Maybe you fancy yourself a chip enthusiast or a brave snack prospector. Maybe you’ve spotted a new chip flavor at the grocery store and thought, “I can do better than that.” Or maybe you think Frito-Lay has been swinging and missing lately with its Doritos flavors. Whatever the case, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is, because making your own Doritos flavors is damn easy.
The process simply involves kosher Doritos, cooking spray, and your own personalized spice blend. I had no idea you could buy plain, kosher Doritos until Nicole Enayati over at Mythical Kitchen alerted me to their existence. She also clued me in to the friendly and eccentric Western Kosher Market in Los Angeles, a wonderful retail store and deli that sells all kinds of goodies like Herr’s Ketchup chips, A&H kosher beef hot dogs, parve cheese curls, and a collection of Israeli Doritos flavors like Sour & Spicy and Grill. The main attraction, though—the blank canvas upon which you, the junk food artiste, must paint—are the natural, unseasoned kosher Doritos.
By themselves, kosher Doritos taste like corn chips with a hint of salt. They are, as advertised, quite “natural” tasting. It’s possible that you have eaten the classic nacho cheese Doritos and thought, “This would be much better completely devoid of any seasoning,” but I’m betting that’s not the case. These plain Doritos need some work, and that’s exactly the point. You can use these chips as a delivery system for your own unique flavor profile.
Enayati’s method involves taking a mixture of dry spices and then adhering them to the kosher Doritos with a touch of cooking spray. It’s quite easy, and you don’t need to spray each individual Dorito, either. Simply put the plain Doritos in a wide, stainless steel bowl, give them a few quick sprays, toss, then spray again before you apply the ambitious spice blend of your choice.
I had been dreaming up a version with aji amarillo flavoring for quite some time, because the spicy, fruity notes of the dried pepper seemed like a natural fit for the crunchy corn of a Dorito chip. In a small bowl, I mixed some aji amarillo powder (which I bought online) with a little bit of sugar, salt, and MSG. Then, per Enayati’s instructions, I dumped the natural Doritos into a big bowl and sprayed them gently with a bit of Pam. I then took my spice mixture and shook it over the Doritos, making sure to toss the chips in the bowl almost like you would toss a batch of freshly cooked wings in wing sauce, ensuring an even coating.
The results were wonderful. The aji amarillo spice blend adhered to the Doritos perfectly thanks to the Pam. The heat was indeed condensed and potent, so the addition of some granulated sugar helped smooth things out a bit, and the MSG and salt added some compelling savory notes. Certainly not bad for a first try.
There are almost limitless Doritos flavors to be made with spice blends, whether the seasonings are store-bought or homemade. How about a spicy Whataburger ketchup Dorito with cayenne and ketchup powder? Or a Peruvian aji verde Dorito with dried mint, cilantro, lime powder, dehydrated garlic, onion, and buttermilk?
The Doritos flavors at the grocery store are largely hit or miss. Why let Frito-Lay control which flavors are available? Personally, I’m not a big Cool Ranch Doritos guy; as far as ranch-flavored things go, these chips are pretty weak. (Ah, yes, that classic corn and ranch combo that’s been known to work in so many other dishes you can name.) That said, I am big fan of Tapatío, Spicy Sweet Chili, and Salsa Verde Doritos, all of which feature a wonderfully composed alchemy of dry spices.
For instance, Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos contain soy sauce powder. That ingredient adds a punch of savory umami to snacks, which is why it is often found in beef jerky and dried french onion dip mix. Of note: You can buy soy sauce powder online. What a time to be alive.
If you go to a lot of house parties or group dinners, you can be the hero who shows up with bespoke Doritos. It’s important to keep such events interesting; just last year, my friends and I purchased a giant novelty gummy worm for our friend Kath’s birthday and carved it up like a beef tenderloin. We also aspire to one day host a dinner party that only serves different kinds of meatballs. Bringing your own custom snack chips is in the same realm of foolishness. In fact, for New Year’s Eve this year, I might just be showing up to my friend Joe’s house with a bowl of one-of-a-kind, never-before-attempted Doritos.
But more than anything, Dorito flavors have just felt a bit stagnant lately. Ketchup and Mustard Doritos were fine, but seasonal. Flamin’ Hot is a good flavor, but one that is overused and will soon lose its luster. Tamarind Doritos were only okay. Other countries, including Thailand and Korea, seem to be having more fun with their chip flavors than we are: Salmon and salted egg, hot chili squid, honey chili, flame grilled steak, triple cheese pizza, and oven roasted chicken are all chip flavors one can find across the world.
Doritos could certainly stand to be more inventive. More experimental and bold. And if Frito-Lay isn’t going to do it, then damnit, I will. It’s easy, it’s rewarding, and I have all the tools. Thanks for the inspiration, Nicole.