Cheetos' Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs Are Only Here for a Flamin' Hot Minute

This pepper-shaped addition to the Flamin’ Hot family is the hottest one yet.

Cheetos Flamin' Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs

Courtesy of Cheetos

Cheetos Flamin’ Hot snacks are having a bit of a moment this summer, from the movie inspired by their maybe/maybe not true origin story to the launch of their hottest iteration yet: Flamin’ Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs.

This latest Flamin’ Hot flavor plucks from the upper echelons of the Scoville Heat Index: Ghost peppers rank number 7 on the list, measuring around 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units (that’s about 400 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper and 200 times hotter than a habanero pepper).

In 2006, The Guinness World Records declared ghost peppers the World’s Hottest but the title has since been lost to a variety of super-hot chile pepper cultivations.

Originally grown in India, bhut jolokia peppers are known for their fruity and fiery taste. Instead of an immediate punch to the palate, these so-called ghost peppers are all about the slow build, starting off with a sweet chili flavor and taking roughly 45 seconds for the smoky heat to hit your tastebuds. Their vibrance makes ghost peppers an excellent candidate for hot sauces, chili flakes and, now, dehydrating and mixing with cheese for a zingy Cheetos coating.

The iconic brand hopes these pepper-shaped puffs “take snackers by surprise and bring the spicy snacking game to all-new heights.” For superfans of the snack brand, these might look familiar. In 2020, Cheetos introduced a limited edition "Hot Pepper Cheetos," which were also shaped like chili peppers and boasted an intense heat. The distinction between the two seems to lie in the specificity of ingredients — while the Hot Pepper Cheetos did not name any specific pepper, this latest launch is firmly derived from ghost peppers. This will also be the first flavor in Cheetos' tongue-tingling Flamin’ Hot portfolio to boast a smoky profile.

Available in Walmart stores nationwide from May 22 to August 14, the puffs will come in a 2.3-ounce bag ($2.49) for the meek and a 7-ounce bag ($5.69) for the bold.

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