This Copycat Applebees Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Cheese Bites recipe puts a twist on the deep fried finger food. They’re crunchy, spicy hot and soooo cheesy! But no need to find your nearest Applebees – you can make them at home (in your air fryer)!
Fried cheese curds are an Iowa favorite – and usually I have them battered but this recipe makes the breading out of Flaming Hot Cheetos – how fun is that?! They’re super cheesy and crunchy – really yummy!
Ingredients for Hot Cheetos Cheese Bites
This is super simple with only four ingredients:
- Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (crunchy)
- Cheese Curds – if you can’t find cheese curds, you can just dice up your favorite cheese – I recommend cheddar
How do you air fry cheese bites?
OK – let me tell you – it took me 3x to get these right! I have mad respect for the people that figured out how to fry cheese – because it MELTS!?! WHO KNEW?! haha!
Here are the steps:
- Pour Flamin Hot Cheetos into a food processor and pulse them to the texture of breadcrumbs
- Prepare your breading trays with:
- Beaten egg
- Hot Cheetos crumbs
- You’re going to need to double dip here and this gets MESSY so I would use something like a slotted spoon or a slotted pasta spoon with the fingers & holes
- Dip into egg – flour – egg – flour – egg – cheetos – trust me – again – I tried three times!
- As you dip the curds – once they’re finished – place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment – they should not be touching
- Freeze for two hours
- Remove from the freezer and start air frying!
- You’ll want to place them in your air fryer in a single layer and not touching – so you might have to batch them. If you do – keep the extras in the freezer until you’re ready to air fry
- When in air fryer, spritz with olive oil
- Air fry at 350 for 2 minutes
- Turn, spritz again – then 2 minutes more
- Serve with ranch!
Tips, Tricks & FAQs
Cheese curds are moist pieces of curdled milk. You can usually find them in grocery stores and always at the Amish stores (my favorite!). We always called them squeaky cheese because they’re a little damp and squeak when you chew them.
Nope – you’ll end up with a giant glob of melted cheese!
Turn your oven onto warm, gently remove them from the air fryer and put them on a separate cookie sheet in the oven.
Yes! The oil should be at 375 and they just need to be fried for 1-2 minutes in the fryer.
Copycat Recipe for your Applebee’s Favorites
- Fiesta Lime Chicken
- Southwest Lime Grilled Chicken Irresist-a-bowl
- Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl
- Shrimp & Parmesan Sirloin Steak
Other Air Fryer Recipes
- Deep Fried Deviled Eggs
- Fried Donuts
- Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Shrimp
- Jalapeno Cheddar Avocado Fries
You can find all of them in my Air Fryer Recipes section or in my Air Fryer Facebook group!
Copycat Applebees Flamin Hot Cheetos Cheese Bites
- 8 oz Flamin Hot Cheetos
- 8 oz cheese curds
- 2 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- Pour Hot Cheetos in food processor and chop finely to bread crumb texture
- Whisk eggs in a small bowl4 eggs
- Place flour and Hot Cheetos crumbs in plates – separately8 oz Flamin Hot Cheetos, 2 cups flour
- Position them from left to right — egg — flour — cheetos — plate
- Dip cheese curds 4-5 at a time into egg, flour, egg, flour, egg and – finally – cheetos. It’s easiest to do this with a slotted spoon in the egg (I used a pasta spoon with the fingers and bigger holes) and then spoon around the dry ingredients. This will allow you to pick up the curds and allow the egg to drain.8 oz cheese curds
- Once all the curds are on the plate separated – NOT PILED – place them in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours
- Remove from freezer and spray with non-stick spray
- Place into air fryer right away – one layer at a time – no touching – do not overcrowd!!!!
- Heat at 350 for 2 minutes
- Turn curds, spray again
- Heat at 350 for 2 minutes
- Remove gently and move to preheated 350 oven until all curds are done
- This makes about 30 cheese curds – you can easily cut in half
- Serve immediately with ranch
– If you can’t find traditional cheese curds, you can use cubed cheddar cheese
– Using a pasta spoon seemed to be the best way to get the curds in and out of the eggs/flour without getting hands completely caked up
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