REVIEW: Cheez-It Buffalo Wing Crackers

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers

It’s officially football season (a.k.a. Americana foods season) and Cheez-It is getting into the spirit with its Flavor Playoffs. It’s a face-off between cheeseburger, cheese pizza, and cheddar nachos-flavored Cheez-It crackers and snack enthusiasts like you and me can choose the winning flavor.

Around the same time, the brand released a Walmart-exclusive Buffalo Wing flavor that features the same packaging but isn’t part of the promotion. Weird. But, that’s okay. It wouldn’t have been able to hold its own against the other classic tailgate flavors anyway.

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers 2

The crackers looked like the typical orange squares in a box of regular Cheez-It, but with some extra dusting. It would have been a nice visual touch to see the crackers bright red-orange to mimic a beautiful fried chicken wing doused in red-hot Buffalo sauce. I could also see the light dusting was inconsistent across the crackers, so I knew some were going to be more flavorful than others. I was even more surprised that for a flavor as pungent as Buffalo, these didn’t smell too different.

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers 3

Not surprisingly, the lackluster appearance and smell translated into a lackluster taste. I wanted it to be as flavorful as Cheez-It’s Sriracha Snack Mix, but it was nowhere close. Any initial Buffalo taste was quickly drowned out by a mild bleu cheese taste and then the sharp cheddar flavor that typically accompanies the regular flavor. The crackers that were extra toasted and extra seasoned were closer to that bold Buffalo flavor, but still not quite. This is the only time I will EVER say that the 100 percent real cheesy goodness did not work in its favor.

Cheez It Buffalo Wing Crackers 4

When it comes to Buffalo wing-flavored snacks, the gold standard is the Pretzel Pieces version from Snyder’s of Hanover. So, I pitted the two against each other. The Snyder’s one was hands down better and continues to be reigning champion. It not only packed a flavor punch, but it also didn’t have any seasoning inconsistency as it didn’t look like they used powder only. But, I will say that the pretzel pieces didn’t capture the bleu cheese flavor as well as Cheez-It.

For good measure, I also tried Rold Gold’s Buffalo Wing Thin Crisps Pretzels and I’m happy to share that Cheez-It won that round. You could taste the Rold Gold’s Frito-Lay backing as it reminded me of Cool Ranch Doritos more so than Buffalo.

At the end of the day, Cheez-It crackers are damn delicious no matter what seasoning you sprinkle on it. So in that vein, this isn’t the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Buffalo-flavored snacks, but it isn’t best-in-class either.

(Nutrition Facts – 25 pieces – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.88
Size: 12.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: It’s a Cheez-It. More complex flavor journey than other Buffalo flavored products: Buffalo then bleu cheese then sharp cheddar. Beats the flavor of Rold Gold’s Buffalo offering.
Cons: Seasoning inconsistency. Wanted that Buffalo flavor punch but it doesn’t deliver. Not as good as Snyder’s Buffalo Pretzel Pieces.

REVIEW: Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers

Cheez-It and I have been on bad terms lately.

I recently tried their Crunch’d cheese puffs and they were a 3 out of 10 at best. Horrendous. They tasted like cheese flavored Cap’n Crunch. No bueno. It’s time for Cheez-It to win me back.

Sunshine, the maker of Cheez-It, have apparently been getting bombarded with requests for an “extra toasty” flavor of their flagship cracker. Now look, I’m not saying Sunshine is lying about the claim, but I would have never considered “extra toasty” a “flavor.” Maybe I should have.

I realized as I was eating these Cheez-Its that I love toasty and burnt snacks. This notion never dawned on me until that very moment. I love extra dark pretzels. I like that one over-browned Saltine in the sleeve, burnt chocolate chip cookies, and that one extra crispy French fry at the bottom of the bag. I even order my pizza “well done” so the crust is burnt and crispy. The people who were requesting extra toasty Cheez-Its were definitely on to something, and Sunshine delivered.

Extra Toasty Cheez-Its are friggin’ delicious. These are one of the most satisfying salty snacks I’ve had in a long time. In my opinion, they’ve improved on the regular ones in just about every way possible. I’m not positive the difference will blow everyone away, but I don’t see any reason to ever go back to the regular variety. If Cheez-Its were a Hollywood movie, these would be the ever-so-popular dark, gritty reboot of the outdated original that didn’t quite hold up over the years. These extra toasty ones are just flat better. Get with the times.

Cheez-Its always did the cheddar flavor right. It doesn’t overpowering you with the artificial stuff that other brands go overboard with, and these keep that family tradition alive with 100% real cheese. That being said, the “cheez” flavor wasn’t even really the star of the show for me, it was the flakey crunch of the extra toasty cracker itself. Add the perfectly complementing salt element on each piece, and they really hit a home run here. There’s a perfect balance happening. After every bite I wanted to yell “Toastttty” like that random dude who used to pop his head into Mortal Kombat levels…too obscure?

The aftertaste is pleasant as well. The flavor doesn’t dilute at all after you swallow. In fact, that might be a problem to some because it’s addictive, and you’ll want to just keep shoveling more of these down for the crunch factor.

As much as I wanted to give these a perfect ten, there is a bit of a grease factor. These would fall somewhere between Goldfish and potato chips on the grease scale. I noticed the paper plate I was eating off of was almost translucent once I finished.

I guess I should also warn you that the salt was pretty excessive here. That was not even remotely a problem for me, but I could understand it being a turnoff for some.

So, basically, my one complaint about the Extra Toasty Cheez-Its is that I wanted to finish the box in one sitting, but couldn’t thanks to a bit of heartburn. But I probably could have powered through it if I wanted to, so that’s not even a strong complaint.

If I learned one thing from eating these, it’s that “toasty” should absolutely be the new trendy “flavor.” More brands need to embrace this. I want burnt Ritz. Burnt potato and tortilla chips. Burnt Goldfish. Take your recipe and add an addition 5-10 minutes of baking time, slap a new name on the box and you’ve got yourself a sale. I have become a food pyro.

My hat goes off to Cheez-It for changing the cracker game, and for making the decision to put the hyphen in their name after the “Z.” No matter how good these tasted, I would have never bought a snack called “Chee-Zit.”

(Nutrition Facts – 27 crackers – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Cheez-It Extra Toasty Crackers
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Toasty is the new Orange is the New Black. Perfect flavor harmony. Flakey crunch. Crazy addictive. Proper hyphen usage. Fan requests. Mortal Kombat’s “Toasty” guy.
Cons: Greasy. Might need a Tums handy. Food pyros. Cheese flavored Cap’n Crunch.