I tasted 18 flavours of Goldfish crackers, and only a few beat classic cheddar

I tasted a bunch of flavours of savoury Goldfish crackers and ranked them. Lucien Formichella for Insider
  • I tried 18 flavours of savoury Goldfish crackers and ranked them from my least favourite to my most favourite.
  • I wasn’t very impressed with the whole grain, organic, and veggie crackers.
  • Flavour Blasted is almost always better, and I found myself drawn to most of these flavours.
  • I think Goldfish Flavour Blasted cheesy pizza is the best flavour, though Flavour Blasted Xtra Cheddar is a close second.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Goldfish crackers are a classic snack food, but not all flavours of them are equal.

To see which Goldfish variety I’ll be putting in my cart during my next grocery trip, I decided to try all of the flavours I could get my hands on.

As a writer for Insider, I was sent 18 different savoury Goldfish flavours to review from Pepperidge Farm. Although the packages were free for reviewing purposes, a typical bag costs about $US2.50, and a box can run you close to $US8.

Keep reading to see how these Goldfish crackers stacked up.

First, a bit of backstory on my relationship with Goldfish crackers.

I tasted a range of savoury flavours of Goldfish crackers. Lucien Formichella for Insider

For me, Goldfish have the distinct honour of being a classic snack without ever seeming to enter into the conversation for best.

When I became an adult and realised that I could buy any food that I wanted, Goldfish weren’t at the top of the list – that hallowed ground is reserved for Lucky Charms and unlimited ice cream.

But every once in a while I’ll see them at a party and think, “Oh, haven’t had a Goldfish in a while.” Then 45 minutes later, somebody comes over to the snack table inquiring, “Where have all the Goldfish gone?” and I’ll inch away while trying to chew silently.

All of this is is to say that my starting thoughts are that Goldfish are a solid snack that I don’t buy often, but enjoy whenever they’re within reach.

With this in mind, I settled in to taste multiple versions of this beloved snack and rank its flavours from worst to best.

Let’s see how many made me smile back.

I didn’t have high hopes for the cheddar Goldfish baked with whole grain.

Cheddar Goldfish baked with whole grain. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I feel like many snack companies do some kind of “alternative” whole-grain option, and I don’t really have high hopes for this one.

That said, I appreciate the pun on the box – “If you stand in the pouring grain, you’re going to get wheat.” I personally would have preferred a Maroon 5-influenced “I don’t mind spendin’ every day/Out on your corner in the pourin’ grain.”

If somebody handed me a bowl of these at a party, I’d feel kind of disappointed.

I wouldn’t reach for these on the shelf. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: The slight cheddar flavour was utterly overpowered by the somewhat bland whole grain.

If I’m really focusing on taste, I’m struggling to find the perk of choosing these whole-grain crackers over classic cheddar Goldfish.

It’s hard to get the flavour of carrot just right, and I don’t expect Goldfish’s sweet carrot veggie crackers to do so.

Goldfish veggie crackers in sweet carrot. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: Aside from carrot cake, which can also be dubious, I’ve never tasted one good carrot product that isn’t just carrots and ranch dip, or carrots in a stew.

People always seem to use carrots wrong. Personally, I blame that arrogant fool Peter Rabbit for popularising a dumb vegetable.

Goldfish nailed the carrot flavour down, but I’m not happy about it.

These crackers tasted like carrot, but that’s not what I wanted. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: These crackers were just kind of weird to me. I didn’t mind the slight saltiness, but I’ve never had the urge to shave a baby carrot from the back of my refrigerator onto a cracker, and that’s basically what this tasted like.

Goldfish gave me carrot flavour as promised, so props for that. But I still prefer my carrots in a different format.

I didn’t have high expectations for the cheddar Goldfish made with organic wheat.

Cheddar Goldfish made with organic wheat. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I could see how this snack might be appealing to someone who wants Goldfish but is also trying to follow some specific dietary guidelines – but I don’t personally care that these have organic wheat.

I’ve never gone to Goldfish for organic or non-GMO snacks before and I don’t think I’ll start now. Although these smell a bit different from a typical Goldfish cracker, I have hope that these will be flavorful.

These were the opposite of Flavour Blasted.

These weren’t bad, but they’re not for me. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: For me, these crackers had a little bit of an acquired taste, but they’re OK overall.

I think those looking for a cracker with organic wheat will like them, but these are definitely a bit blander than the other flavour options I tried.

I can’t see myself reaching for these again when there are so many more exciting flavours available.

The Flavour Blasted Cheddar Jack’d Goldfish combine two things I love — jack cheese and Flavour Blasting.

Flavour Blasted Cheddar Jack’d Goldfish. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I love cheddar jack, and I appreciate Pepperidge Farm’s clever pun.

You see, jack is a cheese, which in this context is jacked, as in really souped-up and bursting with flavour. I’m pretty stoked about trying what should be a great combination.

This cracker left me wondering if the Flavour Blaster had been turned up high enough.

I could see the flavour powder, but I couldn’t taste it. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: I thought I’d like this a heck of a lot more. In reality, I’m not a huge fan of this flavour.

The flavour intensity of this Jack’d variety is lacking compared to other Flavour Blasted crackers. I’m not sure the cheese was blasted on that well.

I have my doubts about the Goldfish veggie crackers in the cheesy tomato flavour.

Goldfish veggie crackers in cheesy tomato flavour. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I have my doubts about these, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.

It’s strange to me that some crackers are shaped like fish, and others are supposed to look like tomatoes. With imprints that resemble smiling faces, the tomato crackers look more like Jack-o’-lanterns.

The bag says a serving of these crackers has 1/3 of a serving of tomatoes per serving, which sounds like a very arbitrary stat to me. Maybe I’m spending too much time imagining a tomato fitting into the bag.

With that said, I love cheesy tomato soup although I’m sceptical that these crackers will taste just like a bowl of it.

This cracker tasted more like tomato than cheese, and the flavour sort of grew on me.

The tomato-shaped crackers looked like pumpkins to me. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: The crackers were a little salty, which is the main thing that saved them. They tasted like what I imagine V8 juice in powdered form to be.

Sadly, there wasn’t much of a discernible cheese flavour, and the tomato alone didn’t do much for me.

Unlike with the Jack’d crackers, the taste of these really grew on me as I ate more – but these still weren’t one of my favourites. I think they’d benefit from having extra spices or seasonings.

Ultimately, if somebody told me I needed 1/3 of a serving of a tomato right now, I’d rather bite into a real, fresh one than eat these crackers.

The pretzel Goldfish seemed to be coated in the perfect amount of salt.

Pretzel Goldfish. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: Sure, I like pretzels and I also enjoy the shape of Goldfish crackers. There seems to be a nice amount of salt on these, which is nice since most of the time pretzels are cursed with a lack of it.

These aren’t bad — but I think crackers are Pepperidge Farm’s true strength, not pretzels.

These Goldfish were just too crumbly and not quite salty enough. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: These are tasty, but they felt a little extra dusty – like the kind of pretzel that could just ruin a carpet if you stepped on it.

Looks are deceiving, too, because these Goldfish didn’t have as much salt as I would have liked.

Much to my surprise, the original Goldfish are not cheddar-flavored.

Original Goldfish. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I was a bit surprised that the original Goldfish flavour is not cheesy. When I think of Goldfish, I always think of cheddar.

Upon further consideration, I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever eaten these before.

The saltiness of these really helped them shine.

These Goldfish were nice and salty. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: These were just a great, simple snack all around. It’s wild how the amount of salt works to make it so that one cracker is too much and 1,000 are not enough.

I could see myself eating a lot of these because they satisfy my craving for salt but cause me to yearn for more.

I imagine that a team of scientists in white coats tested the proper amount of salt in these crackers for years before arriving at this beautiful result.

I expect parmesan Goldfish to be good, but underwhelming.

Parmesan Goldfish. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I’m guessing this flavour isn’t going to blow me away, even though I like parmesan.

This will probably taste milder than the original cheddar because – let’s face it – parm is the blander cheese of the two. It works better in a dish than as the centrepiece, which is why I’m doubtful that this flavour will really shine in a cracker.

These were a bit too bland for my liking, but they still had a nice taste.

These were tasty, but not too flavorful. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: These are pretty good, but they’re definitely on the bland side as I’d predicted.

To call the parmesan flavoring a dusting would be too generous. The amount of cheese in these seems like what you get when the shaker at a pizzeria gets clogged. Perhaps they could use a Flavour Blasting.

The cheddar, zesty cheddar, and parmesan mix might be a “too many cooks” situation.

Goldfish cheddar, zesty cheddar, and parmesan mix. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: Listen, I like mixing my snacks as much as the next guy, but this trio of flavours doesn’t interest me much.

Unless there’s a colossal surprise and these three flavours together unlock some sort of secret portal, I think Pepperidge Farm can slow its roll on the combinations.

I already know I don’t enjoy the parmesan as much as the other flavours, so my expectations can only go so high. That said, I like cheddar, and I’m pretty excited to try the zesty cheddar.

This mix is good, but the parmesan drags the other two flavours down.

I’d rather make my own mix of my favourite flavours. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: I wouldn’t buy this but I’d definitely eat it at a party.

The zesty cheddar might have a grain or two more zest in it than the standard cheddar, but it wasn’t strong enough to carry this mix on its back. The parm crackers don’t contribute to the superior cheddar combination.

If I’m going to combine three flavours, I’d prefer to do it myself.

The cheesy pizza and parmesan mix should be a huge hit.

Cheesy pizza and parmesan goldfish mix. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I’m not pleased to see the parmesan crackers present in yet another mix, but I’m still pretty excited about this one.

Theoretically, as a popular pizza topping, the cheesy parm should make the pizza flavour stand out more.

Yet again, the parmesan took away from a great flavour.

The wonderful pizza flavour was held back by the parmesan. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: The parmesan crackers were overpowered again, but you can taste a little hint of them in this bag.

I’m ranking this lower than pizza Goldfish because that’s clearly the better flavour, and in this mix, I’m essentially just getting less of it.

I wish the colours Goldfish had more colours.

Colours Goldfish. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: What’s the big idea? The bag has the entire rainbow on it, but there are only four colours inside. I was expecting more – maybe a blue goldfish, even.

It’s cool that these crackers are coloured using extracts and concentrate from plants, but I can’t help but wish for some artificial food colouring to give these crackers some real razzle-dazzle.

The flavour is strong, but I still think the mix could use some more colours.

I wish there had been a blue goldfish or something. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: I feel cheated by the colours, but I can’t let that take anything away from the flavour.

That said, I just can’t – in good conscience – put this higher than the original cheddar, given that the colours are quite bland.

I feel a bit disappointed, and I think if you’re going to put a rainbow on the bag, you should deliver one in it.

I still can’t believe cheddar is not the original Goldfish flavour.

Cheddar goldfish. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: Although cheddar isn’t the original Goldfish flavour, this is the one most people think of when they picture “the snack that smiles back.” I already know these are great.

These may not be the original flavour, but they’re certainly the classic one.

Cheddar goldfish are a staple snack for a reason. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: I’m happy that I got to eat a handful of these babies – they always make me think of a day at the beach for some reason.

I especially love the light hint of cheddar that you kind of need to think about to notice. These also have the perfect amount of salt.

It’s also interesting how you really can taste a difference between the flavour that’s baked in (here) and flavour that’s blasted on.

The Flavour Blasted Goldfish in white cheddar flavour are covered with fine, cheesy dust.

Flavour Blasted Goldfish white cheddar. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: The Flavour Blasted in the name of this snack immediately gets me excited to taste something with real, strong flavour.

White cheddar isn’t my favourite cheese – I’d have to go with mozzarella, which is underrepresented in the snack world – but it’s really good.

The actual Goldfish crackers in this bag aren’t markedly different than the original, but there’s a fine coating of dust on them, which I can only guess was blasted on with some sort of leaf-blower contraption.

That Flavour Blasting process is so powerful.

Look at those flavour particles. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: These are cheddary and Flavour Blasted indeed. White cheddar still isn’t my favourite cheese, but it’s fantastic on these crackers.

I know this flavour isn’t described as sharp cheddar, but there was a sharpness to these crackers that I quite enjoyed.

At a party, I would grab a handful of these on my way to the dip, though I probably wouldn’t loiter around the bowl for too long.

Pizza is great, and Goldfish are great, so pizza Goldfish should be amazing.

Pizza Goldfish. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I’m stoked about this one since I love both pizza and Goldfish.

There’s something so pure about pizza-flavored things, and it feels tough to get the flavours wrong. Plus with the open bag and the fragrance of the crackers just wafting over to me, I just want to dive in.

There isn’t a strong cheese flavour in these crackers, but they do taste like a flavorful pizza sauce.

These tasted like a delicious pizza sauce. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: The only thing I’m disappointed in is the name of these crackers. I think the name “Saucy Snack” or something might be more appropriate.

I didn’t taste cheese at all, but I got a lovely and surprisingly powerful sauce flavour. The herbs and spices – seems like there’s definitely some oregano – really came through. I’d have liked a dash of garlic salt, but that’s neither here nor there.

These are delicious, but they don’t live up to the best flavour title.

Flavour Blasted Goldfish in sour cream and onion flavour should be great since that combination is a classic.

Flavour Blasted Goldfish sour cream and onion. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: Some flavours blast better than others, and I expect sour cream and onion to be one of the best. It’s a highly delightful, yet underrated flavour everywhere – not just with Goldfish.

Sour cream and onion is still a great flavour, but Goldfish aren’t the perfect canvas

This flavour might be better suited to a potato chip, but these are great. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: The delicious flavour comes through, but I have to say that sour cream and onion flavours are a better fit with a thin, greasy potato chip.

Goldfish are inherently thicker and more bready, which means the flavour – even though it has clearly been blasted on – sometimes leaves before you’re done chewing the actual cracker.

The solution to this is pretty simple: Just keep eating. But what happens when you reach the end of the bag? What then?

I think that the Xtra Cheddar and pretzel mix could showcase just how good the cheesy flavour is.

Xtra Cheddar and pretzel Goldfish mix. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: I’m not sure how I feel about this mix, especially since I already tried the Xtra Cheddar and pretzel flavours individually.

I already love Xtra Cheddar, but the pretzel flavour is quite middle-of-the-pack.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there’s only so far the Xtra Cheddar can carry the pretzels.

Much to my surprise, these flavours worked really well together.

The cheesy flavour overpowered the pretzel one. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: The mix is solid, but not strong enough to be the best.

This was honestly a complementary pairing that I didn’t see coming – pretzel and cheese are just really nice together. I suppose Pepperidge Farm knew this, though, which is why the brand produced this mix in the first place.

The Xtra Cheddar was strong enough to push the pretzels into the background. It is Brian Wilson, and the pretzel is whoever else is in the Beach Boys.

However, ultimately, the somewhat lacklustre pretzel does drag the Xtra Cheddar down a little bit.

Flavour Blasted Xtra Cheddar Goldfish seem like they will have the perfect flavour intensity.

Flavour Blasted Goldfish Xtra Cheddar. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: This is surely going to be better than the original, right? It’s classic cheddar that has been blasted on thanks to what can only be described as a miracle of modern science.

Whoever came up with this idea should win a prize.

The flavour of this goldfish is incredible. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: This one earned it’s Xtra title. These crackers made me feel like someone let me drink from a magical fountain of cheese.

My keyboard is covered in a fine orange mist – not really, my fingers are just kind of sticky because I licked all the cheese off. It was excellent. These crackers are incredible.

With the Flavour Blasted in its title, these cheesy pizza Goldfish gave me high hopes.

Goldfish Flavour Blasted cheesy pizza. Lucien Formichella for Insider

First Impression: These can’t possibly be ranked lower than the regular pizza Goldfish, right?

I have slightly higher hopes for this flavour because Flavour Blasted is always better, by virtue of the thorough yet sensitive blasting process.

Since this flavour explicitly says that it is “cheesy pizza,” I should hopefully get some of that cheese flavour I so dearly crave.

You could season a real pizza with these and it’d be lovely.

These goldfish are top-tier. Lucien Formichella for Insider

Review: These crackers didn’t have a ton of cheesiness, but this was a huge step up from the classic pizza flavour. To me, it tasted like the Flavour Blast was seasoned with some delicious garlic.

The crackers tasted less like sauce and more like the specific spices and seasonings you might find in one. I can honestly say that I would flavour my Bolognese with a combination shockingly similar to this, but with a bit more pepper.

I bet you could get something like these crackers in a real restaurant that charges you money to sit down and has a waiter that wears a white apron and allows you to taste the wine before you buy it.

In a move that some might feel is too daring, I crown this to be my favourite flavour, narrowly beating out Xtra Cheddar.

These crackers are just too good. If I encountered a big bowl of these at a party, I would take the bowl, and hide in a closet until it’s empty.

But even after trying all of these flavours, I think the Flavour Blasting process is the real winner. I still want answers about the secret operation that’s used to blast these crackers with flavour.

Is it a savoury T-shirt cannon? A repurposed snow-maker from a ski lodge? A cartoon character with an oversized trombone of flavored powders?

I want to know more.

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