Stop missing out on fishy deliciousness with these gluten free goldfish crackers! The recipe uses only one bowl and they taste like the real thing! (Seriously. I vetted them with gluten-loving people and they all agree they taste legit!)
- Are Goldfish crackers gluten free?
- Gluten Free Goldfish alternatives to buy
- What makes this recipe amazing
- Substitutions for dairy free and vegan
- Gluten free flours to use
- Is cheese gluten free?
- What kind of cheese to use
- How to make this recipe
- Where to find a fish cookie cutter
- Do you need a food processor to make these crackers?
- Tips for making this recipe
Are Goldfish crackers gluten free?
Unfortunately, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers are not gluten free. They are made with wheat flour, so they are not suitable for anyone on a gluten free diet.
Apparently Pepperidge Farm used to have a gluten free version, but it was discontinued years ago. (This is one of the top reasons why I started this blog. You don’t have to rely on a company to come out with delicious gluten free food - you can totally make it yourself!)
Gluten Free Goldfish alternatives to buy
Even though Pepperidge Farm doesn’t have a gluten free fishy cracker for sale, there are a few companies that do sell an alternative version. Here are a few:
- Mary’s Gone Cheezee: gluten free, plant-based and dairy free
- MadeGood Cheddar Crackers: gluten free, dairy free, nut free and vegan
- Simple Mills Farmhouse Cheddar Almond Flour Crackers: gluten free and vegetarian
Ready to make your own gluten free goldfish crackers? Keep reading!
What makes this recipe amazing
There are a number of reasons why this gluten free goldfish cracker recipe is amazing, but here are my top 3:
- The taste. You’d never even know these crackers are gluten free! My daughter had a few friends over while I was recipe testing and even they commented how good they are!
- You only need one bowl. Sure, you could use a food processor, but who wants all those extra dishes to wash? Not me! By using grated butter and finely grated cheese, you can make this dough in one bowl using your hands or a spatula.
- It’s kid-friendly. No nuts in this recipe, so these tasty little fishies are school-safe and perfect for lunchboxes or as a snack on the go. Since they’re made with real ingredients, you can also be confident about what you’re feeding your little ones!
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make homemade gluten free goldfish crackers:
- Tapioca starch: also known as tapioca flour
- Potato starch
- Corn flour: which is NOT the same as corn starch
- Onion powder: the secret ingredient that helps gives the goldfish their signature taste
- Xanthan gum: just a small amount to bind everything together
- Baking powder: along with the butter, helps make a puffier cracker
- Cheddar cheese: finely grated and cold
- Unsalted butter: also grated and cold
- Water: to bring the dough together
Substitutions for dairy free and vegan
These gluten free goldfish crackers are loaded with dairy and I’m not confident that a vegan/dairy free cheese would work well in this recipe. In my experience, it doesn’t melt very well, which is what’s needed when baking these crackers.
If you know of, or have used, a vegan cheese substitute that melts well - please let me know! I’d love to recipe test a dairy free and vegan version of these crackers.
Gluten free flours to use
The three flours used in this recipe are tapioca starch, potato starch and corn flour. All three are starchy, which produces a light texture that’s perfect for crackers.
If you don’t have all of these flours, you could also try substituting in white rice flour or arrowroot starch in place of the others. These haven’t been tested, but they have the same starchy properties as tapioca starch, potato starch and corn flour. Just keep in mind that if you skip the corn flour, the colour of the dough will not be as orange-yellow.
Is cheese gluten free?
I’m happy to report that cheese is naturally gluten free! As with most things, though, gluten-containing ingredients may be added as thickening agents, so be sure to check the product labelling prior to buying. Typical cheeses only contain milk, salt bacterial cultures, and specific enzymes (and maybe a preservative or two).
What kind of cheese to use
Classic Goldfish crackers are made with cheddar cheese, which is also the cheese used in this recipe. I used an old/sharp cheddar since it gives a more pronounced flavour.
Feel free to change it up with the cheeses, though! Maybe a spicy havarti or a creamy mozzarella? Those would be great tasting goldfish crackers!
How to make this recipe
To make your own gluten free goldfish crackers, start by mixing the tapioca starch, potato starch, corn flour, salt, onion, xanthan gum and baking powder into a medium-sized bowl. Next, add in cold, grated butter and finely grated cheese. Using your hands, work the cheese and butter into the mixture, until it becomes slightly sandy.
Next, add the water, incorporating it one tablespoon at a time. The dough will become very sticky, so you can use your hands or a spatula. Once the water has been added and the dough is holding together well in a ball, it’s ready to roll out.
On a surface floured with corn flour, roll the dough out to a ⅛” (30mm) thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out individual crackers and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Chill crackers in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Bake the crackers at 400°F for approximately 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once during the baking time. Let the crackers cool completely prior to eating.
Where to find a fish cookie cutter
Finding a goldfish cookie cutter may be the biggest obstacle to making these crackers. You can certainly order one online that makes the teeny-tiny fishes just like the Pepperidge Farm version, but I wasn’t willing to pay the shipping to Canada on some of those.
Instead I just went to the local craft store and picked up a cookie cutter set that had a 2” goldfish in the package.
If you can’t find a goldfish cookie cutter, don’t worry. Make some good old square cheese crackers by cutting the dough into 2” (5cm) squares and they’ll taste just as delicious!
Do you need a food processor to make these crackers?
You don’t need a food processor to make these gluten free goldfish crackers. You can use one if you’d like, as it will incorporate the cheese really well (and give you more of the bright orange Pepperidge Farm cracker vibe), but it’s not necessary.
Instead, use the finest grating possible on your cheese grater. Then use your hands to incorporate the grated cheese and butter into the dry ingredients. Easy peasy, and less dishes to wash!
Tips for making this recipe
Here are a few quick pointers on how to make the best gluten free goldfish crackers:
- Use cold butter, cheese and water. Keeping these ingredients cold will help ensure that the crackers puff up nicely while baking. Then once they cool, they’ll have a puffy texture with a nice crunch. Just what you want in a cracker!
- If the dough feels too sticky after adding the water, pop it into the fridge for a few minutes. This cools the dough and gives the xanthan gum a little time to absorb a bit of the water and bind everything together. You’ll be able to roll the dough by hand after chilling.
- Flour your work surface with corn flour when rolling. Tapioca starch and potato starch are super light and fluffy… and gets EVERYWHERE. Instead, use corn flour to lightly flour your work surface, the dough, and your rolling pin. This will make it easier to roll out the dough for cutting and the corn flour give the crackers an extra yellow-ish colour.
These gluten free goldfish crackers are best enjoyed the day they are made, but they can be stored for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
I would not recommend freezing these crackers, since they will lose their crispy texture. In our house, they don’t even stand a chance of making it to the freezer anyway, since they get eaten so quickly!
Gluten Free Goldfish Crackers
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (60g) tapioca flour
- ¼ cup (35g) potato starch
- ¼ cup (25g) corn flour
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
- 1 teaspoon (3g) onion powder
- ½ teaspoon (2g) xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
- 1 cup (70g) cheddar cheese cold and finely grated
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter cold and grated
- 4-5 tablespoons cold water
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the tapioca flour, potato starch, corn flour, salt, onion powder, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Mix well.
- Add in the unsalted butter and cheese, using your hands to incorporate them into the flour mixture. The dough will start to come together slightly and feel sandy.
- Add the water into the mixture, one tablespoon at a time, and incorporate with your hands or a spatula. The dough will become quite sticky with each addition, but should form into a ball. If the dough appears too sticky, put it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.
- On a lightly floured surface (use corn flour), roll the dough out until ⅛” (30mm) thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out each cracker and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll any leftover dough until 40 crackers have been cut out.
- Chill the crackers on the baking sheet in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- After chilling, bake the crackers for approximately 15 minutes, rotating once during the bake time. The crackers should turn a light orange/golden colour.
- Allow crackers to cool fully before eating.
- Storage: store crackers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Make ahead: the dough can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the fridge. Allow the dough to warm up slightly on the counter, or work it with your hands to get it pliable enough for rolling.