This page was updated in October 2021.
Whether it's the hat which never seems to sit properly or the terrible jokes, crackers are an essential part of any festive or New Year's Eve dinner, and there are now more food- and drink-related crackers available than ever.
From gin and chocolate to handy kitchen utensils, crackers can be filled with all manner of goodies for keen foodies.
We tested offerings from across the market, from bespoke, luxury sets to supermarket staples. Central to our testing were the quality of the cracker and its contents, how easy they were to pull, whether we thought they had the ‘wow’ factor and if they were good value for money.
Environmental considerations were also a main focus of our testing. Given that it's estimated more than 150 million crackers are pulled in the UK alone each Christmas, we avoided any covered in glitter or which contained single-use plastic gifts, and also looked for those using minimal packaging, plus those which could be recycled easily.
Here, we've sourced the best crackers for food and drink enthusiasts, guaranteed to make your meal go down with a bang.
Read on to discover our top buys. For over 400 buyer’s guides, visit our reviews section, plus find more festive inspiration in our bumper gift guide for foodies, round-up of the best Christmas hampers and the best whisky and gin to give as gifts.
Luxury Christmas crackers
Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly crackers
For the ultimate luxury Christmas cracker, look no further than these stunning crackers from Fortnum & Mason. The mint green packaging with metallic gold detailing and ribbon bows would look fantastic on any Christmas dinner table.
Foodies will love these unique crackers as each one comes with a recipe from the F&M cookbook and a kitchen utensil to try with it. Use the nutmeg grater to make rice pudding with strawberry jam, or the salt scoop to make Welsh rarebit toasties.
Other utensils include a mini whisk, cookie cutter, lotus scoop and a lemon reamer. We love that the cracker and outer box is recyclable, including the paper hats and jokes inside.
Cocoba hot chocolate bombe cracker
Break into this luxury cracker for a special treat while watching a festive film or having a cosy evening in. Hot chocolate bombes are a trendy gift and makes a perfect addition to a Christmas Eve box.
The bombes are made from 100% Belgian milk chocolate and filled with pink and white mini marshmallows. To use, simply place the bombe into a large mug, then pour piping hot milk over top.
Watch as the chocolate melts and reveals the marshmallows inside. Kids and adults alike will love the surprise reveal and the indulgent result. If you prefer dark chocolate, or you're following a plant-based diet, a vegan version is also available.
Available from Not on the High Street (£14.95 each)
Nancy & Betty sprouts Christmas crackers
Christmas wouldn't be complete without a side of Brussels sprouts. Celebrate this classic veg with these quirky Christmas crackers, made with thick paper and decorated with black ribbon bows.
This set of six is handmade in England and filled with treats you'll actually use. Foodies will love the mini strawberry jam, luxury silky teabag, wooden honey drizzler and the mini nutmeg grater.
Those with a green thumb will love the gardening tools such as wooden plant labels, wildflower seeds and garden twine. Or keep kids entertained with a metal slinky or a wooden yo-yo. We think this selection of goodies is a great value for a luxury Christmas cracker.
Joe & Seph’s giant Christmas cracker
If you're after a cracker which will make a statement this Christmas, look no further than Joe & Seph's giant Christmas cracker, guaranteed to turn heads and tantalise tastebuds. This enormous cracker, which weighs 102g in total, is stylish, and its contents are just as praise-worthy.
Once pulled, you'll find six resealable 17g bags of Joe & Seph's caramel & sea salt popcorn, as well as six gold crown paper hats, and six festive jokes. While the popcorn is packaged in resealable plastic bags, the rest of the cracker and its contents is made from cardboard and paper, so easily recyclable.
It's also worth noting that while we were fans of Joe & Seph's salted caramel flavour popcorn, the cracker only contains popcorn in this flavour; a chance to sample more flavours from Joe & Seph’s expansive range (which contains over 50 flavours) would have been welcome. Overall though, this impressive cracker is great value for money.
Available from Not on the High Street (£19.80)
Hotel Chocolat table crackers
From its branding down to the chocolate used, British confectioners Hotel Chocolat are synonymous with quality, and the same goes for their range of Christmas crackers.
Embossed with metallic wintry illustrations and adorned with two red ribbons, these crackers would make a stylish addition to any Christmas table. The packaging is also made from sustainable sources. The crackers provide a ‛bang’ when released, and can also be opened by the red ribbons at each end if you'd prefer to avoid the noise.
Inside, you’ll find three chunky chocolates – a milk chocolate reindeer, a white chocolate spruce and a caramel penguin – all wrapped in recyclable packaging, as well as a gold hat and a Christmas joke. A fantastic option for adorning festive tables (you could also offer them as a dessert option), these would also make superb individual gifts and presents.
Eco-friendly Christmas crackers
Woodland reusable Christmas crackers
While they may not contain a snap, the best option for an eco-friendly alternative is a re-usable Christmas cracker. We love these festive crackers by Kate Sproston, decorated with adorable festive details.
Fill with your own treats such as chocolate or small kitchen accessories. They're perfect for Christmas table decorations or place markers. They're also a great way to gift small items like money, tickets or vouchers.
They're made from natural linen and embroidered with satin thread. Create your own Christmas traditions by using these year after to year.
Available from Not on the High Street (£14.95 each)
Woodland recycled crackers
These plastic-free Christmas crackers are a great value coming in at £13 for a set of 6. The crackers are made from recycled, recycled, FSC® certified paper and decorated with a woodland design and forest green ribbons. Inside, you'll find non-wasteful, wooden tree decorations along with a traditional hat and a joke. Assemble the fun Christmas ornaments including a reindeer, a robin, a teddy bear, a Christmas tree, a snowflake and a sledge.
Available from RSPB (£15)
The Little Green Cracker Company crackers
These stunning ivy-embellished crackers are made from recycled card and biodegradable ribbon made from sustainable wood pulp. They’re full of luxury gifts everyone is sure to use, such as Bird & Blend tea bags, mini pots of Waterhouse Fayre jam and pea shoot seeds from New Leaf nurseries.
Available from Selfridge's (£50)
Alcohol Christmas crackers
Moët & Chandon Moët Impérial mini champagne cracker
What better way to celebrate the big day than a Christmas cracker filled with champagne? The gold and white packaging adds an elegant touch to any Christmas dinner table.
Inside each cracker you'll find a generously sized, 20cl miniature bottle of Moët Impérial champagne. This would make a great stocking filler, Christmas Eve box filler or secret Santa gift.
If serving on Christmas Day, be sure to chill in fridge beforehand so you can pop the Champagne open and enjoy immediately.
Available from John Lewis (£20 each)
Fever-Tree gin and tonic pairing crackers
Give the gift of a complete gin and tonic cocktail with these inventive Christmas crackers. Fever Tree has paired their signature tonic water with a variety of luxurious gins for a complete set.
Pair Salcombe gin with Indian tonic water, Chase pink grapefruit & pomelo gin with Mediterranean tonic water, Pink Pepper gin with elderflower tonic water and Sipsmith orange & cocao gin with clementine tonic water.
Be sure to have some ice on hand to serve up on Christmas day.
Available from John Lewis (£32)
Whitley Neill flavoured gin cracker selection
This colourful collection of crackers from family-run distillery Whitley Neill certainly proves that when it comes to these festive favourites, it’s not all about size. Featuring six nifty crackers, this set is great value, particularly if you're looking to impress your guests with an array of different flavoured gins.
Each mini cracker in this set is a different colour, making them a bright and vibrant addition to any festive table or buffet. To open, it's a case of pulling the packaging gently to reveal one of six 5cl bottles of handcrafted gin, with flavours ranging from blood orange to rhubarb & ginger, pink grapefruit, raspberry and parma violet.
Edinburgh Gin Christmas crackers
Treat your friends and family to mini bottles of premium gin in a selection of unique flavours, including apple and spice, rhubarb and ginger, and more. Make sure to have tonic water on hand to mix up some cocktails on the big day.
What we looked for when testing Christmas crackers
Quality: this included the quality of the cracker, its ‘bang’ and its contents. How would it look on a Christmas table? Did it have the wow factor?
Packaging: we looked for crackers with recyclable packaging where possible, and endeavoured to avoid crackers using glitter or single-use packaging.
Contents: did the crackers contain a gift, hat and joke? Did they contain anything out of the ordinary? Do the crackers provide good value for money?
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This page was last updated in October 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.