Are Cheetos Flammable? Inferno or Myth

Cheetos is a beloved snack that has captured the hearts and taste buds of millions worldwide.

With their vibrant orange color, irresistible cheesy flavor, and satisfying crunch, they have become a go-to choice for many to satisfy those snack cravings.

But have you ever wondered about the unique properties of Cheetos? In today’s blog, we will explore a curious question that has been circulating – Are Cheetos flammable?

Stay tuned as we delve into the science behind this intriguing inquiry and uncover the truth about Cheetos and fire.

Are Cheetos Flammable

What Are Cheetos Made Of

Cheetos are a popular snack known for their distinctive cheesy flavor and crunchy texture. While the exact formulation may vary slightly depending on the specific product and flavor, here are the main ingredients typically found in Cheetos:

Cornmeal: Cheetos are primarily made from cornmeal, which provides the base for their crunchy texture.

Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil, often corn oil, is used to fry cornmeal during manufacturing. It helps to create the crispy texture of Cheetos.

Cheese Powder: Cheetos are known for their cheesy flavor, which comes from a powdered cheese blend. The cheese blend may vary, but it typically includes cheddar cheese, whey protein concentrate, and milk.

Seasonings and Flavorings: Various seasonings and flavorings are added to enhance the taste of Cheetos. These may include salt, spices, artificial flavorings, and additional additives to achieve specific flavors like “Flamin’ Hot.”

Other Ingredients: Cheetos may contain additional ingredients such as sugar, maltodextrin (a thickening agent), monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a flavor enhancer, and preservatives to extend shelf life.

Are Cheetos Flammable?

The answer is yes, but with a few caveats. Cheetos contain a significant amount of fat due to the vegetable oil used in their production. It is this fat content that makes them highly flammable. When exposed to an open flame, the fat in Cheetos acts as fuel and can cause them to catch fire.

However, it’s important to note that not all Cheetos are equally flammable. The degree of flammability depends on various factors, including the specific ingredients used, the cooking process, and the moisture content.

Cheetos with a higher fat content are more likely to ignite and burn faster than those with a lower fat content.

Can You Burn Cheetos?

Yes, Cheetos can burn if exposed to enough heat or flame. When Cheetos are subjected to high temperatures, such as being placed directly over a flame or in a hot oven, they can ignite and catch fire.

The burn reaction of Cheetos is similar to other food items that contain oil and carbohydrates.

When Cheetos burn, the vegetable oil and fats present in the snack become the primary fuel source. The oil and fats can sustain the fire and cause the Cheetos to continue burning until the fuel is depleted or extinguished.

As the Cheetos burn, they may produce smoke, emit a strong odor, and eventually become ashes.

It’s important to note that intentionally burning food items like Cheetos can create smoke, odors, and potentially hazardous conditions.

It is not recommended to purposely burn Cheetos or any other food item, as it can be a fire hazard and produce unpleasant fumes.

Are Cheetos Good Fire Starters?

No, Cheetos are not considered good fire starters. While Cheetos contain fats and oils that can burn, they are not designed or intended for use as fire starters.

Here are a few reasons why Cheetos are not suitable fire starters:

Inconsistent burning: Cheetos may not burn consistently or sustainably due to their composition and structure. Cheetos’ irregular shape, varying sizes, and porous nature can lead to uneven and unpredictable burning.

Unreliable flame: The flame produced by burning Cheetos may not be stable or long-lasting. It may flicker, go out quickly, or produce excessive smoke, making it less effective for starting or sustaining a fire.

Uncontrolled burning: Cheetos can burn with high flames, and the fire may spread quickly if not carefully monitored. This can make them potentially unsafe to use as fire starters, especially in outdoor or wilderness settings where fire management is crucial.

Safety concerns: Using food items like Cheetos as fire starters can release harmful chemicals and unpleasant odors.

Food particles and residue can also attract wildlife and insects, creating additional safety and sanitation concerns.

Why Do Cheetos Burn Like A Candle

Cheetos can burn like a candle due to their composition and the presence of fats and oils. Here are a few reasons why Cheetos can exhibit candle-like burning characteristics:

High-fat content: Cheetos contain a lot of fats and oils, typically vegetable oil. Fats and oils are highly flammable substances that can burn easily when exposed to heat or flame.

Surface area: Cheetos have a large surface area compared to their volume. Cheetos’ puffed, irregular shape increases air circulation, providing oxygen to support combustion and sustain the burning process.

Porosity: Cheetos have a porous structure, which allows air to flow through the snack. This promotes oxygen supply to the burning fats and oils, further contributing to the sustained flame.

Ignition point: Fats and oils have relatively low ignition points, meaning they can ignite at lower temperatures than other materials. Combined with a flame or heat source, this characteristic allows Cheetos to catch fire and burn easily.

When a Cheeto is ignited, the fats and oils within the snack serve as the fuel source. As the fats and oils burn, they release heat, light, and combustion byproducts, resulting in a flame similar to a candle.


While Cheetos contain fats and oils that can burn, they are not considered reliable or recommended fire starters. Cheetos are not designed or intended for use as fire-starting materials.

Their irregular shape, varying sizes, and porous structure can result in inconsistent and unpredictable burning. The flames produced by burning Cheetos may not be stable or long-lasting, and they can generate excessive smoke and potentially release harmful chemicals.

Additionally, using food items like Cheetos as fire starters can pose safety and sanitation concerns. Therefore, it is advisable to use proper fire-starting materials specifically designed for that purpose to ensure safe and controlled fire management.