We Tried 7 Kinds of Cheese Crackers and These Were Our Favorite

Nothing can get cheddar than this.

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cheese crackers taste test
Photo: Allrecipes Illustration

When it comes to snack time, crackers are always an excellent crunchable choice. And there's no cracker more craveable than cheese varieties; between the cheesy flavor and the crunch, it's easy to finish off a box of cheese crackers in one sitting.

But what brand of cheese cracker most deserves your cheddar? To help you figure that out, we tested seven varieties of cheese crackers, all of which are available online or in stores. Here are our rankings from best to worst.

Best Cheese Crackers at a Glance

Best Overall: Cheez-It Original Baked Snack Crackers
Runner-Up: Better Cheddars Baked Snack Cheese Crackers
Best Organic Cheese Cracker: Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheddar Squares
Best Gluten-Free Cheese Cracker: Simple Mills Farmhouse Cheddar Almond Flour Crackers; Blue Diamond Cheddar Cheese Almond Nut-Thins
Best Low-Sodium Cheese Cracker: Milton's Craft Bakery Cheesy Cheddars

What We Looked For When Ranking Cheese Crackers

Taste: As ever, flavor is a top priority for these taste tests. For this test, we looked for crackers that were toasted without being overly brown, and which tasted generously of cheese. We also took note of which brands tasted overly of artificial cheese powders and which ones tasted genuinely cheesy.

Price: They may be delicious, but cheese crackers aren't exactly a rarified commodity. Most of the brands we tested sold their crackers for under $5 a box. Some, including our top pick, cost just over $3.

Texture: Ideally, cheese crackers should have a thin to medium thickness and a fair amount of crunch. And while cheese crackers will leave dust on your fingers, a few are able to retain flavor without coating your hands in cheesy goodness. We'll point out which brands leave the most residue behind and which are the best for snack enthusiasts who like their crackers on the thinner side. We'll also make note of which gluten-free crackers have the closest texture to their regular counterparts.

Additional Features: Along with price, taste and texture, we considered how much sodium each brand contains. Most contained between 230 and 290 milligrams of sodium per serving. We also took note of gluten free varieties for those with eating restrictions or sensitivities.

How We Tested Each Cheese Cracker

With any box of cheese crackers, it's tempting to just reach in and grab a handful. But to keep things a bit more measured for this test, I tested three crackers from each brand during the same sitting. To keep the flavors from mixing between brands, I made sure to drink a good bit of water and wait a few minutes between each sample.

Best Overall: Cheez-It Original Baked Snack Crackers

cheez-it original

No surprise here — the brand synonymous with cheese crackers takes the gold in this taste test. The crackers are well toasted without tasting burnt, and the original flavor provides just enough cheddar to balance out the toastiness of the cracker. And while Cheez-It's don't have the lowest sodium content of the brands we sampled, it does come quite close at 230 milligrams per serving. It also is one of the better priced options in our line-up. Unless you simply don't like cheese crackers, this snacking staple will fill out your pantry just fine.

Buy It: $3.19, Target

Runner-Up: Better Cheddars Baked Snack Cheese Crackers

better cheddars

Better Cheddars doesn't have nearly the cheese taste of Cheez-Its, but it's the closest we could find. These round cheese crackers are a bit more on the toasted side. While not thin, they may have a tendency to break easy — the box we sampled had quite a few busted crackers.

Compared to Cheez-Its, Better Cheddars have a good bit more salt . At 290 milligrams of sodium per serving, it may be worth finding a different brand if you or someone in your household is sensitive or is on a low sodium diet.

Buy It: $2.56, Walmart

Best Organic Cheese Cracker: Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheddar Squares

annie's cheddar squares

We'll be honest — if you're looking for an abundance of cheese taste, you're not going to find it in Annie's brand. The cheddar taste in this brand is extremely subtle compared to some of the other brands we tried, although these squares have the best toasted taste in our lineup. That said, if you don't need your crackers extra toasty or you just prefer organic products, then Annie's is still an excellent option to go with. At 250 milligrams a serving, the sodium content is also close to our top pick, so you can feel free to snack away with less concern.

Buy it; $3.85, Amazon

Best Gluten-Free Cheese Cracker: Simple Mills Farmhouse Cheddar Almond Flour Crackers and Blue Diamond Cheddar Cheese Almond Nut-Thins

best gf cheese crackers

Gluten-free crackers can be hit and miss, especially on the texture front. Thankfully, both Blue Diamond and Simple Mills have gluten free snack enthusiasts covered. Because Blue Diamond makes its crackers from a mix of rice flour and almond meal, it has a slightly seedier texture and an extremely loud crunch. The cheese powder on these crackers tends to transfer a bit more to the fingers than other varieties we tested, but they still taste good. At 250 milligrams of sodium per serving, they also match some of our other recommended brands, like Annie's.

Simple Mills, on the other hand, much more closely replicates the texture of Cheez-It and other wheat-based brands. Made with almond flour, Simple Mills' crackers lack the crunchiness of their rice-based counterparts. However, the cheddar taste was one of the most natural of all the brands we sampled, and the sodium content comes only to 270 milligrams per serving. If you're looking for a good, gluten-free cheese cracker, Simple Mills is a good choice.

Buy It: $4.69, Target; $3.29, Target

Best Low Sodium Cheese Cracker: Milton's Craft Bakery Cheesy Cheddars

milton's cheesy cheddars

Milton's won't be winning any awards in the flavor department any time soon. The cheese flavor on its hexagonal crackers, while authentic tasting, is very light. One has to hunt a bit for the cheddar. That said, Milton's are still a solid snack, and at 210 milligrams of sodium per serving, they're also the lowest in salt of all the brands we sampled. If cutting down on salt is on your list, Milton's would be a good addition to your cupboard.

Buy It: $5.49, Safeway

Not Our Favorite: Quaker Cheddar Rice Crisps

quaker cheddar crisps

Quaker's rice crisps are a bit of a crowd divider anyway; not everyone has fond memories of the packing-peanut pucks that became a health food rage in the '80s and '90s. And to their credit, Quaker has created rice crisp bites with a significantly improved size, thickness and texture over earlier variations. That said, we still can't give these rice crackers a thumbs up. For one thing, the cheese taste is nauseatingly artificial — think movie theater cheddar powder. For another, the rice crisps have a slightly oily aftertaste. The sodium content for each serving is also 350 milligrams, far higher than any other brand we tested. Suffice it to say that we like the concept better than Quaker's rice cakes, but this gluten free cheddar cracker may still need some work.

Buy It: $3.14, Walmart


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