Let us begin from a place of appreciating the marvel that is a Dorito: crispy, crunchy, salty corn chips that deliver a powerful punch of flavor. I, personally, am still offended that they changed the shape to the rounded corners. I miss those sharp pointy true triangles, but it’s a minor thing.
Unfortunately, while we can all agree that Doritos are a nearly perfect food, they do not love me as much as I love them. They are all kinds of carby and calorific and generally incompatible with my ongoing efforts to continue to fit into my pants and maintain some sort of reasonably healthy diet.
But the serious health issues with Doritos are mostly with the fried tortilla chip. The flavoring powder is not the main culprit behind the fat, carbs, or calories. (Your relationship with processed chemicals and preservatives and the like is your own.) So, what if I could hack the flavor and then Dorito-fy other stuff?
What if indeed.
I relied on three ingredients that are best sourced from a good purveyor: cheddar and Romano cheese powders and tomato powder. While tomato powder is not listed in the ingredients for Doritos, red bell pepper powder is. I’m not, however, a huge fan of the bell pepper, and I had tomato powder already, so there you are. Essentially this is a cheese-boosted spice rub, and as such can be taken to all sorts of delicious places. Popcorn topper, naturally. Rub it on pork chops or chicken pieces. Sprinkle it on baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Mix into baked goods like biscuits, popovers, or cornbread. Stir it into softened, unsalted butter and spread it on toast. Toss homemade croutons in it or mix it into breadcrumbs to top casseroles. Butter an ear of corn and roll it around in some. The sky’s the limit.
Heck, if you want to go all meta, stir it into sour cream to make Doritos dip and then serve… with Doritos.
Once you make the original base, you can go full Cool Ranch. Hidden Valley now sells its ranch powder in a convenient shaker, so you are good to go.
Important note: Everyone’s palate is different, and everyone gets their own thing from Doritos. Taste as you go, and if you want yours cheesier, add more cheese powder. If you want it spicier, add more chili. And so on. This is a starting place for you to make it your own.
You really do need the shelf-stable dehydrated cheese powders and not grated cheese here. I get mine, as well as the tomato powder, from The Spice House (they’re a Chicago company, but they also do mail order). If you can’t source the Romano, replace it with more of the cheddar. And no one will say boo if you bust open a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese and bogart the cheese packet.
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
- 2 Tbsp. Romano cheese powder (or Old Taylor Street blend from The Spice House)
- 1/4 cup tomato powder
- 1 1/4 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1/2 Tbsp. granulated garlic
- 1/2 Tbsp. granulated onion
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and taste for seasoning. Store the powder in a clean jar for up to a month. If it clumps, blitz it in a food processor or spice grinder to re-powderize.
1:1 ratio of Doritos powder base and Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning & Salad Dressing Mix