To Cheez-It or Not?

Cheez-it has been around for decades. The salty cheesy crackers are popular with kids and adults alike. Originally sold by an independent company call Sunshine, Cheez-it has been part of the Kellogg’s lineup for the last 10 years.

And they’re

made with 100% REAL cheese

If you’re laughing, don’t. There actually is such a thing as fake cheese.

So are these bite sized treats a decent snack? Let’s find out…

What you need to know:



A serving of Cheez-it is 1 ounce, or about 27 little crackers. Do you eat more or less than that amount? For reference, a box contains 9 servings.

The serving is 150 calories, half coming from fat. Of the 8 grams of fat, 2 are saturated.

The 230 milligrams of sodium equate to 10% of your daily max.

Due to the refined wheat, there is virtually no fiber to be found here.

Here is the ingredient list:

Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Soybean and Palm Oil with TBHQ for Freshness, Skim Milk Cheese (Skim Milk, Whey Protein, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Extract for Color), Salt, Contains Two Percent or Less of Paprika, Yeast, Paprika Oleoresin for Color, Soy Lecithin.

Basically you are eating flour, oil, and some cheese. To increase shelf life, the oil is treated with TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) a petroleum derivative that in large dosage causes nausea, delirium, and ringing of the ears.

The orange color of the crackers comes not from the cheese, but rather from paprika. On the bright side, at least it’s not from some synthetic dye.

Bottom line: Cheez-it may be tasty for some, but nutritionally it’s rather void. Maybe fine for occasional snacking, but there are much better crackers out there made with whole grains and without questionable preservatives like TBHQ.


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  • Anonymous

    There are a superfluity of exquisitely simple recipes for cheese crackers or cheese straws available.  They take only a few minutes to make and most of them involve only cheese, flour, butter, and a bit of seasoning.

  • Christina Funari

    Thanks for the information.  Love your blog and app.  Out of curiosity, what’s your source for TBHQ info and it’s side effects?  I tried researching it myself but would like to know what article you are citing. Thanks!

  • Cartoonguy_99

    There maybe ‘healthier’ versions, but none taste as AWESOME as Cheddar Jack Cheez-its! If I’m having a cracker, might as well be yummy and not cardboard.

    • Abc123

      I know your comment is 3 years old, but DITTO on the Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its! They are the best! I have a health issue that these crackers exacerbate, but I still can’t put them down!!! I need to go into Cheddar Jack rehab. :(

    • Erin

      So true!

  • Nancy – The Frugal Dietitian

    Sadly, in my husband’s family they are the “Family Cracker” – the only compromise I could come to was the reduced fat ones.  In fact, a recent study showed that refined flour crackers were a common snack. They made up a significant portion of calories for the toddler set – how many kids have you seen eating Goldfish crackers??

  • Hugedimples

    nancy! i know! they feed goldfish crackers at my son’s day care and he’s only 21 months! it’s interesting though: when people see that we feed our son ham, cheese, avocado, and some fruit for lunch they say, “wow! is he on a special diet? he’s eating so healthy!” ummm … “special diet” … ?? “so healthy” … ??! and the people at the daycare actually asked if he had allergies because he wasn’t allowed to eat goldfish crackers .. yah … “allergic” to poor eating habits!

  • Guest

    I’m curious how they determined the animals in the study were experiencing ‘ringing of the ears’?

  • Guest

    I’m curious how they determined the animals in the study were experiencing ‘ringing of the ears’?

  • Guest

    I’m curious how they determined the animals in the study were experiencing ‘ringing of the ears’?

  • Jim Cooper

    A lot of the color seems to come from annato extract, which seems to be harmless. Both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have evaluated TBHQ and determined that it is safe to consume at the concentration allowed in foods.

  • Parisbreakfast

    I wish you would list the better options out there pls.
    I ate 1/3 of one of these snack packs last nite for the crunch :(
    why is anything decent so pricey?

  • Sadieandmyrtle

    This is great…I went to High School with the guy who does the CheeZ-It commercials (Joe S.) and I’m about to host the getleman who runs this company which shows how nutritionally void snacks like this are.  It is a small world!