How To (Sort Of) Make Cheetos In 20 Extremely Complicated Steps

I set out to replicate one of America’s greatest feats of snack engineering in my own kitchen. And I don’t regret a moment of it.

Alice Monkongllite / Thinkstock / BuzzFeed

I decided this when I was eating Cheetos and marveling at their complexity — light, crunchy, orange, with tingle and tang. Too often we forget the little triumphs of modern living. Everyday inventions get lost in the story of our species. Sure, our species fused atoms and wiped out smallpox. We have built banks and machines and cities. But we have also built big things that seem small: soft beds, safe cars, and snack foods.

With the American spirit of invention burning, I figured that even if I couldn’t build a city, I could try to make a Cheeto.


1. No internet. No “research.” Just one woman, one dream, and a bag of chips. The pioneers didn’t have GPS, so why should I have instructions?

2. No substitutions. If Frito-Lay lists it, my Cheetos will have it. Bring on the monosodium glutamate and maltodextrin!

3. I must taste all the results.

4. I only get three tries.


First, I opened up a bag of classic Cheetos and found my muse:

First, I opened up a bag of classic Cheetos and found my muse:

After careful sorting, I selected the most Cheeto-y Cheeto: ridged, 1.2 inches long, just the right amount of orange.

Adrienne Johnson

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