Campbell's has taken yet another step in the world of SpaghettiOs. They've already mastered spaghetti you can eat with a spoon with their original SpaghettiOs. They've even tackled adding meat in the mix with SpaghettiOs Meatballs and SpaghettiOs Sliced Franks. But this time, they're going even further with CheeseburgerOs, the first new SpaghettiOs flavor in over 20 years.
We tasted CheeseburgerOs against SpaghettiOs Meatballs. The first major difference is the size of the meat nubs. CheeseburgerOs has tiny bits of meat, while SpaghettiOs Meatballs has rounded half-inch balls of meat. The other visual difference is the color of the sauce. CheeseburgerOs has this almost neon orange color and SpaghettiOs Meatballs had a more traditional red sauce color.
Now for the taste. I'm not quite sure why they're called CheeseburgerOs because they don't taste anything like any cheeseburger I've ever had. Instead, the tomato-based sauce has a sweet, not especially meaty or cheesy flavor. The meat bits are pretty small and unimpressionable. The pasta O's have that mushy, overcooked consistency that I presume all SpaghettiOs get from can-life. The SpaghettiOs Meatballs has a thinner sauce and a blander flavor than the CheeseburgerOs, but it also has more meat. The meatball nubs have a peppery taste with a slightly chewy texture.
CheeseburgerOs far from satisfies a burger craving, but it might satisfy that need for a quick meal in a can on a lazy afternoon (or, in Kenji's experience, a quick meal when you're hungover and lying on the couch in your underwear at 3 p.m.). As for me, I don't think I'll be opening another can of CheeseburgerOs or any other SpaghettiOs variety anytime soon. I'd rather a straight up cheeseburger or a straight up bowl of spaghetti, not a combination of the two.
About the author: Amalia Safran is a recent graduate from Lehigh University where she majored in journalism. She is currently a Serious Eats intern.