Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as Rakuten, Amazon, and Yahoo! Shopping) for the best senbei, or rice crackers. We then chose the 43 most popular products and tested them.
We focused on three things: how rich their flavor was, how strong their fragrance was, and how hard they were in terms of texture. Our combined impressions averaged out to a final score of deliciousness. We then compiled everything we learned into a buying guide about and list of the best Japanese rice crackers, with our top pick being Kameda Seika's Happy Turn Rice Crackers.
We picked out 43 of the most popular products and tested them for the following: how flavorful they were, how hard they were, and how fragrant they were. Then we gave each rice cracker a final rating of 0.1-5.0 based on how delicious they were.
Then, based on how they performed on our tests, we graded and ranked the top 43 Japanese rice crackers available online.
※Japanese prices for some of the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.
|Amount per bag||4.2 oz.|
|Amount per bag||2.6 oz.|
|Amount per bag||15 crackers|
|Flavor||Sweet soy sauce|
|Amount per bag||2.5 oz.|
|Amount per bag||7.05 oz.|
|Amount per bag||20 crackers|
|Flavor||Sweet soy sauce|
|Amount per bag||12 crackers|
|Calories||430 calories (per 3.5 oz.)|
|Flavor||Seaweed and soy sauce|
|Amount per bag||2.2 oz.|
|Amount per bag||2.6 oz.|
|Flavor||Shrimp salad and seaweed with soy sauce|
|Amount per bag||16 crackers|
|Amount per bag||18 crackers|
|Calories||497 calories (per 3.5 oz.)|
|Amount per bag||11 crackers|
|Calories||450 calories (per 3.5 oz.)|
|Amount per bag||18 crackers|
|Amount per bag||12 crackers|
|Calories||427 calories (per 2.5 oz.)|
|Amount per bag||24 crackers|
|Calories||460 calories (per 3.5 oz.)|
|Amount per bag||22 crackers|
|Amount per bag||40 crackers|
|Calories||(depends on the cracker)|
|Type||Hand-grilled and fried|
|Flavor||Cream of corn soup, seaweed and soy sauce, sesame and soy sauce, cheese, mild curry|
|Amount per bag||3.8 oz.|
|Amount per bag||3 oz.|
|Amount per bag||3.2 oz.|
|Amount per bag||3.4 oz.|
Happy Turn Rice Crackers
Funwari Meijin Kinako Mochi
Tsu no Yakiebi
Kameda no Kakinotane
Pota Pota Yaki
Rich Cheese Rice Crackers
Ebi Nori Arare
Ume no Kamaki
Shrimp Rice Crackers
Marudaizu Rice Crackers
Curry Rice Crackers
Yakiebi Rice Crackers
Yuki no Yado
Hoshi Tabeyo Rice Crackers
Bakauke Rice Cracker Assortment
Onigiri Rice Crackers
Tanita Shokudo Supervisor's Rice Crackers
The Very Best Japanese Rice Crackers
Soft Crackers That Melt in Your Mouth
Subtle, Sweet, Yet Salty Fried Rice Crackers
A Savory, Shrimp-Flavored Taste Sensation
The Roasted Flavor Pairs Great With Alcohol
Filled With Sweet Soy Sauce Flavor
The More You Bite Into It, the Better the Flavor Gets
The Perfect Balance of Cheese and Soy Sauce
Two Kinds of Crackers With an Addictive Crunch
Light, Crunchy, and Slightly Sour Pickled Plum
A Touch of Shrimp Flavor in Soft Snack Form
Balanced Black Bean Rice Crackers
A Spicy Rice Cracker That's Great as a Snack
Shrimp Rice Crackers That Are Tasty and Flavorful
Deliciously Sweet and Salty
Star-Shaped Crackers Perfect for Kids
The Rice Crackers With the Most Delicious Variety
Easy to Eat and Shaped Like Cute Rice Balls
A Thin, Crispy, and Filling Rice Cracker
Salty and Crunchy Fried Rice Crackers
A Great Rice Cracker for Diets
|Japanese||亀田製菓ハッピーターン||越後製菓ふんわり名人 きなこ餅||天乃屋歌舞伎揚||亀田製菓通の焼き海老||亀田製菓亀田の柿の種||亀田製菓ぽたぽた焼||三幸製菓おかき餅||セブンイレブン濃厚チーズ煎餅||亀田製菓海老のりあられ||亀田製菓梅の香巻||三幸製菓三幸の海老せん||三幸製菓丸大豆せんべい||亀田製菓亀田のカレーせん||三幸製菓焼えび煎餅||三幸製菓雪の宿 サラダ||栗山米菓星たべよ しお味||栗山米菓ばかうけアソート||マスヤおにぎりせんべい||亀田製菓サラダうす焼||セブンイレブンひねり揚||栗山米菓タニタ食堂監修のおせんべい(アーモンド)|
|Amount per bag||4.2 oz.||2.6 oz.||15 crackers||2.5 oz.||7.05 oz.||20 crackers||12 crackers||2.2 oz.||2.6 oz.||16 crackers||18 crackers||11 crackers||18 crackers||12 crackers||24 crackers||22 crackers||40 crackers||3.8 oz.||3 oz.||3.2 oz.||3.4 oz.|
|Calories||23 calories||69 calories||63 calories||51 calories||157 calories||53 calories||430 calories (per 3.5 oz.)||300 calories||51 calories||11 calories||497 calories (per 3.5 oz.)||450 calories (per 3.5 oz.)||41 calories||427 calories (per 2.5 oz.)||460 calories (per 3.5 oz.)||37.2 calories||(depends on the cracker)||517 calories||517 calories||484 calories||66.8 calories|
|Type||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Fried||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled and fried||Hand-grilled||Hand-grilled||Fried||Hand-grilled|
|Flavor||"Happy Powder"||Kinako||Sweet soy sauce||Sweet shrimp||Soy sauce||Sweet soy sauce||Seaweed and soy sauce||Cheese||Shrimp salad and seaweed with soy sauce||Ume||Shrimp||Soy sauce||Curry||Shrimp||Sweet salt||Salt||Cream of corn soup, seaweed and soy sauce, sesame and soy sauce, cheese, mild curry||Soy sauce||Soy sauce||Salt||Sweet salt|
And why they didn't quite make it.
We didn't have any particular issues with these rice crackers, but we weren't blown away by them either. Kameda Seika's Seaweed-wrapped Rice Crackers are a good snack to pair with tea, but we were left wanting something more when we tested them.
Kameda Seika's Soft Salad Rice Crackers have been popular for ages, but we think their grainy texture makes them taste a bit cheap despite their decent flavoring. Family Mart's Twice-grilled Soy Sauce Rice Crackers gave us a similar impression, though more on the hard side than the grainy side.
We didn't find anything particularly special about Aeon Top Value's Soft Rice Crackers (Salt), but their mild flavoring and nice crisp would make them great for those watching their sodium intake.
We think the best rice crackers are suited for anyone's taste, but Muji's Black Pepper Rice Crackers had a distinct spicy kick that wouldn't be suited for those with sensitive tongues or for kids; at least they go great with alcohol. We also thought Bourbon's Cheese Okaki would go great with beer or wine, but the processed cheese flavor may put some off.
In terms of flavor, we thought Iwatsuka Seika's Niigata Moist Rice Crackers had a sweet amazake flavor better suited for adults, and Kingodo's Olive Oil and Salt Rice Crackers (Herb and Vinegar) had a flavor that was a bit too Western for those looking for an authentic Japanese rice cracker experience.
Those looking for a squishy mochi-like texture will like Iwatsuka Seika's Niigata Moist Okaki, while those looking for a crunchy okaki texture will enjoy their Inaka no Okaki (Salt). And if you've got a thing for sweet soy sauce? Give Muji's Soy Sauce Fried Rice Crackers a try.
Some rice crackers had a flavor that didn't quite sit right with us, but maybe you'll think differently. We thought the sweet and powdery texture of Iwatsuka Seika's Aji Shirabe would satisfy those looking for something sweet but lacking for those seeking salt to balance it out.
If you're looking for something oily, then you may discover a satisfaction our testers failed to find in Higano Seika's Mottainai Honpo Moist Rice Crackers or Kameda Seika's Katabutsu. We should warn you that both are a bit lacking in the flavor department, though.
Arguably, the texture of a good rice cracker matters as much as its taste. Kameda Seika's Teshioya and Eda no Kodawari rice crackers are pretty hard and crunchy, so if you don't have a lot of jaw strength, we wouldn't recommend them.
On the other end of the spectrum, we found Sanko Seika's Niigata Shikomi Light Salt Flavor and Salad Rice Crackers too light and soft to leave an impression.
We also weren't pleased by the lack of crunch or crisp from Kameda Seika's Magari Rice Crackers, and the unique rice grain-like texture of Kaldi Coffee Farm's Moheji Okoge Rice Crackers fell apart in our mouth.
When you see a flavor written on a bag of rice crackers, you expect it to have that flavor. We didn't have much of a black bean impression from Iwatsuka Seika's Black Bean Rice Crackers, but it did have a pleasing texture. As for the classic Nakamura Seika's Cheese Arare, we found barely any of the punch of cheese flavor that we were expecting.
The way we tested these is pretty simple: we sat our testers down, tried each rice cracker, compared our thoughts and scores, then gave it a final score as to how delicious it was.
We found that rice crackers with a softer texture tended to score higher, as well as those with a sweet and salty flavor.
Here are five big things to look out for when choosing the best rice cracker for your needs.
This one may seem a bit obvious, but rice crackers are usually found in a set of similar flavors. Decide whether you want a salty soy sauce flavor or a seaweed flavor; or maybe you want something with hints of sesame, herbs, or spice.
Children usually find mild flavors like salt or shrimp easy to eat, so if you're buying for them and you're not sure what to get, those are good options to consider. If you're only shopping for yourself, though, don't be afraid to get a little adventurous!
Are you in the mood for a good crunch, or are you looking for something that will melt in your mouth?
Thick-grilled rice crackers or hard rice crackers will give your jaws a satisfying crunch. It doesn't take much to fill up your stomach, so they'd be good for those on a diet.
Salad-type and fried rice crackers tend to be softer in texture. There are also okaki, which have more of a melty aftertaste than other types of rice crackers.
You can also find fluffy and chewy moist-type rice crackers, which are great for those who can't chew food very well. There isn't as much of a flavor or brand variety of this type, but if you're in Japan, you can find at least one type in most stores.
While those who are trying to cut down on plastic waste may cringe at the thought of individually-packaged rice crackers, those who are constantly on the go or like to space out their rice cracker binges will appreciate them. If storage or portability isn't an issue for you, there are plenty of bag-type snacks as well.
If you don't really care whether your crackers are in one piece or ten, there are places that sell broken rice crackers at a noticeably cheaper price than whole crackers. They're easier to eat and they're often available in the same popular flavors as whole rice crackers. Keep an eye out for them when you shop!
It's not unheard of at all to give rice crackers as a gift in Japan, especially if it comes in an aesthetically pleasing packaging.
Box-type or can-type crackers give the impression, "These are not your run-of-the-mill rice crackers," so you should consider these when you want to give a particularly nice present. There are also smaller bags available for individual gifts; browse sites to see what's available.
And you know there's nothing more embarrassing than giving someone a snack that's already expired or well on its way to going bad, so when you read product descriptions, make sure they keep a fresh stock.
Besides rice crackers, there are a ton of amazing and tasty Japanese snacks out there. There are also great ingredients that you can experiment with to make delicious, inspired dishes.
We rounded up members from our editing department, purchased the 43 most popular Japanese rice crackers, and taste tested them all.
We learned that the best of the best rice crackers have a soft texture as well as a perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors. Ultimately, your own tastes will help you find your perfect rice cracker, but we hope we've given you a good place to start your search.
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