Last week Burger King announced it would be subjecting innocent Americans to deep-fried, Cheetos-crusted macaroni and cheese sticks. Snacktaku is pleased to report that Mac N’ Cheetos taste much better than they look.

Before we begin I must apologize for the quality of the video atop this post. While keeping the windows rolled up and the AC turned off on a 90 degree Atlanta afternoon did wonders for the sound quality, the camera reacted poorly to the bubbling heat of the interior of my Dodge Caravan. You may notice some flickering, jumping and a man desperately in need of beard trimming putting frightening things in his mouth.


Hopping on the co-branding craze that’s created such masterpieces as the Doritos Locos Taco, Orange Crush Pop-Tart and Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Oreo (which probably doesn’t exist), Burger King and Lay’s have taken one of America’s favorite side dishes and wrapped it around macaroni and cheese.

Can product shot photographers have fans? Because I want to be the person that took this picture’s fan.

We heard the news, we saw the product shots, and we collectively freaked out. Timid eaters shuddered. Snackologists and casual snackventurers licked their chops. People with no idea how diabetes works shouted “diabetes!”

Relax, everyone. Mac N’ Cheetos aren’t the devil. They aren’t something to fear. They aren’t cheese-flavored nuggets that instantly confer a metabolic disease. They don’t even look like their picture. See?


I’m sensing a bit more fear now, which isn’t what I was going for at all. If I’d wanted that reaction I could have just dropped the saturation level on the picture and slightly tweaked the hue, like so.

Could have probably gone a little darker. I guess it depends on your diet.

But no, I come here not to bury Mac N’ Cheetos, but rather to praise them, which I will do once the color-modified picture disappears from my screen. It’s making me ill, and it ain’t easy being queasy. One moment.

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There we go.

The idea of two unhealthy things combining to form another unhealthy thing with the abilities, attributes and memories of both can be off-putting. But once you look past their dual origin, Mac N’ Cheetos are just breaded and fried macaroni and cheese.

Feel free to enlarge this image and use it as your desktop wallpaper.

Though generally presented in ball form, fried macaroni and cheese is nothing new. I had some just last month during a reception at an upscale-ish downtown Atlanta hotel. It made me feel like a fancy, fancy man. The only thing to worry about is a snack we Southerners try to pass off as a fancy hors d’oeuvre suddenly tasting of Cheetos.


Great news! These don’t taste like Cheetos.

The only characteristic the fresh-from-the-fryer batch I got from Burger King yesterday afternoon shared with Cheetos was the color. They don’t taste of Cheetos. They aren’t shaped like Cheetos (maybe Cheetos Puffs, but those aren’t real Cheetos). They don’t even smell like Cheetos.

Comparing and contrasting.

Surrounding the cylindrical mass of macaroni is a crust/breading that indeed tastes like a popular cheese-flavored snack, but not Cheetos. Crispy cooked cheese-flavor isn’t Cheetos without the corn. It’s these:


Cheez-Its, that lovely combination of flour, sharp cheddar cheese, salt and spices. My father loves these little bastards, so I’ve eaten more than my fair share. I know the flavor well, and that flavor is strong in Mac N’ Cheetos.

Taking things a step further, there’s a restaurant in Avondale Estates, Georgia called Palookaville, where they serve (among other deliciously bad for you things) a lovely dish of macaroni and cheese topped with crumbled Cheez-Its. The Mac N’ Cheetos are pretty much that in stick form. Cheez-It flavored crust around a pleasant macaroni and cheese with a slight sharp cheddar kick.


So why not call it Mac N’ Cheez-Its? For one, Burger King doesn’t have an agreement with Sunshine Biscuits. That, and I suspect if filled a room with regular Burger King patrons who hadn’t eaten for days and tossed a bag of Cheetos and a box of Cheez-Its inside at the same time, the resulting carnage would be much more lively around the Cheetos bag. It’s all about brand recognition.


So don’t look at Mac N’ Cheetos as something to fear. Don’t even look at them as Mac ‘N Cheetos at all. Walk proudly up to your local Burger King counter and demand Mac N’ Cheez-Its. They’re only half-listening anyway.

Snacktaku is Kotaku’s take on the wild and wonderful world of eating (and drinking) things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands.


Kotaku elder, lover of video games, toys, snacks and other unsavory things.

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