The 12 Essential Store-Bought Snacks for 2021 and Beyond

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Utz Quality Foods

It’s funny to use the word “essential” to describe a bunch of snacks, but if you are one to appreciate the perfection of a salty-crunchy potato chip, you get it. Snacks are essential — as essential as having the right olive oil or can of tuna. And that brings us to this list.

These are the snacks that made the cut for our 2021 version of Kitchn Essentials, Grocery Edition— the ones we think all home cooks can (no, should!) enjoy between meals. Feeling snacky? Let’s take a look!

1 / 12
Best Potato Chips

Utz are simply the best kettle chips you can buy, says Tools Editor and expert snacker, Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm. Extra thick and extra crunchy, they're everything you want a kettle chip to be. The exact right amount of sea salt will you keep you reaching for more, so maybe buy two bags.

2 / 12
Best Pretzels

Ah, is there anything more sublime than a snack that’s salty and sweet? That would be no, and that’s why these Honey Wheat Braided Twist pretzels from Rold Gold are the perfect snack. Well, that and the fun game you get to play when you unravel the twist in your mouth, munch by munch.

3 / 12
Best Tortilla Chips
Siete Food

These tortilla chips (made with cassava flour and avocado oil) are a Kitchn team favorite because they're sturdy enough to stand up to any dip. The company is run by a Mexican-American family of seven (siete!) from South Texas who’ve undoubtedly mastered the formula for perfect grain-free tortilla chips. These chips are also Whole30-approved, gluten-free, and vegan.

4 / 12
Best Popcorn

Popcorn still counts as dinner. To do it right, go for a bag of popcorn from LesserEvil in any of their flavors. Light, airy, salty, and buttery, with nothing but real ingredients, this is as good as it gets. Of course, it's also a great snack.

5 / 12
Best Cheese Crackers

In case you didn't know, slightly burnt (or extra toasty, as they're technically called) Cheez-Its are not only a thing — they're the only way to have a Cheez-It, according to cheese cracker aficionados on staff. Can there be too much of a good thing? Nope. “A bowl full of all-burnt Cheez-It crackers is way better than the occasional burnt Cheez-It cracker,” says Lifestyle Director, Lisa Freedman.

6 / 12
Best Keto-Friendly Snack

Cheese, but make it more like a cracker! “I'll never be without these,” Contributor Dana McMahan says. Perfect at apéro time or literally anytime, the gluten-free snack hits the spot when you crave cheese and a crunch. These are also great for anyone following the keto diet.

7 / 12
Best Crackers

How about a yummy cracker you can feel good about? These crackers are non-GMO and made with certified organic ingredients sourced from climate-friendly farmers. The Rosemary Garlic is spot-on.

8 / 12
Best Kids' Snack
GoGo squeeZ

Yay for a kid-friendly yogurt made without preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. Faith Durand, our Editor-in-Chief, loves these pouches for her own family, and all parents can get behind how easy the pouches are to grab and go. Bonus: Kids love them and one pouch is an easy way to get in some calcium and protein.

9 / 12
Best Cookies

Partake’s vegan chocolate chip cookies are also so allergy-friendly that they're safe for cookie-lovers who can't have nuts, soy, or gluten. And yes, they're delicious! On the site, you can browse between crunchy or soft-baked cookies.

10 / 12
Best Cashews

You can be sure that basically anything from Target’s Good & Gather line will be good, but some of their offerings are extra good. Case in point: these buttery roasted cashews with everything seasoning. Throw them in a party mix or straight into your mouth.

11 / 12
Best Pistachios
Santa Barbara Pistachio Company

Santa Barbara Pistachio Company does a couple of things differently: Their pistachios are brined, and they're hot air-dried at a low temp. This means they keep a buttery, incredible flavor. Nothing short of amazing, Faith says. Turns out, good pistachios are a world apart from regular ones.

12 / 12
Best Almonds

Look, a crunchy almond is a delight on its own. Add some elevated flavors like Blue Diamond is doing with salt, spices, and olive oil and you've got a snack fancy enough to star in your next charcuterie board. Or just pour some in a bowl while you have happy hour at home and it'll feel like you're at a bar.