It makes bread taste better. It makes theater popcorn less healthy. It made Paula Deen a multimillionaire. And it helps take off rings that have gotten stuck on fingers because folks have eaten either too much buttered bread, theater popcorn, or Paula Deen’s cooking.
It’s one of the defining characteristics of the iconic Ritz Cracker. Crumbly is also a defining characteristic, but I’m not here to talk about the mess Ritz Crackers make. I’m here to discuss whether it’s necessary to take the already buttery Ritz Cracker and make the Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers.
The cracker has a strong artificial butter flavor, which isn’t surprising since the words “artificially flavored” are printed on the front of the box in tall thin letters and they have a smell that’s similar to what you’d get with anything that’s “buttered popcorn” flavored.
The first cracker is a bit odd, but not odd enough to make me go “nope,” walk away, and leave the other seven Fresh Packs for birds. But if you have an aversion to Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, I imagine you won’t enjoy these.
However, after that initial cracker, the artificial butter flavor fades, which I guess is a good thing. But even with a muted flavor, they’re still noticeably more buttery than regular Ritz crackers. I think they’re not bad on their own and they’re as crispy as any Ritz cracker, but I definitely prefer regular Ritz Crackers over them.
On the Limited Edition Ritz Ultimate Butter Crackers box, it suggests you create “Ritzwiches” featuring steak and potatoes, corn and bacon, and caramel corn. Seeing those suggestions got me thinking that maybe these crackers were really meant to be eaten with toppings.
Since I lack the drive to prepare fancy toppings like steak and potatoes, I went with whatever was in my fridge — processed American cheese. I have to admit the American cheese between two crackers was surprisingly good. It tasted as if I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich.
I also used another ingredient from my fridge to make cracker sandwiches — butter. Let’s face it, using a pat of butter as the filling for a cracker sandwich with these extra buttery crackers would truly make them the ultimate.
So how did it taste? It tastes just like a pat of butter or licking the paddle attachment of a KitchenAid Stand Mixer that was just used to soften butter.
Remind me to not eat that again.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 Fresh Stack – 200 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $3.49 Size: 11.5 oz. Purchased at: Safeway Rating: 6 out of 10 Pros: As crispy as regular Ritz Crackers. Not bad after the first cracker. Tastes surprisingly good with American cheese. Butter. Cons: First cracker has a heavy artificial butter flavor. If you don’t like Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly, you’re not going to like these. Maybe not meant to be eaten without toppings. Making cracker sandwiches using pats of butter.
Purchased Price: $2.50 each Size: 6 packs/box Purchased at: Times Supermarket Rating: 6 out of 10 (Bold Buffalo & Ranch) Rating: 7 out of 10 (Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese) Pros: Both are good, but the Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese does a better job of tasting like its name. Now comes in three short filled crackers instead of one long filled cracker (They’re shareable). Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese sometimes tastes like chili powder and sometimes like a Jack in the Box taco. Filling made with real cheese. Buffalo seasoning left on fingers (it’s the only time the Buffalo flavor is distinguishable). Nice mild Buffalo burn. Cons: Licking the filling like they’re Oreo cookies, because their savory flavors are a little off-putting when consumed by themselves. Has a different crunch than a regular Ritz cracker. Hard to distinguish either flavor with the Bold Buffalo & Ranch one; it has a kind of generic spicy, cheesy flavor. Ranch flavor is missing its tanginess. Use of partially hydrogenated oils.
Nutrition Facts: 1 pack – Bold Buffalo & Ranch – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.
Purchased Price: $3.00 (on sale) Size: 13.7 oz. box Purchased at: Safeway Rating: 5 out of 10 Pros: Same crispy, buttery texture as regular Ritz. There’s a new limited edition Ritz. Made with dehydrated onions. When they goes away, I can say I was one of the few who had them. Cons: Onion flavor is mostly noticeable with the first cracker and then fades with each cracker after, so perhaps they should’ve called it Neutralized Onion Ritz. Not sure I’d call what I taste as caramelized onion. Crumb makers. Made with partially hydrogenated oil. Why does it smell like meatloaf? Burger recipe on the back of the box seems like too much effort for an appetizer.
Nutrition Facts: 5 crackers – 80 calories, 25 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 20 milligrams of potassium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.
Through my experiences, I’ve learned if you’re at a party that’s serving Ritz crackers as hors d’oeuvres, you should walk out as soon as possible. Because it’s probably going to be either a party filled with people spitting crumbs while they talk about things that bore you or you’re about to watch a timeshare presentation.
Let’s face it. Ritz Crackers have never lived up to their name. If you live in a wealthy, gated community and you offer Ritz Crackers to your haughty guests, you will probably be punished by the neighborhood association and banned for life from any ritzy activities, like dinner parties, hunting endangered species, orgies, or whatever rich people in gated communities do for fun. They’re a step above saltines and oyster crackers, but many steps below any cracker found next to the Stinking Bishop and NeufchÃ¢tel cheeses.
Not even serving the new Ritz Cracker varieties — Garlic Butter and Honey Wheat — could prevent rich folks from getting banned from their neighborhood polo match or losing their opportunity to be a part of a human hunting expedition on a private island in the Bahamas.
Honey Wheat Ritz Crackers appear to be “healthy” because it has the word “wheat” in its name and each cracker provides one gram of whole grain, which allows eaters to physically count the number of whole grain they’re consuming. So if you want to get the daily recommended 48 grams of whole grain by eating nothing but Honey Wheat Ritz Crackers, you’ll have to eat one and a half of the four sleeves in the Ritz box.
Or, if eating 48 crackers in one sitting isn’t your thing, you could also eat six bowls of Lucky Charms.
The Honey Wheat Ritz Crackers have a decent sweet and salty flavor, but I thought the honey flavor could’ve been amped up a little. Its sweetness is light enough that I don’t think a bee would touch it with a 10-foot stinger. I think it tastes like another Nabisco cracker, but because they produce enough cracker varieties to dry my mouth if I were to either eat them all one after another or say their names one after another, I’m not sure which one it is. Also, the whole grain is a little noticeable in the cracker’s flavor and texture.
I think the Garlic Butter Ritz Crackers taste slightly better than the Honey Wheat. Although, at times, the cracker’s garlic flavor confused my tongue into thinking I was eating something slightly burnt. But then again, maybe me tasting something burnt could just be a symptom of a rare medical condition.
Or maybe I watch too much House, M.D..
The pleasant garlic flavor is mild and does linger in your mouth after eating them, so I’d recommend having a mint or piece of gum afterwards.
Or stop being a mouthbreather.
(Nutrition Facts – 5 crackers – Garlic Butter – 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein. Honey Wheat – 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)
*Uses partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil
Item: Ritz Crackers (Garlic Butter and Honey Wheat) Price: $3.00 each (on sale) Size: 15.1 ounces Purchased at: Safeway Rating: 7 out of 10 (Garlic Butter) Rating: 6 out of 10 (Honey Wheat) Pros: Garlic Butter has a pleasant garlic flavor. Honey Wheat has a decent sweet and salty flavor. Honey Wheat provides 1 gram of whole grain in each cracker. Funny cheese names. Cons: Uses partially hydrogenated oil. Honey flavor could’ve been amped up a little. Self-diagnosing yourself. Can’t stare at Dr. Cuddy’s cleavage on House anymore. Gated communities.
It’s fitting I found the Ritz Crackerfuls Cheddar Cheese & Bacon in Wisconsin — the land of cheese and meats. If only it came with a beer dipping sauce or made with beer bread batter, then it could be the state’s unofficial cracker snack.
The Cheddar Cheese & Bacon flavor is the latest in the Ritz Crackerfuls line and puts an end to the hoity-toity sounding flavors that preceded it, which include Classic Cheddar, Four Cheese and Garlic Herb.
Like small-breasted porn starlets, the Ritz Crackerfuls Cheddar Cheese & Bacon keeps it real. It has real cheddar cheese made with cultured milk, salt, enzymes and annatto extract color. It also has real bacon in the form of rendered bacon fat and bacon bits that have been cured with water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium ascorbate and sodium nitrate.
Mmm…You can totally read the realness.
You know what else this cheese cracker sandwich has? Green tea and rosemary extracts. No fo’ realsies. Although I don’t taste either of them. I’d show you the ingredients list to prove it, but you would quickly get bored by its vastness or due to the number of ingredients that end with -ate, you would suffer PTSD (Periodic Table Studying Disorder) and relive the horrors of memorizing chemical compounds in your high school and college chemistry classes.
The Ritz Crackerfuls Cheddar Cheese & Bacon has a smokiness to it, but I’m not sure if it’s from the cheese, the bacon, both or from one of the ingredients that end with -ate. Well, whatever creates that smoky flavor, it makes this cheese cracker sandwich slightly more enjoyable than the original flavors of Crackerfuls. The bacon bits are large enough to be seen and provide a different kind of crunch than the cracker, so if you’re one of those mouthy-feely eaters you might get a kick from the almost crystalline-like crunch.
Just like the original Crackerfuls, this latest variety is also as fragile as a mofo. It’s a crumb creator, so if you don’t have manners, I’d suggest getting some and pulling out a plate to eat these.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 Crackerful – 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 6% calcium and 4% iron.)
Item: Ritz Crackerfuls Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Price: $3.19 Size: 6 pack Purchased at: Festival Foods (Wisconsin) Rating: 6 out of 10 Pros: Decent smoky flavor. Real bacon bits. 6 grams of whole grain per serving. Contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Having manners. Contains green tea extract. Porn starlets. Wisconsin before the mayflies. Cons: Crackerfuls are crumb creators. Unsure of how it gets its smokiness. Vast ingredients list. Lots of ingredients that end with -ate. Periodic Table Studying Disorder.
Ritz crackers. If you live in most of the Anglosphere, you’ve probably eaten them before. To me, Ritz crackers are ubiquitous; they’ve just always been around, like Cheerios. You know what they taste like, but you don’t really give a crap either way. You open the cupboard one day, see a box of Ritz and think, “Huh…I don’t remember buying those.” Then you grab the 8-pack of Entemann’s chocolate donuts sitting next to the crackers and head for the couch to stuff your face while you watch the Deadliest Catch marathon that you’ve already seen twice…in the past month.
Oh sure, you’ll crack the box of Ritz eventually, as you hover over a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup, with snot running down your face, wishing for death and hoping that you can keep down a few crackers long enough to take your seventh hellish dump of the morning without having to bring an old Tupperware with you, just in case your body decides it wants to expel both your virus-laden bodily fluids at the same time.
By the way, that’s the standard scenario I use to define what I would call a “bad day.”
Six months later, you’ll be cleaning out the pantry, notice the Ritz have long since expired and toss the remainder of the box in the trash. Poor Ritz. Possibly the most disregarded cracker in existence, hovering just above the humble saltine.
Somewhere along the line, Ritz decided it was time to expand their empire and get people excited about the Ritz brand name. Okay, well, maybe not excited. Mildly interested, let’s say. They went wild, launching new lines of crisps, miniatures, and recently, “Crackerfuls.”
The latest addition to this growing family is the Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps. Here’s how Ritz’s official website describes them: “What happens when you hide a bite-sized, buttery tasting Ritz cracker inside a salty, crunchy pretzel? You get Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps, a scrumptiously satisfying snack you just pop in your mouth.”
What the fuck, Ritz? Have you gone crazy?
It’s like Ritz has hired Dr. Frankenstein to come up with their new products, because there’s no other explanation for it. Who else would think of putting a Ritz cracker inside a pretzel? It’s madness, pure madness.
Madness aside, it’s actually already been done, in a sense, by Keebler. A few years back, they introduced Town House FlipSides, which are a cracker on one side and a pretzel on the other. I thought it was ridiculous then, and I still think so. I guess Nabisco wanted to step it up by having the pretzel actually swallow the cracker. I don’t like where this particular competition is headed.
Pretzel Crisps currently come in two flavors, Buttery Flavor and Cheesy Sour Cream & Onion. I was drawn to the latter, of course, because the more flavors you pack into one snack product, the more intrigued I am. However, I figured Buttery Flavor would give me a better idea of what a regular Ritz cracker tastes like…inside a pretzel. That doesn’t get any less weird, no matter how many times I type it.
You know what also was a little weird? The image on the back of the box. There’s guy shoving a basketball into his crotch with another white guy and a black dude who all look like they’re having a brodown over a local sports team’s basket, goal, touchdown, or whatever. But it also looks like they just watched the revealing of some dumpy chick’s “new look” on TLC’s What Not to Wear. Seriously, I’ve never seen a “candid shot of guys celebrating something out of frame” manage to look so completely emasculated. Adding a basketball doesn’t make it any more manly when it looks like the guy is using it to hide the boner he’s getting from holding hands with his friend that he’s secretly had a crush on for years.
I didn’t have any preconceptions on how the crisps would taste going into this. I guess my mind couldn’t even come up with what a Ritz cracker pretzel would be like. I think my thought was basically, “Danger! Warning! Bad!”
The Ritz Munchables do look like little Ritz mutants, with their signature round shape and pattern of holes, but smaller, thinner and less heavy than regular Ritz. The outside is darker, more indicative of a pretzel, and it’s also smoother. As you can see from the one I broke in half, there’s no scary surprise inside. It looks just like a regular ol’ pretzel chip.
And, while I don’t think I’ve ever had a pretzel chip, I’d imagine these Munchables are pretty much what they taste like. Crunchier but less crumbly than Ritz crackers, with a mild pretzel-flavored finish. I can’t really detect any of Ritz’s traditional texture here, but I think what makes it believable as a cracker/pretzel hybrid is the presence of Ritz’s signature buttery flavor. It’s not as noticeable as in a regular Ritz, but it’s enough to turn it from a bland pretzel snack into a slightly buttery-tasting bland pretzel snack.
I think if I’d purchased the Cheesy Sour Cream & Onion flavor instead of Buttery Flavor, all resemblance to a Ritz cracker probably would go right out the window. It’s only the butter taste that makes it seem like a pretzel/Ritz hybrid. Personally, I require my pretzels to either be pre-flavored or dipped in something tasty. The butter taste just can’t save these Munchables from being Blandsville to me. I can imagine enjoying them with a nice, heavily-processed nacho cheese sauce, but they’re too small to dip into anything without getting dip all over your fingers.
Also, have a tall glass of water handy, because the Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor will suck your mouth dry, just like eating a handful of plain pretzels. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t eat these as a regular snack, but if I found myself hovering over a bowl of tomato soup, feeling miserable, these would be a good “try to get some solid foods into you” option. But then, so would saltines, and I don’t think they’re ever going to win any “Flavor of the Year” awards.
The Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor â€“ a great choice if you’re having a “bad day.”
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 15 pieces/29 grams â€“ 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, 2 grams of proteins, 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 4% calcium and 6% iron.)
Item: Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor Price: $2.49 (on sale) Size: 12.25 ounces Purchased at: Fry’s Foods Rating: 4 out of 10 Pros: Hint of traditional Ritz buttery flavor. Having a basketball around to hide your boner. Crispy and crunchy. Dr. Frankenstein running the Ritz R&D department. Cons: Too bland. Bodily fluids coming out both ends. Too small for dipping. Unrequited man crushes.