18 Cheez-It Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

We think Cheez-Its are one of the greatest snacks of all time, which is especially impressive when you consider that they are not a chip (Lays, Doritos, Tortilla Chips). No, Cheez-Its are merely lowly crackers. But, come on, everyone knows that a box of Cheez-Its is just as enticing as any chip. They have a magical moreish quality that seems underwhelming on paper but knocks your socks off when you actually taste them. They also come in a barrage of flavors, and, recently, shapes and sizes.

We were afraid that trying all these Cheez-Its would destroy our deep love for them. Not so. While we certainly had more than our fair share of exposure therapy, we reaped the rewards: Now we know which ones we could never get sick of. The top-ranked crackers are endlessly enjoyable, and we are so excited to eat more of the previously-overlooked varieties. Tomorrow, though. Now, we're going to drink a lot of water and maybe eat a vegetable.

18. Bold Cheddar Grooves

The Grooves line is the closest to the original form. Obviously, one aspect that's truly distinct about these is their notched surface. The other is that they don't have the tiny puncture wound in the center of a normal Cheez-It.

We generally found them less flaky, but we're not exactly talking about croissants here, so it's all good. What isn't good about the Bold Cheddar Grooves is the flavor. It's bold all right, but that sort of in-your-face snack-food cheesiness doesn't quite hold up. You know, this cheddar tastes a little more like microwaved Kraft Singles. That might be exactly what someone is looking for in a movie-night snack, but in that case, we are not the intended audience. It's too much of a not-great thing.

17. Extra Cheesy

More cheese! What, are you saying that your original Cheez-Its aren't cheesy enough? Do you need to give us Extra Cheesy to make up for it? Have it your way, but we don't think they're actually an improvement upon the classic, so maybe you're overcompensating a little bit. These taste much more artificial, maybe because we can just taste the artifice since there's more powder to taste, or maybe because they added in something more synthetic.

Either way, they are dustier, but not necessarily cheesier. Are you just a cheese fiend and think that more is always more? We feel you. We all have those days. On days like that, our favorite dinner is basically a pile of melted cheese. The pasta is just a way to hold it all in, right? Anyway, check our ranking of the best frozen mac and cheeses, choose the top picks, and then — here's the kicker — top it off with the best-ranked Cheez-Its, which you will discover in just a few more paragraphs. Deliciousness to the max. These on the other hand, not so much.

16. Pepper Jack

We had mixed initial responses to the idea of these crackers, but ultimately, we decided that Pepper Jack Cheez-Its are pretty unnecessary. Original Cheez-Its are generally cheese-flavored and already have a savory spice that no one would call "spicy." Cheddar Jack, White Cheddar, and Extra Cheesy punctuate the cheesiness of it all, and Hot & Spicy (which we didn't get the chance to try), or Buffalo Wing brings the heat. The cracker is neither especially cheesy (because the "Jack" in "Pepper Jack" is inarguably bland), nor especially spicy.

We weren't reaching for water, no subtle heat crept up on us, and we just barely got a minor tingling on our tongues. Meh. We like pepper jack in a little cube at a catering event to give us a break from the other orange and white cheese cubes, but we don't need it anywhere else. Go for the outwardly spicy flavors, or forgo the spice entirely, unless you're just really curious about these for some reason.

15. Cheddar Jack Puff'd

There are three major subsets of original Cheez-Its: Grooves, Puff'd, and Snap'd (plus some miscellaneous outliers like Extra Big or Extra Toasty). The Duoz don't count because they are simply two flavors in one box, and don't change the platonic ideal of a Cheez-It in any essential way. We believe that, within this larger ranking, we must also break down the four major categories and rank them. Clearly, we take this whole thing very seriously. So, let's establish that, obviously, the original format reigns supreme. That's easy.

In second place comes the Grooves, which were very close to the original, offering everything we already love about Cheez-Its plus some oft-needed textural contrast. In an extremely close third place, we liked the thin-crust-pizza consistency of the Snap'd, and in fourth, came the oddball Puffs. All this being said, some flavors were better than others, so every Original did not beat out every Snap'd, per se. But when the Puffs aren't our favorite category, and the Cheddar Jack flavor was so good in its original shape and size, the Cheddar Jack Puff'd naturally fell towards the bottom of the barrel. Don't worry, much more is to come on the intricacies of all these factors.

14. White Cheddar Puff'd

Naturally, we were filled with trepidation — who needs this? Who do we think we are? Who does Big Cheez-It think it is? But it was completely unwarranted. These are a delight. We feel like a bunch of kids eating these things, but that's all part of the fun. The White Cheddar Puff'd crackers stay out of competition with Cheetos puffs due to the different cheese that is being used, and therefore we think they deserve to have a unique spot on supermarket shelves.

They are fluffy and white and comforting and fun all at once, like hotel pillows. But like any hotel setting, it can quickly get old and leave you wanting something with a little more substance. They're here for a good time, not a long time.

13. Extra Toasty

Are you the person who digs around in the box of Cheez-Its, first choosing all the crackers that look the most, honestly, burnt? Don't worry, we won't judge you, as long as you ask everyone whether or not it's okay to touch every single cracker along your quest. So get excited, because Nabisco has created not one but two kinds of Cheez-Its that are entirely made up of your faves: Extra Toasty.

There's not too much to say here, because if you like them over-baked, you should buy this box, and if you think the crackers are fine as they are, don't. But here's another reason to choose these whether or not you believe the original needed the upgrade: We think that these would be excellent on top of our absolute favorite soups (which we have a lot of). You put saltines or oyster crackers on soup all the time, so why not give your bowl an extra pop of cheesiness? It's a great idea, particularly with these extra warming, extra crunchy versions of Cheez-Its.

12. Extra Big

Is bigger always better? Playing around with scale has been all the rage these days, and is one of the biggest (pun intended) food trends. From microgreens to giant cookies, there is undoubtedly an expansive market for resized foods (pun intended). Cheez-Its decided to hop on the bandwagon with these Extra Big crackers. In a way, we found that they tasted more like a cracker than normal-sized Cheez-Its because, when we thought about it, one of those classic Originals is very small, indeed.

These are better designed for scooping up dips or, if you want to be bougie, holding a ribbon of brie and a dot of jam. But who is actually going to use a Cheez-It for that? No, we'll stick to our Bretons and Carr's Table Water Crackers for such charcuterie events, and leave our Cheez-Its plain. Eating them straight out of the box is the way to go, and for that reason, these are not the way to go. But if you have always wanted to taste a large Cheez-Its, well, here you go.

11. Snap'd Double Cheese

The Original Cheez-It gets flattened, literally, in the Cheez-It Snap'd Double Cheese. Not in the "flattened" as in, "lost abysmally to its competitor" sense, though, because we like the original square shape better. These are, like Extra Big, better for scooping, but, once again, what you are scooping, and why are you using this cracker? These are also nice if you're willing to sacrifice flakiness for crunch. It's missing those tiny, tiny air pockets. The salt really cuts through the cheese in every single cracker we tried, but this one in particular. Maybe it's because there's a more expansive surface area for the salt to cling to.

At first, it tastes more snappy because of all that salt. Then, the salt lingers and leaves you feeling a little bit parched. It's a fine, fine line. If you want a Cheez-It that almost tastes more like a cheesy thick-cut potato chip than the typical cracker, this is it. As far as the promise of extra cheese, it seems to have just the same as an original Cheez-It in this shape.

10. Cheddar Sour Cream and Onion Snap'd

It's no surprise that we love sour cream and onion potato chips. Just check out this ranking of many, many competitive flavors of Lays to see the delicious evidence. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that we were prepared to fall for the Cheddar Sour Cream and Onion Snap'd. As we expected, we like them a lot, but they also didn't blow us away. Actually, oddly, we think it's too cheesy.

We know that the orangey "cheddar" taste clues us into the fact that we are actually eating a Cheez-It, but it's unnecessary here. Maybe we just like the tang and verve of sour cream and onion seasoning too much to want some dusty cheddar vying for attention. Also, we'll just take the potato chips, please.

9. Italian Four Cheese

We've talked about the "more is more" approach to Cheez-Its: Extra Big, Extra Cheesey, etcetera. But what about extra cheese varieties? The Italian Four Cheese crackers fit Romano, Parmesan, mozzarella, and asiago cheeses into a relatively small space. The general takeaway we had? It tastes like the topping of a cheese pizza. Not the sauce, not the crust, just the cheese. It must be that combination of Parmesan and mozzarella, the two Italian classics.

We can't exactly say that we tasted the other two, but does anyone actually taste four distinct kinds of cheese when under the four, five, six, or 10-cheese umbrella? It's a nice alternative to all those cheddars, but we do think it could have used some pizza seasonings such as oregano, basil, or crushed red pepper to liven it up.

8. Grooves Zesty Cheddar Ranch

We had no idea that we like ranch seasoning on our snacks this much, but both of the ranch-flavored Cheez-Its we tasted ranked respectably high. The Grooves style of chips evoked mixed reactions, but they were definitely a great way to get those savory herbs onto a cracker.

But, as you will see in just a moment, we preferred another cheese to go with them as opposed to cheddar. The Grooves Zesty Cheddar Ranch had a lot going on when you add up the different surface textures, the cheddar cheese, and the playful blend of herbs. We think it makes them a great standalone cracker to grab your attention on a dull afternoon, but not as quintessential as a more focused flavor.

7. Snap'd Parmesan Ranch

When there's a wider cracker to chomp, it makes perfect sense to use a wider palate of seasoning. In the Snap'd Parmesan Ranch, there is cheese, of course, but of the Parmesan variety. And we all know that Parmesan, with its boldly salty and nutty-tasting notes, is practically a seasoning itself. It's a great addition to this Cheez-It. But that's not all, and not even our favorite part: The buttermilk, herbaceous ranch really uplifts the cracker to a new level.

Now, pair these with a luscious creamy spinach dip, and we're in a really good snacking spot. The Parmesan in the dip would bring out the Parmesan in the chips, and the herby ranch seasoning would taste fresher than it actually is when contrasted with something so decadent.

6. Extra Toasty Cheddar Jack

There is not a ton of cheesy flavor in the regular Extra Toasty crackers, because the primary target is that edge-of-the-brownie sensation: You know, crisp, crackly, and just on the positive side of burnt. And hey, we didn't mind it — we even liked it. But now, thanks to the invention of the Extra Toasty Cheddar Jack, we have the best of both worlds. Cheddar Jack has a stronger cheddar taste than the Originals, and it landed quickly on our taste buds with a nice blast of sharp tang.

But vying for the spotlight is that equally pervasive toasted flavor, plus that shattering crunch. It's the most complex, interesting flavor of the typical-shaped Cheez-Its, and we would easily buy another box to experience all of it again.

5. Duoz Sharp Cheddar & Parmesan

What's better than one Cheez-It? Two Cheez-Its. What's better than two Cheez-Its? Two Cheez-Its that are different flavors. And best of all, you don't have to buy two separate boxes of Cheez-Its when there are boxes of Duos on the shelves. The only box on our shelves, sadly, was the Duoz Sharp Cheddar & Parmesan. The gimmick works, at least halfway. It looks much more fun from a visual perspective, and from a taste perspective, who doesn't want more flavor?

The former flavor is essentially a regular Cheez-It, albeit with slightly more sass. It's really just a foil to the latter. Let's get a whole box of these funky, peppery, and effervescent Parmesan Cheez-Its, please. They are what makes this box of crackers a box of crackerjack.

4. Buffalo Wing

Sometimes stepping out of your normal snack-time comfort zone is a bad move for you personally (please don't hate us if we confess to not enjoying Flamin' Hot Cheetos!), even if it seems to work for everyone else. We can't account for every single anomaly. With that warning label taken care of, we can move on and say that it's likely that even diehard fans of the Original Cheez-It will appreciate these funky Buffalo Wing ones.

They taste like chicken, and it's actually a good thing. There's a subtle heat, the sweet and savory buffalo sauce, that spot-on chicken flavor, and nothing at all weird. Throw them on top of a buffalo chicken dip, serve them in a big bowl next to the wings, and watch as your audience's faces light up because they had no idea they weren't normal Cheez-Its, have a work snack that makes you feel like you're watching the big game... the possibilities are pure fun.

3. White Cheddar

The White Cheddar Cheez-Its are shockingly moreish. Well, every Cheez-It is, but these, in particular, prompted us to eat just one more. Part of the reason, we figured out, was that we really only felt like we got that terrific sharp flavor once we were a few crackers in. Other Cheez-Its struck us from the very first taste. This is why they don't rank even higher because that flavor really is incredible. It's so tangy.

How can you not love these? Did you know that the color of your cheese might provide some significant clues as to where it was made? The ivory hue of white cheddar, for example, likely hails from the Northeast as opposed to, say, the dark golden hue of cheese often from the West or Southwest. But no matter what, if you're eating white cheddar, you're going to get some nice, sharp bites of cheese.

2. Original

Let's focus on the flavor of an Original Cheez-It for a minute. Ask us before this taste test, and we probably would have said that it tastes like... cheese? Maybe of the cheddar variety? Some potentially artificial flavor? Basically, a Cheez-It tastes like itself. But that's not good enough for an in-depth taste test investigating the best of the best. The secret to these crackers' success is not just the flavor of the cheese (which is not specified as cheddar on the ingredients list) but the cheese that has been heated.

Think of the crackly, slightly browned top chicken parmesan after it has been put under a broiler: That's the sensation we get when we eat a Cheez-It. The slight savory kick that keeps them from ever being boring, tasting like plain old cheddar, or appearing too pale in color is thanks to paprika. Our professional opinion is that this recipe is genius. But returning to the unnamed cheese corner, we have to say something really, really divisive... the recipe can be improved upon. Hence, we do not place it at number one. But hopefully, we have praised the O.G. enough to avoid any backlash.

1. Cheddar Jack

At first, we didn't understand how the Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its would taste different from the Originals. And are we talking about Monterey Jack? Colby Jack? Clearly not Pepper Jack... but whatever this stuff is, we're on board. It's hard to say that anything so close to the Original could possibly be better, but we're confident in this ranking. Though the Original's somewhat fabricated cheesiness is charming, now we taste honest-to-goodness cheese in a Cheez-It for the first time.

We loved these crackers. As far as snacks are concerned, we found them to be a small revelation. Most of us agreed that we would be picking up a box on our next trip to the grocery store after this taste test, with some even saying they would stock up with at least two or three. We can guarantee that this current pictured box was empty by the day's end, that's for sure.