With its neon orange color, there is no chip that stands out quite like Cheetos. No matter how much you try, you’ll probably get that orange powder all over your fingers and hands. But let’s be honest, that’s the best part!

Cheetos are a beloved snack in the United States, but can people on a gluten-free diet enjoy them? This post will delve into what Cheetos are if they are safe for the gluten-free community, and which types of Cheetos are the safest to enjoy.

A bag of crunchy Cheetos.

What Are Cheetos?

Cheetos are a crispy cheese snack created by the Frito Lay company in 1948. It was an instant hit. The history of Cheetos is actually quite interesting. During the early 20th century, the US tried inventing a cheese that could last for a long time, did not need refrigeration, and could resist intense heat. Eventually, a dehydrated cheese powder was created, which was later used in the making of Cheetos! Who knew a government experiment would lead to one of the most popular snacks in America? I am a little bit of a trivia buff, and I love cool facts like this!

The Frito Lay company creatively turned the dehydrated cheese powder experiment into a yummy snack. The process of making Cheetos is a bit complicated. It is made by frying a cornmeal mixture in oil and then coating it in cheese powder. It’s then packaged and sent around the country for your enjoyment.

Today, you can buy Cheetos almost anywhere. Find them in grocery stores, convenience stores, vending machines, sports events, etc. Cheetos contain MSG, so be sure to read Is MSG Gluten Free?

Answer: Are Cheetos Gluten Free?

Most flavors of Cheetos are gluten free, but there are also some risks to consider. For example, the Frito Lay company website states that some flavors of Cheetos are gluten-free, while others don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients but are not listed as gluten free. This may sound like the same thing, but there is a slight difference between them.

In the US, to label a food “gluten-free,” the food has to be tested and shown to have less than 20ppm of gluten. Unfortunately, that means that the flavors of Cheetos that don’t have gluten-containing ingredients have either not been tested for gluten or may come across cross-contamination issues.

This may not be an issue if you aren’t too gluten-sensitive. But, if you have Celiac disease or a high level of gluten intolerance, then it is best to stick with the gluten-free flavors.

Frito Lay states on its website that its production lines are cleaned after every round. Still, they cannot guarantee that the ingredients did not come in contact with gluten before getting to their factory.

Before grabbing that bag of Cheetos from the shelf at your local grocery store, it is best to read the ingredients list on your Cheetos bag first. You can also check the Frito Lay company’s website for the most recent information. Ingredients and manufacturing practices are constantly changing, so it is best to take extra time to avoid any future discomfort.

Also, check to see Is Beef Jerky Gluten Free and Are Doritos Gluten Free for even safer snacking options.

A green bowl filled with Cheetos.

Gluten Free Cheetos Flavors:

Find the full list below or on the Cheetos Allergen List.

  • Cheetos Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeño Cheese 
  • Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheese 
  • Cheetos Fantastix! Flamin’ Hot Flavored Corn and Potato Snacks
  • Cheetos Paws 
  • Cheetos Puffs 
  • Cheetos Puffs Flamin’ Hot Cheese 
  • Cheetos Simply Crunchy White Cheddar Cheese 
  • Cheetos Simply Puffs White Cheddar Cheese 
  • Cheetos Reduced Fat Puffs  
  • Cheetos Puffs  
  • Cheetos Puffs Flamin’ Hot 
  • Cheetos Simply Puffs White Cheddar Cheese 

All of the above information also applies to their other snacks, like Cheetos Puffs.

You can check out my whole Snack List to see which gluten-free snacks.

Gluten Free Versions of Cheetos:

  • Annie’s Organic Cheddar Cheesy Puffs
  • Luke’s Organic White Cheddar Cheese Puffs
  • Pirate’s Booty Cheese Puffs (Trader Joe’s also makes a version of these that are gluten free!)
  • Utz Cheese Balls
  • You can also try fun crispy cheese crisps like Moon Cheese, Air Cheese, and Whisps.
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