Cheez-It X Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers Review: A Curious Collaboration You Should Try Once

Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch
Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch - Michael Palan / Static Media

A lot of food collaborations these days seem to come out of left field, pairing two products that don't remotely belong together. Sometimes, the duets seem inspired, but still don't entirely work. A recent example was when Taco Bell and Cheez-It partnered up for a not so amazing Crunchwrap Supreme & Tostada. Earlier this year, Cheez-It crackers also lent its Cheez-iness to the ranch experts over at Hidden Valley Ranch in a product that seemed like a match made in dressing heaven — Cheezy Ranch. Now, months later, Hidden Valley Ranch is returning the favor, and flavor, and letting the fine folks at Cheez-It borrow its seasoning for Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers.

Why the two products weren't released simultaneously is beyond me, but both arrived at my door for taste testing and I was salivating at all the crossover possibilities. I tore open the bag of Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers, and squeezed the Hidden Valley Cheezy Ranch dressing to see which collaboration product worked best and captured the essence of the flavoring it was borrowing. The following chew and review is based on taste, originality, ranchiness, cheezy-ness, and overall lovability.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer.

Read more: What These Imitation Foods Are Actually Made Of

What Do Cheez-It X Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers Taste Like?

Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers
Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers - Michael Palan / Static Media

Out of the two collaborative products, I was most eager to see how Cheez-Its would taste with a dash of ranch. As I pulled back the Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers' plastic bag and took a whiff, I was surprised that it didn't really have an aroma aside from hints of plain crackers or the plastic in the bag itself.

The crackers themselves were missing their usual brilliant burnt orange glow the standard Cheez-Its contain. Instead, these Hidden Valley-infused fellers had a pale complexion with brown toasty marks and flecks of green dill. As I chomped down on the crackers, I naturally expected a strong ranch flavoring, but got more of a sour cream and onion feeling about them. What I didn't really get a sense of was any cheese. The crackers have an overall milky, vinegary taste that starts off mild in a bite and ramps up its bitterness as it is finished off.

A single serving of Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers includes 25 of the little guys. Each serving has 150 calories, 7 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 240 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, 3 grams of protein, 20 milligrams of calcium, 1 milligram of iron, and 40 milligrams of potassium. They contain the common allergens wheat, milk, and soy.

What Does Hidden Valley Cheezy Ranch Dressing Taste Like?

Hidden Valley Cheezy Ranch dressing
Hidden Valley Cheezy Ranch dressing - Michael Palan / Static Media

By looks alone, Hidden Valley Cheezy Ranch nailed the true spirit of collaboration, where a normally off-white ranch dressing now glimmered in a vibrant orange hue. It was practically screaming its cheezy-ness from within the clear plastic bottle.

After I removed the red cap, I took a whiff and was surprised at how it still maintained its identity as a ranch sauce. As I squirted some from the bottle, it was more liquidy than it was solid, and its black peppery spots resembled Thousand Island dressing. It was super tangy and didn't have a full-on ranch bent to it, not did it really bring on a full assault of cheese either. Still, it added up to a nice new twist on ranch dressing that was both appealing to the mouth and the eyes. When I used it as a dipping sauce with carrots, the ranch dressing seemed to disappear, but when I switched it up to celery, it was able to truly shine on.

A single serving size of Hidden Valley Cheezy Ranch is 2 tablespoons, and there are about 20 servings per container. Each serving has 11 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugars, 10 milligrams of calcium, and 17 milligrams of potassium. It contains the allergens milk, egg, and soy.

How To Buy The Hidden Valley X Cheez-It Products

Hidden Valley x Cheez-It products
Hidden Valley x Cheez-It products - Michael Palan / Static Media

Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers are joining Hidden Valley Cheezy Ranch on shelves at nationwide retailers in July. They are available for a limited time only, while supplies last. The Cheez-Its retail for $5.95 and the Hidden Valley ranch sauce for $5.99, but prices may vary by retailer.

Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers come in 12.4-ounce boxes. Based on the food expiration date on the box, which may soon become a thing of the past, the crackers should be good for up to at least nine months. The Cheezy Ranch is available in a 20-ounce bottle and is good for at least eight months.

Our Final Thoughts On The Hidden Valley X Cheez-It Collaboration

Hidden Valley Ranch Cheez-Its
Hidden Valley Ranch Cheez-Its - Michael Palan / Static Media

While I wouldn't necessarily say that Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers and Valley Cheezy Ranch dressing were surefire home runs, I would say that they are worth trying at least once. The dressing is more of a winner than the crackers, however, don't discount them, as they may be the closest we'll get to a return of sour cream and onion Doritos. Sure, the Cheez-It x Hidden Valley Ranch Crackers somehow lost their cheesiness in a bid to ranch it up, but they still would be middle of the road contenders somewhere amid our rankings of the best Cheez-It flavors.

After testing both the crackers and the dressing individually, it was time to do what seemed natural: dip the crackers into the dressing. So what do Hidden Valley Ranch Cheez-Its taste like dipped in a Cheez-It-y Hidden Valley Ranch dressing? Believe it or not, somehow the ranch aspects get pushed aside and the cheese finally gets a chance to shine. The dressed crackers essentially taste like a liquidy, yet crunchy Cheez-It, which makes me wish Cheez-It nachos were a thing. Perhaps a collaboration with hot Velveeta and its newish queso is up next?

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.