Both Saltine and Ritz crackers were a staple in our house when I was growing up. I was more into water table crackers with fancy toppings when I was diagnosed with celiac disease than the crackers of my childhood. Still, to this day, I’ve not really found a “replacement” for Saltine or Ritz crackers. But I have found some gluten-free crackers worth keeping on hand in my exhaustive, expensive and extensive quest.
Glutano crackers were the first gluten-free crackers I tried and they didn’t not appeal to me at all, though they are very popular with many people. I wasn’t crazy about basic rice crackers either. I like some of the Nut Thins – probably the Pecan and Smokehouse are my favorite flavors. Mary’s Gone Crackers makes some nice flavored gluten-free crackers that I pair with strong flavored cheeses or spreads. These crackers also work especially well as a filler in meat loaf.
Glutino now offers four flavors of gluten-free crackers but I only like the Vegetable flavor. It is really about as close to a Ritz cracker as I’ve found, though of course it has a veggie flavor to it which a Ritz doesn’t have. Many people love all the flavors but the Cheddar, Multigrain and Original crackers did not appeal to me enough to buy them again.
For a basic plain cracker to be eaten with a nice spread or topping I like Ener-G Crackers. But I love their Onion Crackersand I can even eat them plain! I’d love the company to reduce the size of their crackers though. The huge rectangle shape is quite awkward to serve at a party and they are fairly difficult to cut down to a more manageable size.
Periodically I check the gluten-free product listings on Amazon.com and over a year ago I found a gluten-free product line called Valpi-Form. The France based company makes several phenomenal gluten-free products, one of which is their Salty crackers. This is the only cracker I’ve found to be similar to a Saltine in taste, size and texture. The problem is that they – or anything from the line – are rarely in stock. And as soon as the products arrive on Amazon.com, most are sold out in a couple of hours. People can sign up to be notified when out of stock products arrive on Amazon.com.
Many people consider Schar crackers the closest thing to a Saltine but they are too buttery and crumbly for me to agree with that assessment. They are quite good crackers though, and as long as you are not trying to spread anything on them, they should not crumble. The packaging improved immensely a while back so that half the box will not be in pieces either.
Over the last few years I’ve tried gluten-free crackers that literally tasted like dirt – or the box they came in. I would not repeat the name of the products if I could remember them because everyone has different tastes and I don’t want to deter anyone from trying something just because I don’t like it. One of the items I bought after reading rave reviews about it – so I was the odd man out thinking they were horrible.
To my great surprise there are actually two types of crackers for which I’ve found gluten-free versions that taste better than the gluten ones I was trying to replace. The Graham Crackers from The Grainless Baker are the best such product I’ve had and I’ve tried five gluten-free brands that I can remember.
My gluten eating husband will eat every single Grainless Baker graham cracker if I don’t hide them from him and he doesn’t even like gluten crackers! Put a little peanut butter on one for a truly decadent snack or just enjoy them plain with hot tea. Or use them or the graham cracker crumbs from the company for the best graham cracker pie crust ever!
Last but not least, the Cheese Crackers from the Sunny Valley Wheat-Free Bakery (all products are gluten-free) in WA State are my favorite gluten-free cracker EVER! If you want to know what they taste like, think of a Cheez-It cracker that is made only with real ingredients. This of course means the gluten-free cheese crackers taste better than Cheez-It crackers. They are actually cheesier if you can believe it!
Tell us what your favorite gluten-free crackers is in the comments below.
Note: I have not tried the new Cheese Crackers from The Grainless Baker as I just found out about them today. Their Graham Crackers are now available at Return to Eden.