Everything Vegans Should Know About Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Modern processed snacks aren’t always easy to navigate for vegans. So many options to choose from; some vegan; some not.

Today we’re looking at whether Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are vegan.

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What are Flamin’ Hot Cheetos?

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are the cheesy, spicy flavored chips from the Cheetos® brand – a derivative from the original cheesy Cheetos.

Cheetos (formerly known as ‘Chee-tos’ up until 1998) is a crunchy corn puffed snack brand made by a company called Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. Their creator, Charles Elmer Doolin, invented Cheetos in 1948, and began national distribution across the U.S. 

The initial success of Chee-Tos was a contributing factor to the merger between The Frito Company and H.W. Lay & Company in 1961 to form Frito-Lay, a crossover company. In 1965 Frito-Lay became a subsidiary of The Pepsi-Cola Company, forming PepsiCo, who is still the current parent owner of the Cheetos brand.

According to Frito-Lay records, the concept for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos was developed at the company’s headquarters in Texas in 1989 and became available nationwide in early 1992, and are still available today.

Ingredients:

  • Enriched Corn Meal (Corn Meal, Ferrous Sulphate, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil), Flamin’ Hot Seasoning (Maltodextrin [Made from Corn] 
  • Salt 
  • Sugar 
  • Monosodium Glutamate 
  • Yeast Extract 
  • Citric Acid 
  • Artificial Color [Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 6, Yellow 5] 
  • Sunflower Oil 
  • Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes] 
  • Onion Powder 
  • Whey 
  • Whey Protein Concentrate 
  • Garlic Powder 
  • Natural Flavor 
  • Buttermilk 
  • Sodium Diacetate 
  • Disodium Inosinate 
  • Disodium Guanylate 
  • Salt

Are Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Vegan?

As you can see, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos contain the following non-vegan products: cheddar cheese, cheese cultures, whey, whey protein concentrate, and buttermilk, therefore they are definitely NOT vegan.

What is Whey?

Whey is the watery part of milk that remains after the milk has been curdled and strained.

What is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy milk liquid. Traditionally, it is what’s left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream.

Are Any Cheetos Flavors Vegan?

No, unfortunately, no flavors of Cheetos are suitable for vegans at present.

In fact, they barely even qualify as vegetarian-friendly. While they contain dairy, which most vegetarians are fine with, they are also produced by using animal enzymes making them non-vegan or vegetarian.

Are There Any Vegan Cheetos Substitutes?

The good news for lovers of vegan cheesy-flavored (and HOT!) chips is that there are cruelty-free alternatives available such as:

Vegan Rob's Plant Based Dairy Free Cheddar Puffs Certified Gluten Free Kosher(OU) Kosher 3.5 oz - 3 pack
Vegan Rob's Plant Based Dairy Free Cheddar Puffs Certified Gluten Free Kosher(OU) Kosher 3.5 oz - 3 pack
SO DELICIOUS: Dairy free never tasted this great.; NO-GUILT TREAT: This healthy snack enables you to “meditate and focus on the crunch.”
$20.16 Amazon Prime
Doritos Flavored Tortilla Chips, Spicy Sweet Chili, 1 Ounce (Pack of 40)
Doritos Flavored Tortilla Chips, Spicy Sweet Chili, 1 Ounce (Pack of 40)
Pack of (40) 1 ounce bags; Doritos tortilla chips with classic nacho cheese flavor; Made of whole corn
$33.75 Amazon Prime
Sabritones Chile and Lime Flavored Puffed Wheat Snacks, 4 oz Bag
Sabritones Chile and Lime Flavored Puffed Wheat Snacks, 4 oz Bag
4 oz bag of; Delicious chile and lime flavor; Great for sharing with family and friends
Taco Bell Fire Tortilla Chips, 12 Count
Taco Bell Fire Tortilla Chips, 12 Count
ph 2 bullet; ph 3 bullet; ph bullet 1
Pringles Tangy Buffalo Wing (Pack of 14)
Pringles Tangy Buffalo Wing (Pack of 14)
Pringles Tangy Buffalo Wing
Sale
Kettle Brand Potato Chips, Jalapeno Kettle Chips, Party Size, 13 Oz
Kettle Brand Potato Chips, Jalapeno Kettle Chips, Party Size, 13 Oz
Spicy chips: balanced, spicy jalapeno-pepper flavor; Kettle-cooked: incredible tasting potato chips with a hearty crunch
$3.99 Amazon Prime
Doritos Blaze Flavored Tortilla Chips, 3.125 Ounce (Pack of 10)
Doritos Blaze Flavored Tortilla Chips, 3.125 Ounce (Pack of 10)
Try new Doritos Blaze flavored tortilla chips; Enjoy Doritos with lunch or as a snack, at work, home, or on the go
LATE JULY Snacks Clásico Bacon Habanero Tortilla Chips, 5.5 oz. Bag
LATE JULY Snacks Clásico Bacon Habanero Tortilla Chips, 5.5 oz. Bag
Contains one (1) 5.5-oz. bag of LATE JULY Clásico tortilla chips in Bacon Habanero flavor

Some of our Favorites Include:

Hippeas’ Vegan White Cheddar

Made from pea protein (and a clever play on the word ‘hippie’) and completely vegan, all types of Hippeas are incredibly delicious (and dangerously moreish!)

Vegan Rob’s Cheddar/Dragon Puffs

While they don’t taste exactly like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Vegan Rob’s Dragon Puffs are pretty close!

Peatos’ Fiery Hot

Peatos was designed to be the healthy version of Cheetos, and they look and taste almost exactly like Cheetos, except they’re a little bit more nutritious for you, which is definitely a bonus!

Earth Balance’s Vegan Aged White Cheddar Flavor Puffs

These are fully vegan, gluten-free, and contain no trans fats or GMOs – and they’re really delicious.

I Heart Keenwah’s Sweet Chili Puffs

As their name suggests, these puffs are made from quinoa and differ from the texture of Cheetos, but are healthy and cruelty-free, and the sweet chili ones are fairly similar to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Did You Know?

Did you know that while all Cheetos in America aren’t suitable for vegans, the British version of Hot Cheetos is?! So, if you simply can’t do without your Cheetos fix, you can purchase these from Amazon!

Please note, as discussed in our ‘Is Sugar Vegan?’ article, not all types of sugar can be considered vegan. It is therefore the responsibility of the reader to make their own inquiries with the manufacturers of these suggested vegan friendly alternatives to determine whether the sugar used in these products are suitable for vegan consumption.

How to Make Vegan Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Naturally, if you don’t relish waiting a few weeks for an international package, you can have a stab at making your own!

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (unless you like more)
  • 2 cups flour (318g)
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour (14g)
  • 8 tablespoons vegan butter (4 ounces)
  • 7-ounce bag shredded vegan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • Cayenne pepper (if you wish to make yours spicy)

Method:

  • Mix white flour with corn flour, salt, and garlic
  • Make a dough by mixing vegan butter and the flour mixture. If the dough is too dry and doesn’t come together add 1/4 cup – 1/2 water.
  • Grind shredded vegan cheese in a food processor as finely as possible.
  • Mix vegan cheese into the dough (preferably with a stand or electric hand mixer).
  • Roll dough in to log, cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • Once the dough is a chilled break off little pieces and form uniformed Cheetos.
  • Bake at 350 for 15-40 minutes depending on thick you make these.
  • Bake extra-long to make sure they’re entirely crunchy and the inside isn’t chewy. Or fry until completely crunchy. Naturally frying is quicker, but less healthy.

Once your Cheetos are cool spray them with cooking spray and roll them around in vegan cheese powder or flaming hot spice mix (paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion, salt, sugar, and lemon pepper).

Conclusion

So, we’ve learned that if you’re a vegan in the United States, Cheetos are unfortunately off-limits to you. However, there are ample vegan alternatives and making your own can be fun!

Failing that, you can always place an international order to get your hands on the fully vegan UK version of Hot Cheetos from the brand themselves.

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