If you are a lover of spiciness, we’re living in a golden age. Cheese not spicy enough for you? How about pepperjack or even habanero in your cheese? Want an almond that will make your ears steam? Blue Diamond has got you covered with their Carolina Reaper variety. But there is perhaps no snack more emblematic of this trend than the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
If you’ve never tried them before, their spice level is quite high (around 50,000 on the Scoville scale, if that means anything to you). For me, they hit at right about my maximum threshold. A few handfuls of these constitute a great treat but even a full bag requires several cool down periods for me to get through. Nonetheless, they’re an amazing snack. They combine the classic, delicious cheesiness of Cheetos with….well, what exactly?
What is Flamin’ Hot seasoning powder?
According to the back of the bag, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos seasoning consists of an assortment of: Salt, Sugar, Monosodium Glutamate, Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Onion Powder, Whey, Whey Protein Concentrate, Garlic Powder, and the ever elusive “Natural Flavor.” Not a tremendous amount of help there, but luckily many intrepid home chefs have done the research and concocted a facsimile of flamin’ hot seasoning powder that is close to the real thing.
This recipe from the fine folks at the CBC calls for cayenne, chili powder, cheddar cheese powder or nutritional yeast, salt, MSG, lemon pepper, buttermilk powder, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. You can also add a whole bunch of red food coloring if you want to really give it that authentic “flamin hot seasoning” look. Though, I’ll admit, it’s a bit odd to refer to something as artificial as Flamin Hot Cheetos as authentic.
Now you’ve got your Flamin Hot seasoning you can add it to anything you want: Shake it onto your popcorn, coat chicken or fish with it, add it to savory baked goods. There’s really no wrong answer, as long as you keep in mind that your stomach—or at least, my stomach—can only take so much cayenne and chili. With such spicy ingredients, it’s always a good idea to have some milk or perhaps ice cubes or maybe even milk ice cubes on hand to help soothe the fires of those who aren’t as amenable to spicy foods.