Let me preface by saying I am SO SORRY about the results I am about to report to you. If you do not want to know the ugly truth (that Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese is v. extremely good), please stop reading now.
Are you still here? Okay great, let’s get going with this saddest of Sad Girl Taste Tests!
It all started when I discovered that Cheetos had unveiled a new mac ‘n cheese line (I think exclusively?) at Walmart. As usual, my news source was my good pal Russ, who is always on the cutting edge of depressing foodstuffs news! (TY, RUSS!) I immediately went to Walmart’s website to see if any of the flavors (OG Bold & Cheesy, Cheesy Jalapeno and Flamin’ Hot) were in stock. BLAST, NONE TO BE FOUND! Fortunately this pandemic has completely reconfigured my priorities, and so I diligently kept checking back until all three became available. I could only find them in packs of twelve, and Cheesy Jalapeno and Flamin’ Hot were only available in microwaveable cup form, which was annoying since I don’t own a microwave. BUT, I figured I would bite the bullet and snap up 36 packages of insanity for about $35 total. (This is the first and hopefully last purchase I will ever make from Walmart Dot Com. Also I am a 32-year-old human woman.)
Then came the week of waiting, in which I felt incredibly guilty for having ordered something (CHEETOS MAC ‘N CHEESE FROM WALMART, NO LESS) from across the country, thus maxing out my carbon footprint. (I rarely do these types of things, and I feel a lot of remorse! I promise it’s not a habit!) The package was set to arrive on Friday afternoon via FedEx, and I got a notification at 3:48pm that it had been delivered. HUZZAH! I checked downstairs, but nothing was to be found. I knew that sometimes the USPS would report things as delivered a day or two in advance for some reason, but after a quick Google I learned this wasn’t super customary with FedEx, and the package had likely been delivered elsewhere. Much like a missing person, you can’t report any issues for like 72 hours, so I got on with my incredibly boring weekend.
THEN, much to my surprise, the package turned up on Saturday afternoon! And it was real, real embarrassingly big! (My pantry now looks like that of a college stoner, not that anyone has been over to my apartment since 2019 to notice anyway!)
I decided it was only right to kick things off with the Flamin’ Hot flavor; I emptied the contents of the cup into a pot of boiling water (removing the seasoning packet first; I’m not a complete idiot), but I noticed some salt-esque chunks and was kind of like “Uhhh…”. Apparently these are normal, and are important for microwave cooking (according to the package), so who knows what the hell that’s about, but I ate it and am still alive 48 hours later! (Win!) After the noodles were cooked, I sprinkled in the seasoning packet, and HOLY GOD it was one of the most nuclear-red-looking situations I’ve ever seen. Like, super alarming. But also as a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos fan, not even remotely unsettling. I’m not big on adding milk to my mac ‘n cheese, usually just opting to leave in a bit of the pasta water and adding a good hunk of butter. (I feel that my way is correct, but feel free to do whatever you want when it comes to mac ‘n cheese preparation. This is still, in some ways, a semi-free country.)
And OH BOI, SHE SPICY! Not in an overly-aggressive way, like definitely not Korean fire noodles level spicy, but definitely something that kicks you in the face. Pleasant if you’re like me and enjoy a spicy vibe, but if you’re on the low tolerance end of the heat spectrum, this is not for you. In terms of the cheesy flavor, it had major parmesan energy happening, and I was really into it! (Upon further investigation of the ingredients, in addition to cheddar they used blue cheese, hence the funk! Interesting move, Cheetos!) Spot on replica of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos minus the crunch. I’m sure it’s packed with MSG, but 10/10 don’t care and would eat again.
Next I tried the boxed Bold & Cheesy, which ended up being my favorite! Prepared in exactly the same way as described above, only I didn’t notice the weird chunks of white stuff that had been in the microwave cups. The flavor was, again, very spot on in terms of mimicking a handful of Cheetos, and this time there was none of the spice factor, which was a nice change of pace. Great flavor profile, and I p. much inhaled.
Last up was the Cheesy Jalapeno. First thing I noticed upon opening the seasoning packet was WHOA WHOA WHOA THAT IS DEFINITELY JALAPENO, ’cause hits you right in the ol’ nostrils. Once I’d mixed it into the cooked noodles, I could see there were indeed little green flecks, which actually was kind of off-putting if I’m honest, but the taste was on point; while it wasn’t NEARLY as spicy as the Flamin’ Hot variety, there was definitely a kick present, which I was into. A good middle-of-the-road option if you want some heat without blowing your head off.
My one complaint? All of the noodles are the spiral kind, which is my least-favorite macaroni noodle shape. I guess it probably makes more sense in terms of being able to soak up more sauce, but what a fucking missed opportunity to use normal elbow shapes in honor of Cheetos Puffs! (WHOSE DUMBASS IDEA WAS THIS?!)
But that’s honestly the only critique I have!
Again, all of these are likely majorly MSG-laden, so it makes sense that they’re incredibly moreish. (PS, I have recently incorporated the word “moreish” into my vocabulary as I’ve been watching loads of British TV shows; as you may have guessed, it means any food or drink that leaves you wanting more. Why don’t we use this in the US?! WE ARE THE KINGS OF MOREISH FOODS!) As I warned you at the start of this, I am devastated to report that I thought all three flavors were FUCKING YUM DOT COM. Fortunately I have a roughly lifetime supply since I ordered in bulk, but that doesn’t make this conclusion any less depressing. (More-so, in fact.)
Curse you, Cheetos, you SAUCY LITTLE MINX; I am officially on board the Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese train. ¯_(ツ)_/¯