Goldfish Crackers: Are They Vegan

Many of us who have adopted a plant-based diet and/or vegan lifestyle spend much time wondering whether our beloved childhood snacks are vegan, and today’s point of focus is the nostalgic classic, Goldfish crackers…

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What are Goldfish Crackers?

Goldfish crackers are cheesy, fish-shaped crackers manufactured by Pepperidge Farm (a division of the Campbell Soup Company). They have been available in several varieties and are famous for their imprinted eye and smile on the crackers.

The brand’s current marketing and packaging incorporate this feature of the product: “The Snack That Smiles Back! Goldfish!”

They were originally invented by a Swiss man named Oscar J. Kambly at Swiss biscuit manufacturer Kambly in 1958 and the design was inspired by his wife, who’s astrological sign was Pisces. Goldfish snacks were introduced to the United States in 1962 by Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin.

Goldfish Crackers Flavors

Goldfish come in the following flavors:

  • Original, also known as Saltine.
  • Cheddar
  • Whole Grain Cheddar
  • Cheese Trio 
  • Parmesan
  • Pretzel
  • Pizza
  • Ranch
  • Baby (Miniature crackers) 
  • Grahams (Honey, Cinnamon, Chocolate, Vanilla, S’mores, Hot Cocoa, Vanilla Cupcake, Cookies ‘n Cream, Chocolate Chip, French Toast, Strawberry Shortcake, Honey Bun)
  • Nacho
  • Queso Fiesta
  • White Cheddar
  • Sour Cream and Onion
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • BBQ
  • Rainbow
  • Cupcake
  • Whole Grain pretzel
  • Xplosive Pizza
  • Blasted Atomic BBQ
  • Fudge Brownie
  • Mix (formerly Mix-up Adventures) (pretzel and xtra cheddar, pretzel and honey mustard, chocolate mint pretzel)
  • Puffs (cheddar bacon, mega cheese, salsa con queso, buffalo wing, twisted grilled cheese, sizzlin’ hot wings, BBQ)
  • Cheeseburger
  • Sesame 
  • Mac & Cheese 
  • Xtra Cheddar
  • X-Treme Zingy Chili Lime
  • X-treme Screamin’ Hot
  • Frank’s RedHot
  • Jalapeno Popper

Are the Original Goldfish Crackers Vegan?

Unfortunately, Goldish Crackers are not vegan. Their ingredients are as follows:

  • SALT 

Because the crackers contain milk, they cannot be labelled as vegan. This goes for all of the other flavors too, sadly.

Are Goldfish Crackers Healthy?

Generally speaking, Goldfish Crackers are healthier than many other crackers or cheesy chips, regular chips and similar snacks. But they’re still little more than empty calories, and they hold little to no health benefits and should be avoided on too regular a basis.

In fact, they may only make you hungrier (and dehydrated) due to their sizable amount of sodium that comes within the crackers.

High sodium consumption can raise our blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt, and salt appears in so many processed, store-bought, or takeout foods, so it is important to monitor our intake, particularly when indulging in snacks that are classed as empty calorie foods and carry very little other nutritional benefits. They also hold very little fiber, which is crucial for healthy digestion because it helps our bile ducts function, allowing us to pass waste regularly.

Nutritional Value of Goldfish (per packet)

  • 140 calories
  • 5 grams of fat
  • 1 gram of saturated fat
  • 250mg sodium (salt)
  • 20 grams total carbohydrate
  • 1 gram of dietary fiber
  • 3 grams of protein

Vegan Goldfish Alternatives

Unfortunately, at present there isn’t really a vegan substitute for Goldfish Crackers, with the exception of Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares. They are best for those who like the cheese flavor of real Goldfish Crackers.

Other than this, the one visible difference between them is the shape. These do, however, contain palm oil, which is a product avoided by many vegans due to the devastating nature of its production to rainforests across the world.

Vegan Cheesy Snack Options 

Make Your Own Vegan Goldfish


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting your work surface
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons of vegan butter
  • 4 tablespoons of cold water


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  • In a blender or food processor, combine all of your ingredients except the butter and water. Mix until combined into a good mix. Add butter and pulse the mix until it becomes crumbly. Add your water and pulse further to make your dough consistent.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut your doe into fish shapes. For this part, you can purchase a goldfish cutter, or you can get creative and make your own fish shapes (or any shape you feel like). 
  • Once your fish are all cut out, bake on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes or until golden and very lightly browned. Store in a food bag or an airtight container and consume within one week.
  • Enjoy!

These are a vegan-friendly and much healthier solution to original Goldfish because the ingredients are more natural and there is no sugar and considerably less sodium.


Traditional Goldfish Crackers produced by Pepperidge Farm are not suitable for vegans. Their primary ingredients include dairy-based products like milk and cheese, making them non-vegan.

In addition, some controversial products like cane sugar and vegetable oil (such as Canola) increase the non-vegan nature further for those who have adopted a vegan lifestyle for purposes of animal and environmental ethics.

There is a similar vegan substitute in the form of Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares. Or you can create your own at home.

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