A question for the ages - Cheetos

So I’m sitting here at work, waiting to go to happy hour, and commenced to eating a midafternoon snack - Cheetos. I have a small, yet dedicated place in my heart for Cheetos, and told a friend as much over IM. She proceeds to tell me that she’s heard that Frito-Lay will be coming out with a healthier version of Cheetos, one that’s baked rather than…

And then she stopped. And there was palpable silence. We realized that we don’t know how Cheetos are made now, so finding out they’re going to be baked isn’t as big a newsflash as it perhaps could be.

So can anyone enlighten me? Just how does Frito-Lay make my beloved Cheeto?

They’re fried. They tried this stunt once before: “Cheetos: fried, to a crackly crunch, or baked, to a delicate crunch.” Nobody bought baked Cheetos, as the “delicate crunch” was better described as a “soggy collapse.”

I’ve heard that Cheetos will be reducing the amount of trans- fatty acids in their frying oil, but I haven’t heard of reviving baked Cheetos.

Are you positive that they’re fried? I remember seeing something on Food Network a few months ago where they went to the Cheeto factory. The starchy mix got squeezed into little worms and then the orange powder was spread on them. I don’t remember seeing cheetos being dropped into vats of frying oil.

Wouldn’t they be a lot more greasy if they were fried?

Apparently, they’re baked, then fried.

I remember the choice between “baked” ones and “fried” ones as a kid.

Nobody liked the baked ones.

If you want to know what the baked ones were like, go find some Planter’s cheese balls.

According to that link, Bughunter, only the “Crunchy” variety of Cheetos are baked and then fried. All other varieties are baked only. The “Crunchy” variety are the thin, knarled ones that everyone thinks of when they think of Cheetos. The other varieties are different shapes of the “Puffed” variety, which are fat and and of even width. All of them are yummy.

I need a snack now.

The puffy ones are yummy? Ugh. Just thinking about them makes me wanna hurl. Cheese-flavored styrofoam? No thanks.

Hey! I like Planter’s cheez balls! (I just can’t bring myself to use “cheese” in that sentence.)

I could have sworn that the baked ones were the original Cheetos and they intoduced the fried ones later. I much preferred the fried ones.


I have just seen a “natural” version Cheetos. First ingredient: “organic corn meal”. Didn’t see any organic certification on the packaging, though. Had the same amount of total fat grams as the regular. Still won’t eat 'em, so I didn’t bother to read anymore detail on the label.

Frito-Lay continues working to change the way Americans snack. In 2003, Frito-Lay was the first food company to eliminate trans fat from its snack products. Trans fats are considered by doctors as among the worst types of fats because they raise the LDL (or bad cholesterol) while lowering the HDL (or good cholesterol). The company converted from hydrogenated oils to corn oil, a trans fat free oil, in the production of Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos snacks. By eliminating hydrogenated oils from its products, Frito-Lay removed an unprecedented 55 million pounds of trans fats from consumers’ diets. For years, the company’s leading Lay’s and Ruffles potato chips as well as Fritos corn chips have been prepared in trans fat-free oils.

Most recently, Frito-Lay introduced Doritos Edge Tortilla Chips, Cheetos Edge Cheese Flavored Snacks and Tostitos Edge Tortilla Chips, for consumers pursuing a low-carb lifestyle. The Doritos and Tostitos Edge products contain 6 grams of net carbs, while Cheetos Edge contains 7 grams of net carbs. Additionally, Frito-Lay has begun distributing soy-based crisps under the Quaker Quakes brand.

Frito-Lay also offers a number of low-fat, sensible snacks including Baked! Lay’s Potato Crisps, Baked! Ruffles Potato Crisps, Baked! Doritos Tortilla Chips, Baked! Tostitos Tortilla Chips, Baked Cheetos, Ruffles Reduced Fat Potato Chips and Rold Gold Honey Wheat Braided Twists Pretzels.

I believe baked versions get a different type of yeast or yeast additive that prevents it from being too ‘mushy’, and yields more ‘crisp’ when baked.

How long have you worked for Frito-Lay?

This isn’t good enough for GQ so I called Frito-Lay’s info line. The answer suprised me.

The baked Cheetos were introduced in 1968.
The fried Cheetos were introduced in 1948.