Do Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls Actually Contain Real Bacon?

Cheetos are an iconic American snack brand known for their bright orange, cheese-flavored puffs and crunchy bites. One variety called Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls combines the classic cheesy taste with smoky, salty bacon flavor. But do these tempting snacks really contain actual bacon? Let’s find out.

An Overview of Cheetos as a Brand

Cheetos were first introduced in 1948 and have become one of the most recognized snack foods worldwide. Some key facts about Cheetos:

  • Owned by PepsiCo and Frito-Lay

  • Come in puff and crunchy varieties

  • Known for bright orange cheese flavor and messy fingers

  • Mascot is Chester Cheetah

  • Popular varieties include Flamin’ Hot. Xxtra Flamin’ Hot. White Cheddar Jalapeño

  • Also make cheese-flavored snack mixes

Cheetos have expanded over the decades to include new shapes, flavors, and varieties. But the classic cheese snack is still their best-seller.

The Cheese and Bacon Balls Variety

Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls are a special variety of Cheetos sold in some international markets. They are described as:

  • Round, ball-shaped crispy snacks

  • Coated in cheesy, orange seasoning like traditional Cheetos

  • Also contain smoky, salty bacon flavoring

  • Sold in sharing size bags

  • Imported from Australia and UK

The combination of cheesy Cheetos with bacon flavor makes this an intriguing twist on the classic snack. But what exactly gives these snacks the taste of bacon?

Do Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls Contain Real Bacon?

After thorough research of the Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls ingredients and manufacturing process, there is no evidence they contain actual bacon or bacon fat. Several reasons point to the bacon taste being artificially derived:

  • Ingredients lists do not mention bacon, pork, or meat products

  • Frito-Lay has confirmed Cheetos are vegetarian and pork-free

  • Cheetos factories are not meat processing facilities

  • Bacon would make manufacturing and equipment cleaning complex

  • Cost prohibitive to add real bacon to a cheap snack product

Instead, the smoky, salty bacon flavor most likely comes from artificial flavorings and seasoning. Common ways to imitate bacon taste without using real bacon include:

  • Smoke flavor additives – contain smoky compounds like pyrazines

  • Umami flavors – provide rich, meaty taste through glutamates

  • Salt – increases salty perception critical to bacon flavor

  • Vegetable oils – carry bacon-like aromas for seasoning blends

  • Red coloring – enhances visual bacon appeal

  • Fried flavor – mimics the crispy, fatty taste of fried bacon

While the bacon taste of Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls is convincing, it is unfortunately just artificial flavoring and not real bacon. However, these snacks do deliver the delicious cheesy taste Cheetos are renowned for through real cheese ingredients like whey powder and cheddar cheese powder.

Why Don’t Cheetos Contain Real Bacon?

There are several reasons why actual bacon or pork products are not used in Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls or other Cheetos:

  • Cost – Bacon is expensive compared to artificial flavorings that imitate the taste. Keeping costs low is critical for snacks.

  • Dietary Restrictions – Many consumers follow religious/cultural diets that restrict pork or desire vegetarian foods.

  • Allergies – Bacon allergies, though rare, could put bacon-allergic consumers at risk.

  • Manufacturing – Snack facilities are not set up to handle raw meat products or that level of cleaning needed.

  • Food Safety – Introducing meat products increases the risk of bacterial contamination.

  • Ingredients List – Bacon must be clearly labeled as an ingredient per regulations.

The bottom line is Frito-Lay has no incentive to complicate their production process and equipment by adding real bacon bits when artificial bacon flavor provides the same taste without the drawbacks.

What About Other Cheetos with Bacon Flavors?

Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls are not the only variety to boast bacon flavoring. Some other Cheetos products that carry bacon taste include:

  • Xtra Flamin’ Hot Bacon Cheddar Ranch – US market

  • Bacon Puffs – Canada

  • Cheetos Brunch – Licensed Japanese product with bacon and egg flavors

Just as with the Cheese and Bacon Balls, none of these actually contain bacon. At most, small bits of imitation bacon bits may be included, but all primary bacon flavor is derived artificially.

Bacon-flavored snacks give consumers that smoky, savory taste without adding real pork. But snacks made with real bacon have started emerging from brands seeking bacon-lovers as a niche market.

Should Cheetos Use Real Bacon?

The authentic taste of real crumbled bacon would potentially improve current bacon-flavored Cheetos. However, Frito-Lay is unlikely to change such an established manufacturing process. Here are the pros and cons of adding real bacon bits:


  • More accurate flavor and smell

  • “Made with real bacon” appeal

  • Interesting new twist on classic


  • Increased production costs

  • Makes snacks not vegetarian/halal/kosher

  • Bacon allergies and diet restrictions

  • Food safety risks with meat

  • Need dedicated bacon-handling procedures

While actual bacon may improve flavor, the costs and risks outweigh the benefits for most snack brands. But smaller gourmet brands may find success marketing ultra-indulgent Cheetos-style snacks made with real bacon.

Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls provide the classic Cheetos cheese flavor paired with smoky, salty bacon notes. But despite the convincing bacon taste profile, these snacks contain no real bacon or pork products. The bacon flavor instead comes from artificial flavorings and seasoning. While small bacon bits potentially could be added, large-scale snack brands are unlikely to complicate manufacturing with real pork products. So for those looking to avoid meat, Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls are a vegetarian-friendly way to enjoy the iconic cheesy snack with a bacon twist!

Flaming Hot Bacon Cheese Ball


Does Cheetos balls have bacon?

These cheese and bacon balls are sure to tantalise your tastebuds through an irresistible combination of savoury bacon and creamy cheese all rolled into a single crispy, crunchy ball.

Are Cheetos cheese and bacon vegetarian?

No. This product is not vegan as it lists 5 ingredients that derive from animals and 2 ingredients that could derive from animals depending on the source.

What are Cheetos cheese balls made of?

Corn, Canola Oil Whey Powder (Milk), Wheat Flour, Cheese Powder (Milk), Salt, Flavour Enhancer (621), Mineral Salt (Potassium Chloride), Maltodextrin, Flavours Natural Colours (Paprika Extract, Turmeric), Food Acid (Lactic Acid).

What are the ingredients in Cheetos cheese?

Enriched Corn Meal (Corn Meal, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil), Cheese Seasoning (Whey, Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Canola Oil, Maltodextrin [Made from Corn], Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Whey …

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