Popular snack brand Cheetos is no stranger when it comes to teaming up with the world’s second most popular fast food chain, Burger King. The two saw success earlier this summer with the wild and crazy Mac N’ Cheetos, which blended a creamy and cheesy macaroni noodle mix inside of a crunchy and deep-fried batter, which was of course covered in a cheesy Cheetos powder. We even reviewed the dangerously cheesy (and delicious) snack, and you can read our thoughts right here. Now, the two have decided to merge the popular Cheetos brand with BK’s own trademark chicken fries and the result is the Cheetos Chicken Fries.
How can one properly merge a highly addictive snack with a finger-friendly fast food staple as accessible as chicken fries? Well, according to BK and Cheetos, the answer is as simple as whipping up a fresh batch of chicken fries, only with batter that’s slightly more heavy and crunchy, while topping it with the familiar Cheetos powder/seasoning that was found all over the previously discussed Mac N’ Cheetos.
Let’s rewind things for a second for those that are not familiar with BK’s legendary chicken fries. Before chicken fries became a popular menu item, Burger King dabbled with chicken tenders – which morphed into chicken crowns until eventually being discontinued, followed by a variation of chicken strips and chicken nuggets. I’m a huge BK fan, but I will admit that their chicken nuggets are as bland as they come, especially when compared to McDonalds’ trademark McNuggets.
But Burger King had an ace in the hole, which was revealed to the world in the mid-2000s as the chicken fries. These deliciously seasoned and perfectly deep-fried strips of chicken came in a compact size and the perfect quantity (9 per order). BK even considered the placement of these snack-sized treats, by packaging them in a box that can fit in your cup holder and even came with a dipping sauce insert on the top of the box for the fastest and safest means of consumption with minimal spillage.
These chicken fries were a hit, quickly replacing the tenders/crowns and remaining an important part of BK’s menu for those looking for chicken on the go. Then, BK quietly dropped the chicken fries altogether until wisely bringing them back to the menu not too long ago.
Initially, the chicken fries came back as a limited edition thing, until high enough demand (and rising red meat costs) brought back chicken fries as a permanent member of their ever-growing menu. Since then, BK has been shaking things up rather frequently, introducing spicy chicken fries, buffalo chicken fries, jalapeno chicken fries and even the slightly disgusting chicken fries rings (try saying that five times; it sounds weird, doesn’t it?).
Burger King knows that chicken fries not only grabbed the attention of those social media-hungry millennials, but also people of all ages and sizes. Personally, I have yet to meet someone who enjoys BK and dislikes chicken fries.
Enter the popular snack brand Cheetos and their new relationship with infusing their known brand of snacks with BK’s always-changing fast food menu. BK knows that the competition is tough and that people will gladly go elsewhere if needed, which is why they’ve started to introduce crazy menu items such as the Mac N’ Cheetos, which are actually tasty and totally worth your money.
But can BK and Cheetos co-exist inside of their already-perfect chicken fries or has BK gone too far allowing Cheetos such access to their menu?
Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you that BK and Cheetos’ latest co-creation is a dud, making for a somewhat disappointing snack that has all of the right intentions. Burger King has gone all-in on the marketing for this one, even including Chester the Cheetah in the marketing on commercials, Twitter and Facebook. They’ve also packed their hot-and-fresh chicken fries inside of a colorful package that’s bursting with creativity and excitement. Too bad that the end product is a mess of tastes and lacking any true punch of flavor.
The Cheetos chicken fries taste like basic BK chicken fries, stripped of their trademark seasoning, coated with an extra layer of crunchy batter and topped with a lacking spread of Cheetos powder. The Mac N’ Cheetos benefited from this crunchy and orange-tinted powder that complimented the cheesy noodles tucked inside the batter, while the Cheetos chicken fries taste mostly like a bland batch of chicken fries with no real cheese taste or flavor.
I tried multiple times to capture the flavor of the Cheetos powder, including several bites without my handy chicken fries sauce. I even thought I received a poor batch of chicken fries and snagged a few from a fellow BK aficionado, but the resulting taste was disappointingly the same.
My biggest complaint was the lack of trademark chicken fries seasoning, which has always managed to keep these chicken fries ahead of the competition. The batter is extra crunchy, to help blend that Cheetos flavor into the chicken fries, but it mostly just makes the fries sound crunchier while biting into, with no actual taste benefit. Heck, I even tried straight-up licking a chicken fry (don’t judge) and I still barely could taste the usually overpowering Cheetos flavor.
Why bother dowsing your chicken fries in such a seasoning if it just doesn’t stick or give the chicken fries anymore flavor or kick?
Dipping the Cheetos chicken fries in chicken fries sauce, BBQ sauce and even ranch did not alter the lacking flavor one bit, while eating them completely plain had my taste buds begging for more. I definitely valued my Coke sips and occasional French fry pit stops more and more as I reached the realization that Burger King’s Cheetos chicken fries just aren’t worth it.
Diehard chicken fries enthusiasts like myself will likely try the Cheetos chicken fries regardless of my comments, but those on the fence will want to avoid these, especially if you have somehow never tried chicken fries to begin with. Stick with the tried and true classic original chicken fries and wait for whatever else Cheetos and Burger King have in store for us next. Hopefully they realize that sprinkling powder on top of chicken fries, without any real alteration to the batter just isn’t going to cut it and maybe they’ll try to infuse a cheese-based sauce inside of the chicken fries. Now that, would be an awesome idea that my mouth would love to experience.