Doritos Can Light a Fire? We Have Proof. What to Do, and Why This Incendiary Trick Works     – CNET

Doritos Can Light a Fire? We Have Proof. What to Do, and Why This Incendiary Trick Works – CNET

This story is part of Try This, CNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life, fast.

Maybe you’ve arrived at your campsite and find you’ve forgot to bring kindling. Or maybe you just like to light snacks on fire. Either way, those Doritos chips you have on hand are a great fuel source — and fun to light.

Chips like Doritos catch fire easily — whether at a campsite or on your barbecue back home — and burn long enough and at high enough temperatures to help your fire get started — or at least help it along its way. 

Get the full details on this simple fire-starter hack and learn why Doritos burn so well, as well as which other snacks can start fires and how to actually use chips to start a fire. For other tips, here’s how to cut a cake without a knife and a smart way to travel with your contact lenses.

@cnetdotcom Loose the #Firestarter logs, use #Doritos instead. #trythis#lifehack#howtotok#campinghack#cheetos#chips♬ original sound – Adam

Why do Doritos catch on fire so well?

Doritos have nearly 30 ingredients, but it’s the first three listed that bring the literal fire:

1. Ground corn. Dorito’s biggest ingredient — corn — is a carbohydrate that burns very well for fuel, even hotter than wood. When ground into a fine powder like cornstarch, the extra surface area makes it very flammable

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Pro tip: A corn cob also works great as a firestarter, but only when dry.

2. Vegetable oil. Doritos lists three potential vegetable oils — corn, canola or sunflower — which all burn well. Though not flammable, once you hit a fire point of about 700 degrees F, they will burn like most other oils, with a durable, consistent flame. 

3. Salt. It’s not burnable, but the salt in Doritos (210mg of sodium per ounce) keeps the chips super dry and crispy. Salt functions as a desiccant to make it easier for the fuel to burn.

What’s the best way to start a fire with Doritos?

To burn, fire needs fuel and oxygen. Doritos give you the fuel and their shape helps enable the oxygen to let it burn.

Doritos’ design gives them a surface-area advantage — they’re thin and curved to allow gaps in stacking. Pile your Doritos below the dry, stacked wood so that air can easily pass through while keeping the Doritos close enough to the logs to burn them directly. 

After you prepare your firepit, create your bed of kindling. Doritos are more fire starter than kindling, so add smaller and dryer branches directly above them if possible. Then arrange your logs on top of the kindling.

The flames from your pile of Doritos should burn long and hot enough to catch dry wood on fire. In my testing, the chips from a 2.75 ounce bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos burned with a strong flame over a foot high for about 10 minutes. A smaller bag of Cool Ranch Doritos burned comparably.

Do other snacks catch fire as quickly as Doritos?

Yes, other snacks can burn quite well, if they have the same combination of carbohydrate content, vegetable oils and high salt level. 

Fritos corn chips only have three ingredients, but surprise! They’re the same three critical ingredients as Doritos — corn, vegetable oil and salt. Fritos also work great as a fire starter.

After Doritos, the most obvious snack to test was the self-proclaimed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Again, corn, vegetable oil and salt combine to create another fiery snack fuel. 

In my tests, the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos burned even brighter than Doritos for me. While they were more difficult to stack than the larger, flatter Doritos, once I had formed them into a pyre, half of a 3.25-ounce bag burned for minutes with a flame over two feet high. 

Does it matter which Doritos flavor you use to start the fire?

I tested burning Doritos with two flavors — regular Nacho Cheese Doritos and Cool Ranch Doritos. There was no noticeable difference between the two flavors as far as burning power, but I should note that both flavors created an odd black smoke, mostly likely from the vegetable oil.

No, burning the Cool Ranch Doritos did not create a blue flame.

Safety alert when using snacks as a fire starter

Before you set your Doritos aflame, make sure that fires are permitted in your area, the area is clear of other flammable debris and conditions are favorable for a campfire. Check that children and pets are a safe distance away. And make sure you have a shovel and a few gallons of water on hand if you need to extinguish your snack-driven fire quickly.

Peter Butler

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