Recipe: Flamin' Hot Cheetos Fried Chicken Bites

Recipe: Flamin' Hot Cheetos Fried Chicken Bites

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Meghan Splawn
Nov 12, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

If you're a fan of Flamin' Hot Cheetos and love the crunch of crispy fried chicken, prepare yourself for the deliciousness that is easy, cheesy, spicy Hot Cheeto chicken bites. After just one bite, you'll understand why they have a cult following.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos might seem like a gimmicky ingredient, but it's actually sort of ingenious. You'll be surprised and delighted by the cheesy, spicy flavor and crisp-tender texture they bring to the fried chicken. And thanks to a smart pantry staple, this recipe doesn't require that messy three-step breading process. Here's how to make Flamin' Hot Cheetos fried chicken bites at home.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Easy, Cheesy, Spicy Fried Chicken Bites

Admittedly, these fried chicken bites are a bit of irreverent fun! You don't need Flamin' Hot Cheetos to make tasty fried chicken bites, but I guarantee it will delight your taste buds.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

The Secrets to the Best Flamin' Hot Cheetos Fried Chicken Bites

You'll start with a single 9-ounce bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, which get pulsed into a fine powder in the food processor. As they cook, the Cheetos lose a bit of their kick, so you'll want to add a pinch of cayenne and some salt to the powdered Cheetos to keep them flamin' (sorry, I had to say it).

Here's the best part: You'll coat the chicken bites in mayo before tossing them in the Flamin' Hot Cheetos powder. The mayo keeps the chicken juicy and helps the coating stick. While the recipe calls for a few zip-top bags to keep cleanup minimal, feel free to use small bowls instead.

You'll notice these chicken bites are pan-fried, rather than deep-fried. Pan-frying is easier and uses less oil, and because you'll be able to control the temperature of the oil more easily, you don't risk burning the Flamin' Cheeto coating.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos Fried Chicken Bites

Serves 6 to 8

Prep time: 25 minutes ; cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 1 (9-ounce) bag

    Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (about 5 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large), cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3/4 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 1 cup

    peanut or canola oil, for pan-frying

Place the Cheetos in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until they form a powder with some texture, about 1 minute. Transfer the powder to a gallon-size zip-top bag and add the cornstarch, cayenne, and salt. Close the bag and shake gently to combine; set aside.

Place the chicken and mayonnaise in a second gallon-size zip-top bag. Seal the bag and massage the bag so that every chicken piece is coated in mayo.

Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, use tongs to transfer the chicken from the mayo bag to the Cheetos bag. Seal the Cheetos bag and shake vigorously to evenly coat the chicken.

Using tongs, transfer about half of the coated chicken to the skillet. Fry until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken bites to a paper towel-lined plate. You may need to pour out the first batch of oil and wipe the pan with a paper towel before heating the remaining oil and frying the remaining chicken bites. Serve warm, with a generous sprinkle of salt.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)
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