Red Chili and Cheddar Crackers

The spicy kick in these little bites is perfectly balanced with a deep, rich Cheddar flavor. The key to these diamonds is to use the very best aged Cheddar possible. My dear friend Dean insists on calling them “Jeez-its” because, he says, “Christ, they’re good!”–Chester Hastings

LC Jeez-Its Note

Doesn’t really matter what faith you are–or aren’t. You can still appreciate the sentiment expressed above regarding Jeez-Its’ addictive nature. And you thought a box of Cheez-Its was hard to put down.

Red Chili and Cheddar Crackers Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 2 H
  • Makes 100 or so crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 8 ounces best-quality aged Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Directions

  • 1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and chiles. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese and pulse to combine.
  • 2. Add 3 tablespoons of the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until the mixture comes together in a ball. Pulse in an additional tablespoon of water if needed to get the dough to hold together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • 4. Roll the dough out to a 1/8-inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet. (If the dough seems sticky, sprinkle the surface ever so lightly with flour.) Try to be as accurate as you can about the thickness of the dough, as the crackers won’t puff up nicely if the dough is too thin, nor will they be crispy enough if the dough is too thick. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, a sharp knife, or a fluted pasta cutter, trim the dough into ½-inch diamonds (or any shape you prefer).
  • 5. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. (If you, like us, don’t have 3 baking sheets—well, 4, actually, counting the one you’re already using–simply line 1 or 2 or however many baking sheets you have and bake the crackers in batches, allowing the sheets to cool between uses.) Place the dough on the parchment-lined sheets, giving them just enough room so that they are not touching. Bake until the crackers are deep golden brown and crunchy, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your crackers. Watch the crackers carefully as they go from almost done to a little too done quite quickly. Transfer the crackers to wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (The crackers can stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week, although they are best the first couple of days.)
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Jan 30, 2012

These are spicy, cheesy, buttery, crunchy, delicious and addictive! You may want to make two batches if you plan on sharing. My daughter and I couldn’t stop eating them when the first batch came out of the oven. They’re a breeze to make in the food processor. For the first half of the dough, I cut them with a 2 1/2-inch fluted round cutter and then cut them in half to make crescents instead of diamonds. These baked on my silpat in about 29 minutes to a perfect crunchy golden brown. The second batch, my daughter rolled out and cut into diamonds with a knife. These were smaller than my crescents, and they baked much faster. In fact, I got them a little too browned. (I thought they still had a nice flavor, although my sister said they tasted burnt to her.) So be careful and watch them near the end. I ended up with 100 crackers.

Testers Choice
Rebecca Marx

Jan 30, 2012

Yum, yum, and yum! These crackers are as delicious as they are easy to make. Crispy, cheesy, and just spicy enough to keep things interesting, they’re frighteningly easy to eat by the fistful, straight out of the oven. I ended up halving the recipe and got 38 one-inch crackers out of it. The crackers were well done after 30 minutes in the oven. I found that I didn’t need to bake them on parchment paper — they came out fine without it.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Jan 30, 2012

These come together easily and produce a delicious cracker that’s light, flaky, and spicy. Not only did I cut them into the diamond shapes, but I also used some small cookie cutters for fun cracker shapes. The crackers puffed beautifully and turned a lovely golden brown during the baking, and the wonderful aroma of the cheese crackers filled the kitchen. These crackers would be a fabulous topping for salad, soup, or chili. Watch the baking time carefully. Regardless of the size of my crackers, the baking time was no longer than 22 minutes. Begin checking them after about 15 minutes. They are spicy, so adjust your red chile amount to suit your taste.


Comments
Comments
  1. Katie K says:

    Why roll them out directly onto an unlined cookie sheet if they require parchment or silpat?

    • David Leite says:

      For two reasons, Katie. First, the parchment paper can cut as you slice the crackers, possibly causing bits of it to stick to the unbaked dough. And second when the crackers bake, the melting cheese can stick to a baking sheet. Using paper or a Silpat prevents that and ensures easy removal.

  2. These crackers looks so delicious. I can’t wait to try it this weekend.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We’re thinking they’ll go quite, quite well with a nice ale or porter, Jeff…

  3. Blima says:

    These little babies are OMG good, I made them at 4 this afternoon and opened my favorite bottle of vino. A perfect afternoon in my book. I haven’t been around here in awhile because I graduated Weight Watchers and …sorry David, I had to stay away. Everything in moderation from now on. Thank you for the little gem of a recipe. It is in my favorites now.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Sounds like a perfect afternoon in our book, too, Blima. And congratulations! You know, despite what we may say, we’re proponents of moderation…although we do have an entire category of altogether lovely Leite’s Lite recipes. We swear you wouldn’t know they’re healthful, they taste that spectacular…

  4. DubaiTaoGirl says:

    THANK YOU!! I’ve lived in the Middle East for a year and a half and one thing I’ve missed is tasty snack crackers. This recipe is simple, uses easy-to-find ingredients, and came out so good. Just a note – I don’t have a rolling pin, so instead of forming the dough into a ball, I made it into 2 flattened rounds, then cut them in half and rolled each half through my manual pasta machine. I then cut the resulting wide strips into cracker-sized pieces. I used the thickest setting on the machine, but still the dough was thinner than 1/8 inch; each batch cooked in about 10 minutes. Thanks again for this great recipe!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Thank YOU, DubaiTaoGirl, for the brilliant rolling alternative. Just brilliant. And let us know what other food things you miss, maybe we can find reliable recipes for those as well…

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