By Mike Thayer
No bachelor's pantry should be without a box of macaroni & cheese.
Sure, I love to cook so making a scratch mac & cheese and baking it in the oven is my preference, but there are those times when you want a quick meal and have a need to satisfy a cheese craving.
Enter Cheetos Mac & Cheese
Coming in three flavor varieties, 'Bold and Cheesy', 'Cheesy Jalepeno' and 'Flamin' Hot', I went with the 'Bold and Cheesy' for this review.
I've been wanting to try the Cheetos Mac'N Cheese to see how it compares to Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, my go-to and what I typically have on hand in my pantry. I've tried Annie's, Banza and a host of the store/discount brands, but in my book nothing is quite as good as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese - Original.
The box instructions are pretty much the same as for all the boxed mac & cheeses, boil up some water, cook the pasta for 7 minutes, drain, return the pasta to the pan, then dump in some milk, butter and the "seasoned' cheese.
My first bite of this easy peasy meal was good. I'd put it on par with Kraft Mac & Cheese. I like the spiral pasta from a visual standpoint, a bit more fun than elbow macaroni, but it doesn't really change the flavor profile and both types of pasta hang on to the cheese sauce equally well. And about that cheese sauce. It was indeed Cheetos orange! But more importantly it was smooth, not slightly grainy like you get with some of those discount brands and the flavor itself was cheesy like as stated on the package. But was it bold? Not really, it was good and virtually the same as Kraft, but I wouldn't call it bold. Sharp cheddar is bold, but this flavor isn't sharp, it's mellow. When it comes to flavor, it would be interesting to do a blind taste test of just the cheese sauces.
Costing about $1 at just about any grocery store, I'm giving Cheetos Mac'N Cheese Bold & Cheesy 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. Yes, it's pretty much equal to Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Original, but I kind of expected this to be a bit elevated in cheesy flavor, after all the claim is "Bold." If you're going to claim it's bold, then I want some bold cheesy flavor and this stuff doesn't deliver on that claim. It's good, but it's not bold. And you don't get as much pasta with Cheetos as you get with Kraft. Cheetos gives you 5.9 ounces, Kraft gives you 7.5 ounces. I'm not going to say Cheetos isn't worth a repeat buy, I'm going to stick with Kraft, but would buy Cheetos again only as a plan B option, as it's better than most of the discount brands.