The Ultimate Showdown: Cheese Crackers, Ranked

The Ultimate Showdown: Cheese Crackers, Ranked

There is an ancient and terrible blood feud between the Bitches.

It is a grudge as old as Jörmungandr. And like the World Serpent, it bides its time in wrathful slumber, awaiting the three cock crows that announce the great battle to end the world.

The first, the crimson rooster Fjalar crowed on January 22 of 2018 when Piggy wrote this:

Hit your local grocery store the day before a flight and stock up on cheap, filling snacks to take with you: granola bars, almonds, dried fruit, white cheddar Cheez-Its with the extra cheese dust. (BGR’s dark secret is that Kitty and I have an ongoing feud concerning the best cheese-based cracker snack: Cheez-Its or Cheese Nips. If you prefer somewhat less delicious cheese crackers, I guess you can substitute Cheese Nips here. But we all know I’m right.)

The second, the golden rooster Gullinkambi, crowed on March 19 of 2018 when Piggy wrote this:

Shopping with the smaller cart prevents me from filling it with impulse buys. If I feel tempted to buy a box of Cheez-Its (The Superior Cheese Cracker™), but my mini cart is getting full… it goes back on the shelf.

And today, the nameless black cock of Hel calls the dishonorable dead to rise, rise, RISE, and take arms. The Twilight of the Gods is here. Ho thunder, ho lightning! Ragnarok is come!

With spears and magic helmets provided by our extremely awesome Patreon donors, it is time to shake the foundations of the earth with the mighty clash and clatter of our fate-ordained mutual destruction.







This was foretold

Then cheese crackers delicious

must be put to the test

If one, above all, is to be named

the best.

Only then may the Warhorse

and Warrior arise

To rally the warhosts, and thunder

the skies.

Terms of engagement

Each Bitch, accompanied by her chosen Thanes, will draw forth cheese crackers from a sealed bag marked only with a number. They will grade each one in five dimensions: appearance, taste, cheesiness, texture, and overall experience. To my side I gathered my husband, my brother, and roommate Goosey, who has lurked for long enough to earn her animal nickname. For her side, Piggy summoned her husband and a jackass.

To ensure consistency, Bitches tasted from the same boxes, and all boxes were checked to make sure each was well within its expiration date. I bought them, sampled them, then re-sealed them into extra-nice zip bags, and shipped them to Piggy’s crew.

When given a choice between flavors, we always went with original/cheddar. “But this other flavor is so much better!” Listen, we agree. I will tell you that Parmesan Goldfish are amazing and superior in every way, and Piggy will say the same about White Cheddar Cheez-Its. But we’re trying to compare apples-to-apples.

I went to four stores and bought every single cheese cracker they had. One was a luxury grocer (Whole Foods), one a boutique chain with a highly regarded house brand (Trader Joe’s), a regional mid-range big-box chain (Stop & Shop, roughly equivalent to a Kroger, a Schnucks, or a Safeway), and a local family-owned darling (Market Basket). This gave us a nice spread of brands and price points, from very low to very high.

Initially I planned to limit the scope to square crackers only. There’s no way to disguise a shaped cracker, so it throws off the integrity of the blind aspect of the taste test. But I ultimately included them, because this test would’ve felt very incomplete without major brands like Goldfish and Annie’s Bunnies. Luckily, bias in this area was easy to uncover (we’ll get into that later).

“Cheesiness” can be subjective, so I suggested each group start with a taste of real, actual cheddar cheese to ground their expectations. Piggy fucked this up—we’ll also get into that later.

No, really, they were very nice zip bags.

Ulterior motives

Myself and my sober, professional crew of gentlemen and women went into this exercise purely, like cheese-loving little angels. My living room was a wine tasting of cheese crackers: thoughtful chewing, enlightened comments on texture and flavor and shape. We sought the best-tasting option—that was all.

Piggy and her randy crew of half-drunk vikings, however, went into this determined to be right. They were all die-hard Cheez-It fans, and were determined to root out their favorite cracker and rate it highly. A secondary concern was appearing cosmopolitan by choosing organic options. Spoiler alert: they failed miserably on all counts, and deserve to be laughed at.

(Note: “sober” describes our mentality, not our intoxication level. I was guzzling beer and my husband smoked weed for the occasion. But we were very serious and solemn regardless.)

The twelve contenders

  1. Annie’s Organic Cheddar Squares
  2. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
  3. Stop & Shop Baked Cheese Snack Crackers
  4. Back to Nature Crispy Cheddar Crackers
  5. Better Cheddars Baked Snack Crackers
  6. Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers
  7. Trader Joe’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers
  8. Cheese Nips Baked Snack Crackers
  9. Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares
  10. Cheez-Its Baked Snack Cracker
  11. 365 Organic Cheese Square Crackers
  12. Late July Organic Bite Size Cheddar Cheese Crackers

Annie's Organic Cheddar Square

Annie’s Organic Cheddar Squares ($0.69/oz)

Produced by Annie’s Homegrown | Purchased at Whole Foods for $4.69

Piggy’s Thane: “I’m going to like the organic ones best.”

Piggy: “It’s a blind test you don’t know—“

Piggy’s Thane: “THE ORGANIC ONES.”

Our first contender is the second-most expensive, and it’s organic. So it’s gotta be great, right? Nope. Testers were not impressed with any aspect of this entry. Everyone had a very blah reaction to this very blah cracker. Testers found it to be insufficiently cheesy, bland, and unimpressive.

  • “Unimpressive cheesiness.”
  • “Flat, flavorless, a little matzah-like.”
  • “I’m getting a strong hit of cardboard flavor.”
  • “Tastes stale right out of the box.”
  • “Not a complex flavor profile.”
  • “They suck.”
  • “Boring.”
  • “I don’t think this is a real Cheez-It.”
  • “A firm meh.”
  • “I’m compelled to eat 82 more, but not because they’re good. Next.”

Verdict: BAD

Annie's Cheddar Bunnies

Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies ($0.46/oz)

Produced by Annie’s Homegrown | Purchased at Stop & Shop for $3.47

Goosey, loyal reader and test facilitator, was tasked with assigning numbers and orders. She took secrecy very seriously and yelled at me anytime I walked past the room where she was working. And she did something very smart with our first two options. We have two Annie’s choices back-to-back—the first was a generic shape, and the second was the highly recognizable Bunnies. Which testers can detect the identical flavor?

All of Kitty’s crew. Their notes said…

  • “These taste a lot like the last ones.”
  • “This one also tastes like cardboard to me.”
  • “Another firm meh.”
  • “First impression is… nothing. I keep waiting for the flavor to start?”
  • “Once you break through the outer shell, it’s kinda soft and soggy inside.”
  • “The shape is very cute. But these are not cheesy at all.”
  • “Forgettable.”
  • “Disappointing.”

And who was fooled by the siren song of wholesome bunny branding?

Piggy’s Thane: “Way better than the first!”

Certified. Dumbass.

Verdict: BAD

Stop and Shop Baked Cheese Snack Crackers

Stop & Shop Baked Cheese Snack Crackers ($0.13/oz)

Produced by Stop & Shop | Purchased at Stop & Shop for $1.69

These were, far and away, cheapest in our test. Not only is it the cheapest box, but it’s also the heaviest. It’s absolutely packed with crackers. Common sense would say that they’re not going to be very good, but these were actually Team Piggy’s favorites out of the whole test.

Granted, they chose them because they were convinced they were Cheez-Its. (They were not Cheez-Its.)

  • “Oh that’s a Cheez-It.”
  • “Way better than that fake Cheez-It, [Annie’s Organic Cheddar Squares].”
  • “Crunchier. Saltier.”
  • “It’s the salt that makes it delicious.”

… Suckers. Team Kitty wasn’t nearly as excited by the Stop & Shop brand, but remarks were still generally positive.

  • “Nice healthy big grains of salt across the tops.”
  • “Could be stronger, could be richer or more complex, but tastes like cheese.”
  • “Good on impact but does not linger on the palate. Departs quickly, like a busy lover.”
  • “Crispy. Finally, something crispy.”
  • “Seem a little stale, a little dry.”
  • “First one we grabbed to eat, not to taste.”
  • “Not bad.”
  • “Still, underwhelming.”

Verdict: GOOD

Back to Nature Crispy Cheddar Crackers

Back to Nature Crispy Cheddar Crackers ($0.50/oz)

Produced by Back to Nature | Purchased at Whole Foods for $3.79

I am already a big fan of a Back to Nature cheese-based product. Their Crazy Bugs (also sold as Silly Sea Life) is the absolute best boxed macaroni and cheese I’ve tasted. We always keep two emergency boxes in the pantry for days where we don’t have time to cook. Or just really need some cheese.

Sadly, they haven’t reached the same heights. Team Kitty liked the texture and flavor more than any previous contenders…

  • “Paler in color, more of a natural looking toasted cheese color.”
  • “Flavor kicks it up much more so than the previous three.”
  • “Pretty good cheese level.”
  • “First one to not have a bit of artificial cardboard-y taste, but also not a rich interesting cracker.”
  • “Not crazy flavorful, but enough for a cheesy snack.”
  • “I really like how crunchy these are.”
  • “Very crunchy. Best crunch yet.”
  • I like this.”
  • “A totally respectable cheese cracker.”

… but it wasn’t enough to distract Team Piggy from their mirage lovers of the Stop & Shop brand, which they continued to call “Cheez-Its” throughout the test, all smug and knowing, the Gilderoy Lockharts of snack crackers.

  • “It’s missing the salt factor.”
  • “And the CHEESE factor. Gimme those ‘Cheez-Its.’”
  • “Might be extra toasty Cheez-Its?”

Verdict: NEUTRAL

Better Cheddars Baked Snack Crackers

Better Cheddars Baked Snack Crackers ($0.53/oz)

Produced by Nabisco | Purchased at Stop & Shop for $3.49

“Oh, right, these exist” I thought as I found Better Cheddars on the summit-of-Mount-Everest position of Stop & Shop’s cracker aisle. I had heard of them, and maybe even had them as a kid, but these memories were vague and distant as figures in a fog.

When we opened the box, we were a bit baffled by the shape and texture. The crackers are round and flat—about the size and levity of a Eucharist wafer, but with soft dimples instead of a cross. They were also visibly crumbly and soft.

Our expectations were low. I really thought these were going to be nasty. But we were pleasantly surprised.

  • “I’ve never seen these things before.”
  • “This is not even… this is like a wafer.”
  • “Fragile and crumbling.”
  • “I don’t know what this is… but they’re pretty good.”
  • “Nice combination of cheese, salt, and crunch.”
  • “Highly cheesy.”
  • “Strong and robust cheese flavor.”
  • “It tastes like the flavor dust is inside.”
  • “Not what I would expect, very soft.”
  • “But the crumbly texture helps spread the cheese around your entire mouth.”
  • “Very salty.”
  • “Shit, I like this one.”
  • “Quite good.”
  • “I like this one a lot.”
  • “Would eat A LOT of these while hammered.”
  • “This is what you want First Communion to taste like.”
  • “But maybe not what you’re looking for?”
  • “Are these gluten free? Why would gluten free cheese crackers be a thing?”
  • Good flavor, but gluten free possibility is a major negative.”

These crackers are absolutely not gluten free. (Guess which team those last comments came from.) (Fools.)

Verdict: GOOD

Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers

Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers ($0.46/oz)

Produced by Pepperidge Farm | Purchased at Market Basket for $3.49

These are clearly Goldfish. All of the testers know they’re goldfish. I mean, come on—they’re smiling right up at us. “They look friendly, and happy to be eaten by us,” I wrote in my notepad, with mixed emotions. It’s inevitable that nostalgia colors our reactions.

  • “Oh yeah, goldfish are delicious.”
  • “I mean c’mon. I don’t need to elaborate. Goldfish!”
  • “There’s nothing better than taking one of those giant cartons and pouring them directly into your mouth. I can’t get my big gorilla hands in, so I just have to pour.”
  • “Salty, but very, very mild cheese flavor.”
  • “They don’t really have any flavor.”
  • “A better cracker than a cheese snack.”
  • “It’s an ideal shape. So crispy. And the hollow pockets make it fun to bite down on.”
  • “Bland but competent.”
  • “Delightful to eat by the fistful.”
  • “Unsatisfying, in that I will continue to eat them, because I feel like I haven’t eaten any yet.”
  • “Unfulfilling.”

It’s clear that nobody will kick a box (bag? packet??) of Goldfish out of bed. Everyone agreed that this was a delightful snack to Hoover up in massive quantities. But at the same time, no one remarked much on the flavor or cheese level, because there really isn’t much of either. It’s as mild and inoffensive as cheese crackers get. And their popularity is likely driven as much by nostalgia as any other merit.

Verdict: NEUTRAL

Trader Joe's Cheddar Rocket Crackers

Trader Joe’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers ($0.35/oz)

Produced by Trader Joe’s | Purchased at Trader Joe’s for $2.49

Opinions were very divided on Trader Joe’s only cheese cracker offering. I suspect that this meant that they did not age well, as Piggy’s crew tasted them almost two weeks after first opening. What Team Kitty experienced as pretty delightful…

  • “Surprisingly great wheat flavor coming through.”
  • “Different from any of the other flavors.”
  • “Least salty overall. Would like a hit of salt on the top, but not a deal breaker.”
  • “Becomes more robust as it lingers in your mouth. Cheese comes late to the party.”
  • “A two-step crunch.”
  • “Both crispy AND crunchy.”
  • “Great shape for delivering air pockets.”
  • “Like a little torpedo going down your gullet.”
  • “An improvement on the Goldfish.”

… Team Piggy was having none of.

  • “No flavor at all.”
  • Kinda like eating old unflavored popcorn. No crunch.”
  • Sucks all the moisture out of your mouth, like there’s sawdust.”
  • These are gross. The worst we’ve had so far.”

Such different opinions almost certainly means that the stellar feature of these crackers (its crispy crunch) vacated the premises before Piggy and crew could get to them. Our opinion is that keeping for a week or two in the pantry should be part of what makes a cheese cracker great, so its score took a real hit as a result. There was one thing everyone could agree upon: the shape sucks.

  • “Shape is… concerning.”
  • “Are these supposed to be rocket ships?”
  • “Jet skis? They kinda look like jet skis.”
  • “If you put some little eyes on them they’d look like little Christmas angels.”
  • “Name is ambitious, fails to deliver. These are not rockets, they are weird vulvas?”
  • “Not cute.”

Verdict: BAD

Cheese Nips Baked Snack Crackers

Cheese Nips Baked Snack Crackers ($0.21/oz)

Produced by Nabisco | Purchased at Market Basket for $2.39

Here we go. The root of the conflict. Cheese Nips versus Cheez-Its. How did the people react?

  • “These are funny looking. Pretty good though.”
  • “Nicely sculpted. Like an aztec line around the edge.”
  • “Highly consistent construction.”
  • “Finally, one of us used the word ‘cheddar’ to describe the taste.”
  • “Really nice amount of cheese flavor.”
  • “It tastes like cheese!”
  • “All cheddar, all the time.”
  • “I wouldn’t say no to more salt, but it’s fine.”
  • “Where the salt? C’mon.”
  • “Very strong taste, six thumbs up.”
  • “Softer texture.”
  • “Its crumbliness helps to spread the flavor around.”
  • “High marks.”
  • “This is cheddar, in cracker form.”

We had one outlier who didn’t like them: Piggy’s Thane thought they had a “disgusting aftertaste.” But he was the only one who felt this way, and I believe his other comments are a testament to his general wrongness.

Verdict: GOOD

Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares

Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares ($0.66/oz)

Produced by Boulder Brands | Purchased at Whole Foods for $3.99

Hachi machi. I should’ve known what I was in for when they described their own product as “flavor squares.”

I had no idea that Earth Balance had a cheese cracker. Imagine my delight when I found it, knowing I could torment everyone by slipping a vegan cheese cracker into the mix. And torment it was. Earth Balance makes a pretty great buttery spread, but their crackers were cracked. They were ugly, lacking in uniformity, crumbly, dusty, and completely lacking in anything like cheese flavor.

  • “Wow, these look busted as shit.”
  • “And look at all these siamese twin crackers! NOT COOL!”
  • “WTF, there’s no cheese in this.”
  • “This reminds me that I want to eat cheese, because I am not currently eating cheese.”
  • “Taste is pure butter. It tastes just like a Club Cracker.”
  • “Yes! This is an orange Club Cracker!”
  • “The CRACKER is good.”
  • “Yes, very crackery. Not a lot of cheese.”
  • “First time I’ve had to lick my fingers clean afterwards. Bummer.”
  • “Almost a sweet aftertaste?”
  • “I put some back… awkward emoji.”
  • “<derisive fart noise>”

I threw some of these to Test Facilitator Goosey’s dog, who has an addict’s love of cheese. He took it, then he spat it out. As far as I’m concerned, this is the most damning possible reaction to any food.


Cheez-Its Baked Snack Crackers

Cheez-Its Baked Snack Crackers ($0.32/oz)

Produced by Sunshine Biscuits | Purchased at Stop & Shop for $3.99

Here it is.

Piggy’s favorite snack cracker.

Here was her one and only tasting note.

  • “No flavor!”

Her team agreed.

  • “It’s just fine. Nothing special.”
  • “[Stop & Shop Brand] is still the best.”

My team agreed.

  • “A bit too toasted. Verges on a burnt taste.”
  • “Lacks the tanginess and creaminess of real cheese.”
  • “Overall, pretty bland.”
  • “The flavor does evolve, but it goes from bland to decent to bad.”
  • “These taste stale to me.”
  • “Nothing wrong with it, but I don’t want it.”
  • “Why am I suspicious of these?”
  • “For sure, not in my top three.”
  • “Uninspiring.”
  • “Unlike most of the others, I would stop after my first handful.”

And I added this note at the bottom, but did not spake it aloud. I didn’t want to contaminate the minds of the other testers. But I knew exactly what I was eating—and steadfastly not enjoying.

  • “These are definitely Cheez-Its.”

Not wanting to eat the rest of these myself, I crumbled them over the food of my pointy, weasel-shaped dog who never eats. The first day he was excited. The second day he was neutral. By day three, he turned and walked away from his food bowl.

Carve “I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE CHEEZ-ITS” upon my tombstone, and water it with tears, you disconsolate Cheez-It lovers.

Verdict: BAD

365 Organic Cheese Square Crackers

365 Organic Cheese Square Crackers ($0.42/oz)

Produced by 365 Everyday Value | Purchased at Whole Foods for $2.99

Whole Foods prices are generally too rich for my blood, so if I find myself there, I tend to rely on their house brand. For a high-end retailer, I have to say I was expecting more. We liked the distinct appearance…

  • “Nice toasted appearance with high bubbles.”
  • “Some are too thin. But these are a good width.”
  • “Extra toasty looking. Thicker. More air in them. Boys like that.”

… but there were mixed opinions on the overall flavor. Kitty’s crew was not feeling it…

  • “That is… cheese?”
  • “No cheese flavor here.”
  • “Hints of butter and salt, but not tangy or robust.”
  • “It’s a very mild cracker.”
  • “Among the most bland that we’ve tried.”
  • “Wants to be crisp. Tries to be crisp. But is kinda soggy inside.”
  • “How can a cracker be this dry but still not be crisp?”
  • “Not interested in having any more of these.”

… but Piggy’s boys had a much more positive take.

  • “The salt’s back. And you can tell they’re extra crispy because of the char in your mouth.”
  • “These are well done.”
  • “My sister orders her pizza well done.”
  • “Like burnt pizza? Dafuq is wrong with you?”
  • “Sometimes that can be good…”
  • “OFF TOPIC.”

Verdict: NEUTRAL

Late July Organic Bite Size Cheddar Cheese Crackers

Late July Organic Bite Size Cheddar Cheese Crackers ($0.60/oz on sale)

Produced by Late July Snacks | Purchased at Whole Foods for $3.00 (on sale)

What a baffling product.

This specialty label boasts all-organic, non-GMO snack products. At five ounces, the box is TINY. Like, it looks full-size until you pick it up and you’re like, “Oh, a novella, how droll.” It’s literally less than half as many crackers as other contenders. I find this somewhat insulting and vexing, considering it’s also the most expensive, had I not happened to find it on sale.

Somehow, Piggy’s Thanes were able to pick up on the ritziness before they even ate one.

  • “Ugh, these are probably organic…”
  • “I thought you liked organic?”
  • “I meant the bunnies, obviously.”

They also looked a bit odd—extremely flat and uniform in color.

  • Extremely flat, no signs of toasting.”
  • “Why bother with the hole when these are so flat.”
  • “Only one of the crackers had real grains of salt—so, uneven application.”
  • “Slightly irregular sizes.”
  • “Lookit this poor fuckin’ thing! It’s like a piece of paper! You could see through it.”
  • “I like how thin they are—I actually don’t miss the air pocket.”
  • “It’s not trying to lie to you about its size.”

But the most notable feature of these odd crackers is their texture, which every taster picked up on.

  • “Garbage.”
  • “Grainy.”
  • “I don’t hate the flavor.”
  • “Salt and cheese good.”
  • “Definitely a nice cheese flavor present.”
  • “There is a cheese flavor, more tangy, no nuttiness.”
  • “If we crushed them up and fried something in them? Perfect.”
  • “I could eat two of these and a gallon of water… that gritty texture. I don’t like the gritty!“
  • “Like you put all of the cheese dust on… air… or on grits.”
  • “Almost too cheesy when you have four or five at once.”
  • “Ok, but not great texture.”
  • “Chewy.”
  • “Like a wheat thin, but… lame?”
  • “What is this? Is this a multigrain cheese cracker??”

Overall this was our most polarizing cheese cracker. Piggy said “like it, but not my fav,” but one of my Thanes said “these where my favorites.” Piggy’s husband said “the more I taste it the less I like it,” but I wrote “these are strange, but growing on me.” True to my word, I enjoyed the rest of the box. (Granted, that was like, five more crackers, because this box is a studio apartment for a mouse.)

If there’s one cracker I can recommend trying, it’s this one, just because it’s so divisive and odd.

Verdict: WHAT



With no teams agreeing unanimously, how can we tease out a winner?

First, let us note the ways that our upbringing shapes our sense of taste. So much of the way we process taste is in our memories. Ingredients and textures that aren’t objectively good still call to us, because it’s what we know. This is especially true of childhood staples like cheese crackers.

As much as I enjoyed mocking his horrible taste, Piggy’s Thane grew up heckin poor in Flint, Michigan. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his favorite was the cheapest, and his least favorite was the most expensive. I personally like fake corn-based “maple syrup” on my pancakes more than the real deal tapped fresh from a tree, because it’s what I grew up on. And Piggy’s brain just melted, because her ass grew up in the woods of New England, and she’s a shameless snob for that sweet, sweet tree blood. It all depends on what you know.

Second, let us acknowledge the strong sway that brands have over us. We taste with our brains and our eyes far more than our tongues. An unappealing cracker, reshaped into the form of a cute little bunny, and empowered with a reputation for being wholesome and well-crafted, suddenly tastes delicious to us. And brand loyalty is a powerful influence. Even when testers couldn’t pick their favored brand out of a line up, literally, we still insisted it was the best. Our default state is brand sheeple, and it takes extraordinary measures (like a blind taste test) to prove us wrong.

Third, a high price does not guarantee a great experience. Team Piggy’s favorite cracker was the cheapest, and Team Kitty’s was the second cheapest. And perhaps that speaks to the nature of a cheddar cracker. It’s a mainstay for little kids, a meal for college students, a snack for adults in a big damn rush. I do think there are some foods where buying organic makes a big flavor difference. (Mr. Kitty and I served cookies and milk instead of cake at our wedding, so we taste-tested every milk we could find—and we were gobsmacked by the difference.) And it doesn’t make sense to invest quality ingredients into this kind of borderline junk food.

Fourth, ingredients matter more than their sources. My personal preference is for a strong cheddar cheese flavor—like when you get a nice block of sharp cheddar cheese? THAT, but in cracker form, please. So I checked out the ingredients on my three personal favorites. They were the only ones that listed “cheddar cheese” as a top ingredient. Not “cheese,” not “cheese flavor,” not “cheddar cheese made from skim milk.” If I’d stared at the ingredients, I probably could’ve picked the ones that I considered good from the start.

Fifth, if you like something, check to see who made it. Chances are you’ll like their other products too. There were two Nabisco brands in this taste test, and both of them landed in my top three.

Sixth, the store you shop at really matters. Look closer at the price difference between Annie’s Squares (#1) and Annie’s Bunnies (#2). One was purchased at Whole Foods, and the other was purchased at Stop & Shop. Buying the same product at a schmancy store cost me a full buck extra and change. That’s an enormous tax on the privilege of shopping at Whole Foods. Also, fuck the people at Whole Foods! TWO different people ran into me, and NEITHER one apologized. When I compulsively apologized (because I shop at Market Basket, where people are raised right), one stared at me like I’d attempted to cut her purse, and the other kept charging down the yogurt aisle without even looking at me. RICH PEOPLE ARE TRASH.

So that takes care of the cerebral stuff. Let’s declare some winners!

The Winners

Honorable Mention for Best Budget Cracker: Stop & Shop Baked Cheese Snack Crackers

Honorable Mention for Best Budget Cracker: Stop & Shop Brand Baked Cheese Snack Crackers

If you’re currently eating Cheez-Its and happy about it, you’ll be psyched to know that there are store brands out there making a slightly better version of it for less than half the cost. Even if you don’t have a Stop & Shop in your region, try your local brands anyway. They could really surprise you.

Honorable Mention for Best Cheddar Flavor: Cheese Nips

Honorable Mention for Best Cheddar Flavor: Cheese Nips

Sometimes “cheese flavor” just means “orange food coloring.” That is not the case with these awesome crackers. They have the creaminess, nuttiness, and tanginess of real honest-to-goodness cheddar cheese given cracker form. That taste will be too powerful for some, but to others, it’s cheesey manna from cheese heaven.

Best in Show: Better Cheddars

Best in Show: Better Cheddars

Unlike other brands in this competition, absolutely no one was looking for Better Cheddars, much less pulling for them. Despite that, this odd, round, overlooked wafer-like cracker had us all reaching for more. It was salty and tangy, with a powerful punch of cheese flavor.

I asked our testers to close their eyes and tell me how Better Cheddars made them feel.

  • “I deserve this.”
  • “I’ve had a hard day, and now I’m going to have a bunch of these.”
  • “Great drunk food.”
  • “These are end-of-the-week crackers.”
  • “These feel cheap, but I love them. Like, it’s the best possible thing you could get at a gas station.”
  • “Flat shape is like buckshot for your tongue. It covers the whole thing and fills your mouth with flavor.”
  • “Something I would get for lunch after a tough morning, and hide from everyone.”
  • “Superb party food, no doubt about it.”

I wholeheartedly agree. These crackers beckon me like a siren to some dim past where it’s 3 a.m. and I’m twenty-two years old, drunk on tequila, ravenous after dancing my ass off on somebody’s roof, ready to shovel salty cheese discs the fuck into my mouth.

After the test, they were the first box we finished.

Best Loser: Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares

Dogs won’t eat you. I cannot help you.

So who was right?

Guys, Piggy and I don’t fight about these kinds of things. It doesn’t matter who “won” or who “lost.” What’s important is that we ate fifteen cubits of cheese crackers!

… But do you remember that time that Piggy described her beloved Cheez-Its as having “no flavor, exclamation point”?

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

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A huge thank-you to our Patreon patrons. This was our first ever article with a budget attached, and we couldn’t have written it without you. I am a little nervous that we will lose donors because they’re going to find out we spent $30 on cheese crackers… and $10 on shipping half-eaten boxes of cheese crackers across the country… gulp.




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Remember how, wayyyyy back at the beginning of the article, I said that there was supposed to be a cheddar tasting portion of the test to help ground everyone in the definition of “cheesiness”? Remember how I said Piggy fucked hers up? Well, I’ll be posting that story—along with hilarious transcribed dialogue—as an exclusive tidbit to our Patreon page.

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29 thoughts to “The Ultimate Showdown: Cheese Crackers, Ranked”

  1. So…I haven’t had dairy in over six months. This was foodporn at it’s finest. Thanks for that.

    Aldi’s generic take on Cheez-Its are (were?) SO GOOD. My dad is a total brand snob. So naturally, my mom saves the brand-name bread loaf bag and puts in the store name bread. He totally teased me about the Aldi crackers. Now, he loves them. Guess who is getting a box for Father’s Day?

    1. Oooh, never had those! Both of us remembered Walmart’s brand, alternately labeled Dolphins or Whales, as GREAT. Sadly/happily I don’t live near a Walmart, so they couldn’t be included…

      1. i know this is 2 years late but whales are at dollar stores!! I work at one! We have them! They’re the best cheddar-flavored cheese cracker hands down in my opinion, although this post makes me want to run a test group myself…

  2. Fun fact, Stop-n-Shop, Safeway, and Kroger ARE all the same company, which is why they’re comparable! I work for the company, and I am pathetically good at recognizing my company’s affiliates as well as the branding when it pops up in media.

  3. AHA! We don’t have Stop & Shop in the DC area, but what we do have is Giant, which has the same logo as S&S. Google confirms they’re the same company. I don’t tend to be a cheese cracker snack kind of person, a) because I tend to have more of a sweet tooth and b) because an ex of mine’s favorite is Cheez-Its (WHY) so that’s what I’ve eaten in recent years (and am now glad to know it’s proven that I have better taste than he does!). But this is good to know that I can just waltz in to Giant and buy the regular-ass generic brand if the mood ever strikes. Because sometimes you need some drunk snack food.

  4. I laughed. I cried. I went downstairs to munch on some reduced fat Cheez-its (because I think they taste better than the real deal). Surprised to know the eventual Champion was a total dark horse… This Patron is pleased, and a little hungry for more cheese! 🙂

  5. I LOVE Better Cheddars! It’s great to hear that they objectively won the test too. Thanks for doing this – it was delightful to read!

    1. Woah, woah, woah, where are the methods? How would one accurately replicate your study?? Was this even DOUBLE BLIND???

      …also I’m legit picking up Better Cheddars on my way home. ^_^

  6. Guys, this is the most american article you have ever written. TWELVE different kinds of “cheese cracker”?!

    LOL. I love it.

    1. The cheese cracker is very important in the American culture because Jefferson Washington, America’s first prime minister, crossed the Delaware River on a raft made entirely of Earth Balance Flavor Squares. GOD BLESS THESE CHEESE CRACKERS AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

  7. Better cheddars?! I have never heard of these, but OMG, I need. You guys should do taste tests of cheap eats like this more often. One, my grocery budget is too damn high. Two. I like to eat. Win, win!
    And I love Cheez It’s, so moment of silence. I was like, “wow, I have no real preference for cheesy cracker snacks, this post will not elicit any emotion.” FALSE. CHEEZ ITS ARE THE BEST, AND I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THEM NOW.

    1. Girl, do a blind taste test and I believe your faith in the ‘z-Its will be shaken!

      I totally want to do more of these. What snack reviews do y’all want to see??

    1. Sadly, no one has yet developed a cheese cracker made out of whatever twigs and brambles you’re eating nowadays.

  8. This article is life. I have very strong opinions about cheese products (like which brand of mozarella cheese sticks are best) so friend feuds like this are 100% hills I am willing to die on. In fact, this is inspiring me as a potential 30th birthday party theme… Even better that you actually make great salient points from it, too.

    Alas, no Aldi though! I have been shocked by how different their “Penguins” (generic Goldfish) taste from PF Goldfish, which they also sell. Far more buttery and a flakier texture. PF’s are more crunchy and salty. So much variation!

  9. YES MARKET BASKET!!! I moved away from New England and I miss that Demoulas brand life…the smell, the ugly tile, the weird sawdust stuff on the floor…

    1. Did you follow the insane civil war that happened a few years back?? Demoulas-on-Demoulas infighting, employee and driver strikes, protests at the flagship store, mass resignations at corporate… It was a fucking space opera, and I loved every second of it.

  10. I added Better Cheddars to this week’s grocery list on the strength of this review alone. I am not disappointed.

  11. When Better Cheddars popped up, I thought, “OMG! Better Cheddars are GREAT! I need to go find some right now!” Cheez-its were the staple growing up, but Better Cheddars were a treat. The box never lasted a full day.

  12. Let me tell you right now, I grew up with Jacob’s Mini Cheddars (a British brand) and they are the BOMB diggity. I don’t know how to categorize them exactly: they’re somewhere between a cracker and a tea biscuit, but the cheddar flavour, the saltiness and the crunch were out of this world. I’ll happily ship you both some if you want to bask in their glory :))

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