Cheese crackers—just like Cheez-It crackers—are relatively healthy and homemade with real ingredients that don’t include artificial colors, preservatives, hidden sugars, or multi-syllabic factory-made flavor enhancers.
Yup. We went there. To that homemade cheese crackers place. You know. Like Cheez-It crackers. No preservatives. No artificial colors. No lurid neon glow. Just real ingredients and cheesy crunchy awesomeness.–Renee Schettler
- 4 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-grain spelt flour plus more for the work surface
- 1/4 cup all-purpose or white spelt flour
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter cold
- 2 tablespoons milk, preferably whole milk plus more for brushing
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the cheese, wheat or whole-grain spelt flour, all-purpose or white spelt flour, butter, milk, onion powder, if using, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse to form a ball, 1 to 2 minutes. If the dough appears oily from the cheese, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll it to 1/8 to 1/16-inch thickness. Lightly brush the dough with the milk. Using a pastry wheel or knife, cut the dough into 1-by-1-inch squares. Prick the center of each cracker with a skewer. Place the crackers on the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least a 1/2 inch between crackers.
- Bake the crackers, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking, just until the crackers are slightly brown at the edges, about 10 minutes.
- The crackers will crisp up as they cool, so be careful not to overbake them, although if you like your crackers extra crunchy, leave them in the oven for 11 to 12 minutes. Gently move the crackers to a wire rack and cool completely.
Cheese Cracker variations
Non-Cheddar Cheese CrackersYou can go a little crazy and use a stronger cheese, like Camembert, as the author suggests. Although we also think the recipe would work well with all manner of other cheeses, including a nice aged Manchego or maybe even a salty Pecorino or…well, you get the idea.
Gluten-Free Cheese CrackersYou can substitute an equal amount of all-purpose gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose and spelt flours. You can use store-bought or homemade gluten-free flour blend but be certain that it does not contain xanthan gum. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Vegan Cheese CrackersNot surprisingly, cheese crackers don’t work well without real cheese. Do not attempt to make a vegan version of them.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Originally published January 28, 2013
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These cheese crackers are so easy and delicious. I whipped them up in just a matter of minutes. The dough rolled out hassle-free and cut easily with a pastry wheel. I used grated sharp Cheddar straight out of a bag and the flavor was great.
The crackers hardly had time to cool before they were gone and my family has already requested that I make this recipe again. Because it’s so simple, I’m sure the recipe will become a frequent favorite at our house.
These are delicious little cheese crackers, with a perfect cheese flavor and a lovely texture. I used sharp Cheddar, but I kept thinking how great they would be if made with Manchego or any other favorite cheese.
The recipe is simple to make and the dough is easy to work with. I recommend rolling these out as thin as possible—mine were 1/8 inch thick and baked up in 8 minutes. I wouldn’t have wanted them any thicker. If you’re married to the idea of cheese crackers having that familiar orange glow, I’m thinking that the addition of a bit of annatto to the dough would satisfy you just fine.
As I was making these crackers, I was also thinking the rolled and cut squares would freeze really well. Might be a good thing to have in the freezer for surprise visitors.
These cheese crackers are so much better tasting and healthier than the store-bought Cheez-It crackers. I plan to make these for my niece and nephew since they love the Cheez-It version. A little aunty love via healthier snacks.
Also, I’ve been wanting to try a recipe with gluten-free flour, and the cookbook author suggested its use. So I used the GF flour that Thomas Keller uses (I bought it at Williams-Sonoma). The dough was very easy to whiz up in the food processor. It’s a little labor-intensive to cut the dough into perfect 1-inch squares (mine weren’t perfect), but they baked up nicely.
The recipe says not to overbake, so I baked one batch for exactly 10 minutes as the recipe stated. They were cheesy, not browned, crisp, but not real crunchy. The second batch I baked 90 seconds longer until they were lightly browned, and they crisped up even better and had a more delicious flavor. So go ahead and overbake them a little! But that might be the case when using GF flour.
I made a gluten-free version of these crackers and they were so delicious I ate about 2/3 of them by myself right off the baking sheet. These are really very easy to make.
The cooking time specified in the recipe was spot on. Don’t be tempted to bake them a little longer to achieve browning. Trust the recipe, because they do continue to brown and crisp up after they come out of the oven. I let one sheet of crackers go a little longer, and the resulting toasted flavor interfered with the cheesy goodness.
I did use the onion powder called for in the recipe. It’s a small amount and doesn’t add an overwhelming flavor, but it does add a certain something, so I’d recommend using it.
I do have some reservations about recipes that instruct you to convert to gluten-free by substituting a commercial gluten-free baking mix because the mixes out there vary so much in ingredients. Particularly xanthan gum, which some mixes have already mixed in, and some do not. This is a recipe that is better made without xanthan gum. I used 1/2 cup King Arthur’s gluten-free “multi-purpose flour”, and 1/4 cup teff flour to get more of a whole-wheat look. This worked admirably. But I don’t normally have the King Arthur blend on hand, so next time, I’ll probably use 1/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/4 cup fine brown rice flour, and 1/4 cup teff flour.
These cheesy squares are easy to make and full of flavor. I will be making this cheese crackers recipe again and experimenting with different types of cheese and maybe adding some herbs or spices.
Very easy and very tasty. I baked my second pan of cheese crackers a couple of minutes longer because I like them really crunchy. I plan to try it with different types of cheeses and maybe make the crackers have multiple dots, like dice.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
These homemade cheese crackers were made and devoured in what seemed like the blink of an eye. I’d definitely double the recipe in the future.
Take the time to roll out the dough to the suggested thickness so that the crackers turn out crisp. I added a pinch of fleur de sel to the crackers when they came out of the oven and it was the perfect finishing touch. Easy to make and addictive to eat.