REVIEW: Limited Edition Buffalo and Jalapeno Cheddar Ritz Crisp & Thins

Limited Edition Ritz Buffalo and Jalapeno Cheddar Crisp  Thins

Hey, prolate spheroid-shaped ball fans! It’s time for your favorite sport that involves a prolate spheroid-shaped ball!

Rugby!

No, football!

Soccer?

No, American football!

And the famous cracker brand with a name that sounds too fancy for football has added two new limited edition flavors to its Ritz Crisp & Thins line — Buffalo and Jalapeno Cheddar. Most people don’t associate Ritz as a snack that goes with football, but the brand is trying to shed that image by becoming an Official Partner of NCAA Football, instead of an Official Partner of Appetizers at Middle Class Dinner Parties.

If you think about it, Buffalo and Jalapeno Cheddar are football tailgate/party-related flavors. Buffalo wings are a football party favorite, while jalapeno cheddar sounds like a dip for chips.

If you have to pick one of the two varieties because there’s no BOGO sale or your football party is a party of one, then I’d recommend the Buffalo version over the Jalapeno Cheddar.

Limited Edition Ritz Jalapeno Cheddar Crisp  Thins Closeup

The Jalapeno Cheddar is disappointing, although it is the spicier of the two. The first cracker in my mouth tasted great with a balanced cheesiness and pepperiness. But with the following pieces, the jalapeno and its heat took control of the flavor, and the cheddar ghosted my taste buds. I’m a little okay with the jalapeno overwhelming everything, but the cheesiness makes it taste much better.

Limited Edition Ritz Buffalo Crisp  Thins Closeup

The Buffalo version has those distinct peppery and smoky flavors that instantly tell you it’s Buffalo flavored. And like with the other one, there’s a secondary flavor that makes the cracker taste better. It’s a ranch dressing-like seasoning that helps cut through the Buffalo taste and heat. But all is not great because that dressing flavor comes and goes as it pleases like an outdoor cat. It’s annoying but, at least it comes back, unlike the cheddar in the other variety.

I’ve had a few of the Ritz Crisp & Thins since their debut in 2017, and I’ve liked what I’ve tried. But the Jalapeno Cheddar is by far my least favorite, and I wouldn’t repurchase it. On the other hand, the Buffalo one is as tasty as the others, and I would rebuy it for any of my upcoming football parties…for one.

Purchased Price: $3.99 each
Size: 7.1 oz. bag
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Buffalo), 4 out of 10 (Jalapeño Cheddar)
Nutrition Facts: (21 chips) Buffalo – 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Jalapeno Cheddar – 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ritz Crisp & Thins (Salt & Vinegar and Cream Cheese & Onion)

Ritz Crisp  Thins  Salt  Vinegar and Cream Cheese  Onion

When I first heard that Nabisco’s Ritz Crackers were moving into chips, I was terrified. I have PTSD from Cheez-It’s attempt to move into chips with Grooves. Grooves didn’t do the Cheez-It cracker justice! I have almost the same love for Ritz as I do for Cheez-It; I love those damn buttery Ritz crackers. Point is, I had high expectations for Ritz’s new Crisp & Thins.

So, what are they?

It’s Ritz’s attempt to hop on the “Better For You” train – touting oven-baked, not fried, potato & wheat chips. It launched in the U.K. first and now they’re rolling out globally. There’s a lineup of four flavors on U.S. shelves: Sea Salt, Bacon, Salt & Vinegar, And Cream Cheese & Onion. I picked out Salt & Vinegar (because I like salt & vinegar chips) and Cream Cheese & Onion (because I kept thinking it was sour cream & onion and wanted to see why Ritz had to be all frou frou about it).

Ritz Crisp  Thins Cream Cheese  Onion

I first smelled the Cream Cheese & Onion ones, which didn’t really smell like much. On that basis, I vigorously inhaled the Salt & Vinegar, which was a mistake. The pungent vinegar invaded my olfactory with no mercy. 100 percent user error, not Ritz’s fault.

The chips themselves were very, for the lack of a better word, artsy but the kind of pretentious and annoying artsy. I say this because they couldn’t just choose a damn circle or square like all other crackers. Instead, they chose a puddle shape. But we all know that it probably took their manufacturing team way too long to perfect the mold for these. These puddles also had seemingly random air pockets/bubbles.

Ritz Crisp  Thins Cream Cheese  Onion Orange

In the same vein of pretentious artsy, it looked like they tried very hard to have a baked look – one side of the chip had scorch marks. They really reminded me of naan bread – oblong-ish shape, air pockets, and with the occasional imperfect scorch marks. The Cream Cheese & Onion had a slight orange tinge, while the coloring of the Salt & Vinegar was just normal, pasty cracker color.

Ritz Salt  Vinegar Crisp  Thins Salt  Vinegar

At this point, I concluded that these would probably be nothing like the buttery crackers that I know and love. But, you know what, I was okay with it – I knew I couldn’t hold Ritz back from their healthy chip dreams.

The Cream Cheese & Onion surprisingly tasted more like subtle cheddar & sour cream than sour cream & onion. Trusty ol’ cheddar & sour cream is always salty cheesy goodness, but it’s nothing mind blowing and I’m still eye rolling at the artsy fartsiness. However, I can’t believe I dismissed the air pocket/bubbles because they made the texture. Something about the crunch of the cracker with the extra oomph from the air pockets is amazing. Never judge a book by its cover, y’all!

As for the Salt & Vinegar, same textural amazingness but unlike other salt & vinegar flavored chips, there was a subtle-y sweet aftertaste. After almost an entire bag of them, I concluded that it might just be from the chip itself being wheat and potato that’s helping to balance out the vinegar tang.

After two bags of munching, I really appreciated that my fingers weren’t left with a greasy, powdery residue. There was some, but nothing like the usual chip residue mess.

Valiant “Better For You” attempt, Ritz! It might actually work; I liked the Salt & Vinegar ones so much that I’d consider replacing my usual salt & vinegar kettle chips with them.

(Nutrition Facts – 21 Pieces – 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 270 grams of potassium 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price:
Size: 7.1 oz. bag
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cream Cheese & Onion)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Salt & Vinegar)
Pros: Nothing like a Ritz Cracker, but tasty AND “better for you”. Textural amazingness. No greasy, powdery residue.
Cons: Why the artsy fartsy chip shape & names? Cream Cheese & Onion is just semantics for cheddar & sour cream.

REVIEW: Ritz Crackerfuls Peanut Butter & Chocolate

If you’re a parent and you give your child a Ritz Crackerfuls Peanut Butter & Chocolate, you better make his or her bedtime a little later to make up for the mediocre snack you gave them. If you don’t, I hope he or she never hugs you again.

Sure, your kids won’t care, because they’re excited to get sugar, but by giving them this snack, you’re basically teaching them to settle, instead of demanding for something better. You wouldn’t want your child to settle for that woman who owns 24 cats or that guy who runs a product review blog, so why would you have them settle for a poor representation of the peanut butter and chocolate combination.

You’d think it’s impossible to mess up the merging of peanut butter and chocolate, which is the OG of sweet and salty combinations, but it tastes like Nabisco found a way. Maybe they have some kind of bet with Kellogg’s to see which company could make the least exciting peanut butter and chocolate product. The winner gets possession of the Cookie Cup, a bronzed cookie jar with the word “winner” etched into it.

The Ritz Crackerfuls Peanut Butter & Chocolate box brags about how it’s “Made with real peanut butter,” but it’s not made with really good peanut butter. In between the cracker sandwich are two pencil-thin lines of the not really good peanut butter and a thicker line of not really good chocolate. The peanut butter smells like the cheap store-brand stuff and has a gritty consistency. The flavor of the chocolate, which is creamier than the peanut butter, reminds me of the crappy chocolate in a Sixlet.

They say two wrongs make a right, but those two wrongs in between two buttery, long Ritz crackers make a long wrong. I expected the peanut butter and chocolate to have a robust flavor, but they ended up having as much flavor as the crackers, and at times the cracker’s buttery flavor somewhat masked the PB&C. These Ritz Crackerfuls have to be one of the least satisfying peanut butter and chocolate products my taste buds have ever experienced.

While eating the first one, I thought for a second maybe I just got a bad one in the box, kind of like how you get a bad grape in the bunch, but after the second and third ones, I forced myself to drive to the store and buy some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups so my taste buds can remember what it’s like to have a peanut butter and chocolate combination that doesn’t suck.

Nabisco, which is owned by food and beverage conglomerate Kraft, could’ve used better quality stuff in this cracker sandwich, because Kraft also owns Planters, which makes peanuts and peanut butter, and Cadbury, which knows a thing or two about chocolate.

Usually the marriage of peanut butter and chocolate evokes excitement, but the Ritz Crackerfuls Peanut Butter & Chocolate don’t do it for me. They aren’t completely disgusting, but I don’t want to eat the rest. I have three of them left and I think I want to crush them with my feet so that I can listen to the crackers crumble under my body’s weight, because if they aren’t going to satisfy my sense of taste, I think they should at least satisfy my sense of hearing.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pack – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 75 milligrams of potassium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

*made with partially hydrogenated oil

Item: Ritz Crackerfuls Peanut Butter & Chocolate
Price: $3.50 (on sale)
Size: 6 pack
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Not completely disgusting. 6 grams of whole grain per serving. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Cons: Crappy peanut butter. Crappy chocolate. One of the least exciting PB&C combination I’ve had. Settling for a mediocre PB&C experience. Allowing your child to experience Ritz Crackerfuls Peanut Butter & Chocolate. No hugs.

REVIEW: Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar

Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar

I can’t think of sandwich crackers without thinking of grade school day care. Unnaturally bright neon orange crackers with some sort of peanut-related substance smeared in between. I’m sure they don’t serve those anymore, since some kid named Billy who eats his boogers has a peanut allergy so severe that just being in the same room with something that barely qualifies as peanut butter sends him into anaphylactic shock. Kids are such sissies these days.

I’m also pretty sure I haven’t had sandwich crackers since those grade school days. I think time has shown that I’ll eat some pretty juvenile shit – I was about to write that I’d eat Dunkaroos if they still existed, but Google just told me they do, so now I’m conflicted – but there’s something about sandwich crackers that makes me wince. Perhaps there’s a deep-seated feeling of abandonment caused by having to go to day care after school. More likely it’s that my friends and I used to scrape all the peanut butter out of the sandwiches and use it like a greasy substitute for Play-Doh. I once made the perfect sculpture of a nose. It was the pinnacle of my artistic career.

These Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar aren’t sandwich crackers, however. These are filled crackers. At least, according to Ritz, that’s what they are. But I can see through Ritz’s facade. Look at that packaging. The cracker looks like it’s sitting on a pristine marble countertop. The “k” in “Crackerfuls” is sprouting a stalk of wheat from its head, presumably indicating that it is natural or healthy. And yet, for the menfolk, it is made clear that there is 75% more filling, so nobody will make fun of you for eating wimpy, under-filled sandwich crackers. I mean, filled crackers. No, I mean sandwich crackers.

Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar Package

In size, they certainly aren’t your kids’ crackers, coming in at 4.5 inches long by 2 inches wide, with a generous amount of filling. I’d say almost too generous, but the ratio of cheese-to-cracker is just about right, although the cheese does squish out the sides when you bite down, making for a less than tidy snack.

Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar Crackers

The crackers have a pleasant buttery taste, just like regular Ritz, but they aren’t flaky and are much more sturdy, helping to compensate for the heft of the filling. The cheese, when tasted by itself, has a bit of a grainy feel to it, but when eaten as a sandwich, the cracker seems to cover that up. The cheese has the consistency of a soft cheese spread (hence the squishing out the sides).

It also tastes a lot like a processed cheese spread, which is my biggest complaint. Ritz seems to be marketing these crackers to a more adult market, and while the cracker is quite tasty, the cheese filling tastes too artificial for most adult palates. I still eat cheese-in-a-can, but I’m not exactly “normal”. I also think the cheese is too soft; most adults don’t want cheese spread squishing out everywhere, and the consistency adds to the feeling that you’re definitely not ingesting actual cheese.

Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar Innards

Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar filled crackers seem caught between two demographics. Too large for a child’s snack and lacking the flashy packaging that would make a kid scream at their parent until it wound up in the shopping cart, and yet too unrefined and artificial-tasting to appeal to most adults, who would probably take the individually-wrapped sandwiches to work and then find themselves embarrassed to be wiping processed cheese spread off their faces. Ritz got the cracker right, but the cheese all wrong, and with 75 percent more of it, that just makes that downfall more obvious.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pack – 190 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4 gram of monounsaturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugars, 2 grams of protein, 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 6% calcium, and 4% iron.)

Item: Ritz Crackerfuls Big Stuff Colossal Cheddar
Price: $3.29
Size: 5 filled crackers
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Crackers were buttery and held together well. Using peanut butter as a substitute for Play-Doh. Sandwich was large enough for an adult snack. The opportunity to watch a co-worker eat a messy sandwich cracker.
Cons: Cheese tasted too processed. Kids screaming for junk food at the grocery store. Cheese was too soft and messy. Being that adult eating a messy sandwich cracker.