Did you say Cheetos mac n cheese??? Yes, we did!
It seems everyone loves mac and cheese in all of its varieties: side dish, main dish, and even snack balls. It is the quintessential comfort food, for both kids and adults alike. For some of us, it’s is super nostalgic, and for others (especially younger, pickier eaters) sometimes it’s the only thing that they will actually eat. And if you thought that kids (and adults) couldn’t possibly love macaroni n cheese more than they already do, there’s a brand new trend in town and we’re here for it!
It first started with food bloggers adding Cheetos onto the top of a baked mac n cheese. Not only was it a great way to save time in having to bake your own breadcrumbs, but it also added a perfect salty / cheesy crunchiness to the dish.
In 2016, Cheetos caught onto the trend and did a collab with Burger King to create ‘Mac N Cheetos‘, which was only available while supplies lasted. It was basically deep-fried macaroni sticks, except they had Cheetos dust for the breading, and they were shaped like actual Cheese Puffs. They ended up selling out for the first release, selling out for a 2nd release, and then in 2017 they packaged them to be for sale at participating Walmarts.
Since then, this combo has been cropping up everywhere from Tik Tok to Pinterest, and just recently Cheetos has decided to release their own macaroni and cheese line. With it being the height of the pandemic, we couldn’t think of a better time to give this comfort food combo, a quick and easy version. Whichever version you’re thinking of trying, we’ve done a round up of all our favorite recipes including a review of the new macaroni and cheese line. If anything, it’s kind of a great excuse to have a bag of them on your shopping list!
Regular Cheetos Recipes
1. Baked Mac n Cheese with Cheetos
This is a great recipe for your dinner rotation. We love that this recipe works well as leftovers, so you can make a big batch to save on making dinner for the next day. Since the ingredient list is super simple, you probably already have them in your pantry. The base is made from milk, flour, and cheddar cheese. The topping is the crushed Cheetos heated through in the oven to add a little more crunchiness.
Also if you happen to have an Instant Pot, you can cook the elbow macaroni in there first, and then combine the ingredients for a quicker bake time.
Get the full recipe and directions from Mama Hearted
2. Eight Cheese Mac n Cheese with Cheetos
This is an amped version of the last recipe, since it uses eight different cheeses! With all of the flavor profiles of the different cheeses, this is probably our most decadent version which is definitely a very creamy sauce. The cream and milk-based sauce for this version is super rich, but the topping of the Cheetos pieces helps to balance the creaminess by adding a crunchy texture. We really love that he salty cheesy crunch really adds another dimension to this dish, and you could even try the Flamin’ Hot version for some added heat!
A quick tip: if you don’t want to have eight cheeses in your fridge, you can use the pre-shredded cheese combos they have in the stores.
Get the full recipe and directions from Call Me PMC
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Recipes
3. Bacon Jalapeño Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese
The tagline on this recipe’s page is “If you haven’t made mac and cheese with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos yet, you’re doing it wrong“, and we couldn’t agree more!
The is the first in our list of spicy versions. The addition of a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and fresh jalapeño creates a really nice textural heat. Loaded with bacon and 2 types of cheeses, it all come together in the best way possible to add some great dimension to a dish you already love.
The flecks of bright red cheese crumbs, along with the green onions make this a very festive-looking meal and would be so much fun as a holiday dish or a potluck meal. Should this be a new holiday tradition? We think so!
Get the full recipe and directions from Pop Sugar
4. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac n Cheese Burger Casserole
Imagine if mac and cheese, a cheeseburger, and Cheetos had a baby. You would get this dish! This meaty and hearty version comes in the form of an easy breezy casserole. Casseroles are notorious for feeding large groups and are easily portable so they make the perfect potluck meal.
It’s also the perfect quick meal because the recipe calls for pre-packaged mac n cheese unlike the others on the list that require making the cheese sauce from scratch. We love how easy this dish is…After following the macaron directions on the package, cook up the meat, then assemble the casserole in the skillet. And because it’s all made in 1 skillet, that means less dishes – score!
Get the full recipe and directions from Hy Vee
5. Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Fried Mac n Cheese Balls
I think we can all agree that the most fun way to eat macaroni and cheese and is in ball form! They’re fun to eat, make for a great snack, or are great for when you’re hosting (especially for game day bites!) The Cheetos, combined with panko bread crumbs, help form the outer layer. Then they’re carefully deep-fried to make a great tasty crunch.
The recipe uses chilled mac n cheese, so this is also a great one to use if you have any leftovers! The authors of the recipe recommend serving these with a side of charred shishito peppers, which works nicely with the creaminess of the cheese. But if you’re making this for kids or non-spicy eaters, you can opt to not use the peppers, and you can use regular Cheetos.
Get the full recipe and directions from Bakers Royale
Cheetos’ Brand Mac and Cheese
6. Review of Cheetos’ Brand Mac n Cheese (All 3 Flavors)
Cheetos jumped on the idea of having a mac n cheese line, and came out with their own box mixes in August 2020. Just for clarification, these are Cheetos-flavored mac n cheese mixes, but they do not come with actual Cheetos to top them off. This of course is kind of a bummer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add them on your own.
The box mixes are quite easy to make, requiring only milk and butter, and only taking about 15 minutes to prepare. They come in 3 flavors: Bold N Cheesy, Jalapeño, and Flamin’ Hot, and we found that the spiral noodles hold onto the cheesy flavoring pretty well. We also liked that these were pretty creamy, which can sometimes be a challenge with box macaroni. And we were also impressed that the flavors closely mirrored those of their actual flavor profiles.
One thing to note is that you can also buy these in single-serving size, which is great for those nights that you just want to pop something in the microwave.
7. Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
If you like the idea of using the Cheetos-flavored mac n cheese, this is a recipe to take it to the next level. This mac n cheese currently has 3 varieties, so the flavor you pick is completely up to you. While they differ in levels of spiciness, all of them would work well in this recipe.
The recipe requires using cooked chicken, which would make it an excellent meal to make if you happen to have leftover chicken. I personally like to buy a rotisserie chicken, and then use it for 3 different dinner ideas. And while the recipe calls for blue cheese to make this more of a true ‘buffalo chicken’ dish, you could really use any cheese that you happened to have on hand. This is such a fun play on the new mac n cheese boxed mix, and the chicken makes it a delicious and satisfying meal.
Get the full recipe and directions from Blackberry Babe
We’ve taken you through a couple of fun mac n Cheetos recipes, let us know your thoughts! Was this a great blend of two comfort foods or would you rather have them separate? Are there other things you like to throw into your macaroni? Let us know, we’d love to hear!
If you like this post, we think you’ll really love our favorite pasta cake recipes!