Doritos 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree Burn: Blazin’ Jalapeño, Fiery Buffalo and Scorchin’ Habanero Tortilla Chips

I’m inappropriately excited about reviewing these Doritos 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree chips. You see, I’ve been seeing 1st and 2nd Degree Burns in at least two separate stores. But wherever I looked, I just couldn’t seem to find the 3rd degree. I couldn’t understand – why so elusive? Why would you sell the first two, but not the third? Is it that dangerous? My frustration over my inability to locate the third burn only intensified my curiosity. And I couldn’t just review the first two, that would be…somehow wrong. Incomplete. So I was left to be constantly confronted by two thirds of a trio that I so wanted to take pictures of and write about on the Internet.

But then…then, one fateful Saturday afternoon, I walked into one of the stores that had been taunting me with burns that only required aloe vera and not a trip to the hospital and what did I see…3rd DEGREE BURN, MOTHERFUCKERS! I excitedly grabbed a bag and headed over to where the first two had been taunting me in the store for close to a month now. And yet, they were not there. I traversed the whole store, and couldn’t find them. So…you finally get the third, and then remove the first two? That don’t make no sense.

Luckily, I knew another place that also only carried the first two, so I picked those up and basked in triumph. And thus ends two paragraphs’ worth of a story that is only interesting to me.

Moving on! In case you don’t have a grasp on the simplest of medical concepts, the gimmick here is that there are three different levels of heat. Let’s take them literally, just for fun. The first degree, Blazin’ Jalapeño, will make your tongue mildly uncomfortable. There may also be some swelling. Run some cool water over your tongue for a while and stop being such a pussy.

The second, Fiery Buffalo, will…wait a second. How is buffalo hotter than jalapeño? According to the Scoville scale, jalapeños register in at 2,500 to 8,000 units. “Buffalo” isn’t a pepper, and thus isn’t on the Scoville scale, but I’ve had my fair share of buffalo sauces, and I don’t think any of them were in any way hotter than eating a raw jalapeño. I guess they could have just used a really hot sauce to make them. Well, regardless, after consuming these chips, you will experience severe pain and swelling of the tongue, as well as developing disgusting blisters. Cold water can also help here, but it is advised that you suck on the sap of an aloe vera plant throughout the day. Try not to pop those blisters that are filling up your mouth. That would probably taste pretty gross, and it’s bad for the wound. A sterile gauze bandage may be applied to your mouth to help protect the burn. I guess you should just stuff a bunch of gauze in there and carry around a pen and paper. It would probably hurt too much to talk, anyways.

The third degree, Scorchin’ Habanero, will fuck your shit up. Habanero peppers register on the Scoville scale at 100,000 to 250,000 units. It is advised that you wear protective gloves while handling these chips to prevent skin irritation. After you eat these chips, you should seek immediate medical attention. Do not remove any clothing you may be wearing on your tongue. Elevate the tongue to above the heart le- well I guess that one is taken care of. Call 911 or have someone drive you to the nearest Emergency Room; do not drive yourself, as you may go into shock and cause a car accident, which would only make things worse. Your tongue will require constant medical attention and bandage changes for weeks afterward. A skin graft may be required. They may harvest your new tongue skin from your buttocks.

After hearing all that, you must think I’m a fool for attempting to eat all three burns in one day. Well, maybe I am a fool, but I’m a fool who eats things so that you don’t have to. Some may call me a fool; others, a hero.

1st Degree Burn: Blazin’ Jalapeño

Hm.  These certainly taste familiar.  Where have I experienced this unique taste before?  Oh, I think I remember!  I think they remind me quite strongly of Doritos Late Night Last Call Jalapeno Poppers. Or maybe I’m thinking of Doritos Poppin’ Jalapeño! No, that can’t be it, I didn’t even know that was a flavor of Doritos until about five minutes ago. Well hey, maybe it was Doritos 3Ds Jalapeño & Cheddar, part of a brief and apparently unsuccessful gimmick from the mid-2000s!

What I’m trying to say here, and I think you’ve all pretty much guessed it by now, is that there’s nothing new in Blazin’ Jalapeño. I could go on a giant tirade about Frito-Lay constantly recycles their flavors into new gimmicks, but I don’t even want to get started, because that would then become half the content of this website.  I just need to accept it and move on.

I don’t see that actually happening.

For those of you who haven’t tried any of these other iterations, the flavor is pretty straightforward – spicy heat with an undertone of artificial cheese flavoring. I actually like them quite a bit, and they pack a surprising amount of heat. Jalapeño pepper powder is listed as one of the ingredients, and it’s definitely not shy.  Anyone who is not a big fan of capsaicin definitely would not like these.  They’ve got a good burn, but not so much so that the flavors are overwhelmed.

I don’t really have a lot more to say about 1st Degree Burn Blazin’ Jalapeño, other than that we’re off to a pretty promising start.  If this is 1st degree, I’m eager to see how much my tongue hates me as we move on!

2nd Degree Burn Fiery Buffalo

I wondered briefly why 1st Degree got the Blazin’ moniker and Doritos didn’t take alliterative advantage (heh heh) and call these Blazin’ Buffalo. And then I remembered why.  I swear I’ve had Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos before, and I don’t recall the buffalo chips being hot at all.  Just sufficiently buffalo-flavored.

Holy crap!  Holy crap these chips are hot!  The first chip delivered a blast that immediately hit my sinuses in a way 1st Degree didn’t.  It was a feeling akin to what happens when you put too much wasabi on a sushi roll.  As I kept eating them, the burn kept building.  I ate about a half dozen of them and my whole mouth was on fire.  My lips were burning, and continued to do so for minutes afterwards.  I actually had to sniffle a few times, as the heat was making my nose run a little.

I have to say, I’m honestly blown away.  These are the hottest chips I’ve ever eaten.  I didn’t know you could actually make tortilla chips this hot.  I’m not getting a lot of buffalo flavor (although the “fiery” part certainly is present), but I could see how these would be really great with a nice, thick ranch dip.  I’m sorry, but throwing some Cool Ranch Doritos into the mix won’t help this time – you’re gonna need a pretty serious dairy product to cut through the heat.

The flavor is really kind of hard to describe…”burny” is all that comes to mind.  But it’s kind of a good burn.  I’ve always poo-pooed those people who like to eat super hot hot sauce.  What’s the point of eating something if all you taste is pain?  And yet, I really liked 2nd Degree Burn.  The little masochist inside of me enjoyed the slow build of torture.  I don’t think I would eat them all the time, but honestly, if I had some good ranch dip around, I could really lay into these guys, watching tv with a box of Kleenex nearby so I could blow my nose as snot runs down my face.

I’m impressed!  And now terrified of 3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero.  I’m actually going to have to wait a while before eating them to get some feeling back in my mouth.

3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero

Okay so seriously I’m a little scared.  Take a look at what I’m up against:


When I was taking pictures, before any actual tasting started, I saw these and thought, oh, these are just going to be like Flamin’ Hot Doritos, because of the coloration.  I’ve never had Flamin’ Hot Doritos, but I’ve had the Cheetos, and they are delicious, but not really that hot.  The most threatening thing about them is that the violently brightly colored flavor powder stains your fingers, letting the world know that you have recently indulged in some form of Flamin’ Hot junk food.


Now, I am not so sure.

Well, there’s only one thing to do about it, and that is to eat them.  Let’s get on with it, then!  I feel like I should have some sort of spotter or sitter nearby.  Maybe a LifeAlert necklace.  C. Everett Coop is looking down at me disapprovingly from the afterlife.

Here we go…

SPOILER ALERT: I’m alive!  And I didn’t even have to go to the hospital (yet).  I actually feel like 3rd Degree is about as hot as 2nd Degree.  Of course, 2nd Degree could have turned my tongue into a charred wasteland, rendering me incapable of noticing heat differences.  I got the mouth and lip burn.  Less sinus irritation; only one sniffle came out of it.  But I did get some eye tearing with 3rd Degree, and I definitely feel it more in the throat area.  While I was eating them, I got that choking, burning feeling, like when you accidentally swallow some hot, spicy pho broth the wrong way.  Like I need to cough, or gag. Or make that gross “HUUUKKKGGGHHH” sound uncivilized guys make right before they hock a loogie on the ground.  Even after having not eaten them for a little while, my esophagus feels a tad scorched.  Scorchin’!  Well done, Doritos.

I actually got a little more flavor (other than “ouchy”) out of 3rd Degree than 2nd.  They taste a lot like Spicy Nacho Doritos.  Spicy Nacho Doritos are the wimpy kid in middle school who gets bullied on his way home one day, and the next day his older brother, Scorchin’ Habanero, comes out and absolutely kicks the shit out of those little assholes, sending them running home crying to mama.  Apparently my mouth is the gaggle of bullies, in this scenario.  My mouth is misunderstood; life at home is hard, and…oh, nevermind.  The burning isn’t going away as fast this time and I think it has spread to my brain and I can no longer think straight enough to complete an already poorly constructed analogy.

Doritos 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree Burns kicked my ass, and I’m happy to say that.  I’m so used to fast food gimmicks claiming to be hotter than Hades winding up being about as spicy as your grandmother’s love life that I severely underestimated Doritos.  Frito-Lay comes out with a new gimmick approximately once a week, and it’s usually the same flavors we’ve seen before with a shiny new bow and a poorly-executed concept.  This time, however, they took a solid concept and really ran with it.  Okay, so 1st Degree Blazin’ Jalaepeño was a total rehash, but it still fit perfectly into the progression of Burns and is still a tasty product, even if this is its fourth iteration.  Heck, even if 2nd and 3rd Degrees are also rehashes and I just don’t know/remember it, the overall theme is solid, fun, and goddamn painful.  Painfully delicious!

Ask me to say that again tomorrow when I’m on the toilet cursing every good thing I ever said in this review while my digestive tract stages a grassroots rebellion against Frito-Lay.

Oh, and as a side note, Doritos Burns has a little cross-promo with Pepsi Max, which claims it will “cure the burn”.  I think they would have been better off striking a deal with Hidden Valley.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my mouth has a date with a wad of gauze.

Doritos 1st Degree Burn Blazin’ Jalapeño Tortilla Chips

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 failed 3D snacks
  • Price: $0.99
  • Size: 2 1/4 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Circle K #2821
  • Nutritional Quirks: Magically reanimated flavor!  Zombification ingredients not listed.  🙁

Doritos 2nd Degree Burn Fiery Buffalo Tortilla Chips

  • Score: 4 out of 5 surviving taste buds
  • Price: $0.99
  • Size: 2 1/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Circle K #2821
  • Nutritional Quirks: Addition of ranch dip will significantly up the grams of fat, but it’s worth it.

Doritos 3rd Degree Burn Scorchin’ Habanero Tortilla Chips

  • Score: 4.5 out of 5 charred taste buds
  • Price: $0.99
  • Size: 2 1/8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
  • Nutritional Quirks: FIRE IN MY MOUTH!  HALP!

66 thoughts on “Doritos 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree Burn: Blazin’ Jalapeño, Fiery Buffalo and Scorchin’ Habanero Tortilla Chips”

  1. Thank you, once again, Kelley, for taking one for the team. I enjoy spicy foods to an extent, and while I am tempted to take on the delicious pain of the progressive burns, I will wait until I feel the need to hurt myself. Or just get really high and decide it sounds like a good idea. Whichever occurs first. 😉


  2. Aw, thanks Lain! Getting high is definitely an option you might want to consider exploring. I definitely recommend trying it, if only for the “how the hell did they make chips so freaking HOT” factor.

    PS – Pretty sure my taste buds grew back after a good night’s sleep!

  3. Dammit! This is why living in Australia sucks! We miss out on all the cool flavours and gimmicks. I don’t even think we get cool ranch flavour, to be honest. A thousand curses upon you, Frito Lay!

    Is it wrong to be envious of your third degree burns?

  4. Not even Cool Ranch? Good lord, I consider that like, the staple Doritos flavor, right under Nacho Cheese.

    Well hey, at least you’ve got, erm, Vegemite…

  5. I want Doritos to come out with an extremely hot chip called Doritos Black that comes in a black bag with only a skull & crossbones on the packaging.

  6. We have nacho cheese and mexicana and all the regular flavours. Sometimes I wonder if cool ranch has been released as a sour creamish sort of one we used to be able to get… But like all patriotic Aussies I do have a jar of vegemite in the fridge that will probably last me 3 months. *sigh* I guess I’ll have to just keep living vicariously through your reviews.

  7. I actually had the 2nd degree flavor a few months ago after the packaging and allure of the “buffalo” flavor I love oh-so-very-much intrigued me as I was purchasing a case of beer from the gas station in the middle of my college campus. Like you, I also severely underestimated the heat due to the numerous claims of spicyness that mega chains and corporate conglomerates love to make (Taco Bell’s “Lava Sauce” immediately comes to mind). These are definitely hot as balls. Props for going all the way on the 3rd degree. The red/purple coloring in those photos is terrifying.

  8. Well Captain, you got me, not only did I spell his name wrong, according to Wikipedia, he is also not dead, but I suppose I could edit the entry to make it look like he is.

  9. I’m with Marvo, but the 3rd Degree Burn work well enough until then. I found full sized bags of all three at Martin’s stores.

  10. Bros, listen to me carefully… I attempted to take on the 3 degrees of hatred within my house this very evening. I did not expect what had happened to me. As I consumed the first bag, I thought that it was a very placid, and common taste, which I had tasted before. All was good.

    As I opened the 2nd degree I noticed a figure outside my window but thought nothing of it. So as I consumed the 2nd degree, I thought to my self… my fucking Satan! these chips are hotter than your grand old balls! but not so much as hot as your ass. I made it through the 2nd degree with only a portion esaphagus left. I was alive.

    The 3rd degree was a whole different story… As soon as I opened that bag, and saw the fiery red coloring upon thine chips that lay within that bag, I cried. I slowly took one of those hell raisers out of the bag and motioned it toward my mouth. All hell was about to break loose on my mouth and possibly throw me into oblivion. As the chip touched my innocent tongue I felt a sharp pain come from every fucking taste bud that existed in my mouth. I thought to myself, Damn… what have I done. Then the figure that I mentioned seeing earlier jumped out from behind the corner and stole all my damn doritos! mother fucker… it was over. Soon after I went to the hospital to rest up and prepare for my 2nd round with the 3 degrees of hatred.

  11. Come on people. That third degree aint shit. are u guys kidding me?? pansies all of u))))I will admit this is hotter than the harbenero ones they used to make earlier in the year but this is not as hot as what i exp;ected.

  12. hey thank you for telling how you thought about the 2nd and 3rd degree burn. wow im amazed of what you said because i only tried the 1st degree and i still thought it was still ridiculously HOT!!. when i thought it was really hot i didn’t even want to try the 2nd and 3rd degree. but like u said the 3rd degree looks totally scary

  13. I love these chips!! I eat the 3rd Degrees a couple of days a week with my lunch. I am with Marvo, I think they need one hotter. It should come in a black bag as he said and should be called Doritos Ghost(made with the Bhut Jolokia also known as the GHOST Chili). That would be sweet!!

  14. I like your idea! I would buy them, but be terrified. I might buy a respiratory mask and industrial-strength gloves before I opened the bag.

  15. I wish this guy wouldn’t have described the chips in such idiocy.

    The first degree are slightly similar to and just as spicy as the Salsa Verde flavor.

    The second degree Fiery Buffalo are like a spicy buffalo wing but not scorching. YOU WILL NOT need to suck on aloe, or develop blisters due to consuming this chip(unless you are allergic or a fucking moron like the idiot above.).

    The third degree are only slightly spicier than the second degree. Again no aloe, blisters, gloves, gauze or masks needed. Like the awful jackass above describes.

    This is in no way, anywhere near as spicy as a real habanero pepper.

    The third degree chips have an awesome flavor behind the spice and are about as spicy as an actual raw jalapeno. The chip’s spice does not linger in your mouth like a conventional chili. It is easier to get rid of. Just use soda pop, water, or milk.

    The pseudo-food critic above needs to research the theory of the Scoville Unit. After a little google research I bet he will claim he already knew what method is used and how it is applied in creating a scale.

    My advice would be to ignore the wanna’ be food journalist above and make your own decision on the chips. No pussy hospital visit, gauze or anything above needed to enjoy these chips. Just a love of spicy food. If you are afraid put them down and grab a pink snowball. Pussy.


  16. Wow. What a douche. “I AM THE TOUGHEST MAN ALIVE AND EAT GHOST CHILIS IN LAVA! PLUS I’M TOUGH AND SUPER COOL” Hope that act works out for you, there, tough guy.

  17. Dice. You’re either retarded (which I apologize to real retarded people in advance for saying)or you’re the most pathetically literal person alive. Rather than trash talking people (whose artical you still bothered to take the time to read all the way to the end,)maybe you should spend some time and develop a sense of humor. And seriously.. “Dice”??? Figures, you sound about as relevant as Andrew “Dice” Clay is nowadays.

  18. Response to DICE,
    He, I suspect, is a Dorito lover, as are we all. Taste is a personal preference, to say someone erred in their description, is a one sided bias towards your preference of taste. So who are you to make such a statement for all of us?
    Who cares, let’s agree, we love Doritos and the flavors they bring.

  19. I tasted 1st degree doritos at a party and i thought they were great, were are they sold? i tried all the stores around including drug stores and gas stations and nobody sells them. I live in woodbury minnesota 55125

  20. We bought these at a gas station. It takes us two days to finish one small bag between the two of us. We hate them. They make our mouth and fingers burn. But we can’t stop eating them. My wife makes me promise to not let her eat them, and then she gets mad at me when I won’t let her eat them. She chases me around the house trying to get them from me. Then she says ‘why do I eat these?”. But they are good. I don’t know how this qualifies as food. Do not give to infants. Or dog, a whippet, likes em.

  21. Hello Folks, The only flavor here in Western PA that we can still get, is the 2nd Degree. I still have 2 bags of the 3rd Degree in the cupboard, but really want to find the 1st Degree REALLY BAD. Any suggestions? None near Pittsburgh all the way to Buffalo, NY.

  22. Hey Ken Adams, I was in a similar situation. About 2 months ago I went to a 7-Eleven Store and they had like, 10 bags of each of the 3 Burns. I thought nothing of them, at the time they were just another tortilla chip to me. I just thought, “If I ever get the urge to try these, I can just come here and pick them up because they’ll always be here.” Then about a month ago, I found a review of Goldfish S’mores Graham Snacks on this site. The next day, I wanted to read the review again, so I came back to this site and accidentally stumbled upon this review of Doritos Burns. After reading it, I decided I MUST try these chips! So I went back to the 7-Eleven the next day, yet all they had was 2nd Degree! The workers there said that the Frito-Lay rep came to take the others away because they were about to expire. I decided to get a bag of the 2nd Degree. I went to about 5 other 7-Elevens, stopped at countless gas station snack marts and supermarkets, and the only luck I had was getting the last bag of 3rd Degree at a car wash. I absolutely could not try just 2nd Degree and 3rd Degree without 1st Degree. But, on New Year’s Eve, I broke down and tried a chip of each. Trying those chips renewed my hope for finding the 1st Degree, so yesterday, I used Frito-Lay’s Product Search and saw that the only places that came up that were close to me were 2 CVS Stores. One of them had 1 BAG LEFT OF 1ST DEGREE hidden among a bunch of bags of Cool Ranch Doritos! Okay, so, now that I have all 3, today I’m going to try them all in a row. Wish me luck! So, my advice, if you’re looking for 1st Degree, use Frito-Lay’s Product Search. If that doesn’t work, try contacting Frito-Lay and request that they start sending the Dorito Burns to your local stores again. Oh and above all, don’t give up hope!

  23. That is quite the journey, SpongeBob Fan! Glad to year my site helped inspire you to go on such an odyssey. Frito-Lay’s product search tool can actually be useful at times. Thanks for telling your story, and good luck with the chips. Don’t shoot your eye out!

  24. I have tried the 3rd degree burn doritos and fell in love with them. But I can’t seem to find them near where I am. I purchased them when I was traveling and didn’t get them from around where I stay but I did see the 2nd degree ones. But I have been craving the 3rd degree ones and tried to look for them but still can not find. How do you use the Frito-Lay’s Product Search, where is it on the site??

  25. I loved the 3rd degree burn. But they were not as hot as some made them to be. I can eat them without drinking anything afterwards. But they had a great taste. So did the 2nd degree burn. I did not care for the tast of the 1st degree burn. Now I can’t find the 3rd degree burn any where. I think that they were a seasonal thing or a trial flavor for doritos.

  26. You are a wuss… If you actually experienced blistering from these things, then go back to the doctor and have him verify you shouldn’t be wearing a skirt..

  27. They had these awesome doritos out for only awhile in PA so I thought I would try 1st & 2nd degree, never seen 3rd degree around. I will tell you they are awesome tasting. Yes they have a bite but tasty flavor too. Not for the weak thats for sure, must be wild & wooly to enjoy these babies!! Love them but can not find them anywhere. ): thumbs up for me!!

  28. Well, for all of those out there who have nothing but bad things to say about the review… why even waste your time reading the article just to complain about it? You obviously didn’t like it from the beginning but kept on reading… who’s the dumb one?? Anyway I like the review as it was humorous but still to the point. I actually think the 2nd degree burn chips are hotter for some reason (more sensitive to the ingredients?). I can eat a small bag of the 3rd degree burn chips without drinking anything but not the 2nd degree chips. I have been trying to find the 2nd and 3rd degree chips again but sadly, I’ve been unsuccessfull 🙁 I hope I will be able to find them soon!

  29. Thanks, Chuck. I take insults with a grain of salt; everyone’s palate is different and there will always be assholes who love to shoot their mouth off. There will also be people who don’t understand the use of actual burn treatments applied to chips for the purpose of humor. I suppose that is their loss.

    On that note, hope you find them soon! I hsven’t been paying much attention but they’re still around at my local Circle K.

  30. Hey i tryed them all and the 1st one is still the most hot i do not know why but it is the 2nd one is the best tasting one yet so i dont know about thease i think they mixed up the order

  31. I live in Philadelphia and I have been searching for 2nd degree doritos for some weeks now. Please tell me if you sell them anymore, and relieve me of my frustrations because I really get into a bad mood when I go on my 2nd degree dorito hunt and cannot find any. So please tell me if you sell them anymore

  32. I live in BC Canada and I would love to know it u also still sell the. 2nd degree chips as well as well as the others, ive been looking high & low. I would love to find them again

  33. I want some second degree soooo bad…are they discontinued or what?? Haven’t been able to find them anywhere around here for about a year now!

  34. I have eaten all three of these chips when they first came out because i love spicy things but i didnt find them nearly has spicy as you say they are i even put some red hot on them while at school with my friends and they called me crazy but my other friends who like spicy foods did the same thing and it isnt realy that much worse maybe my taste buds are more use to it but idk

  35. Lol @ that guy thinking the article was being literal with the hospital visit, skin graff, etc.

    “Moving on! In case you don’t have a grasp on the simplest of medical concepts, the gimmick here is that there are three different levels of heat. Let’s take them literally, just for fun.”

    Your reading comprehension skills are a little on the weak side to criticize someone’s journalism. If you can’t understand that sentence and how it implies that the descriptions were translating the effects of legitimate first, second, and third degree burns to the degrees of chips as a joke before the real review began, then I don’t know what to tell you.

  36. The Blair’s Death Rain Habanero are very intense… they will make your eyes water if you eat more than a few – I love ’em. 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree all have good flavor, the Buffalo taste the best. I prefer the Jacked Chipotle ones, not as hot, but way more full-bodied flavor.

  37. I think the people at Doritos should learn to count. I ate the first degree, never even blinked. In order to get that charge I was looking for, I skipped the second degree and jumped directly to the third degree, which was not only hot, but also very tasty. I then tried the second degree, and I was surprised to find that they were even hotter than the third degree. All said, I enjoyed first and third, but found the second degree lacked any flavor other than HOTT!

  38. Love your writing Betty! And you have great taste in chips, and obviously a great product to review in these chips!
    I’m amazed that you first wrote this in 2010! I just got these in the Montreal area this summer! And now it seems they’re not being restocked! So sad 🙁 But yes, level 2 do seem spicier than Level 3, but Level 3 have a bit more “flavor”. Next display I see with these chips I’ll just buy them all 😛

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