Every year we have a poetry slam at our school featuring original student-created poetry. Some of the topics were quite intense with some mature beyond their year's topics. One year, one student presented a poem about domestic violence. That was immediately followed by a poem of a completely polar opposite form of intense emotional expression: her undying love of Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
Yup. It was that kind of an emotional rollercoaster.
It was detailed. It was hilarious. It even brought up the common side effect of eating too many of these. Yup, she brought up the moment when she realized those snacks had passed completely through her digestive tract.
It brought both laughter and tears to my eyes.
Taste and review
All joking aside, but Flamin' Hot Cheetos are pretty darn good in my opinion. In fact, my students, usually have those Cheetos or Takis with them at any given moment.
But then Trader Joe's rolled these out. I grabbed a bag the first time I saw them.
I tried them. And then I was perplexed. And I left this review to sit for a while.
This review has been sitting in a draft folder since May. It's July. I tried them and I really wanted to like them. That bag of Spicy Cheese Crunchies has been sitting on my counter since May untouched beyond a few nibbles since then.
A bag or two of the Flamin' Hot Cheetos have been on my counter and subsequently emptied in that same time period. Mostly by my husband. Some by me just for comparison's sake.
But there is something so addicting about the original that I can't quite put my finger on.
So let's go over where they are similar. Both are hot, reddish-hued (to a different degree), and have some pretty good kick to them.
But for something that looks visually similar, there are some key differences. These are baked leading to a different texture. They were more cheese puff than Cheeto. FHC is far crispier. These are far more mellow in heat where the FHC the heat sneaks up on you.
Then there is the flavor, they are spicy and cheesy but not the same seasoning blend. I'm not sure which flavor it is, but there was just a taste in these that I just did not love.
Then there is the color which is all-natural. Which probably won't have the aforementioned side effect of letting you know when they have passed through your system.
Now, part of me understands people's desire to be healthier. But part of me also knows that when I reach for a bag of chips, it's not to give myself some aspect of nutritional value.
I know when I eat a starburst, it's because it tastes good. I'm not trying to derive any nutritional value from it. But if you are reaching for this bag you are trying to minimize the damage, you aren't saving yourself a ton of calories. In fact, you'll only save 40 calories per serving and 5g of fat.
Do I think it is worth a try once? Absolutely. Will I buy another bag? Nope. If I'm going to consume something this nutritionally devoid, then I'm going for the extra 40 calories.
For $1.99 it's inexpensive and you may find you love them. I know I might be in the minority by saying that I don't love this product, but I don't think it's bad either. It's just not for everyone or an equal substitute. It's a similar product that will absolutely have its fan base. I can't count myself as one of them.
The bag of Trader Joe's Spicy Cheese Crunchies:
The nutritional information:
How Trader Joe's describes these:
Out of the package you get:
Would I buy this again? While I know I'm in the minority by saying I wasn't completely crazy about these. So, no I won't be buying Trader Joe's Spicy Cheese Crunchies again.
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!
The Bottom Line
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Trader Joe's Spicy Cheese Crunchies
Product Name: Trader Joe's Spicy Cheese Crunchies
Product Description: Trader Joe's Spicy Cheese Crunchies are an alternative to Flaming Hot Cheetos.
Trader Joe's Spicy Cheese Crunchies are a pretty decently affordable snack option.
- A healthier alternative to Cheetos.
- Very affordable at under $2 a bag.
- I thought the Cheeto version was better.
I had wondered about these. Thank you for doing the review. I debated whether to buy a bag but like you said is it worth it considering it so nutritionally devoid of anything? Baked or not I'm just not sure I'd want these around. I suffer from 3C addiction . Crunchy, cheesy & carby is my downfall. I am sure these are not nearly as good as Cheetos but still not something I'd want to have around LOL.
I can understand it. There was nothing majorly wrong with the product, but after having the original it was a tough comparison. Some people are going to prefer this over FHC, while I prefer the less healthy variety. And yes, I can totally understand the struggle with those 3 Cs. Thanks as always for stopping by and sharing!
I just tried them yesterday. I thought that they were not as spicy (which I enjoyed lol) but I think if you are looking for a cheaper, slightly healthier alternative, these are pretty great considering the ingredients and price and overall taste.
Hey John! Thank so much for sharing! You assessment is pretty spot on. These did not make my nose run the way FHC do. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your day and stopping by!
I love this blog and am headed to Joe's today. I always check here before I go to see what your latest reviews have to say and I'm pretty certain a bag of these will find its way into my cart. Thanks for your awesome blog; I consider it a public service, although my waistline does not, lol.
Hey mkdallas! Would love to hear what you pick up! And yes, even if you don't agree with me on certain things, your voice is welcome here. By the way, your comment totally made my day. And yes, my waistline has suffered somewhat due to this blog as well. You are not alone. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
OK, the cheese crunches were HELLA hot, but I did pick up the uncured ham & swiss oven bake croissants you reviewed and they are delicious!
Hey mkdallas! Thanks so much for getting back to me with your thoughts on these items. And OMG yes, those croissants were awesome. Thanks so much for taking the time to follow up!