Mischievous treats are key to doing Halloween right. And there’s no snack more up to the task than Cheetos®. That’s why chef Matty Matheson is here to let you know that they can be used as the star ingredient in some seriously eye-catching, spooktacular treats. Need proof? Well, look no further than these Cheetos®-crusted macaroni and cheese “Mac O’ Lanterns,” which you can easily fry up at home. They’re so good, even Chester Cheetah wants a piece. Peep the video up above to see how, then follow the recipe below to make sure you get these playful, crunchy Halloween treats just right. 


Cheetos® ‘Mac O’ Lanterns’

Yield: 12 Pieces


2 Quarts Canola or Vegetable Oil 

1 Box Cheetos® Flamin’ Hot® Mac and Cheese

1 8.5 ounce Bag Cheetos® Crunchy Cheddar 

4 Ounces Shredded Three Cheese Blend

6 Ounces Pepper Jack Cheese

1/4 Cup Whole Milk

4 Eggs

2 cups All Purpose Flour

2 Quarts Water, 2 Tablespoons Reserved

1 Bunch Fresh Basil, Garnish

3 Sheets Toasted Nori, Garnish

12 Thin Pretzel Sticks


Precision Blade



3 Bowls

Food Processor



Silicone Spatula

Small Scissors 

Cutting Board

Pastry Brush


Bring water to boil and add macaroni, cooking until al dente. Turn off heat, strain through colander and then return to saucepan. Add milk and Cheetos® Flamin’ Hot® Mac and Cheese Seasoning Packet. 

Stir until thoroughly coated and add in shredded cheese, mixing until cohesive and set aside to cool. 

Blitz up one 8.5 ounce Bag Cheetos® Crunchy Cheddar in food processor and set aside in separate bowls for later.

Cut pepper jack cheese into twelves 1/2 inch cubes. Once mac and cheese is cooled and set, begin to form 12 golf ball sized balls until they are firmly packed. 

Set aside in freezer to chill thoroughly and set up, about one hour. 

Once balls are set, bring 2 quarts of oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and set up your fry station. 

Beat four eggs together in one bowl, add two cups four to another, and set up your bowl with crushed Cheetos® alongside them. 

When oil reaches temperature, begin coating balls in flour first, followed by egg and then crusting with crushed Cheetos®. 

Fry until crisp and balls begin to float, move to platter and allow to cool to touch. 

To Decorate: 

Using exacto knife, straighten the edge of your nori and then cut zig-zag pattern along the side to create triangles for eyes and noses. When you reach the end of your sheet, draw a line back to create additional triangles, continue until you reach 36 pieces and then cut 12 mouths from the rest of the sheet. 

You can also feel free to get creative with hole punches or stencils! 

Place your nori face pieces onto your pumpkin and then using your pastry brush dampened with water, dab them until they soften and adhere. 

Place your basil leaf on top, and secure in place with a pretzel stick "stem." 

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