When it comes to snacking, there are certain times you want something light, something that’s not going to really impact your appetite one way or another, but will keep your jaws working and your taste buds electrified. Sometimes you want something heartier, like chunks of steak dipped in jalapeño cheese sauce, to fill the real and metaphorical emptiness inside you while you tempt your taste buds. But there’s a third category of snacktime craving, when you want some hearty crunch, but that will also swell in your stomach and keep you satiated until your next proper meal. And that, friends, is where snack crackers come to the rescue.
Whether you get all fancy and top them with whipped ricotta and delicate fennel fronds at a sophisticated cocktail hour (as the back of the Triscuit box optimistically suggests), or shovel them by the fistful into your lonely, gaping maw in between Fortnite respawns in the bedroom you share with your brother, a box of snack crackers satisfies afternoon or late night cravings like nothing else. Here’s our rundown of widely-available snack crackers, ranked from worst to first.
Wasa Crisp Bread
When you feel the snacktime itch start crawling around the deepest corners of your lizard brain, do you often wish you could reach for small, cracker-sized portions of paper-coated drywall? If so, Wasa Crisp Bread is here to answer your prayers. While calling this product "bread" is an insult to freshly-baked loaves everywhere, this dense cracker sports a spectacular, shattering crunch that also manages to be completely flavorless. Each bite swells and fills your mouth to the choking point, making an accompanying beverage (or frankly, anything that can wash the taste of Wasa Crisp Bread out of your mouth) a must.
Keebler Club Original
With the entire landscape of interesting, flavorful snack cracker options spread out before you, why, oh why, would you reach for a box of Keebler Club Original crackers after the age of seven? While the crackers earn high marks for their weird butter flavor and even more unexpected saltiness, the insipid light, crispy texture makes for an insubstantial, unsatisfying cracker. Sure, you can top them with a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese or some sliced salami and ratchet up their desirability, but then again, you could just eat the cheese and meat by itself and skip these dumb crackers altogether.
Keebler Club and Cheddar Sandwich Crackers
The only thing that moves Keebler Club crackers up the list even a little bit, is the "sandwich" version that adds a bright yellow swipe of "real cheddar cheese" to the operation. While it doesn’t do much to improve on the flavor of the crackers themselves (they’re still crumbly and taste like food for babies), it’s hard to think of a product that isn’t improved by the application of cheese-flavored frosting, and the sharp tang of the cheese balances the peculiar butter-flavored sweetness of the cracker itself nicely. If you have to eat Keebler Club crackers, these are the ones to reach for.
Honey Maid Graham Crackers
This is one of the few entries in our ranking that comes from the "sweet" category… if you can even call graham crackers sweet. Their genre-busting indecisiveness is what earns low marks for graham crackers; they’re certainly not a savory snack, but they also aren’t something we’d reach for when our sweet tooth needed massaging. Graham crackers are weirdly gritty, taste a little bit like the cloud of dust you get when you clap two chalkboard erasers together, and not good for much other than covering in chocolate and burnt marshmallows. Graham crackers, you’re fine, but you’re never going to be our go-to snack.
Think about it for a minute, and you’ll probably realize that the last time you voluntarily ate Saltines was during a bout with the stomach flu, after you spent the day half-asleep on the couch watching The Price is Right while your mom brought you Pedialyte popsicles and you prayed for a swift death. No one eats Saltines on purpose; in fact, they’re at their best when they’re used as either an ingredient for something else (like crumbled on top of a cup of corn chowder) or a vehicle for transporting other, better, messier foods (like raw oysters) from your plate to your mouth. The Saltines slogan should just be, "Yeah, here are Saltines, I guess" because that’s the only time anyone ever eats them: When they’re there.
Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
The greatest trick the Annie’s corporation ever pulled off was taking products that already exist, like boxed macaroni and cheese or Goldfish crackers, repackaging them in hippy-looking boxes touting their organic ingredients, and convincing moms the world over that they were somehow feeding their kids a healthier alternative to the junk they themselves were raised on. Sure, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies may not have any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, but in removing those elements, Annie’s has also removed any flavor whatsoever from their snack crackers. They’re grainy, dusty, chalky, and would taste much better with a heaping scoopful of MSG and some good old fashioned artificial cheddar flavor.
Ritz Bits Cheese
How do you eat Ritz Bits Cheese, those shrinkified buttery Ritz crackers spread with gritty fake cheese and pressed into adorable little sandwiches? Do you nibble on them one at a time with pinky firmly extended, taking demure little bites? Or do you crack open a single-serve package, open your mouth as wide as it will go, and see if you can manage to shoehorn the entire bag into your mouth in one shot? This is important, and will dramatically affect your enjoyment of Ritz Bits Cheese crackers. However, we’re not going to tell you which technique is the correct one.
Cheese Nips always appear at the wrong end of a bait-and-switch. Like, you’ll be at your grandmother’s counting doilies, or doing whatever else it is retirees enjoy, and she’ll offer you a snack. "Let’s see," she’ll say, "We have pickled beans, Starlight mints, or cheese crackers, would you like some of those?" Your spirits lifted for a moment, you ask for the cheese crackers, only to be ridiculously disappointed when she reappears from her kitchen with a box of Cheese Nips, the also-ran of the cheese-flavored cracker market. Take everything you love about Cheez-Its, then strip away most of the cheddar flavor, add a rounded tablespoon of some weird bitter flavor, and then smash what’s left into sharp, mouth-destroying shards. That’s Cheese Nips.
Original Ritz Crackers
Fun fact: No one has ever bought a package of Ritz Crackers on purpose. They’ve sort of just always been there, in the forgotten back reaches of your pantry, waiting for the moment when your house is suddenly visited by a horde of hungry toddlers, who will stuff their mouths full of the buttery crumbs and then laugh uproariously at an episode of Paw Patrol, blowing a soggy spray of chewed up cracker all over the front of the high-definition television that cost more than your car. There’s no room for Ritz Crackers in the lives of grownups, even though eating an entire sleeve of them in one sitting is oddly satisfying and delivers a weird sense of accomplishment. If you think you’ve done nothing with your day, eat a sleeve of Ritz Crackers.
When you moved out and got your own crummy studio basement apartment for the first time, you probably bought a box of Toasteds to mark the occasion. After all, you’re an adult now; no more crappy kid’s crackers for you, you budding sophisticate. Toasteds are thinner and lighter than other mass market crackers, and come in an array of totally-not-a-kid-anymore flavors like "Savory Onion" and "Whole Wheat." Squint hard enough at the surface of a Toasted, and you’ll probably be able to make out little flecks of grain, which is how you can tell that these crackers are basically medicine.
Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins
If the gluten-free craze has done anything for us as a society, it’s forced snack food manufacturers to consider new ways to present familiar products in innovative new ways. Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins are made with nuts and rice, and contain no grain whatsoever, which results in a product that’s similar to those airy, crunchy Asian snack blends that also contain dried wasabi peas and crispy seaweed poofs. They’re weirdly addictive, mainly because the whole time you eat them, you think, "Do I like these? Do I think these are crackers? If my body didn’t know how to process wheat gluten, would eating these make me feel less mad about it?" For innovation and interest alone, we had to include these crackers in our roundup.
Carr’s Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers
The appeal of Carr’s Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers can be tricky to pin down. Is it their unusual octagonal shape? Their light, buttery texture? The sheen of olive oil on the surface? The faint hint of visible rosemary flecks that manages to complement almost anything you can throw at it? These are crackers made to be topped with other things, from goat cheese and fig to thick spreads of savory cream cheese-based dips, and are equally suitable for entertaining as they are sitting and eating by yourself. Carr’s Rosemary Crackers feel fancy, and make you feel more like you’re having a party, even when what you’re really doing is "drinking alone."
Wheat Thins probably seem like they’re arriving a little bit high on this list, don’t they? But have you actually HAD a Wheat Thin lately? The long-forgotten snack food of ’80s-era moms everywhere, who spent all of their spare time working out to aerobics VHS tapes and wearing white Reeboks with smart gray flannel pants suits, Wheat Thins are often overlooked in favor of flashier, more intensely-flavored crackers. We love how little and thin they are, with just a slight slick of grease and that unmistakable flavor that’s nutty and salty, with just the faintest hint of sweetness poking through all of that whole grain goodness.
Whether you mainline them straight from the paper bag, or pack them in tiny plastic Ziplocks for on-the-go playground snacking, Goldfish crackers always satisfy. And while they’re available in a variety of "Flavor Blasted" flavors from Parmesan to Pizza to something called "Princess," it’s the Cheddar variety that keeps us coming back, handful after handful. They’re perfectly light, airy, and crunchy, with flavor that never overpowers and that won’t cause palate fatigue, even after eating a whole bag. Goldfish has even managed to convince us that eating a pile of their smiling crackers is somehow more virtuous and healthy than, say, a can of Pringles, which means that Goldfish are essentially good for you.
Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps
Crunchy pretzels are delicious, but they can be a tad overwhelming; all of that salt and heft from the dough makes them satisfying but hard to eat more than just a few of. Snack Factory has addressed this problem by boiling pretzels down to their most delicious elements: The toasty outside, and the salt. They’ve done away with the bulk of the pretzel middle, resulting in a crispy, crunchy, chiplike product that’s perfect for eating by itself (in a variety of flavors, from Garlic and Parmesan to Salt and Pepper,) or using as a vehicle for scooping up cheese spreads and dips.
Better Cheddars get kind of a bad rap, often portrayed as just another pretender to the Cheez-It cheese cracker throne that somehow falls short. But we think Better Cheddars are more than just another Cheez-It competitor; it’s a cracker that stands all on its own. Packing tons of cheddar cheese flavor into a slim, crunchy profile, Better Cheddars taste like what would happen if you ran over a dump truck full of Cheez-Its with a steamroller, saturated the crumbs with salty seawater, stamped the resulting mash into thin rounds, and baked them until toasty and crispy which, now that we think about it, we’re pretty sure we saw on the Better Cheddars episode of How It’s Made.
There are two products that share a texture unlike anything else on Earth: Shredded Wheat cereal and Triscuit brand snack crackers. And chances are, you probably feel pretty strongly about the texture of these crackers, one way or the other. In a food manufacturing process that makes the United States the envy of the world, wheat is softened by water and steam and pushed through a shredder, until it piles up in little haystacks of grain perfect for topping with a slice of cheese or a piece of pepperoni. The finished product, those little salty area rugs of whole grain deliciousness, stand alone in their category, and for that, we salute them.
Keebler Town House Flatbread Crisps Sea Salt and Olive Oil
With a thin profile and a hearty crunch, the Flatbread Crisps lineup takes a standard-issue snack cracker and makes it new again. These crackers are perfect for swiping through a pool of hummus or spinach dip, and are equally suited for topping with cheese (or anything else you find hidden in the back reaches of your fridge). While all of the flavors are winners, we’re partial to the simple Sea Salt and Olive Oil variety; there’s plenty of salt, and the olive oil lends plenty of moisture to the proceedings. When it comes to a single cracker that can do it all, from late-night binge eating to more sophisticated entertaining, this is the cracker.
Chicken in a Biskit
It may not taste like chicken OR biscuits, but there’s something about this cracker that’s got us smitten. In the same way that we occasionally get a craving for three-for-a-dollar packages of dollar store ramen noodles that provide 1400 percent of the recommended daily allowance of sodium, Chicken in a Biskit seems to feed a craving that happens on the chemical level. You won’t mistake "eating these crackers" for "eating a roast chicken dinner" anytime soon, but if you’ve ever sampled the forbidden fruit of "licking a bouillon cube," you’ll find a lot to love in this cracker classic. While the ingredients panel lists "dehydrated cooked chicken" among the flavor components, we’re willing to bet the addictive quality of these crackers has more to do with the heaping helpings of taste-enhancing MSG. Mmm… glutamatey.
Lance Toast Chee
Did you expect Lance Toast Chee, or for that matter any entry from the wide world of "nutritionally void traffic-cone-orange cracker and peanut butter sandwiches," to land this high on the list? We didn’t either, until we started to lay out the candidates, and evaluate each cracker using a highly-scientific bracket system. But the results are in, and nine times out of 10, we’ll reach for an inexpensive package of these junk crackers before almost any other candidate. They’re crispy, they’re salty, and they’re dirt-cheap, making them an ideal snack for a road trip or an overnight hike through the mountains. Though let’s face it: If you’re the kind of person who hikes, you’ve probably never tasted a Lance Toast Chee cracker sandwich.
They’re not the first cheese-flavored cracker to enter our ranking, but if you expected any other snack cracker to top the list, you’re just not taking your cracker game seriously enough. Cheez-Its tick every box in the satisfying snacking to-do list: They’re topped with big, coarse granules of salt, packed with tons of perfectly balanced real and artificial sharp cheddar cheese flavor, and can be eaten by the heaping fistful. Members of our staff have been known to mow through an entire box in one sitting in a semiconscious fugue state, as the power of the Cheez-It takes over our sensibilities and sense of propriety and encourages us to eat more and more, until our stomachs are stretched taut with a mash of partially-digested orange cracker goo. Cheez-Its, to us, you are perfect.