Orange Stained Fingers Be Damned, We Ranked the 9 Best Cheetos Flavors

I love Cheetos. I love them so much that I recently made an entire charcuterie board out of them, which was quickly devoured by the Mythical office. As far as I’m concerned, popping over to the office kitchen for a fancy pre-lunch Cheetos board should be a workplace standard. It’s health care.

Cheetos, more than any other snack, nail the combo of crunchy and cheesy; they also remain one of the best spicy snacks out there. I actually think Cheetos might just be the best snack, period. Why are they so good? Well, for starters, they’re bold, in both taste and texture. They stain your fingers, rather beautifully might I add. Simply eating Cheetos blemishes your digits in such a specific way that it’s become a well-known cultural reference, further proving that all food is best when it’s an unmitigated mess. For this taste test, we looked for a pronounced, unapologetic cheese flavor, big-time crunch, and hopefully some other flavor notes, as well. Cheetos didn’t get where they are by being timid, so we expect bold.


cheddar jalapeno cheetos

Best of The Best

Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeño

Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos are the perfect combination of cheesy and spicy. Where classic Cheetos lack spice and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos lack cheese flavor, Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos are the best of both worlds, making them far and away the most balanced and delicious Cheetos product. These Cheetos just hit you with crunchy and cheesy heat all at once. Truly, a flavor-blasted, flat-out-addictive snack product. There’s no contest: These are the best Cheetos, hands down, and I would say one of the top five snacks in existence.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

crunchy cheetos

Best Cheesy

Crunchy Cheetos

One of the GOAT snacks, these will likely always have a spot near the top of the list. Classic Crunchy Cheetos are perhaps the best straight-up cheese snack out there. They’re saturated with cheese flavor and are finger-licking good like fried chicken. Plus, the crunch is one of the most satisfying experiences in the snacking world. Crunchy, airy, and fried in oil, these are deliciously fattening and will stand the test of time.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Target

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

flamin hot limon

Best Flamin’ Hot Product

Flamin’ Hot Limón

The lime flavor here is just spectacular. Teamed up with the spicy heat, the bright acidity of the lime creates a great depth of flavor. The cheese flavor kind of hangs on the back end, instead of being front and center, but what’s better than spicy, crunchy, and tangy? We think these are the absolute best of the Flamin’ Hot products. They have more depth and balance than the others.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Best Spicy

Flamin’ Hot Crunchy

Flamin’ Hot is an iconic flavor. Plus, like all good snacks, it’s rooted in controversy. This inexplicably popular flavor has been imitated by just about every other chip company out there. Everything is Flamin’ Hot now. You could argue that this needs to be higher on the list, but flavor-wise, we just think the other top three have more appeal. Personally, I prefer the Ruffles Flamin’ Hot  Cheddar & Sour Cream to these, since you get a better balance of cheese and spice. Still, this is a good product, if not a bit overrated.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

cheetos white cheddar puffs

Best Cheese Puff

Simply Cheetos White Cheese Puffs

These white cheese puffs made by Simply are really salty, tangy, and cheesy. The taste is quite nice. As staff writer Jordan Myrick has pointed out, white cheddar is a construct, but that construct works here. Simply Cheetos White Cheese Puffs get it just right with a combination of cheddar cheese and sour cream, which helps fortify the delightfully cheesy and piquant flavor. Don’t sleep on these. They’re really good.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

cheetos puffs

Best with Soda

Cheetos Puffs

Cheese puffs deserve more love, especially the Cheetos variety. These are delightfully crunchy, airy, and thick. The cheese flavor is less saturated than the original Cheeto, but the overall aesthetic of a cheese puff is hard to beat. These are big cheese puffs, too. Some coworkers started dipping these in Coke, which feels psychotic to me, but hey, to each their own (just kidding, don’t dip Cheetos in Coke, you monster).

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Best Tangy

Simply Cheetos White Cheddar Crunchy

We just love the Cheetos white cheddar products. The White Cheddar Crunchy Cheetos provide the same tart and cheesy taste as the puffs, but with a crispy and craggy edge. That said, these are not as good when compared to the other crunchy Cheetos; the Flamin’ Hot Limon, the Jalapeño Cheddar, and even the classic Crunchy Cheetos pack more flavor. These come in fourth on the original crunchy spectrum, but they are still pretty good.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

Best Baked

Oven Baked Cheddar Cheese

These contain 50% less fat than the original, and that’s a pretty big deal. But there’s definitely a noticeable lack of cheese flavor and fattening oil. Still, there is something nice about the lack of fat in Oven Baked Cheddar Cheese Cheetos. Jordan suggested dipping these in something. I don’t think Cheetos are a very dippable product, but the subtle cheese flavor in these would absolutely be enhanced by dunking them in a queso or french onion dip.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Best Road Trip Snack

Flavor Shots Flamin’ Hot Asteroids

I first had these on a recent road trip to Santa Cruz, and I’m a fan! They’re essentially the same product as the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, just in a smaller, rounder, more snackable form. What that means is less cheese dust on your finger tips, which allows you to safely consume these Cheetos out of the corner of an open bag without making a mess. That’s really smart. These are nothing new, flavor-wise, but still deserve to be mentioned due to their practicality.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

6.5/10 Sporks

The rest of what we tried: XXtra Flamin’ Hot, Flamin’ Hot Puffs, and Baked Flamin’ Hot

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • Interesting comment, “Cheese PUFFS deserve more love”. Not really. Crunchy is where it’s at.

    Reply
    • My favorite chips is Cheeto puffs

      Reply
      • you mean “Our” favorite chips are cheeto puffs tyvm <3

        PUFF PALS 4 LYFE

  • I love the puffs best and am not a big fan of crunchy flavors.

    Reply
  • 💯% absolutely right!

    Reply
  • To Whom it May Concern I would like to know why Frito Lay doesn’t have the Cheetos Paws in bags anymore. Sincerely Yours, Carol Jane Hand.

    Reply
  • Did you guys try the Cheetos Jalapeño Cheddar Flavor Shots? Personally, I believe those are the best Cheetos road trip snack, but the hot ones are good too! 😁

    Reply