Cheetos have been a beloved snack for generations, originating in the test kitchen of the Frito Company in 1948.
Fritos corn chips came first, but creator Charles Elmer Doolin expanded upon a simple fried corn chip by changing its texture and flavor to the cheesy, orange, and delightfully crunchy product we know and love today.
Cheetos is responsible for the historic merger of two chip monopolies: Frito and Lays. The story goes that Cheetos’ popularity was so sensational that Doolin couldn’t keep up with the demand, causing him to enlist the help of H. W. Lay. Thus, Frito-Lay was born in 1961.
My school lunches always included Fritos, Lays, Doritos, or Cheetos from those nifty multi-pack boxes. The original Cheetos were always my favorite.
Little did I know that there’s a world of Cheeto flavors to try. There are 21 Cheetos flavors in the U.S. and Canada alone.
I’ve narrowed it down to the very best Cheetos flavors you must try below.
Best Cheetos Flavors
Try these flavors of Cheetos for everything from their classic cheesy snack to flamin’ hot varieties.
I must start with the original. Crunchy Cheetos are the recipe that started the Cheeto craze in the first place, and they remain the gold standard of Cheeto flavors.
As the name suggests, Crunchy Cheetos are both the cheesiest and crunchiest variations of Cheetos. Their asymmetrical, bumpy, cheese-dusted texture is unmistakable.
Who knows how they get the shape and texture we adore? It’s certainly a proprietary secret under lock and key.
They still come in those small, 160-calorie bags that give you the most satisfying afternoon snack.
XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
For the daredevils who like to compete in spicy food contests, XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Cheetos will certainly make you sweat.
Cheetos makers claim that they are twice as hot as the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos flavor. Their XXTRA Flamin Hot seasoning is yet another ingredient shrouded in mystery.
The XXTRA Flamin Hot Cheetos are part of the Crunchy line, meaning they have that same one-of-a-kind texture as the original recipe, but they’ve modified the cheesy dusting to contain various other seasonings including, cheddar, buttermilk, onion and garlic powder, and their secret spicy seasoning.
I think the buttermilk and onion powder add a much-needed tang to help add flavor to the heat of the XXTRA Flamin Hot seasoning.
Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos
Jalapeño and cheddar are a match made in culinary heaven. They’re also a nod to the marriage of Mexican and American culinary cultures.
Thanks to Mexico, jalapeños are a household chili and an integral flavor booster. Americans supply the sharp, salty, and creamy cheddar to complement the spice.
You’ll see jalapeño cheese fries, jalapeño and cheese Kolaches, jalapeño and cheese nachos; the list goes on and on.
It was only a matter of time before Cheetos added jalapeños to their cheddar-laden corn chip recipe.
Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos have real cheddar and real jalapeño in the ingredients.
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were all the rage when I was in middle school.
Everyone bought a bag at lunch, taking extra time to suck the freakishly addicting Flamin Hot cheese dust off each Cheeto.
Their popularity has only grown, rivaling that of the original Crunchy Cheetos.
They start with the original recipe of cornmeal fried to a perfect crunchy crisp, deviating with the heavy Flamin Hot dusting.
We’ll never know what spices Cheetos uses for the Flamin Hot seasoning, but that’s what keeps us coming back for more!
It’s spicy without burning your taste buds. If you like spicy snacks, check out other flaming hot chips.
Flamin’ Hot Puffs Cheetos
There are generally two rivaling opinions on Cheetos, and they don’t involve flavor as much as texture.
Most people either swear by the original crunchy or are faithful to the puff. I happen to dabble in both and find great merit in either texture.
Flamin Hot Puffs Cheetos use the same addicting spicy and cheesy dusting, but instead of the crunch, you get a light, airy, half-circle-shaped puff.
I find that I can eat Flamin’ Hot Puffs Cheetos faster than their crunchy counterparts because they have so much more air. That’s how I justify buying a bigger bag!
Flamin’ Hot Limón
Another Mexican and Caribbean-inspired flavor profile, Flamin Hot Limon caters to the Latin American community, especially.
Everyone knows that chili and lime are the key garnishes to everything from fruit to corn on the cob.
It follows that Cheetos, as a corn-based snack, lends perfectly to the famous chili and lime seasoning.
Flamin Hot Limon looks and feels like Flamin Hot Cheetos, but the extra tangy lime zing you get at the end of the Flamin Hot spice seasoning is everything!
Flamin Hot Limon adds real lime juice to the proprietary Flamin Hot seasoning mix.
Flavor Shots Flamin’ Hot Asteroids Cheetos
In the ongoing debate over whether puffs or crunchy Cheetos reign supreme, we’ve lost sight of a third contender: the almighty cheese ball.
Cheese balls are the perfect bite-size round with a kick of flavor that melts in your mouth if you don’t chew fast enough.
Flavor Shots Flamin Hot Asteroids Cheetos are essentially Flamin Hot Cheeto balls. I’ll give them points for the extravagant and intriguing name, though!
Flavor Shots is an accurate description of the powerful flavor each small ball packs.
I like this Cheeto flavor to wake me up during a mid-afternoon slump. They come in a small, narrow bag with just the right amount of energy to wake me up without stuffing me.
Puffs are as simple and delightful as their name. No need to embellish them with a fancy title as they are perfect in their simplicity.
Puffs are a tried-and-true recipe that creates the lightest, uniformly airy texture. They are one of the earliest varieties, debuting in 1971 to instant popularity.
They use the same cheddar-infused dusting as Crunchy Cheetos, but that is what sets them apart.
Whether it’s the frying or molding method, I’ll never know how two identical flavors can taste so different.
I love to place a puff in my mouth and let it melt down to its cheesy essence.
Simply Crunchy White Cheddar Cheese Cheetos
During the early 2000s, a dietary fad for all-natural ingredients took place and Frito-Lay was happy to oblige.
They came out with an all-natural line of both potato chips and Cheetos. Simply Crunchy White Cheddar Cheese Cheetos were a part of the Natural Line, using Wisconsin white cheddar cheese.
Simply Crunchy White Cheddar Cheese Cheetos also contain no preservatives or artificial coloring, so they don’t have that bright orange color I’m used to seeing. Instead, they have a white cheesy dusting that includes cheddar, sour cream, sea salt, Torula yeast, and citric acid.
I enjoy how tangy these are compared to the regular Crunchy Cheetos. Their considerably shorter ingredients list is also reassuring.
Baked Crunchy Cheese Cheetos
In addition to an all-natural dietary fad, the health-conscious industry targeted fried foods as the enemy of a healthy diet.
Carbs are bad enough, but fried carbs? Inconceivable! Well, Cheetos aims to please, debuting a line of baked snacks with 50% less fat than original Cheetos.
Not only can you feel better about your fat intake, but you won’t have to sacrifice flavor. I had no idea these were baked as opposed to fried the first time I tried them.
With Baked Lays, they’re visibly and texturally different. Baked Crunchy Cheese Cheetos look and taste exactly like Crunchy Cheetos. For a guilt-free snack, these are my new go-to Cheetos flavor.
Flamin’ Hot Chipotle Ranch
I recently found out the mind-blowing fact that Chipotle peppers are dried jalapenos.
They’re usually served rehydrated in an adobo sauce with caramelized onions, giving them a spicy, sweet, and smoky flavor.
That smoky and spicy flavor is the first thing that hits your taste buds with the Flamin Hot Chipotle Ranch Cheetos.
The ranch is creamy and tangy, acting as the perfect complement to tamper the spice, not to mention the standard dusting of cheddar cheese inherent in all Cheetos products.
Flamin Hot Chipotle Ranch Cheetos use a Chipotle Ranch seasoning consisting of the same ingredients in adobo sauce and ranch dressing in powdered form.
Best Cheetos Flavors
- Crunchy Cheetos
- XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
- Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos
- Flamin’ Hot
- Flamin’ Hot Puffs Cheetos
- Flamin’ Hot Limón
- Flavor Shots Flamin’ Hot Asteroids Cheetos
- Simply Crunchy White Cheddar Cheese Cheetos
- Baked Crunchy Cheese Cheetos
- Flamin’ Hot Chipotle Ranch
Cheetos are a fan favorite, gracing parties, lunch boxes, and snack time for over 70 years. In their long tenure, Cheetos has expanded to include countless flavors for every palate. They all share a cheesy foundation but diverge in many different flavorful and textural directions.
Whether you’re looking for spicy and crunchy, cheesy and puffy, or a healthy baked Cheeto, you’ll find your favorite bag of chips from my list of the best Cheeto flavors.
If you’re in the mood for classic potato chips, check out our favorite Lays flavors instead or other snacks you can grab at gas stations and convenience stores.
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