For many of us, Hot Cheetos may hold a certain nostalgic value. Even if you are not fond of these finger-staining cheese puffs, you have probably seen your friends munching on this iconic snack. But are Hot Cheetos vegan?
Although Cheetos is considered an American brand, varieties of this crunchy snack are now available worldwide. You may even find some interesting flavors in foreign grocery stores, including the honey-flavored puff in South Korea and the strawberry-flavored ones in Japan.
However, since Hot Cheetos remain one of the most famous savory snacks, it is only natural to wonder if they are vegan-friendly. Keep reading to find out!
Are Hot Cheetos Vegan?
Unfortunately, Hot Cheetos are not vegan.
If you have recently adopted the vegan lifestyle or aspire to do so, you may also want to avoid Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Puffs, Baked Hot Cheetos, and other varieties of this snack.
So Are Hot Cheetos Vegetarian?
No, Hot Cheetos in the United States are not vegetarian-friendly either.
Although cornmeal is the essential ingredient of this popular snack, one quick look at its bag will tell you that it contains enzymes.
Now, the brand does not specify where this enzyme comes from. However, since Hot Cheetos include cheese products, one can assume that this enzyme is rennet. It is a common enzyme found in cheese snacks, and it comes from the stomach of a slaughtered animal.
While some enzymes also come from plant-based sources, the lack of clarification on the label makes things a little confusing. Therefore, if you are a vegetarian, you may have to find a suitable alternative to fulfill your Hot Cheetos craving.
What Makes Hot Cheetos Non-Vegan?
Vegans do not consume milk or dairy products. Meanwhile, Hot Cheetos are marketed as cheesy snacks made from real cheese.
See the irony?
The recipe for these snacks also includes cheddar cheese and other dairy products, making them non-vegan.
Here is the list of the natural and artificial ingredients used to make different types of Hot Cheetos, as per the official Cheetos website.
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Ingredients
This is what goes into Flamin’ Hot Cheetos:
Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Puffs Ingredients
Let’s take a look at what Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Puffs contain:
Cheetos Crunchy XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Ingredients
Here is the recipe for the Cheetos Crunchy XXTRA Flamin’ Hot crisps:
Cheetos Baked Crunch Cheesy Hot Ingredients
So, are baked hot Cheetos vegan? Let’s look at the recipe:
As you can see, all of these products contain cheddar cheese, milk, whey, and whey protein concentrate, among other ingredients. So, while the jury might be out on Hot Cheetos being vegetarian friendly, these crisps are certainly not vegan.
Interestingly, Cheetos doesn’t have a separate line of vegan-friendly products. In addition, the company hasn’t provided a list of vegan Hot Cheetos for its dedicated customer base. Hence, if you follow a plant-based diet, this snack may not be appropriate for you.
Important: The Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos is considered “accidentally vegan.” According to the information on its label, the product doesn’t contain meat. Thus, it is vegetarian-friendly. However, the brand does not label it as a vegan product.
Furthermore, this product is only available in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. So, if you want to give it a try, you may have to order it through Amazon.
Are Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Halal?
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are not considered halal for the same reasons they are not vegetarian-friendly – the mysterious enzyme. Muslims can only consume meat or meat by-products from animals slaughtered following Islamic principles.
Since the brand doesn’t specify if the plant-based, Cheetos may not be an ideal option for those seeking to follow a halal diet.
Hot Cheetos are also not Halal or Kosher certified. Though you may find some Halal varieties in Muslim countries, there are none locally available in the US.
Vegan Hot Cheetos Alternatives
Have you been wondering what hot chips are vegan?
While there are no vegan hot Cheetos recipes available, you can still munch on different vegan snacks that are just as mouthwatering.
Here are some of the best vegan Hot Cheetos alternatives, as shortlisted by PETA.
Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos: As it turns out, Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips are not the only vegan-friendly Doritos. The Spicy Sweet Chili flavor is also considered vegan.
If you love snacking on chips, feel free to check out my post Are Doritos Vegan?
Fritos Corn Chips: If you enjoy tacos, there is a good chance you will fall in love with this bag of classic corn chips. Fritos BBQ chips and Fritos Scoops are also classified as vegan.
However, please note that some Fritos flavors may not be vegan. So make sure to check the ingredients before you make a purchase.
Taco Bell Tortilla Chips: The crispy and delicious Taco Bell Tortilla Chips are not only vegan but also Kosher and gluten-free. You can find them in Classic, Mild, and Fire flavors.
If you are a fan of Taco Bell, you may also want to take a look at the vegan options at Taco Bell.
Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Kettle Chips: As the name suggests, these cheddar flavored chips are a perfect snack for those who enjoy a plant-based diet. In addition, the product is also gluten-free and non-dairy.
Note: Since Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos is not classified as vegan, I have not included it in this list.
Frequently Asked Questions
§ Are Flamin’ Hot Cheetos vegan?
No, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are not vegan. They contain dairy products and animal enzymes.
§ Are Hot Cheetos vegan in the UK?
Most consider Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos to be vegan, but the brand has not classified it as a vegan-friendly product. Also, they are only available in the UK, so you can’t find them in the aisles of your local grocery store.
§ Does hot Cheetos contain dairy?
Yes, Hot Cheetos contain dairy products, including cheese, whey, and casein. While most processed foods incorporate whey to add texture, casein is a protein found in cheese.
If you are looking for a healthy Cheetos alternative or vegan spicy chips, this video may help answer some of your queries.
Conclusion – Are Hot Cheetos Vegan-Friendly?
To sum it all up, no, Hot Cheetos are not vegan. In fact, they are not even vegetarian.
These products contain cheese, whey protein, buttermilk, milk, and animal-based enzymes. Nonetheless, given the rising popularity of the vegan lifestyle, Cheetos may not be far behind in launching a vegan-friendly product.
But until we get certified vegan Hot Cheetos, you may want to take a break from this snack.
Did you find this article helpful? Are you interested in learning about other popular vegan snacks available in the market? If so, check out my article Are Lays Chips Vegan to find out if this savory snack includes any vegan-friendly ingredients.