Food Review: The good, the bad and the ugly of gluten-free crackers


Since my celiac diagnosis and consequent switch to a gluten-free diet a few months ago, I’ve become aware of the difficulty of creating tasty dupes of foods that contain gluten. 

For some people, a gluten-free diet is a faddish choice, but for an estimated 2 million or more Americans–including myself–the diet is a response to celiac disease or another gluten intolerance.

Adhering to a strict gluten-free diet involves avoiding any food containing wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Otherwise, the small intestine becomes increasingly damaged, detrimental symptoms may persist and the risk for long-term conditions increases.

There is a disturbing variation in gluten-free crackers’ levels of palatability. If you like to eat birdseed, read on.

Although the crackers I have reviewed are fine for someone with celiac to eat…are they really fine? I will be giving them a grade based on how similar they are to a regular cracker, which would earn an A-plus from me.


Good Thins Sea Salt Corn Snacks

The Good Thins Sea Salt Corn Snacks are oddly shiny, as if they are coated with a layer of clear nail polish. Also note that the manufacturers of these ‘snacks’ were too cowardly to even call them crackers.

Other than that, these crackers are unremarkable. When bitten, they reveal themselves to be crunchy but not crumbly, which is a plus because gluten-free crackers usually are ideal material for Hansel and Gretel-type shenanigans. 

In taste, they are similar to corn nuts if corn nuts were devoid of flavor: subtly salty, hints of corn. I would grade them as a B.


Mary’s Gone Crackers Original

I don’t understand why these are named Mary’s Gone Crackers Original because I can envision no scenario in which these crackers would be gone from someone’s plate. I’m pretty sure that a bird would enjoy these more than a human: two of the top four ingredients are flax seeds and sesame seeds.

Their texture is a bit lumpy and their flavor is simultaneously bitter and bland. It also reminds me of cardboard. Perhaps Mary’s Gone Crackers are just too healthy for my preferences, but I would have to give them a D. They aren’t outright disgusting, but the eating experience is decidedly unpleasant.


Starting at “noon” and moving clockwise, the crackers are as follows: 3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers, Lance Gluten Free Original Crackers, Mary’s Gone Crackers Original, Good Thins Sea Salt Corn Snacks and Simple Mills Chocolate Brownie Sweet Thins. (Photo/Kate Rowberry)

Lance Gluten Free Original Crackers

What a nice surprise–if someone told me that these were regular crackers, I might believe them. They are slightly dense and fairly crunchy. Although they are a little light on the salt, these crackers are sufficiently buttery and are comparable to a Ritz cracker. These ones get an A!


3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers

When I opened up the bag of the 3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers, I got a strong whiff of that potato goodness. 

Actually, they don’t taste that good. They have a really weak crunch and are sort of soft on the tongue. Flavorwise, these are like sweet potato fries. However, they have an odd burnt-like aftertaste. B-minus.


Simple Mills Chocolate Brownie Sweet Thins

Gluten-free food companies have to get creative with the flours they use because wheat flour is obviously not an option. However, our friends at Simple Mills have outdone themselves.

These crackers are made out of watermelon seed flour.

The Chocolate Brownie Sweet Thins themselves are diamond-shaped and have a nice geometric design. They are chocolatey in a deep, rich way, and I would like to think that they have an artificial-watermelon flavor undertone. The taste is slightly weird, but not in a bad way.

My main issue with the Sweet Thins is that they dissolve very quickly in your mouth. One second they’re crumbs, and the next they’re a grainy sludge. For that they only get a B-plus.


Schär Table Crackers

In Saltine-like fashion, these crackers are a bit salty, sort of plain, and yet still good. They would probably be better eaten with cheese, but for what they are on their own, I think they deserve an A-plus. The only complaint I might have is that they are a bit too flaky. There is a perforation along the middle of the cracker so that you can break it from a rectangle into two small squares, but it is impossible to get the crackers to break down the perforation.


Starting at “noon” and moving clockwise once more, the crackers are as follows: Mary’s Gone Crackers Real Thin Sea Salt, Schär Entertainment Crackers, Schär Table Crackers and Simple Mills Organic Seed Flour Crackers. (Photo/Kate Rowberry)

Simple Mills Organic Seed Flour Crackers

Chewy is the first word that comes to mind here. The Simple Mills Organic Seed Flour Crackers are crunchy, chewy and not very tasty. For example, they don’t taste salty at all, which is a problem because they lack flavor altogether. An acrid taste lingers in the mouth, like from the 3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers. These are C-worthy.


Mary’s Gone Crackers Real Thin Sea Salt

The nutty taste of these crackers is similar to other crackers, but these ones are just better. They are a savory, sharp variant of the crackers that I haven’t liked. Once you start eating them, their smoothness resolves itself into a crispy graininess. A-minus. 


Schär Entertainment Crackers

Hm. The Schär Entertainment Crackers aren’t the worst of the bunch, but they’re sort of overwhelming. They are dry, powdery and fill your mouth as a marshmallow would, which makes them difficult to swallow. These don’t have a distinctive flavor, but they very vaguely taste sweet…like a macaron? I’ll have to give the Schär Entertainment Crackers a B–for ‘boring.’



The range of flavor that gluten-free crackers have is impressive, if not troubling. Many of the options have faults in some respects but are overall decent. The standouts are Lance Gluten Free Original Crackers and Schär Table Crackers: they, unlike their cracker compatriots, taste convincingly normal.