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Taste Test: The Best Whole-Wheat Crackers

Taste Test: The Best Whole-Wheat Crackers

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Our picks for the best whole-wheat crackers don’t skimp on taste.

Whether snatched for a quick snack, used to pacify a testy toddler, or spread on a platter to accompany a party-worthy dip; crackers are a pantry staple. Versatility is an admirable trait in these crunchy confections but, it must be known that not all crackers are created equal. Keep an eye on Nutrition Panel must-haves: sodium less than 250g per serving and “whole-wheat flour” as the first ingredient—as apposed to non-whole grain wheat flour or enriched flour. Also, maintain a cautious approach to partially hydrogenated oil because anything less than 0.5g trans fat won’t be listed. Fortunately for your taste buds, nutrition wasn’t the only factor in the forefront of our best whole-wheat cracker expedition. These brands also brought the goods when it came to taste.

BEST BASIC CRACKER: Kellogg's Special K Multi-Grain Crackers, $2.84 (8 ounces)
Their petite size makes them ideal for dipping. And the sweet/salty flavor satisfies either kind of craving (24 crackers: 120 calories; 3g fat; 250mg sodium; 3g fiber).

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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BEST WOVEN WHEAT: Back To Nature Harvest Whole Wheats, $3 (8.5 ounces)
Crisp and crunchy, with just the right amount of salt and a slightly nutty taste (6 crackers: 120 calories; 4.5g fat; 180mg sodium; 3g fiber).

BEST WHEAT FLATBREAD: Ak-Mak 100% Whole Wheat Stone Ground Sesame Crackers, $3.69 (4.15 ounces)
Surprisingly light and tender (many weren't), with a dusting of sesame seeds that gave a toasty flavor (5 crackers: 115 calories; 2g fat; 220mg sodium; 4g fiber).

Taste Test: The Best Whole-Wheat Crackers - Recipes

If you took a Triscuit and found a way to extract every last drop of oil from it, you’d likely end up with 365 Baked Woven Wheats, sold exclusively by Whole Foods. These crackers look exactly the same as their greasier cousin, but contain only two ingredients: whole wheat and salt.

"This tastes more like Shredded Wheat than a Triscuit," one taster said. As expected, the cracker a bit bland and cardboard-like on its own, but it does have just the right amount of salt. "I don’t think that I would just sit down to eat a box of those," another added.

The general consensus was that while they're not particularly exciting on their own, not many crackers are. While Triscuits have enough oil and other stuff to make them worthwhile without a topping, these demand it. A note on the back of the box suggests pairing them with tomato soup, cheese, or a spread, and we have to agree. They even throw in recipes for spinach artichoke dip and warm goat cheese dip, both of which would be perfect accompaniments to this otherwise bland snack.

A serving of eight crackers contains 120 calories, .5 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and 170 milligrams of sodium. A 7-ounce box sells for $2.49.

Best for Cheese: Jan's Farmhouse Crisps Jan&rsquos Farmhouse Crisps

Come in a generously sized basket

Great with cheese or preserves

If you want to impress with your next cheese board, reach for a package of Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps. Created by a Vermont-based mom who was inspired to bake wholesome snacks without artificial or processed ingredients for her family, these crackers are made by hand in small batches and designed with flavor in mind. Loaded with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, these crackers definitely feel, look, and taste more sophisticated than most.

The “original” flavor is cranberry and pistachio which contains dried cranberries, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and rosemary. You’ll also find these crackers in salted almond and sesame citrus. Tasters love the sweet and savory combination of flavors on their own and paired with a variety of cheeses. Try them topped with a piece of soft, tangy goat cheese.

"These are my favorite goes-with-ooey-cheese cracker. I like the cranberry ones so you get that little bit of sweetness without having to find a fruit spread." — Patty Lee, Senior Editor, The Spruce Eats

The Ideal Crackers for Dipping, Eating with Cheese, Secret Snacking, and More

We love crackers. Love ɾm. While we understand that the average person ____ does not feel as strongly as we do about these snacky delights, we are coming up on prime cracker season (holiday parties, you know). With countless cheese plates and hors d'oeuvres spreads to tackle, you're gonna need a lot of crackers.

That's where we come in. To find your ideal cracker, you first have to identify what you're using it for: pairing with cheese, dipping, general entertaining, late-night secret snacking, beer sponge… With these cracker-adjacent activities in mind, we polled Bon Appétit staffers as well as our Twitter followers, ultimately tasting 21 different crackers per their suggestions. We paired the crackers with plain hummus, a Brie-style cheese, and a sharp cheddar, and also sampled them alone.

We nixed a few duds (Too salty! Too bland! Possibly rancid!) to come up with this comprehensive list of the ideal crackers for each snacking activity. Here are our picks.

100% Whole Wheat Graham Crackers

So says Seneca. A member of our King Arthur Flour extended family via her mom, Jenn (our catalogue's art director), Seneca is 8 years old. And she knows a good thing when she tastes it. No dissembling no hesitation.

Just "the best graham crackers ever."

Which warms my heart. Despite its nutritional attributes, whole wheat flour is often a hard sell, flavor-wise. Especially when it comes to kids, who can taste "healthy" in their cookies a mile off – and summarily reject it as "different."

If you have a child, you've seen "the face," right?

You hand little Chloe a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie. Expecting her usual happy chocolate chip cookie experience, she takes a bite. Happy fades, replaced by quizzical, followed by the "ewwwww" look, with an accusatory, dagger-laden "how could you" for good measure at the end.

That's a fairly common reaction with traditional whole wheat flour, ground from red wheat berries.

But our white wheat flour – ground from nutritionally equivalent white wheat berries – is a milder, lighter-colored flour, one that's easier to slip past your most discerning audience… the kids.

Graham crackers were an original poster child for whole wheat flour. Invented by preacher Sylvester Graham back in the mid-19th century, these 100% whole wheat crackers were part of Graham's drive to get Americans to eat healthier. He advocated a vegetarian diet of natural, unadulterated foods – including whole wheat baked goods of all kinds.

Today's typical graham cracker still includes graham flour – a type of soft whole wheat. But as you can see, today's packaged crackers are mainly white flour.

Which is why I decided to salute Rev. Graham with a recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Graham Crackers.

Crackers that – thankfully, if Seneca is any indication – won't result in the "ewww" face.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets if you have parchment, you'll be using it to roll, transfer, and bake the crackers, so you won't need to grease your baking sheets.

2 cups (227g) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (124g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baker's ammonia* or 1 teaspoon baking powder

*Baker's ammonia, a traditional ingredient known for imparting super light/crisp texture to cookies and crackers, will make the crunchiest crackers. Baking powder will work, too, though it'll produce a slightly harder (rather than crisp) cracker.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder, if you're using it if you're using baker's ammonia, don't mix it in yet. Set the mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the following. If you're using baker's ammonia, dissolve it in 1 tablespoon of the water before adding it to the remaining liquid ingredients.

1 large egg
1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil
1/4 cup water or 2 tablespoons each orange juice and water*

*Orange juice tempers the sometimes assertive flavor of whole wheat we recommend it if you're baking for kids, especially with traditional whole wheat flour. OJ substituted in this small amount won't make your crackers taste orange-y, just less "wheaty". Use all water if desired.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture, stirring to form a cohesive dough.

Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a flattened block.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it between two pieces of lightly greased parchment or waxed paper.

Roll the dough until it's 1/16" thick. Try to keep the dough a uniform thinness throughout, and make sure the bottom piece of parchment remains flat.

Rolling the dough ultra-thin (1/16") is key to the crisp, light texture of these crackers. If you can't roll the dough that thin, your crackers will be sturdier, and you'll need to bake them a bit longer.

See the parchment wrinkle in that top photo? You want to avoid that.

. because here's what happens if you let the bottom sheet of parchment fold over on itself: you get a crack in your crackers.

Transfer the rolled-out dough to your prepared baking sheet if it's on parchment, peel off the top piece, and lay the bottom piece on the baking sheet. If it's on waxed paper, peel off the top piece, flip the dough over onto the baking sheet, and peel off the remaining piece.

Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

No, you didn't miss a step we're not cutting the crackers quite yet. I mean, who wants to try to move 1/16"-thick crackers from paper to pan? Thanks to one of our blog readers for the following cracker-cutting suggestion – it's genius. (And I apologize, I can't find your comment/name anywhere!)

First, bake the crackers for 10 minutes.

Remove them from the oven, and use a rolling pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut the sheets of dough into 3" x 2" rectangles don't separate them, just cut them. You can use a fork to prick the crackers at this point, if you like, for that distinctive graham cracker look.

Return the crackers to the oven, and continue to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they're brown around the edges. Overall, they should be a shade darker than when they went into the oven and they shouldn't be at all soft or pliable.

Turn off the heat, and open the oven door wide. After 5 minutes or so, when much of the oven's heat has dissipated, shut the oven door, and let it cool down completely with the crackers inside this will help them become as crisp as possible.

Remove the cooled crackers from the cold oven, and wrap them airtight. They'll stay good at room temperature for several weeks.

Now, I'm not saying these homemade graham crackers taste exactly like store-bought. There's a certain graham cracker flavor I've been unable to emulate – though looks-wise, they're a close match for packaged crackers. (See the manufactured cracker in the center there? It's the one with all the holes).

But judging them on their own merits, they're good. VERY good.

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Graham Crackers.

Taste Test: Whole-Grain Pretzels

Attention, snack lovers! We munched on popular whole grain pretzels to find which brands stack up the best for taste, crunch, and of course, nutrition. Find out the winners (and losers) in our taste test.

We rated each brand on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest), scoring for taste, texture and nutrition information. We paid close attention to calories, sodium and fiber. Since all the pretzels varied in shape and size, we broke down the nutrition info per ounce serving.

Nutrition Info Per Ounce (8 pieces): 110 calories 230 milligrams sodium 1 gram fiber

Our Take: Great crunch and just enough sweet-and-salty flavor. They lost a point because whole wheat flour was second to enriched flour on the ingredient list. Plus, they were sweetened with honey and sugar.

Nutrition Info Per Ounce (24 pretzels): 140 calories 420 milligrams sodium 0 grams fiber.

Our Take: Surprisingly pretzel-y considering they’re made with mostly corn and potato starch. They are also made with palm oil, which contributes 2.5 grams of saturated fat per serving, so be careful not to over-munch. These babies were also the most expensive, but are a wonderful option if you follow a gluten-free diet.

Nutrition Info Per Ounce (3 large pretzels): 110 calories 380 milligrams sodium 2 grams fiber

Our Take: You can definitely taste the barely, rye, flax and sesame in these pretzels. Wheat flour, whole wheat flour and honey round out the ingredients. They were a little too dry for our liking, and on the higher end for sodium. They’d probably be great dipped in some dark chocolate, but what wouldn’t?!

Nutrition Info Per Ounce (9 pretzels): 110 calories 100 milligrams sodium 3 grams fiber

Our Take: The least favorite of the bunch, these were grainy and tasted a bit like cardboard. They were tied for lowest in sodium and highest in protein. Whole-wheat flour was the first ingredient (a plus). Potato flour, honey and agave were also part of the recipe.

Nutrition Info Per Ounce (9 pretzels): 120 calories 100 milligrams sodium 3 grams fiber

Our Take: Much better texture and flavor than the other Snyder’s pretzel we sampled (above), these were made with whole grains like wheat, oats, flax, buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa and sesame. They had 4 grams of protein per serving and plenty of flavor despite the low sodium content.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

The 11 healthiest store-bought crackers you can buy.

This list of healthy crackers will help you decipher which of the biggest players to choose from when you're at your grocery store.

1. Best Overall: Triscuit Original Crackers

You can't beat the purity of this recipe: whole wheat, oil, and salt. Period. It's what led to many dietitians recommending Triscuit as one of the healthiest crackers you can buy. "I recommend Triscuit crackers because they offer lots of different bold flavors," says Kostro Miller. "Even their flavored crackers like the cracked pepper and olive oil only has 140 milligrams of sodium per serving. Their other flavors as well are very satisfying, and whole-grain wheat tends to be the first ingredient!"

2. Best Seeded: Mary's Gone Crackers Super Seed Classic

For a crispbread-like texture in cracker form, Mary's Gone Crackers are a classic. You'll almost always see Mary's Gone Crackers on lists of the healthiest crackers because they taste great, are made with simple ingredients, and check a lot of dietary boxes: gluten-free, organic, vegan, and non-GMO. Dietitian Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, owner of To The Pointe Nutrition says these crackers "are another favorite high-fiber option with a mix of fibrous grains and seeds."

3. Best for Weight Loss: GG Scandinavian Fiber Crispbread, Oat Bran

When registered dietitian Brocha Soloff, BS, RD, CDN of iHeartHealth is looking for healthy crackers, she looks for the least ingredients, lowest net carb, and highest fiber: a triple threat for weight loss. Her favorite cracker for health and weight management is this one from Norwegian crispbread company, GG's. Snack on two of these crispbreads and you'll get a third of your daily value of fiber in! This Scandinavian snack packs in zero sodium and just two nutrient-dense ingredients—wheat bran and oat bran—for a truly wholesome eat. "Crackers can and should be part of a healthy diet. In fact, they're [much] better than most bread for weight management," Soloff says.

4. Best High-Protein: Back to Nature Whole Lotta Seeds Crackers

Along with the natural fiber and protein found in the four seeds (flax, chia, poppy, and hemp), Back to Nature boost the muscle-building, satiating protein count in these crackers by adding plant-based pea protein powder. A serving of these crackers will fill you up with more protein than an egg!

5. Best Gluten-Free: CrunchMaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt

This pick packs in a whole lot of crunch and wholesome ingredients. It's baked with brown rice flour, oat fiber, sesame seeds, quinoa, millet, and flaxseed. And if you're looking for a cracker to munch on instead of chips, Crunchmaster makes a great option. "If you're looking to do some snacking for the purpose of snacking, [Crunchmaster's Multi-grain Crackers] are great options because they're low calorie so you can eat more of them. Plus the texture is so crisp it feels satisfying to chomp down on these!" says Lindsey Herr, RDN, LDN, of Your Dietitian Friend.

6. Best Low-Carb, Keto: Fat Snax! Almond Flour Classic Crackers

If you're on a low-carb or keto diet, these almond flour-based crackers are your best bet with just 3 grams of net carbs per serving. They're low in sodium and get their protein punch from almonds and egg whites and extra fiber from flaxseeds.

7. Best Made-with-Veggies: Real Food From The Ground Up Cauliflower Crackers

These babies are baked with cauliflower flour, lentil flour, and a veggie blend. One serving packs in 10 percent of your daily value of vitamins A, E, B6, B1 D, and C.

8. Best Paleo Cracker: Simple Mills Rosemary & Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers

The first ingredient in this gluten-free box is a nut and seed flour blend concocted with almonds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds—so you know a big chunk of the eight grams of fat in each serving comes from heart-healthy omega-3s and vitamin E. "Simple Mills crackers are a great option for those with allergies as they are made with almond flour, rather than wheat flour," says Fine.

9. Best High-Fiber Cracker: Wasa Crispbread Fiber

"These crackers are low in calories and pack in a good amount of dietary fiber to keep you feeling full. Due to the size and shape of these crackers, you can use them as an alternative to bread giving you a satisfying crunch!" says Appel. The wheat germ, bran, and whole-grain rye in these crackers really amp up the fiber content here, while the sesame seeds add in healthy fat. While Wasa is our favorite high-fiber cracker, it can also be used for weight loss. Soloff also recommends Wasa for clients who don't like the graininess of GG's.

10. Best for Kids: Annie's Whole Wheat Bunnies

If you're looking for a healthy cracker for kids, Annie's has your answer. "Annie's Whole Wheat Bunnies are excellent whole grain snacks for kids. I give them to my 5-year-old son. They taste great and packed with nutrients and fiber!" says registered dietitian nutritionist Sandra Murray Gultry, MS, RDN, LDN, CSOWM, and owner of It's All About Choices. This wholesome Annie's pick packs in organic whole wheat flour, sunflower oil, and a bit of real cheddar for a subtle flavor. You'll find zero artificial preservatives in this box.

11. Best Gourmet: Rustic Bakery Handmade Sourdough Flatbread

Although it doesn't meet our fiber requirements, Rustic Bakery is a dietitian-approved cracker when you're whipping up a fancy cheese plate. "Hands down the best store-bought crackers are from Rustic Bakery. The sourdough option is my favorite because the baking involves fermentation, which attracts yeast and bacteria. These live organisms digest the complex starches in the dough. The length of time that the dough ferments is directly related to the break-down of gluten in a process called hydrolysis," says Laura Lagano, MD, RDN, CDN, integrative & functional nutritionist with an in-person & virtual private practice. Lagano notes that fermented crackers like this can be helpful for people who are sensitive to gluten, but they're still not best for individuals with Celiac disease.

Seeded Whole Wheat Sourdough Discard Crackers

Use a mixture of whatever small seeds you like, including black or white sesame, flax, poppy, chia, quinoa, amaranth, etc. For spices, use small seed spices such as caraway, fennel, nigella, anise, etc., in any combination you like.

1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon (245 grams) whole wheat flour
½ cup (75 grams) mixed small seeds
1 to 2 teaspoons whole seed spices
1 teaspoon table salt
½ cup (150 grams) 100% hydration sourdough discard
6 tablespoons (85 grams) water
3 tablespoons (50 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg white, beaten
1 to 2 teaspoons flake salt

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix whole wheat flour, seeds, spices, and table salt in medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add sourdough discard, water, and oil, and stir with wooden spoon until uniform. Knead dough on lightly floured counter until smooth. Divide into three equal portions (about 210 grams each) and form each into smooth balls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

2. Working with one dough ball at a time, using rolling pin on well-floured counter, roll into rough 10- by 8-inch rectangle, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Transfer to parchment paper and continue to roll into rough 14- by 12-inch rectangle. Using fork, prick dough with fork 20 to 30 times evenly across surface of dough. Brush evenly with egg white and sprinkle with flake salt.

3. Transfer parchment to baking sheet and place on lower rack of oven. Bake for 12 minutes. While first sheet bakes, repeat rolling and topping with second ball of dough.

4. Move first sheet to upper rack, place second sheet on bottom rack, and continue to bake until first sheet is evenly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer fully baked sheet of crackers on parchment to rack and allow to cool completely.

5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 with remaining ball of dough. Allow sheets to cool completely before breaking into large pieces. Crackers can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks in airtight container.

If you're interested in starting your own tiny sourdough starter or using the one you have, check out these resources

Best Whole Wheat Pastas

Pasta purists argue that the whole-wheat variety tastes grainy and bitter. But when our professional tasters sampled 10 whole-wheat pastas—sans sauce—all of them received Very Good scores for nutrition, and three products earned Very Good taste ratings. (Download a PDF of our whole-wheat pasta ratings.)

Whole-wheat pasta’s calories, fat, and protein content are similar to those of regular. But it packs at least twice as much fiber—a good thing, considering that only about 5 percent of Americans meet their daily fiber needs.

People on low-carb diets may be needlessly taking pasta off the menu. “Our bodies need carbohydrates to function,” says UCLA’s Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., R.D. “Even though traditional pasta is made from refined flour, it’s not devoid of nutrition, and it isn’t digested as quickly as other refined carbohydrates, so it’s less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.” Still, you can make pasta healthier by choosing 100 percent whole-wheat. To ease the transition, start with a 50-50 mix of regular and whole-wheat, and gradually go all whole-wheat.

Taste Test: The Best Whole-Grain Breads

These whole-grain breads are the best of the best -- that includes best-tasting, best-for-you and more! Tip: To make sure you&aposre choosing a true whole-grain loaf, the first or second ingredient listed should be a whole grain. Happy eating!

Best Multigrain

Our highest-scoring whole-grain loaf was the Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain 15 Grain Bread ($4.29 for a 24-oz. loaf).

The winning loaf contains whole wheat, wheat berries, oats, rye and millet. "I love the crunchy seeds with every bite," said one taster.

Best Rye or Pumpernickel

Our staff loved the Rubschlager Danish-Style Pumpernickel ($2.99 for a 1-lb. loaf).

This firm bread is thinly sliced, giving it a delicate feel, with a slightly tangy taste. Each fat-free slice is just 70 calories, so make yourself a double-decker!

Best Whole Wheat

The crowd-favorite in the whole wheat category was the Arnold Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat Bread ($3.90 for a 1 1/2-lb. loaf).

Whole-grain bread newbies can start with this tender oat bran-topped loaf with a slight molasses sweetness. "It&aposs surprisingly moist and fluffy," said one panelist.

Best Gluten-Free

Udi&aposs Gluten Free Soft & Hearty Whole Grain Bread took the win for our gluten-free category ($5.99 for a 12-oz. loaf).

This loaf looks and tastes like artisanal white bread, with no crumbly or gummy texture. While tapioca and potato starches are the first ingredients (they replace wheat flours in gluten-free breads), brown rice and ancient whole grains (amaranth, sorghum and teff) give a deep flavor.

Best Sprouted

French Meadow Bakery Sprouted Grain Bread beat out the competition in the sprouted group ($4.99 for a 24-oz. loaf).

Go vegan with a loaf full of healthy sprouted stuff, like wheat berries, lentils, soybeans and spelt. Sprouting makes the vitamins and minerals of those ingredients easier to absorb.

Best Nut Butters

Find the spread for your bread! We tasted 85 different variations of nut butters to find the best tasting pecan, pistachio, almond, cashew and flavored spreads on the market.