Bring on the Heat: 11 Dishes Made with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
The cult-favorite junk food is having a moment at restaurants across the country, firing up burgers, pizza and even ice cream.
Photo By: Rey Trajano
Hot as Hell at Drill'd Ice Cream Mixmasters, Fountain Valley, California
Believe it or not, regular Flamin' Hot Cheetos were actually not spicy enough to stand up to the ice cream at Drill'd. For more heat, the California dessert shop turned to Frito-Lay’s Xxtra Flamin' Hot variety, which it blends into a vanilla ice cream base using a high-speed drilling contraption. The resulting soft serve — finished with a dusting of ground Cheetos — comes out as a pale pink swirl. Don’t be fooled by its charming color: There’s a reason the flavor has been dubbed the Hot as Hell.
Hot Cheetos Macaron at Indulge Gourmet Desserts, Tomball, Texas
The rotating flavors at Treney Juarez’s macaron stand mix high with low. Some, like the fig-goat cheese and salted caramel, skew more classically French, while others, such as the recently debuted hot Cheetos and sour apple, are inspired by the Houston pastry chef’s own guilty pleasures. The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos cookie calls for white chocolate ganache blended with crushed puffs and macaron shells colored a bright red to match.
Cheesesteak with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos at Lefty’s Famous Cheese Steak Hoagies Grill, Dearborn, Michigan
This twist on Philadelphia’s signature hoagie may not garner support from traditionalists, but should be a hit with the population of eaters who add potato chips to their sandwiches. Created by owner Sam Berry — the restaurant’s namesake lefty — the sandwich boasts all the typical cheesesteak fillings (thin-sliced beef, grilled onions, a mix of white American and Swiss cheeses) with a handful of the curly neon puffs strewn on top for added texture.
Cheet-o-lote at Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles
According to the origin tale, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were the brainchild of Richard Montanez, a former janitor who took home a defective batch of regular Cheetos and sprinkled them with elote spices. The story comes full circle at Dodgers Stadium, where the Mexican street-food staple — a 2017 mid-season addition promoted to this year’s permanent lineup — is slathered in chipotle-lime mayo and hot Cheetos powder.
High Roller at Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Austin
The patty specialists at this Texas-based chain are no strangers to wildly spicy burgers. In 2014, Hopdoddy debuted a fiery ghost-pepper special that was so hot, daredevil diners were required to sign a waiver before eating it. The new limited-edition High Roller may not bring the same level of spice, but it’s certainly no slacker, featuring a taco-seasoned beef patty, pepperoni, mozzarella and Cool Ranch fries sandwiched between two hemp-seed buns. To tie it all together, chefs have created a Flamin’ Hot ketchup that’s as vibrant as the chip itself — and has a spoonful of cookie dough on the side to temper the heat.
Mac and Cheetos Pizza at Corner Joint, Lawndale, California
This California pizza joint marries two comfort foods into one and takes the so-extra step of finishing the pie with a hot Cheetos crumble. The pizza starts as any regular one does — with fresh mozzarella on dough — but quickly enters over-the-top territory thanks to a cheesy spread made from penne pasta. It’s baked 'til the crust is charred, then garnished with arugula, spicy ranch dressing and the aforementioned Cheetos topping.
Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese at Mac’d, San Francisco
Beloved by both owners of Mac’d, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were a no-brainer addition to the topping options at this fast-casual build-your-own mac bar in the Marina. After a few trials involving economy-sized bags of the red stuff, they discovered that spicy Cheetos actually take on a smoky aroma when baked, a perfect complement to the dozen or so mix-ins (bacon, mushrooms, and more) available for taking the gooey bowls to the next level.
Flamin’ Hot Burrito at Tu Taco Taco Shop, Chula Vista, California
Burritos usually get a kick from hot sauce. But at San Diego street-food spot Tu Taco Taco, there’s an unexpected ingredient spicing things up: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Owner Victor Osuna adds pulverized bits of the corn puffs onto a cheese-covered tortilla and wraps it around a regular burrito stuffed with carne asada, cheddar and, in true California style, French fries, to make a handheld meal that’s not for the mild of palate.
Hot Cheetos Doughnut at Donut Fantasy, Fresno, California
The menu at Donut Fantasy reads like a list of childhood indulgences — there are doughnuts topped with frosted animal crackers, Fruity Pebbles cereal and, on the savory side, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The inventive concoction came to owner Nick Hamby when he spotted a bag in the pantry. After considering how delicious sweet-and-spicy chicken can be, he decided to dip a vanilla-white chocolate frosted doughnut in the blazing spirals.
Hot Cheeto-rito at The Lowkey Poke Joint, Garden Grove, California
Sushi burritos — a Frankenfood all over Instagram — get another made-for-social-media transformation at The Lowkey Poke Joint. Filled with sushi-grade fish and your choice of vegetables, plus sticky calrose rice, the giant sushi roll gets a colorful crunchy shell of crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Flamin' Hot Cheetos Bagel at The Bagel Nook, Freehold, New Jersey
Creative bagels abound at this family-owned shop, where typical flavors like everything spice and cinnamon-raisin are sold alongside the Cookie Monster and Flamin' Hot. The latter brings the heat in the form of a spicy Cheetos crust, added after the bagels have been proofed, boiled and baked, with ghost-pepper cream cheese. If that sounds too extreme, customers can pair it with a Cool Ranch spread inspired by Doritos, naturally.