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Cheese Nips vs. Cheez Its: Which is the superior cheese cracker?

Some boxes of Cheese Nips are being recalled. Do people even like Cheese Nips?
Cheez Its. [San Luis Obispo Tribune (2005)]
Cheez Its. [San Luis Obispo Tribune (2005)]
Published Nov. 21
Updated Nov. 21

When we heard that some boxes of Cheese Nips were being recalled, we immediately had questions. Questions like, “Does anyone actually eat Cheese Nips?”

The Food and Drug Administration posted on its website Wednesday that Mondelēz Global LLC, the parent company of Nabisco, which owns the cracker brand, announced “a voluntary recall of a limited quantity of Cheese Nips product in the United States due to the potential presence of small food-grade yellow plastic pieces from a dough scraper.”

You probably know Cheese Nips as the little cheese snack crackers that look but do not taste identical to Cheez-Its, the superior snack cracker that Kellogg’s debuted in the 1920s. Cheese Nips came about 30 years later, and despite securing that proper spelling of “cheese” in the name, they have been playing catch-up in the public consciousness ever since.

When I mentioned the Cheese Nips recall to Times food critic Helen Freund, she said, “I had to look up what Cheese Nips were," which felt right.

I turned to our workplace message system to see if I could find any Cheese Nips fans, and the answer was not really.

“For a post about a recall.... do we have any passionate Cheese Nips fans on staff?” I wrote.

One person said: “Does anyone... eat... them... at... all?”

Another: “I was thrown by the word passionate."

I tried again with a poll.

In 2018, Bon Appetit published a “definitive ranking of cheese crackers,” placing Cheese Nips at No. 7 out of 11, just below Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. I bet you can guess what No. 1 was.

The taste test confirmed what I remember about Cheese Nips when I last ate them 20 years ago: They have a bitter, almost burnt taste and a fragile texture that flakes instead of crumbs. I almost went out and bought a box to refresh my memory, but then I remembered the recall.

When I Googled “cheese nips”, related searches included: cheese nips discontinued 2019, why can’t i find cheese nips, why can’t i find cheese nips 2019.

Other fun Cheese Nips facts include this: Did you know there is an off-Broadway musical called Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater in which one of the characters goes crazy after watching her guests enjoy a bunch of Cheese Nips?

I checked my messages one more time before publishing, and saw this: “I think they’re kind of tasty...” one reporter wrote.

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