Somewhere along the way, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos became their own food group.
That’s as true on TikTok as anywhere else in the world. One scroll through the #hotcheetos video tag will bring up everything from Hot Cheetos waffles to Hot Cheetos fried chicken to Hot Cheetos donuts.
These recipes range from innovative to patently gross, and, sometimes, it can be hard to sort out the difference. Still, the editors at In The Know couldn’t resist one trend that really caught our eyes: Hot Cheetos mozzarella sticks.
It’s easy to see why the combo is taking over TikTok. Both snack foods are cheesy, crispy and, eventually, make you feel horrible about yourself — so why not put them together?
Also, the end result is very, very red, which at the end of the day, just makes for great content. No wonder this YouTube recipe for the snack, from Simple and Delish by Canan, has more than 165,000 views.
Considering the amount of Cheetos content In The Know has covered in the past, we knew we had to try making these ourselves. Here’s how it went.
How to make Hot Cheetos mozzarella sticks
First things first, your ingredients. In addition to what’s listed below, you’ll also need several bowls, a medium-sized pot and a ton of paper towels (more on that in a second).
- One pack of mozzarella sticks
- One egg
- Approximately 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- At least 2-3 cups of vegetable oil
- One bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
- A blender or a Ziploc bag, and something heavy
To start, you’re going to turn about half the bag of Cheetos into a fine Cheetos dust. You can do that by processing them in a blender, or if you’re like this writer and don’t have one (it’s embarrassing, I know), you can put the Cheetos in a Ziploc bag and grind them down by hitting them with something heavy. It’s basically like crushing graham crackers for a pie crust.
Next, set your Cheetos dust on a plate alongside your flour and a beaten egg. Then, take out your mozzarella sticks and, one by one, start rolling.
You’re going to want to roll each cheese stick in the egg wash, then the flour, then the egg wash again and, finally, the crushed Cheetos. Make sure there’s a flaky red crust fully coating each stick. Once they’re all ready, it’s time to fry.
Heat a pot full of vegetable oil until it’s sizzling, then, one by one, plop in your coated cheese sticks. You don’t want to cook them for too long — mostly just until the Cheetos have solidified into a crust — but keep in mind that more time equals meltier cheese on the inside.
Then, toss those big, cheesy fellas on a plate and let them cool. Also, turn a fan on — speaking from experience, there will be a suffocating cloud of Hot Cheetos smoke floating through your kitchen.
So … are they actually good?
It’s hard to measure success with a snack like this. Here’s the thing: Hot Cheetos are almost universally beloved and, in many ways, so are cheese sticks. It’s hard to hate something with this much cheese in it.
That said, nothing about this really tastes like a Cheeto. In fact, it really just tastes like a mozzarella stick, with a subtle, spicy flavor kicking in at the end.
So, it all depends on your expectations. If you love Cheetos and assumed this would be an earth-shattering snack, don’t try it. Don’t let yourself down like that. However, if you thought the combo would be gross and want a pleasant surprise — then, by all means, have a bite.
Flavor aside, these things look amazing. At least, they don’t look like food, which is both exciting and horrifying. The Hot Cheetos mozzarella sticks take on a deep red hue, which could be a great way to catch your friends off guard at a party.
That said, the process of making them is a little bit arduous and, to be honest, painful. This writer ended his workday with his sinuses screaming, his eyes watering and his entire apartment smelling like fried Cheetos. These cheese sticks are a process to make, and they definitely leave a mark on the kitchen.
In sum: If you’re a real Hot Cheetos stan, go for it. If you don’t want to smell like them for the next 24 hours, maybe just let someone make them for you.
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If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s video of us trying TikTok’s “Red Bull Italian Soda” recipe.
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