This recipe is a long time coming and something that countless parents have asked me for. Homemade Goldfish Crackers! Before I show you how to make these fun cheese crackers, let me tell you why I developed this recipe…
Almost every child in America eats Goldfish Crackers. Parents love them because they are easy, not too expensive, and seem healthier than other snacks like Cheetos. They are served in schools and daycares across the country. But are they really a good snack for kids?
To really examine this question, you need to know what Goldfish Crackers are made of. Let’s take a hard look at the ingredients used to make Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish…
Goldfish Crackers Ingredients: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Cheddar Cheese ([Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes], Annatto), Vegetable Oils (Canola, Sunflower And/Or Soybean), Salt, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Yeast, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Paprika, Spices, Celery, Onion Powder, Monocalcium Phosphate, Baking Soda.
Goldfish Crackers are one product that I’ll never buy for my children.
I personally don’t want my children eating Goldfish full flavor enhancers designed to hijack their taste buds. We need to stop the habit of brainless munching on low quality foods that has led millions of Americans with diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Even worse, they might be tainted with Roundup weed killer:
In 2016, an independent food safety laboratory tested popular American food products for residues of the weed killer glyphosate (Roundup). They specifically found this weed killer in Goldfish Crackers. In three samples of Goldfish tested, they detected 18.40 ppb glyphosate in Goldfish Crackers Original, 8.02 ppb in Goldfish Crackers Colors, and 24.58 ppb in Goldfish Crackers Whole Grain (1). While these amounts are not as high as other products tested, I don’t personally feel safe feeding my child a food known to be contaminated with Roundup, a chemical strongly linked to cancer.
Plus – when you buy Goldfish crackers, you are supporting the industrial BIG FOOD complex of crap food. Let’s stop supporting brands like Pepperidge Farm who are creating unhealthy products for our kids.
Thankfully, I’m happy to report that you don’t need to give up Goldfish Crackers. I’ve figured out how to make crispy cheesy goldfish shaped crackers at home – with real food ingredients.
The main ingredient in these crackers is flour. I chose to use organic spelt flour, which is an ancient whole grain form of wheat. I like to use spelt flour because it is easier to digest than regular whole wheat flour and contains a bit more protein. If you want to make these gluten-free, you can substitute oat flour for the spelt flour. You can make oat flour by simply grinding organic rolled oats in a blender, or you can also buy a bag of organic oat flour at most grocery stores.
The other ingredients I used were also organic, especially the cheese and butter. It’s very important to buy organic animal products to avoid consuming potential residues of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and other drugs often given to animals on factory farms. When it comes to dairy products – choose organic and grass-fed whenever possible.
How to make Homemade Goldfish Crackers:
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. You’ll bake these on a baking sheet, so you can line that now with some unbleached parchment and set it aside.
If you don’t have a food processor, simply place all of the ingredients in a bowl and use a pastry cutter to mix everything together until it resembles a fine meal. However, this process is much easier with a food processor.
If using a food processor, add all the ingredients except the butter and pulse until a fine meal has formed. Add the butter and pulse until well combined.
Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of cold water and mix until the dough forms a ball. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface until roughly ⅛” thick. Use a 1” goldfish cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the dough. I used a plastic cookie cutter because that is the only fish-shaped cutter I could find that had several fish in one row, which makes the job of cutting up the goldfish much more efficient. It also is small and gives the most genuine “Goldfish” look. Another option would be a stainless steel cutter, such as these animal shaped cookie cutters that are small (about 1″). You could certainly use any animal shape you want for more variety and fun.
Place the shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet like this…
And bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before removing from the cookie sheet.
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place all of the ingredients in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter mix together the ingredients until it resembles a fine meal. Alternatively, you can use a food processor, if desired. If using a food processor, add all the ingredients except the butter and pulse until a fine meal has formed. Add the butter and pulse until well combined.
- Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of cold water and mix until the dough forms a ball. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface until roughly ⅛” thick. Use a 1” goldfish cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the dough.
- Place the shapes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
A food processor is the much easier way to make this recipe even though a pastry cutter works.
For a gluten free version you can use oat flour.
Please share this Goldfish Crackers recipe + snack alternatives with all the parents, teachers, and daycare workers you know.
Let’s get everyone on board with healthier snacks for our children!
P.S. I put together a list of OVER 100 snacks that are healthier for children than Goldfish Crackers.