One hundred years ago, back in 1921, Cheez-It crackers were born. These cheesy one-inch squares with their iconic hole in the middle were introduced by the Green & Green Company, a company that was most well-known at the time for supplying hungry soldiers in the U.S. military with cracker-like snacks during World War I.
Much has changed in the last hundred years, including the fact that the Cheez-It brand is now owned by Kellogg’s. However, one thing has remained the same: American’s undying love for Cheez-Its. Today, nearly one billion dollars worth of these scrumptious crackers are sold in the United States on an annual basis and more than a dozen different flavors of Cheez-Its exist.
Which Cheez-Its flavors are the best? In this ranking, we’ve listed all the flavors in order, beginning with the worst Cheez-It flavor. At the end, you’ll discover which flavor deserves to be considered the cream of the crop.
13. Cheez-It Extra Toasty
Unless the idea of starting your day off with a slice of burnt toast is enticing to you, stay away from Cheez-It Extra Toasty. While Cheez-It crackers that are extra crispy and extra crunchy sounds delicious, these things aren’t what you’re imagining. Instead, these crackers taste like a piece of toast that has taken about three trips in a toaster until it has been burnt to an unrecognizable crisp.
If you’re hoping for the cheesy goodness of Cheez-It crackers to cover up the burnt taste, you’ll be disappointed. The cheese flavor is completely overpowered and you don’t even taste much saltiness. It smells burnt, hits your taste buds with a burnt flavor right when it enters your mouth, and then has a putrid burnt aftertaste.
Unless you’re one of those strange people who crave burnt foods, you’ll want to pick another flavor of Cheez-Its. If you accidentally bought this flavor, go ahead and toss it in the trash and go out and purchase any other flavor. You’ll be happier.
12. Cheez-It Hot & Spicy
Once upon a time, Cheez-It Hot & Spicy was one of the best two or three flavors. The spiciness and the cheesiness were a perfect combination and made for a glorious snack. Tragically, that is simply no longer the case. These crackers are now inedible.
What changed? Previously, Cheez-It had a partnership with Tabasco and that’s what was used to spice each individual cracker. But that partnership between Cheez-It and Tabasco is now over. Undeterred, they started making Cheez-It Hot & Spicy with their own version of Tabasco but the result is horrendous. Instead of that lovely mix of spiciness and vinegar flavor that Tabasco is known for, these crackers now taste like they’ve been dusted with black pepper and dipped in tomato water.
Loyal customers are unhappy about the change — and they have every right to be. Unless Cheez-It and Tabasco ever partner up again, stay far away from Cheez-It Hot & Spicy. It’s no longer what it used to be and isn’t worthy of your money.
11. Cheez-It Extra Cheesy
Theoretically, Cheez-It Extra Cheesy sounds like it should be a big winner. Regular Cheez-Its with an extra helping of cheese — what could possibly go wrong?
But in actuality, these crackers will let you down in a big way. As it turns out, more cheese isn’t always better. First of all, Cheez-It Extra Cheesy are way too powdery. If you find Cheetos’ dust bothersome, you’ll really be annoyed by how much Cheez-It dust accumulates on your fingers when you’re eating these things. Secondly, the saltiness that you love about other flavors of Cheez-Its is totally overwhelmed and lost in the fray. Finally, these crackers have a strong cheese-powered aftertaste that has the flavor of generic dollar store cheese. The aftertaste will leave you grimacing with regret.
Add it all up and Cheez-It Extra Cheesy fails to live up to expectations and should be avoided. The double whammy of being less portable and less tasty make these things impossible to recommend. Even if you love cheese, other options are superior.
10. Cheez-It Cheddar Jack
Cheez-It Cheddar Jack was a good idea on paper. Combining tangy cheddar cheese with marbled Monterey Jack sounds dreamy. If you’ve ever eaten macaroni and cheese with Monterey Jack, you know the amazing potential of Jack cheese. Add that to their classic cheddar cheese and this has to be a hit, right? Nope, not quite.
In reality, these crackers just aren’t that good. The flavor of the Monterey Jack is extremely light. At its best, this type of cheese should have a slight sweetness to it but that is missing in action. These Cheez-Its, as a result, are lacking a satisfying level of flavor. To make matters worse, there’s an unexplainable bitter aftertaste that makes these crackers taste like they’re slightly stale.
If you’ve already purchased a box, you can probably force yourself to eat Cheez-It Cheddar Jack. That said, you won’t be too thrilled while you’re doing so and you will count down the hours until you can get your hands on a better flavor of Cheez-Its.
9. Cheez-It Cheese Pizza
If you love cheese pizza, Cheez-It Cheese Pizza is a surefire bet to underwhelm. These crackers aren’t bad, mind you, but you’ll never be tempted to buy a box of these ever again.
First, considering that mozzarella cheese is the cheese of choice for pizza, you’ll probably be surprised that these crackers are made with cheddar cheese. That, honestly, makes absolutely no sense. Everyone knows that cheddar cheese doesn’t belong on pizza. Second, while these things taste a little bit burnt (not nearly as bad as Cheez-It Extra Toasty, thankfully) and have a mild aftertaste of tomato and onion, there’s really nothing else that gives these crackers any type of pizza flavoring. If you’re hoping for a strong oregano and basil flavor that you typically experience with real pizza, you’ll end up with a frown on your face because that flavor is nowhere to be found.
If your curiosity forces you to try Cheez-It Cheese Pizza, that’s okay. Just know that these have no chance of becoming your favorite flavor of Cheez-Its.
8. Cheez-It Reduced Fat
If a doctor has ordered you to minimize your fat intake, Cheez-It Reduced Fat could be enticing. If you eat 30 grams (approximately 27 crackers), you will consume six grams of fat. That’s about 25 percent less fat than typical Cheez-Its, so it’s actually a notable difference.
However, be prepared to sacrifice a bit when it comes to taste. Compared to the best flavors of Cheez-Its, these crackers are undeniably bland. It’s like typical Cheez-Its had an affair with a piece of cardboard and this is the resulting lovechild. These things are still edible but don’t be fooled into thinking Cheez-It Reduced Fat are comparable to the Cheez-It crackers you know and love.
Rather than making this purchase, you should think about just going with a better flavor of Cheez-Its and then simply limiting your portion size. If you do the math, you’ll find that you can eat 20 crackers of regular Cheez-Its and you’ll have consumed about the same amount of fat than if you eat 27 of these reduced fat crackers. The choice is up to you but the latter sounds like a much tastier proposition than the former.
7. Cheez-It Buffalo Wing
There’s no better way to succinctly describe Cheez-It Buffalo Wing other than to say that these things are weird. You may love these crackers or you may hate these crackers. There’s very little middle ground.
The deciding factor is what you think about blue cheese. If the thought of aged, moldy blue cheese makes your mouth water, you will love these things. Blue cheese is the predominant flavor. You’ll taste a little bit of cayenne pepper but it’s the blue cheese that definitely steals the spotlight. Conversely, if moldy blue cheese makes you gag, you should move on to another Cheez-It flavor.
If you expect these crackers to taste like Frank’s RedHot sauce, you’re going to be sad. While the flavor of cayenne pepper –the main ingredient in Frank’s RedHot — is present in the crackers, that’s where the similarities end. Cheez-It Buffalo Wing should really be named Cheez-It Blue Cheese. If that sounds appetizing, dive head-first into a box.
6. Cheez-It Italian Four Cheese
Cheez-It Italian Four Cheese is the first flavor on this list that can be recommended without any reservations. These crackers are certainly different from any other flavor of Cheez-Its that you have tried, but they’re really good.
The name of this flavor suggests there are four different cheeses at play. However, if you read the list of ingredients, you will discover six distinct cheeses: white cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, parmesan, Romano, and asiago. Thus, Cheez-It under-promised and over-delivered, which should be applauded.
Taste-wise, you’ll be impressed. You can taste the many different cheeses with each mouthful of these crackers. The flavors will keep your taste buds doing somersaults. The only slight negative is that these are, without a doubt, the saltiest flavor of Cheez-Its. If you find saltiness to be a turnoff, you may want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, you’ll find that these crackers, with their diversified flavor, are a joy to eat.
5. Cheez-It Extra Big
If you buy Cheez-It Extra Big, you will face one pro and one con. Neither point is that major of an issue, but you should factor both in when making your decision regarding whether you should put these crackers in your shopping cart.
The plus, as you could guess, is the size. The crackers are approximately twice as big as all the other flavors of Cheez-Its. Doubling the size might not sound like a huge deal, but it makes these crackers large enough to use with a dipping sauce. If, for example, you’ve ever had the urge to dip your Cheez-Its in anything from ranch dressing to hot salsa, these are the ones you should purchase.
The minus is also predictable. With the bigger size comes a softer, flimsier texture. Cheez-It Extra Big has a tendency to fall to pieces in your fingers, even if you’re not roughhousing. When you bite into one of these crackers, the satisfying crunch you get when you eat regular Cheez-Its is unmistakably muted.
Overall, after weighing the pro and the con, you will know whether these are the Cheez-Its for you.
4. Cheez-It Pepper Jack
Since Cheez-It Hot & Spicy have jumped the shark and are no longer worthy of anything other than a trip to the closest garbage can, Cheez-It Pepper Jack is by far the best answer for anyone searching for a spicy flavor of Cheez-Its.
Before mentioning the particulars of the spiciness, it’s important to emphasize that these crackers contain all the cheesy goodness you could want. It uses a mix of white cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese to get the job done. Even though these things are definitely spicy, the cheese flavor is still able to make its presence felt.
As for the spicy flavor of Cheez-It Pepper Jack, it’s brought to you by various types of peppers, including green bell peppers, red bell peppers, and jalapenos. The depth of its spicy flavor makes these crackers enjoyable, even though having a cold glass of milk on hand is probably a good idea for most people, especially those individuals with a sensitive palate.
3. Cheez-It White Cheddar
Cheez-It White Cheddar is an excellent flavor of Cheez-Its. Powered by 100 percent authentic white cheddar cheese, it’s actually difficult to not fall completely head over heels for this snack.
When you first place one of these crackers in your mouth, you may not be instantly blown away. However, once the super cheesy and perfectly salty aftertaste kicks in, your enjoyment level will increase tenfold. While Cheez-It White Cheddar may be a little bit more subtle than other flavors, you will be craving more by the time you reach the bottom of the box.
As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about your fingertips turning orange while you’re eating these crackers. That attribute makes Cheez-It White Cheddar an optimal choice when you’re eating on the run. Alternatively, if you’re feeding a small child who might be tempted to paint the walls orange, give the kid this flavor and you won’t have to be as paranoid.
2. Cheez-It Whole Grain
Typically, there are things you must sacrifice if you opt for the whole grain version of your favorite snack. Amazingly, that’s not the case with Cheez-It Whole Grain. You might prefer these crackers above all the other flavors, even if you couldn’t care less about the fact that each serving has eight grams of healthy whole grain.
The first thing you’ll notice is that these crackers are heartier. If you generally avoid Cheez-Its because they lack the heartiness to fill you up and you find yourself eating too many crackers, give these a try. A couple handfuls is all you need to fill you up to the tippity-top.
The other thing you’ll notice is that these crackers are crunchier. Other flavors are extra crunchy but those taste burnt. Cheez-It Whole Grain, on the other hand, doesn’t taste burnt at all.
The only reason you will know that you’re eating a whole grain snack is the aftertaste. You will be able to taste a little bit of whole grain — but it’s negligible and easily ignored.
1. Cheez-It Original
When it comes to Cheez-Its, you can’t top the original flavor. Cheez-It Original, as this flavor is appropriately named, is unquestionably the best of the best. Sure, there are a whole host of competing flavors on the market, but eventually you’ll find yourself circling back to where it all started.
If you like Cheez-Its for their strong cheese flavor, that’s where the original flavor shines brightest. These have the most cheesetastic aroma and the most cheesetastic taste. Every other flavor is fighting for second place. Moreover, Cheez-It Original is awesome in terms of its saltiness. Even if you stuff your face with an entire box, you won’t be overwhelmed with salt.
Don’t be bashful about trying other Cheez-It flavors. There are a few that you should try while you’re still in the land of the living. But just know that eventually you will return to where this one of a kind snack started a hundred years ago.