Introduction: Flamin' Hot Cheeto Powder

About: I want computers to be wilder. Running a Jungle makerspace in Panama.…

Flamin Hot Cheetos! They're the best!

But sometimes all you really want is that Flamin Hot flavor without all that Flamin Hot hassle. Or maybe you want Flamin Hot Popcorn? Cashews? Apples?

Or what if you have a friend whose Flamin Hot compulsion burns so fiercely that his thumb, index and middle finger are almost always stained red. The problem is, Frito-Lay WILL NOT SELL YOU JUST THE POWDER. Craig, co-inventor of this powder even worked with Frito-Lay's manufacturers for a bit AND THEY STILL WOULDN"T GET HIM FLAMIN HOT POWDER. And their exact recipe is a well-kept secret, but....

WE CRACKED IT! The secret of the unrelenting mega-flavor of Flaming Hot Cheetos is now at your fingertips (instead of just permanently stained on your fingertips). With our homemade Flamin Hot powder, you can have that Flamin Hots fire at any time, on anything. It's the slow artisanal (hipster) way to bring your fast-food favorites home!

Our recipe isn't a mirror-perfect recreation, but it's amazingly tasty. To make it really work, grinding the spice mixture with a mortar and pestle does a surprising amount for balancing out flavors. And make sure to pair it with a fried or oily substrate (like french fries) -- that's when it's at its best (the maltodextrin really absorbs the oil and makes it a key part of the flavor).

In the following instructable, we will tell you how to make it, and also guide you through what all these strange ingredients' roles are in your snack-i-tude. We also give you some insight on our process for creating and refining this awesome mixture!

For those who just want the recipe we discovered, here it is! Straight up!


1 part maltodextrin

1/4 salt

1/4 sugar

1/2 MSG

1/8 yeast extract

1/8 citric acid

1/4 cheddar powder

dash (1/32) of onion powder (it's incredibly potent)

1/16 garlic powder

1/4 cayenne pepper

1/8 sodium diacetate

1/8 disodium inosinate / disodium guanylate

This is an instructable by Andrew Quitmeyer (blorgggg) and Craig Durkin (durkie). Usually we make Tech How-to's. but we took a shot at some cooking this time!

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

Normal Ingredients

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Granulated Sugar

Granulated Salt

Cayenne Pepper


To get that good, gas-station quality level of "hyper-palatability" in your snacks, you can't rely solely on the ingredients of our ancestors, rather you need to find the things that man has perverted in nature to bring us amazing chemicals! These chemicals make for really fun modernist cooking, and they can all be used for lots of other crazy recipes! Like dip watermelon in some citric acid, and you have Warheads-Candy Tasting Fresh Watermelon!

It can be hard to find some of these weird chemicals, so we have links for all of them for you! In total, it will cost you about $25 to get started.

The Savory Group

cheddar cheese powder (Tastes like cheese):

yeast extract (Tastes like meat):

MSG (Makes everything savory):

disodium inosinate / disodium guanylate (They "synergize" with MSG to make your mouth water and make you crave more!):

The Sour Group

sodium diacetate (salt&vinegar flavor):

citric acid (Sour Warheads or Sour Gummy Worms flavor):

The Transformative Group

maltodextrin (It locks in oil to keep a powdery outside quality to whatever oily thing you sprinkle it on):

Step 2: Figure Out the Recipe

To recreate the Flamin Hot recipe, we started with the ingredients list as found on the back of a bag of Flamin Hot Cheetos. Since ingredients in the United States are listed in the quantity that they're present, this was a decent starting point for our relative proportions of powders. And since everything is a powder, we just assumed each ingredient would weigh about the same, so our recipe is all volume-based. Something more rigorous would probably use weights, but in the end, you're combining sugar, salt, and MSG: it's going to taste good almost no matter what.

We created a spreadsheet like (attached) to record our various batch recipes, and then simply went off of taste for creating future batches. Our first batch tasted too meaty, so we dialed back the yeast extract, but upped the MSG to keep the savory flavor. Sodium diacetate was only available as salt & vinegar seasoning and had salt as its primary ingredient, so we added no additional salt to many of our early batches. Some of the other ingredients we just decided to ignore (colors, whey, whey protein, sunflower oil), but we would probably experiment more with them (like the oil) for future batches.

We ultimately had to deviate from the stated ingredient order too. Our onion powder was just SUPER oniony; anything more than a dash would overpower the whole batch, but removing onion powder completely caused a noticeable absence in the mixture.

NOTE: Make sure to pulverize your mixtures as different flavors will jump out in more if they are not all correctly powdered with a mortar and pestle.

Step 3: Tips for Taste Exploration

As a new mouth-stro-naut, here are some tips to guide your flavor adventure!
  1. Keep some of the original cheetos around to taste occassionally to hone in on that flavor
  2. For this flavor profile, use watermelon as a palette cleanser.
  3. Make clear markings on which Cheetos you have already licked clean (or you will accidentally eat some gross licked-on cheetos from your friend).
Slow Food Contest

Participated in the
Slow Food Contest

Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Participated in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Snacks Contest 2016

Participated in the
Snacks Contest 2016