the flavor, but at the same time I’m not sure “intense” is the best word to use to describe its cheesiness, which is noticeably less cheesy than the regular Takis and popcorn. Also, much like Takis POP!, this is my first time trying Waves and my impression of them is that they have a crunch similar to Lay’s Wavy chips.

Size: 2.5 oz bag
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz/about 14 pieces) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Overall, Takis’ tangent into non-spicy snacks is off to a good start, and this Intense Nacho line doesn’t make me want to say Takis needs to stay in its lane and continue to burn our mouths with flavors that may have names like Hotocado, an overly spicy guacamole flavor on an avocado-shaped and green-colored chip. (Yes, I know there’s already has a guacamole flavor. Feel free to take this idea too, Barcel.) I like these enough that I’m curious if there will be other non-spicy flavors.

DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples from Takis. Doing so did not influence my review.

REVIEW: Smartfood Frank’s RedHot Popcorn

Smartfood Frank s RedHot Popcorn

Smartfood’s Frank’s Redhot Popcorn is a limited edition flavor that’s currently exclusive to Sam’s Club. It comes in a 17-ounce bag that’ll look massive sitting on your lap as you watch something like one of the many marriage reality shows that involve not knowing what each other looks like until the wedding ceremony that I’m absolutely not into.

Much like newlyweds a few weeks into marrying someone they didn’t meet in person until their wedding day, some issues have come up after spending some meaningful time with the popcorn.

Smartfood Frank s RedHot Popcorn Closeup

First off, it doesn’t taste EXACTLY like Frank’s RedHot Sauce. I put that stuff on regular popcorn and compared it with Smartfood’s offering and thought the flavors might be cousins, but they’re not twins. While both are peppery, vinegary, and garlicky, the sauce is also slightly tomato-y, even though the vegetable is not listed as an ingredient in the sauce. To be honest, when I first tried it, I thought the snack’s flavor reminded me more of Tabasco.

Smartfood Frank s RedHot Popcorn Compare

Also, I find it odd that the popcorn is spicier than Frank’s RedHot Sauce. However, it doesn’t reach a level that requires me to stop and give my mouth a rest or have something to soothe my mouth nearby when my hand dives into the bag. Of course, your mouth may vary. While it doesn’t burn that much, for some reason, I got the same sweaty scalp and runny nose that I’ve only experienced with much spicier products. Or maybe I need to see a doctor.

While Smartfood’s Frank’s RedHot Flavored Popcorn doesn’t precisely capture the flavors of the hot sauce, it’s a tasty snack in a giant bag that my hand found itself in a lot while watching something that absolutely was not a marriage reality show.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Smartfood. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 17-ounce bag
Purchased at: Received from Smartfood
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (about 2 1/2 cups) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag

What is Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn?

Kicking off the year strong, Frito-Lay created a Sam’s Club exclusive variety of its popular Smartfood Popcorn that uses the classic Doritos Nacho Cheese seasoning. It offers the flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos, but without the stained fingers you might get with the chips.

How is it?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bowl

The flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos is strongly present but without the expected crunch of the tortilla chip or corn flavor. Admittedly, it was a little jarring at first. Once my mouth and brain took a moment to adjust expectations, it was a very delicious snack. Without the chip’s corn flavor, you get a chance to really taste the different elements of the nacho cheese seasoning. The garlic, onion, and paprika shine the most, with the cheese flavor coming in subtle at the end.

Anything else you need to know?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag Back

Because this is available at Sam’s Club, the item is over 2.5 times bigger than the standard Smartfood bag. If you don’t want to open it yet, you can always use it as a lower back pillow when you’re sitting at your desk.


Smartfood’s Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn is an all-around enjoyable item. It’s a nice blend of Smartfood Popcorn and Doritos Nacho Cheese that feels new, but familiar. I could absolutely see it being a hit at parties or as a new snack to break up the normal noshing. Hopefully, it does well enough that we get other crossover flavors in the future. Maybe some Smartfood Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Popcorn?

Purchased Price: $5.28
Size: 17 oz bag
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/3 cup) 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cocoa Puffs Popcorn

Cocoa Puffs Popcorn Bag

What is Cocoa Puffs Popcorn?

Cuckoo for cocoa-dust glazed pre-popped popcorn? In Big Cereal’s quest to infiltrate nearly every other snack product on the market, this time, it’s mating with popcorn.

How is it?

1) Better than I expected, but 2) I’ll admit, I went into it with fairly low expectations. The cocoa glaze coating was pretty thorough, blanketing probably 85% of the pieces (and at least lightly touching the rest), and it uncannily mimicked the breakfast favorite that drives birds wild.

Cocoa Puffs Popcorn Super Closeup

The popcorn had a deep chocolate taste, but if I have a complaint, it was that it was lacking a bit in the salt department. Feels like if you’re gonna go sweet/salty, you really should, you know, GO for it. Some of the pieces were a bit hard, too, which was a bit off-putting.

Anything else you need to know?

Sonny, the cartoon bird, turns 50 next year. When originally introduced, he was wearing a pink and white striped shirt, he started wearing “extreme” clothes in the mid-90s, and now he’s just straight up nude. (Though when he’s in his deepest throes of madness, he’s depicted in a straight-jacket.)


I made it four decades without consuming chocolate popcorn. This is weird because I love popcorn and I love chocolate. I will definitely finish this bag, and the next time I’m at one of those wondrous gourmet popcorn shops with like, 50 flavors, I’ll be more inclined to try a chocolate variety.

Purchased Price: $3.28
Size: 7 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3/4 cup) 130 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.