Do you believe in second chances? I guess I do.
Mac n’ Cheetos, we meet again! After a little over one year of being sold exclusively at Burger King, the cheesy fried snacks are now available in the freezer aisle. That’s right, you can now make Mac n’ Cheetos at home because apparently a lot of people complained that it was too much work to go to the drive thru.
During my first foray with Mac n’ Cheetos, I had a few complaints. They were too greasy. They didn’t have the distinctive Cheeto dust on the outside. The BK cashier judged me for eating alone at a Burger King location on a weekday. Needless to say, it was an experience I’d like to forget. And yet, here I am with two boxes of bake-at-home Mac n’ Cheetos. These things are like the junk food equivalent of The Walking Dead.
The bake-at-home version of Mac n’ Cheetos take about 10-11 minutes to cook in the conventional oven or toaster oven. That’s about five times longer than you’d wait at Burger King, but on the plus side, you don’t have to put on pants for them. I’ll take that trade-off.
Let’s start with the flavor that’s basically identical to the Burger King version: Creamy Cheddar. The mac and cheese filling is very similar to BK’s. It’s creamy, with soft noodles throughout. The cheese flavor tastes bolder than I remember from the fast food variety, and there’s more of a sharp cheddar tang. Unfortunately, there’s no notable Cheeto dust on the exterior coating, so these are similar to the Burger King version in that respect, too.
But even without the Cheeto dust, the coating here is a major upgrade. It’s still somewhat greasy, but it doesn’t leave that pungent frying oil aftertaste that was so dominant in Burger King’s version. There’s a solid crunch here, too–it goes without saying that these probably benefit from being baked at home rather than fried/microwaved and left sitting under a heat lamp. At some points, I even got the familiar corn/cheese flavor of actual Cheetos, which is more than I could say about the BK version.
Now, the newcomer: Flamin’ Hot. Everybody loves Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, so expectations are high for this one. The mac and cheese filling is the same as Creamy Cheddar, so let’s skip to the question everyone’s asking: Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheetos certainly look like their namesake snack, but do they live up to the “Flamin’ Hot” name?
Well, they come pretty damn close. The heat takes a bit to kick in, but after a few seconds, it builds quickly–I enjoy spicy foods, and I even found myself reaching for the water glass and wiping some sweat from my forehead after eating a couple of these Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheetos. The tangy mac and cheese filling does take a backseat to the spicy coating, but even that is true to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, where heat dominates the flavor profile. If you like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, you should enjoy these.
After another go-around with Mac n’ Cheetos, I’m actually fairly pleased. The bake-at-home version suffers from some of the same problems as the BK variety, but also improves in some areas. The added Flamin’ Hot flavor is definitely worth a try if you’re a fan of spicy snacks, too.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on you, Mac n’ Cheetos. ❤️
|How Much It Cost and Where I Bought It:||$4.98 each at Walmart|
|Just the (Nutrition) Facts:
Serving size—about 3 pieces
|Creamy Cheddar: 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 520 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of total sugars, 6 grams of protein.
Flamin’ Hot: 240 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 650 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of total sugars, 6 grams of protein.
|In a Nutshell:||Upgrade over the Burger King version. Flamin’ Hot is good if you like spicy foods. Atrocious nutritional value. Raise a Mac n’ Cheeto to second chances.|
|Overall Score:||Creamy Cheddar: 7 out of 10
Flamin’ Hot: 7.5 out of 10