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 20 most popular products and tested them all.
We tested for the following:
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 a list of the best Japanese rice crackers.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the relevant research (as of 11-04-2022).
Table of Contents
Rice crackers, as the name implies, are crackers made from rice and are a traditional Japanese snack. There is a multitude of variations of rice crackers, ranging from hand-grilled, fried, moist, to name a few, and pair amazingly with alcohol or tea.
Moreover, there are two types of rice crackers: senbei and okaki. The difference between these two is the type of rice they're made from. Senbei rice crackers are made from regular short-grain Japanese rice, whereas okaki rice crackers are made from glutinous rice, otherwise known as mochigome in Japanese, which is also often used to make mochi.
While many think that rice crackers are a healthy snack, as they're relatively low in calories, since they are basically almost entirely made out of carbohydrates, they can rapidly spike your blood sugar levels, and thus lead to weight gain.
*Note that all the products featured in this article are senbei rice crackers, and not okaki.
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.
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.
Click to purchase
Happy Turn Rice Crackers
A Highly Addictive Rice Cracker
Subtle, Sweet, Yet Salty Fried Rice Crackers
Kameda no Kakinotane
The Roasted Flavor Pairs Great With Alcohol
The More You Bite Into It, the Better the Flavor Gets
Tsu no Yakiebi
A Savory, Shrimp-Flavored Taste Sensation
Pota Pota Yaki
Filled With Sweet Soy Sauce Flavor
Rich Cheese Rice Crackers
The Perfect Balance of Cheese and Soy Sauce
Ebi Nori Arare
Two Kinds of Crackers With an Addictive Crunch
Shrimp Rice Crackers
A Touch of Shrimp Flavor in Soft Snack Form
Marudaizu Rice Crackers
Balanced Black Bean Rice Crackers
Kameda Seika's Happy Turn rice crackers aren't the best representation of the traditional rice cracker, but they are absolutely the most delicious ones we tried in our test. These snacks are covered in what Kameda Seika calls "Happy Powder" that perfectly balances sweet and salty.
It goes without saying, but the "Happy Powder," with its comforting sweetness and saltiness is the prime reason for its high praise amongst our testers, who commented, "Once you try it, you can't stop eating it" and "It's highly addictive”.
They're not quite hard enough nor have the fragrance usually found in rice crackers, but they make a perfect snack. We think people of all ages will enjoy these. But beware: they really are addictive!
If you're looking for rice crackers to snack on, this is definitely a product to consider!
What stands out about Amanoya's Kabuki-age rice crackers is its subtle, delicious, sweet, and salty soy sauce flavoring.
Though it looks hard in terms of texture, it's actually quite soft, with a crispy exterior contrasted by a softer interior. It melts in the mouth as well, meaning it doesn't feel that heavy, despite them being fried. Some of our Japanese testers who haven't had Kabuki-age in a while were taken aback at how soft they were.
This rice cracker in particular has been a bestseller in Japan for ages. We'd recommend these to those who want to eat something sweet, soft, and mild.
Kameda seika's Kakinotane rice cracker snacks are almost synonymous with the modern-day Japanese drinking experience.
Biting into each crunchy piece releases a burst of roasted soy sauce flavor in your mouth followed by just a hint of spice. Eating them together with peanuts brings out both its spiciness and its mellow flavors.
The peanuts included in each pack help cut some of that spice, but there are packages available without peanuts if you have an allergy, as well as other flavors like wasabi and ume-shiso (plum and perilla).
What we liked most about Sanko Seika's Okaki Mochi rice crackers is the fact that the more we munched, the more flavor flooded into our mouths.
Its delicate balance of soy sauce, sesame, and seaweed tasted perfect to us. If you're looking for a flavorful rice cracker with some crunch, this is a great candidate to consider.
Our testers liked how crunchy it was, commenting that it would pair nicely with some alcohol.
If you want a snack that tastes and smells exactly like shrimp, Kameda Seika's Tsu no Yakiebi is the rice cracker for you. Don't let their thin appearance fool you; they're actually packed with flavor.
The shrimp taste is balanced with an equally salty taste, giving you a savory seafood experience. Our testers commented on the flavor, noting "it's almost like I'm eating real shrimp" and that "the authenticity of the fragrance is on a different level".
We also liked that it came in small packages for easy transportation and sharing.
Since 1986, Kameda Seika's Pota Pota Yaki rice crackers have tickled the taste buds of Japanese people with a sweet soy sauce flavor that's to die for. It's also covered with coarse sugar for added sweetness, yet the texture is still fairly soft.
The only thing we found disappointing about this snack is that the flavor is only coated on one side of the cracker. We think this is a great rice cracker for kids, especially since it contains no MSG!
There are a lot of cheese-flavored rice crackers in Japan, but 7-Eleven Japan's cheese rice crackers in particular are rich in cheese flavor.
What's more, they're balanced out with a sweet soy sauce taste that makes them extra addictive. The fragrance of cheddar cheese fills the mouth, followed by a rich and sweet soy sauce flavor, creating a unique taste.
These bite-sized snacks are great for cheese lovers to take on the go or pair with alcohol.
We liked this pack of 12 Kameda Seika Ebi Nori Arare rice crackers because it contained a mix of two flavors: shrimp salad and seaweed with soy sauce. Of the two, we'd say the shrimp salad is the stronger one, which means the seaweed is great for balancing it out.
Each piece is smaller in size, but they pack a punch in flavor, with a crisp and crunchy texture that makes them hard to stop eating. If you're feeling a bit peckish, these snacks will tide you over.
The moment you open Sanko Seika's Shrimp Rice Crackers, the scent of shrimp and salt wafts up into your nostrils. Their soft texture makes them easy to eat, so it's easy to eat a whole pack before you even realize it.
Since we found the salty taste is slightly stronger than its shrimp flavor, we'd recommend these snacks for those who want just a touch of shrimp.
These fragrant and crunchy black bean rice crackers are a great snack to pair with a cup of green tea.
In terms of fragrance, our testers liked this one the most, noting that just one bite was enough to envelop their mouths with the fragrance of black beans. While the sticky soy sauce coating tends to latch onto your teeth, the slight bitterness of the black beans wins out for an excellent flavor balance.
If you're looking for a black bean-flavored cracker, this is our top recommendation.
Though Sanko Seika's Yakiebi Rice Crackers have a strong initial shrimp flavor, there's no lingering aftertaste. We also liked that it's thin but not too thin, and this gives it a nice crisp.
The salty accents also help to make it a refreshing snack. If you're looking for a crisp shrimp-flavored snack, consider Yakiebi Rice Crackers.
This is for fans of umeboshi, or pickled plums. Each snack is wrapped in a thin layer of seaweed that seems like it will dominate the flavor of the cracker, but eventually, the ume flavor kicks in to balance it out.
If you want a light and crunchy cracker that ends on a slightly sour note, this is a great candidate to consider.
Each bag of a Bakauke Rice Cracker Assortment contains 5 types of rice crackers (cream of corn soup, seaweed and soy sauce, sesame and soy sauce, cheese, and mild curry) that are coated evenly and deliciously with flavor.
While each piece isn't that large, each one packs a punch. With 5 bags of 8 pieces, they also make a great snack. If you're looking for a good sampler of rice crackers, we'd recommend this.
Kameda Seika's Potapota Yaki is a long-selling product in Japan, first released in 1986 and has become a staple rice cracker.
Coated in a moderately sweet and savory soy sauce flavor, this rice cracker is sure to get your appetite going. The sugar coating is similar in texture to granulated sugar and adds a nice texture. Unfortunately, only one side of the rice cracker is flavored, so it might leave you wanting more.
It has a soft, crispy, and light texture. Additionally, it's free of artificial flavors, making it great for kids, too!
These salty rice crackers are drizzled with a sweet whipped cream sauce made from Hokkaido milk.
They're more on the sweeter side, so we'd recommend these crackers for those with a sweet tooth. However, the sweetness tends to linger in the mouth, so some might find that off-putting. We think you'll find their large size to be both filling and satisfying.
This adorable star-shaped rice cracker definitely tastes like rice with just a slightly salty seasoning. Each cracker is soft yet crisp at the same time. On top of that, it has a light texture that melts in your mouth.
While adults may be left wanting more in terms of flavor, it's the perfect balance for kids or those looking for a light snack.
Masuya's Onigiri Rice Crackers are shaped like onigiri rice balls and are flavored with a mixture of aged soy sauce and seaweed flakes.
While we wished the flavor were a bit stronger, we liked how their softness made them easy to eat. We think these would be best suited for those looking for a rice cracker with a mild flavor.
Kameda Seika's Curry Rice Crackers are an Indian curry-flavored snack with a distinct spicy kick. Considering their softness and signature flavor, they almost don't feel like a rice cracker (but we're not complaining).
The only downside to these delicious bites is that they're not individually packaged, so once you open a pack, there's no going back. If you're looking for a salty and flavorful snack to go with your drink, this is an excellent choice.
Usuyaki rice crackers—especially the salad flavor—give you a salty and crispy experience that will make it hard to stop eating.
While its strong saltiness may not be great for those with sensitive tongues, most will love how many rice crackers come in a single pack. If you're looking for a filling snack, put Usuyaki on your shopping list.
Iwatsuka Seika's Black Bean Rice Crackers are hard rice crackers made with black beans and offer a wonderfully fragrant taste.
The beans add a unique layer of texture to the rice crackers, keeping things interesting. However, to make the most of the fragrance of the black beans, the rice crackers themselves weren't heavily seasoned, being just lightly salted.
This rice cracker is perfect for those who want a product that makes use of the flavors of its ingredients, but not the best for those who want something with stronger flavors.
When it comes to choosing a rice cracker, you probably want something that's delicious.
Since each product is flavored differently, we asked six Japanese members from our editorial team to conduct a taste test for all 20 products.
We then had them rate each product on how delicious they were on a scale of 1 to 5.
When we were testing each product, in order to determine the characteristics of each rice cracker's flavor, we had our testers rate each product for the following:
The two rice crackers that were rated particularly high for their deliciousness were Happy Turn and Kabuki-age. What all three have in common is that they're all crispy and soft in texture while having a sweet and savory flavor.
While there are many rice crackers with a rich soy sauce flavor, a lot of our testers commented that they were too heavy or too salty.
*Pictured top-right is Funwari Kinako Mochi, a type of okaki rice cracker. This product was not included in the rankings, due to it being an outlier in terms of texture, flavor, and ingredients.
Similar to potato chips, if you leave a bag of rice crackers around, they'll eventually become stale. Here are two tips to make them tasty again!
However, be warned that once rice crackers become too stale, even these helpful tips won't work anymore.
If your rice crackers have gotten just a little stale, leave them in the refrigerator or freezer to evaporate some of the moisture.
Even individually-packaged rice crackers can go stale if left untouched for long, but doing this trick might help!
Similar to the refrigerator/freezer trick, this one uses a microwave to evaporate moisture. One thing to keep in mind is don't cover your rice crackers. For individually-packaged rice crackers, it's also important to take them out onto a plate before you microwave them.
Another point to keep in mind is to not warm them up too much. Keep it to 10 seconds! Any longer and you risk burning your rice crackers.
Note that these tips might not work with all products, but it's worth a shot.
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.
No. 1：Kameda Seika｜Happy Turn Rice Crackers
No. 3：Kameda Seika｜Kameda no Kakinotane
No. 4：Sanko Seika｜Okaki Mochi
No. 5：Kameda Seika｜Tsu no Yakiebi
View Full Ranking
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
AppsBusiness apps, Cooking apps, Dating apps
Home goodsBath supplies, Ceremonial occasion supplies, Cleaning supplies
Home electronicsAir conditioners and coolers, AV accessories, Blenders and food processors
PCComputer supplies, Desktop computers, Tablets
CameraCamera bags and backpacks, Camera supplies, Digital single lens cameras
BeautyBlushes, Bronzers, Cleansers
HealthBody care products, Health accessories, Health foods and supplements
Food and drinksAlcohol, Breads and jams, Cocktails and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages
KitchenCoffee and tea products, Cooking utensils, Cups
FashionFootwear products, Men's shoes, Sandals
AccessoriesWristwatches, Accessories and jewelry, Umbrellas and parasols
Kids and babyBaby carriers, Baby food, Baby formula
InteriorBeds, Beds and bedding, Chairs
HobbiesAromatherapy products, Art supplies, Arts and collectibles
OutdoorBarbecue grills and fire pits, Camping beds and cots, Camping gear
Home, garden, and toolsAgricultural materials and gardening supplies, Exterior and garden furniture, Materials and repairing agents
Sports and fitnessSports shoes, Surfing supplies, Badminton supplies
PetsBird and small animal supplies, Cat supplies, Dog supplies
MediaBooks and magazines, CD, Children's books, picture books and illustrated encyclopedias
GamesGaming accessories, Nintendo Switch games, PC games
AutomotiveCar accessories, Car navigation systems
GiftsChristmas gifts, Father's Day gifts, Gifts for children
Mobile devicesMobile phone and smartphone accessories, Wearable devices and smart watches