Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or just want a more flavorful variant of the original, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have taken precedence as one of the most popular variants of this cheesy corn snack. But even the biggest fans of these crunchy delights might not know some of the spicy secrets behind Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Grab a bag for yourself and prepare to be amazed by the Top 10 Untold Truths of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos!
10. They Contain Maltodextrin
Ever wondered what some of the weird, hard-to-pronounce ingredients on the labels of your favorite junk foods are? Maltodextrin, an ingredient found in lots of processed snack foods, is probably something you’ve seen on many nutrition labels, but never really paid too much attention to. Found in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and many other snack faves, maltodextrin is an additive made from starchy foods — likely corn, in the case of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It’s often used to add thickness or extra texture to certain foods, and the fact that it’s a carbohydrate makes it a common ingredient in workout supplements and sports drinks, which are sold to bodybuilders who need the extra carbs to burn off. Though it’s not considered to be extremely harmful, maltodextrin shouldn’t be consumed in large doses by those with type 2 diabetes, as additional carbohydrates added into the diet can often result in unintentional blood sugar spikes. Seeing as it’s highly processed, it also doesn’t have much to offer in terms of nutritional value, which can be an issue if you’re trying to maintain a diet high in vitamins and minerals. Needless to say, you shouldn’t be eating too many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos if you want to stay fit!
9. There Was a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Restaurant
If you thought a snack like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos couldn’t take a starring role in fine dining, think again! Cheetos took their spicy flavoring to the next level in 2017, when they opened up a pop-up restaurant called The Spotted Cheetah. With celebrity chef Anne Burrell in charge of the kitchen, this normally modest snack that most of us buy at the convenience store was incorporated into lots of upscale foods. Another pop-up occurred in Hollywood a year later in 2018, which took a more flashy and hardcore approach. The menu included delicious options like a ribeye steak encrusted with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Flamin’ Hot Meatballs, and even Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Elotes, which were a clever nod to the snack’s Mexican origins. Though these fancy pop-ups might be gone in today, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have still made their fair share of appearances in fast-food restaurants, with Taco Bell being the most notable host for these addictive snacks. Taco Bell included the Flamin’ Hot branding in their Flamin’ Hot Crunchwrap Sliders, which were released as a Canada-only item.
8. You Can Get a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Bagel
Ever wished you could justify eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos as a breakfast food? Now you can! A bagel shop in Freehold, New Jersey, known as The Bagel Nook, has created a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto-themed bagel to satisfy the spicy cravings of Cheetos fanatics, to the bewilderment and delight of their customers. That’s all well and good, but you’d best be sure you can handle more than a snack-sized dose of spice before ordering this bagel: The Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Bagel itself is flavored to taste like the titular snack, and comes with ghost pepper-infused cream cheese and is stuffed with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Needless to say, the bagel caused quite a stir online, making headlines on several news websites and attracting quite a few likes on The Bagel Nook’s Instagram page. It seems the Internet in general is completely mystified by Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-themed foods, with Flamin’ Hot pizza, sandwiches, and even sushi achieving viral success online. Though the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Bagel may not be the first thing we reach for on a dreary Monday morning before a hard day at work, it’s definitely a bucket list food item for any Flamin’ Hot Cheetos fan out there, as well as anyone who loves to test their spice tolerance in an unconventional way.
7. They May Actually Be Addictive!
If you’ve sworn to yourself that you wouldn’t eat an entire bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and found it empty only moments later, it might actually be because Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have a certain combination of substances that make us want to devour them even more. No, they’re not made of any actually illicit substances, but there might be a legitimate reason we munch on these fiery snacks without any sense of willpower or self control. Scientists have actually looked into this phenomenon, with some of them drawing the conclusion that the puffy, light texture of the Cheeto itself tricks our brain into thinking it’s less calories than it actually is. This has been referred to as “vanishing caloric density” by researchers, and it might be the exact reason why we’re all guilty of polishing off the entire bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in one sitting. Another theory scientists have about the addictive taste of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is that the combination of fat, salt, sugar, and seasoning is “hyperpalatable,” which is a fancy way of saying that our brains react positively to eating foods with these ingredients. This is present in a lot of snack foods that have formulations high in fat, salt, and sugar, in an effort for us to eat more and, consequently, buy more snacks. Seeing as we can’t seem to put them down, it comes as no surprise that scientists have figured out that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are actually addictive!
6. They’ve Caused Numerous Health Concerns
No one ever said that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were a health food. In fact, there’s been a lot of discussion of whether or not this food can actually be dangerous in higher quantities. In 2012, many schools across the United States were debating whether they should ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from schools entirely, seeing as kids would often eat entire bags in one sitting, completely ignoring the serving sizes on the nutrition labels. They’re also just a flat-out unhealthy choice for growing children, who should be eating much more nutritious foods in the first place. With this in mind, it’s pretty understandable that some schools would want to ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in favor of healthier options. Another health scare that went viral involved rapper Lil Xan, who was sent to the hospital for apparently eating too many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He mentioned that something in the spicy snacks hurt his stomach enough that he threw up blood. Granted, doctors mentioned that eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on their own wouldn’t be able to cause any serious stomach issues, but their spiciness could very easily worsen digestive issues or ulcers to the point of hospitalization if you eat too many of them. With lots of health scares involving Flamin’ Hot Cheetos being posted all across the Internet, we now know it’s best to enjoy these fiery favorites in moderation.
5. Their Spiciness is a Mystery
If you’ve ever wondered what is inside Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that gives them that fiery taste, you’re not alone! The specific flavoring of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is a complete mystery to the public, and with “Flamin’ Hot Seasoning” being what shows up on the ingredients list, consumers probably won’t be finding out anytime soon. The mystery may make eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos more fun for some, but can be pretty disconcerting for others: not knowing what’s behind the flavor may lead people to feel anxious about not being completely aware of what they’re eating. Luckily, fans of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have found a suitable alternative for those who want a more natural version of their favorite snack, in the form of Trader Joes’ Spicy Cheese Crunchies. Trader Joes advertises these copycat snacks as being a more natural version of the OG, citing on their website that the Spicy Cheese Crunchies are flavored with real cheddar cheese and spices, and don’t contain any artificial colors either. Consumers claim that these are an equally tasty variation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that contain far less unnatural ingredients. Though they may not be a perfect replica of the OG Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the Spicy Cheese Crunchies may be worth a try the next time you’re out shopping at Trader Joe’s for other tasty organic foods!
4. Katy Perry Dressed Up As a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto For Halloween in 2014
Thought you were the biggest fanatic of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? Think again! International pop star Katy Perry proved her loyalty to this spicy snack food in 2014, when she dressed as a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto for Halloween. Perry wore a huge, Cheeto-shaped suit with red tights that also appeared to have the texture of a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto, making her resemble the snack from head to toe. She topped the look off with a matching Flamin’ Hot Cheetos bag that appeared to be made of a literal cellophane bag of Cheetos. It goes without saying that her creative and unique costume went completely viral online. Whether Perry was endorsed by Pepsico to wear one of their most famous snacks as a Halloween costume to Kate Hudson’s Halloween party, or if she did it completely of her own volition, one thing is sure: this pop star completely won Halloween 2014, while giving her favorite snack heaps of publicity in the process. It seems Katy Perry has an emotional attachment to the snack, too: Perry told the magazine Marie Claire that eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos helped her deal with her turbulent marriage to Russell Brand (and the subsequent divorce), so it’s no wonder that she would want to commemorate her favorite snack in the best possible way.
3. Forever 21 x Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Was A Thing
With the amount of Cheetos superfans out there, Forever 21 saw the opportunity to bring the Cheetos brand to clothing, accessories, and even makeup with their Forever 21 x Cheetos line. While many of the items in this collection featured the original Cheetos, a few items had the Flamin’ Hot flavor as a standout. Forever 21 sold Flamin’ Hot socks, necklaces, hoop earrings, and tube dresses to eager fans. The makeup collection featured colors and pigments that mimicked the designs on the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos bag and, of course, the Cheetos themselves. Sadly, there’s a slim chance you’ll be able to get your hands on any of this Cheetos merch nowadays: with Forever 21 announcing that they’d be closing the doors of more than 7,000 locations in 2019, the Cheetos collection will likely be difficult to find in the remaining stores today. However, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos continued to make a fashion statement in the runway realm when they debuted a snack-themed collection for New York Fashion Week in 2019, under the name of the House of Flamin’ Haute. With branded clothing and more than your average daily dose of cheetah-print, the collection made a huge statement on the runway, but it didn’t end there; hors-d’oeuvres and cocktails at the bar featured Flamin’ Hot recipes, and there was even a style station where people could get their nails and makeup done to look as spicy as the featured snack.
2. The FHC Origin Story
Seriously, the way these snacks were invented sounds like something straight out of a comic book. A man working as a janitor at a Cheetos factory by the name of Richard Montañez took some Cheetos home and sprinkled some chili powder on them in hopes of replicating the elote (a Mexican corn snack) he’d eaten in his childhood. After realizing the potential behind his idea, Montañez decided to do his research on business pitches and presented his idea to the Cheetos execs, who were thrilled by the idea. He jokes that, back then, he had a PhD; that is, being Poor, Hungry, and Determined. Montañez is now said to be the VP of multicultural sales and community activations for the entire North American division of Pepsico. Montañez’s success story is such an interesting and unconventional one that rumors of a movie biopic of his life have been circulating Hollywood for a while now. Montañez worked on his family farm, sold burritos in elementary school, became a janitor, and eventually invented a product that would take the world by storm and lead to his own personal success. It sounds like a good movie on its own, but the fact that Montañez also happens to be the inventor of one of the best snack foods on the market is also a plus. The movie rights appear to have been picked up by Eva Longoria for production, who was famous for her role in Desperate Housewives. With Longoria announcing on Twitter that she’d taken on the project for the movie in 2019, it must be coming to theaters sooner rather than later! Though it may not be a thriller of Marvel Cinematic Universe proportions, the origin story of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is still blockbuster film-worthy.
1. A Single Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Was Sold for $100K
If you’ve ever eaten Crunchy Cheetos, you’ll know that they come in a variety of shapes, seeing as they’re not exactly the most uniform snack out there. It can be just as much fun to look for cool shapes in your Cheetos as it is to eat them! However, an eBay user took this to an entirely new level when they placed a listing for a single Flamin’ Hot Cheeto on the website for the low, low price of $99,900. The selling point of this incredibly value Cheeto? It was shaped like the fallen angel and Internet gorilla sensation himself, Harambe. In 2016 and 2017, the Harambe meme was going stronger than ever, but this eBay listing brought it to an entirely new level. If the listing hadn’t been outrageous enough, what happened next was downright unbelievable. Someone apparently made an offer to buy the Cheeto for this absurd price, but backed out after it made headlines – proving that it was all probably just a big joke. Either way, the incident, along with other viral Cheetos with uncanny resemblances to real-life people or animals, prompted Pepsico to release an online Cheetos Museum, where consumers could submit their finds to be viewed by other Cheeto aficionados. In 2019, a submission of a giraffe-shaped Cheeto to the Cheetos Canada website won a $25,000 prize, giving people even more incentive to buy the snacks and pick out their favorite shapes.