Are you tired of boring snacks? Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Air Fryer Cheese Bites are anything but boring! These tiny little cheese bites are coated in spicy crushed Hot Cheetos and air-fried for a next-level snacking experience.
These are crispy on the outside with gooey melted cheese inside for a fantastic combination of flavor and texture. Spice up your next game day party with this hot and spicy appetizer.
I have a real weakness for Cheetos, especially the spicy ones! When my kids were younger, they’d ask why I never bought them. I told them they were unhealthy, but the truth is I knew I’d eat too many!
So a snack that combines Cheetos with melted cheese is irresistible. This snack is similar to Applebee’s popular Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Cheese Curds, but you don’t have to leave your house to get it.
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Why You Will Love These Air Fryer Cheese Bites
It is a simple recipe with only five ingredients.
Crunchy, cheesy, and spicy describes the perfect appetizer!
Kids love to help with the crushing Cheetos and dipping cheese cube parts.
This appetizer is perfect for a big event like the Super Bowl or just for making an exciting snack for a family movie night.
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
Cheetos – I used Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but you could use another flavor. When I was at the store, I noticed they now have an extra hot variety, so I might have to try that!
Cheese – You can use cheese curds, like Applebees, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, or pepper jack. I think cheese curds are a little more challenging to use because of their uneven shape. So I’d recommend not using them the first time you make this snack. I used pepper jack here because why not make them hotter?!
Flour – The flour helps seal the cheese in so it doesn’t melt all over the air fryer
Egg and milk – These two ingredients coat the cubes, so the coating sticks. They are also crucial for sealing the bites and help make them crispy.
How to Make Air Fryer Cheese Bites
While these aren’t difficult to make, it is essential to follow the directions closely! Cheese can be a little tricky to air fry because it melts! So make sure you follow the steps for dipping the cubes in the correct order.
Start by cutting the cheese into cubes. Cut the block into 16-18 squares. Try to make them consistent, so they cook at the same rate.
Then crush the Cheetos. I put them in a zippered bag and used a rolling to smush them to crumbs. You want them to be very finely textured.
Kids love to help with this step. Put the Cheeto crumbs in a shallow bowl.
Put the flour in one dish. Then put the eggs and milk in another. Stir the eggs so the yolks break and mix with the milk.
2, Dip the Cheese Bites
Line the bowls up with the flour, then egg, and then Cheetos. In addition, get out a plate for storing the dipped cheese bites and put it right next to the bowl of Cheetos.
Having everything ready beforehand will make the messy dipping process more manageable. Try to use only one hand for dipping, so the other stays clean. You can also use a slotted spoon to help move the cube around.
Pick up a cube and dip it into the egg mixture. Then drop it in the flour, making sure to cover the cube completely.
Then put it back into the egg mixture for a second time.
Finally, put it in the bowl of Cheetos crumbs. Make sure it is completely covered in Cheeto dust. Thoroughly coating the cube will help ensure the cheese doesn’t melt out.
Put the coated cube on a plate or tray and keep going until they are all coated. Make sure the cubes don’t touch on the plate.
Put the cubes in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Don’t try to skip this step! You can make the cubes ahead of time and let them stay in the freezer on the plate for up to 12 hours.
4. Air Fry
Preheat the air fryer at 390 degrees F for 2-3 minutes when ready to cook. Then take the frozen cubes out and spray them with some spray oil.
I don’t recommend using commercial oils in the air fryer because the chemicals can damage the basket. Buy an inexpensive spray bottle and fill it with oil.
Put the cubes in the air fryer basket in a single layer. If you can’t fit them all, then cook them in batches.
Air fry at 390 degrees F for 5 minutes. Then check the cubes. If they are starting to brown, take them out with tongs. If they don’t look crisp enough, cook them for another 1-2 minutes and check again. Stop cooking as soon as the cheese starts to melt.
Serve these right away with a tasty dipping sauce. Because the bites are hot and spicy, they taste great with a cool and creamy sauce, like feta dip, ranch, or blue cheese dip.
How to Store Air Fryer Cheese Bites
We don’t have leftovers of these! But if you do, you can store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. To reheat, cook them in a preheated air fryer at 350 degrees F for 2-3 minutes.
You can also store these in the freezer before air frying. If you keep the cheese bites frozen longer than 12 hours, transfer them to an airtight container. They will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. When you are ready to cook them, just follow the recipe directions.
Using a rolling pin to crush them in a plastic bag works quickly. But you could also put the Cheetos in a food processor and pulverize them to dust.
I have not tried using other snacks. But I would assume any snack chip would work as long as you crush it well. Let me know how it works if you try something else.
Key Tips for This Recipe
Be sure to check out the step by step instructions
Try to coat the cubes thoroughly and evenly.
Pay attention to the “egg – flour – egg – Cheetos” dipping sequence, and don’t skip steps.
Don’t try to take a shortcut and skip the freezing step.
Preheat the air fryer.
You can make this with cheese curds for an Applebee’s copycat recipe. But they are a little more challenging to work with because of their non-uniform shape.
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- 1 8-ounce block cheese, pepper jack, mozzarella, cheddar
- 2 cups Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, crushed
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- spray oil in a bottle
- Cut the cheese into 16-18 cubes. Keep the size as uniform as possible.
- Place the Cheetos in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Put them in a bowl.
- Put the flour in a different bowl.
- In a third bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk.
- The dipping can be messy, try to just use one hand so once stays clean. Pay attention to the order of the dipping!
- Dip each cheese cube in the egg, then in the flour, then the egg mixture again, and finally in the Cheetos crumbs. Make sure the cubes are well coated in the mixture.
- Transfer the coated cubes on a plate and freeze for at least one hour.
- When ready to cook, preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees F. Spray the frozen cheese cubes with oil from a spray bottle.
- Put the cubes in an even layer in the basket of the air fryer. If you don't have a large enough air fryer then cook these in batches.
- Air fry for 5 minutes at 390 degrees F. Check them and decide if they are crispy enough or not. Add cooking time 1-2 minutes at a time.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 342mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g
Nutrition facts are estimates.