Ritz crackers are a popular snack cracker made by Nabisco. They have a buttery, salty taste and crunchy texture that many people enjoy. However, Ritz crackers traditionally contain wheat flour, which means they are not gluten-free.
What are Ritz crackers?
Ritz crackers are round, buttery crackers made from wheat flour, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt. Some varieties also contain cheese or peanut butter sandwiched between two crackers. They have been around since the 1930s.
Traditional Ritz crackers contain wheat flour, which gives them their signature taste and texture. Unfortunately, this also means they are not suitable for people who need to follow a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Do Ritz crackers contain gluten?
Yes, regular Ritz crackers contain gluten. This is because they are made with wheat flour, which naturally contains gluten proteins.
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the small intestine.
So for people who need to eliminate gluten entirely from their diet, Ritz crackers and other products made with wheat are off limits.
Are there any gluten-free Ritz cracker options?
Fortunately, Nabisco has created some gluten-free Ritz cracker options that provide a similar taste and texture, but without the gluten content:
- Ritz Gluten Free crackers – These are gluten-free crackers designed to mimic the taste and texture of traditional Ritz crackers, but they use rice flour instead of wheat flour.
- Ritz Peanut Butter and Cheese Cracker Sandwiches – These sandwich crackers contain gluten-free crackers with peanut butter or cheese fillings.
So people following a gluten-free diet do have some options if they want to enjoy the familiar Ritz cracker flavor. However, it’s important to double check the label and ingredients since not all Ritz products are gluten-free.
What ingredients make Ritz crackers gluten-free?
There are a few key ingredients that allow Ritz to create gluten-free cracker options:
- Rice flour – This refined flour made from rice grains is naturally gluten-free. Rice flour can be used to replace wheat flour in crackers and baked goods.
- Potato starch – Added for texture, potato starch gives the crackers crunch without any gluten.
- Xanthan gum – This thickener and stabilizer helps bind the crackers together.
- Sugar – Sugar adds sweetness and flavor.
- Salt – Salt enhances the flavor.
- Soybean oil – The vegetable oil used in gluten-free Ritz acts as a non-stick agent and contributes to browning.
Using these alternative gluten-free ingredients allows Ritz to mimic the taste and texture of their original wheat crackers but in a gluten-free formulation.
Where can you find gluten-free Ritz crackers?
Gluten-free Ritz crackers are sold alongside regular Ritz crackers in the cracker aisle of most major grocery stores. Here are some places you can find them:
- Large supermarket chains like Safeway, Kroger, Publix, etc.
- Membership warehouses like Costco and Sam’s Club
- Natural food stores like Whole Foods Market
- Drug stores like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid
- Online retailers like Amazon, Instacart, etc.
Be sure to check the label carefully to ensure you are purchasing a gluten-free Ritz variety. The gluten-free options are clearly marked “gluten-free” on the packaging.
How do you know if Ritz crackers are gluten-free?
There are a few ways to determine if a Ritz cracker product is gluten-free or not:
- Check the ingredients list – If the crackers contain wheat, barley, rye, malt, or other gluten-containing grains, they are not gluten-free.
- Look for a “gluten-free” label on the packaging – Ritz labels their officially gluten-free items with a clear “gluten-free” indicator.
- Visit the Nabisco website – They have a list of all their gluten-free products to help identify which Ritz cracker varieties are gluten-free.
- Contact Nabisco directly if you have any questions.
- When in doubt, avoid the product if it does not clearly state it is gluten-free.
Following these steps will help ensure the Ritz crackers you choose are guaranteed gluten-free and safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet.
Are cheese and peanut butter Ritz gluten-free?
Ritz currently offers gluten-free versions of some of their flavored cracker sandwiches:
- Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers – These contain gluten-free crackers with peanut butter filling. They are labeled gluten-free.
- Ritz Cheese Crackers – These contain gluten-free crackers sandwiched with cheese. They are also labeled gluten-free.
However, it’s important to note that not all Ritz cracker sandwiches are gluten-free. Some varieties still contain gluten, like the Ritz Bits sandwiches.
As long as the packaging indicates it is gluten-free, the peanut butter and cheese cracker sandwiches are safe to eat on a gluten-free diet. But check carefully since gluten-free options are currently limited.
What do gluten-free Ritz crackers taste like?
The gluten-free Ritz crackers are designed to provide as close to the signature Ritz taste and crunch as possible while remaining gluten-free. Here’s how they compare:
- The rice flour provides a similar slightly sweet, salty flavor.
- They have a crispy, crunchy texture, though may be a bit more delicate than regular Ritz.
- The shape and appearance are the same round, golden crackers.
- They have a buttery taste, though may contain less butter overall than regular Ritz.
- The gluten-free Ritz may taste a bit lighter overall.
In general, the gluten-free Ritz crackers aim to mimic the well-known flavors of original Ritz in a gluten-free formula. While they may not taste exactly identical, many find they provide a close comparison and satisfy the craving for that classic Ritz crunch.
Are there other gluten-free cracker options?
Yes, there are many other brands of gluten-free crackers on the market if you want additional choices beyond Ritz. Here are some top recommended gluten-free cracker options:
|Simple Mills||Offers grain-free seed crackers in flavors like Everything and Sea Salt.|
|Mary’s Gone||Makes crispy gluten-free crackers in original and seeded varieties.|
|Glutino||Leading brand with many gluten-free products including crackers.|
|Schar||Gluten-free brand popular for crispy crackers and snack foods.|
|Blue Diamond||Nut-based gluten-free crackers made with almond and rice flours.|
There are lots of delicious gluten-free crackers to explore beyond Ritz. Trying different brands can help you discover new favorite flavors and textures.
What snacks are gluten-free?
Here are some tasty gluten-free snack options:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables with hummus or guacamole
- Trail mix made with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- Popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan cheese or spices
- Dark chocolate pieces or bars
- Nut butter on rice cakes or gluten-free crackers
- Celery sticks filled with natural peanut butter or cream cheese
- Edamame in the pods
- Corn tortilla chips with salsa
- Hard boiled eggs
- Apples or bananas sliced with sunflower seed butter
Focusing on whole, unprocessed snacks made with naturally gluten-free ingredients is a healthy way to ensure variety in your gluten-free diet.
What should you avoid with gluten intolerance?
Those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease need to avoid all foods containing wheat, barley, rye, and related grains. Here are some key foods and ingredients to steer clear of:
- Bread, pasta, and baked goods made with wheat flour
- Beer and malt beverages
- Oats (unless certified gluten-free)
- Wheat-based cereals
- Pizza crust made with wheat flour
- Meat products containing fillers or wheat-based spices
- Imitation meats containing seitan (gluten wheat protein)
- Soy sauce (unless gluten-free tamari)
- Gravy and sauces thickened with wheat flour
It’s also important to watch out for cross-contamination from kitchen tools, surfaces, and cooking utensils that have touched gluten. Following a strictly gluten-free diet is essential for managing gluten intolerance.
What are symptoms of gluten intolerance?
Here are the most common symptoms and signs of gluten intolerance:
- Bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort after eating
- Diarrhea, constipation, or other digestive issues
- Nutrient deficiencies and related complications
- Headaches and migraines
- Fatigue, brain fog, and lack of focus
- Skin rashes such as eczema or dermatitis herpetiformis
- Joint pain and muscle cramps
- Weakened immune system and more frequent colds/illness
- Anemia or unexplained weight loss
These symptoms may start appearing anywhere from a few hours to a few days after gluten exposure. Keeping a food diary can help identify trigger foods.
How is gluten intolerance diagnosed?
Gluten intolerance is typically diagnosed through a combination of lab tests, symptom evaluation, and an elimination diet:
- Blood test to detect gluten antibodies
- Endoscopy and biopsy of the small intestine
- Genetic test for HLA-DQ2/8 markers associated with celiac disease
- Assessment of symptoms and family history
- Eliminating gluten from diet for 6-8 weeks to see if symptoms improve
Working with a knowledgeable physician throughout the diagnosis process is important, as many symptoms overlap with other conditions.
What is the treatment for gluten intolerance?
The primary treatment for gluten intolerance and celiac disease is adopting a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any products containing wheat, barley, and rye. Some additional treatment tips include:
- Reading ingredient lists carefully to look for hidden sources of gluten
- Cooking more meals at home using naturally gluten-free ingredients
- Being cautious at restaurants and social gatherings where cross-contact is a risk
- Getting proper nutritional testing to identify any vitamin deficiencies
- Asking doctors to test for celiac disease if symptoms are severe
- Joining a celiac disease or gluten intolerance support group
In most cases, following a gluten-free diet effectively manages symptoms. But careful adherence and lifestyle adjustments are required for optimal health.
In summary, while regular Ritz crackers contain gluten, Nabisco does offer some gluten-free Ritz products that are clearly labeled “gluten-free.” These gluten-free versions use ingredients like rice flour to mimic the classic Ritz taste and texture without wheat. Checking labels carefully and looking for a certified “gluten-free” indicator is the best way to determine if a Ritz product is suitable for a gluten-free diet. Overall, eliminating sources of gluten in the diet is the primary treatment approach for managing gluten intolerance and celiac disease.