Homemade Cheetos!


Casey Barber has brought us both Twinkies® and Cheetos® recipes so that we can make them at home. These recipes and more can be found in her new book Classic Snacks Made from Scratch. Never thought of making these at home? Well, think about it. They have flavors we adore but so often these baked goods contain poor quality ingredients. By creating these at home we can control the quality of ingredients while having a whole lotta fun at the same time. (Check out our Hostess with the Mostest Cupcakes for more snack foods to make from scratch). Can you imagine your friends response when you say, “Yeah, I made these Cheetos®”! They will be stunned and you will be the hot baker on the block. You have to try these.

Excerpted with permission. Classic Snacks Made from Scratchby Casey Barber. Published by Ulysses Press. Photos by JudiSwinks Photography.

Classic Snacks

They say people start to look like their pets after a while, but I think our pets are starting to eat like us. Case in point: my tubby kitty Harry, who has developed an affinity for cheese powder. He’s learned to recognize the crackly sound of the cheese curl bag and comes running to lick the residue off our fingers (if we let him). Yes, I gave him a taste of a homemade Cheeto after I developed this recipe. Yes, it was the best thing to happen to him all day.

TOTAL TIME: 1½ hours, including dough chilling time

DIFFICULTY: 2 (Moderate)

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: stand mixer, spice grinder or mini food processor

Makes: about 9 dozen cheese curls
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup (4¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons yellow cornmeal
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese powder
  • ½ teaspoon buttermilk powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  1. MAKE THE CHEESE CURLS: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, salt, and garlic powder at medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornmeal, and shredded cheese. Stir together at low speed until a firm dough forms. Shape into a disc and place on a large sheet of plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.
  3. Pinch off small pieces of the chilled dough and gently roll between your palms and fingers to form lumpy logs roughly 2 to 2½ inches long and ¼ to ½ inch across. Place on the prepared baking sheets—you can space them fairly close together because they won’t puff up while baking.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the pieces are no longer shiny and are just beginning to brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. ADD THE COATING: Place the cheese powder, buttermilk powder, salt, and cornstarch in a spice grinder or mini food processor and whir for 10 to 15 seconds to blend evenly.
  6. Transfer to a large zip-top bag. Add the cooled Cheetos, seal, and shake gently to coat evenly.
  7. Store the coated cheese curls at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.


11 Responses to Cheetos®

  1. Dana Ross April 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    Where does one BUY / get / obtain Cheddar cheese powder?

    Thanx for the guidance.


    • Dede Wilson April 19, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      Hi Dana, King Arthur has it, although theirs isn’t orange. You can find it from multiple sources on Amazon as well. It’s awesome on popcorn!

  2. Dana Ross April 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    Thanks, Dede, I’ll go find some!


  3. Gary Walker April 20, 2015 at 4:15 am #

    You could buy some cheap boxed mac n cheese and use their cheese powder. Save the pasta for another use.

    • Dede Wilson April 20, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      Gary, great idea for last minute shopping at local supermarket.

  4. suesheftel April 20, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    These are good for a week while the real Cheetos are last forever–wow, what’s the secret ingredient in the real Cheetos?!!

  5. Maggie Patnou April 21, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    Alternate idea: Use a pasta machine to extrude crazy strands, plop the strands down on the baking sheet, bake and break, then season.

    • Dede Wilson April 22, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      Awesome idea! I think I have used my pasta machine for more non-pasta usage than for pasta! Like for forming sheets of chocolate plastic for ribbons and wrapping cakes.

  6. Dominique IsUnique September 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    I was a little disappointed, I was expecting to bite into something that had the same texture and crunch like a real store bought cheeto. It didnt taste that way at all more like a cheeto cracker. It tasted good, the kids loved it but I wanted something close to the cheetos i grew up with! There is a youtube video around with a woman making cheetos from scratch which she fries
    Her recipe comes out tasting more like cheetos. Fry in alittle coconut oil.

    • Dede Wilson September 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

      Great suggestion with the coconut oil. Will give it a go next time.

  7. Chanel Pugh December 20, 2022 at 7:40 pm #

    How can I make hot Cheetos using this recipe?

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