How to Perfect TikTok’s Famous Hot Cheeto Salad, According to a Recipe Developer

Keep these tips in mind before you try this out-there dish.

September 15, 2021


Photo by: Chicago Tribune/Getty

Chicago Tribune/Getty

Oh, TikTok, when it comes to culinary creativity, you give and you give. The latest simple, tasty-looking dish to kick off a trend? Hot Cheeto Salad.

The dish can be made with five basic ingredients, mixed together in a bowl: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, cilantro, cucumbers, lemon juice and Tapatío hot sauce. The recipe was shared by cosmetics-focused TikToker @rxthism (real name: Ruth) on August 29 in a video that has been viewed more than 4.5 million times.

“Let me show you how I make my Hot Cheeto Salad,” Ruth captioned her short video.

Then, after adding all the ingredients and digging in, she declares, appreciatively, “It’s BUSSIN BUSSIN.”



♬ Better - Khalid

We’re all for dishes that seem simple, delicious and wildly creative, but we wanted to ask Food Network Recipe Developer Amanda Neal to share her take — and her tips to perfecting Hot Cheeto Salad before trying it ourselves.

For starters, Neal thinks the salad looks “really tasty.”

“The refreshing chopped cucumbers, herbaceous cilantro and kick of heat from the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have potential to be well balanced in flavor. Plus, the crunch of the Cheetos could also be texturally appealing,” she says.

Neal believes the recipe’s allure lies in its “wow factor.”

“You don't see Flamin’ Hot Cheeto salads on every restaurant menu,” she observes.

However, she adds, “There are many cultures that have cucumber salads with various degrees of acidity and spice, such as a spicy Korean cucumber salad, so I can see the appeal!”

If you want to make a Hot Cheeto Salad yourself at home, Neal has two pieces of advice to help you perfect it:

Use super fresh ingredients. Sure, calling for freshness in a Cheetos-based salad may “sound counterintuitive,” Neal allows. But, she says, because the Cheetos themselves are so processed, you should balance it out by opting for crisp English cucumbers, freshly squeezed lemon juice and just-picked cilantro. “This will make the salad as refreshing as possible,” she says.

Eat it right away. Don’t make this salad ahead of time and let it just sit there. “Once the salad is all tossed together, the Cheetos will become soggy rather quickly,” Neal cautions. “I would suggest eating this salad immediately after serving.”

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