These crispy, crunchy Cheese Crackers are here just in time for back-to-school. They come together quickly in the food processor with only a few simple ingredients, and they taste so much better than the store-bought version. The best part? They pack perfectly in lunchboxes. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Homemade Cheese Crackers
These cheese crackers are Luke’s newest favorite snack, and I couldn’t be happier about it. After he developed something of an obsession for the red box available in stores, I knew I had to try making a homemade alternative. After lots of testing, he loves these even more than the store-bought version, and I think you will, too!
Unlike the ones you can buy in stores, these cheese crackers have only a handful of ingredients. But don’t worry, they’ve still got all the flavor!
With school starting soon, I can’t think of a better time to share this recipe. Crisp, light, and packed full of cheddar, my cheese crackers are the ideal salty treat for after school snacks or end-of-summer parties. They also pair perfectly with my Cosmic Brownies or my Rice Krispie Treats to make for a kid-approved lunch box!
The process for making these cheese crackers is super simple. If you’ve ever made my pie crust before, this recipe is similar in that the food processor does the hard work–so all you need to do is roll, cut, and enjoy! Let’s get into the ingredients.
What You Need
These crackers have a delightfully crisp exterior and light, flaky layers–thanks to a few carefully chosen ingredients.
- Cheddar cheese. Besides flavor, cheddar also adds fat and binds the rest of the ingredients together. You can always substitute another similar hard cheese; just don’t use anything softer, or your crackers might not bake properly.
- Sugar. Just a little bit of sugar helps balance the savory notes in these crackers. It adds depth of flavor but does not make them sweet!
- Paprika. Paprika adds a very subtle taste while also boosting the gorgeous orange glow that is signature to these cheese crackers.
- Salt. I add salt in the dough and sprinkle some on top as well. This makes for a flavorful cracker that, once baked, has some bright little punches of salt you’ll taste as you’re crunching away. A coarse salt like kosher salt is required, if you use table salt the end results will be much too salty.
- Butter. Not only does butter add flavor, but by making it very cold, it gives these cheese crackers their flaky, light texture.
- Ice water. Water serves two purposes in these cheese crackers. It binds all of our dry ingredients together, and it also preserves their texture by preventing the butter from melting out of the dough.
SAM’S TIP: I recommend buying a block of cheese and shredding it yourself rather than buying a bag of shredded cheese. Shredded cheese is more expensive, contains additives, and usually doesn’t taste as good.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Cheese Crackers
- Pulse your shredded cheese and dry ingredients in the food processor for 15-20 seconds or until well combined and chopped.
- Add butter pieces and pulse again until the mixture appears pebbly/crumbly. Butter should be incorporated throughout.
- Add water and pulse until dough begins to cling together. Don’t overdo it!
- Divide dough into two or three pieces and then form into balls. Flatten the balls into squares and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- When your dough has nearly finished chilling, preheat the oven. Pull your dough out of the fridge and roll each square until it is between ⅛ and ¼” (0.3-0.6cm) thin.
- Cut dough into 1” squares using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter. I like the fluted edge that you get with a pastry wheel, but it’s not necessary, and you could even just use a sharp knife to cut the crackers.
- Transfer crackers to a baking sheet (give them a bit of breathing room between crackers, but you should be able to fit a lot on your baking sheet) and use a toothpick to pierce the center of each square. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying.
SAM’S TIP: Crackers will be a bit soft while they are still warm but will become crispier as they cool. If your crackers are still soft after cooling, they may just need more time in the oven or may have not been rolled quite thin enough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adding a pinch of cayenne to the dough will give these cheese crackers a nice kick!
For a different (incredible) flavor, I’ve also experimented by substituting smoked paprika for regular (delicious!) and by adding some BBQ seasoning into the mix (I love using my friend Susie’s Sweet Rub, it adds an incredible flavor to the crackers and I always have some in my pantry anyway!)
You could try using another similar hard cheese like monterey or pepper jack. If you do, let me know how it turns out!
You can do any shape you like! Just know that you may need to adjust cooking time depending on how large you cut them.
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Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- 8 oz (226 g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated for best results grate your own cheese from a block rather than using pre-shredded cheese
- 1 ½ cup (165 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling on top
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter very cold
- 3 Tablespoons ice water
- Combine shredded cheese, flour, sugar, paprika, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in the basin of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until ingredients are combined and cheese is well chopped up (about 15-20 seconds).8 oz (226 g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated, 1 ½ cup (165 g) all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Scatter cold butter pieces over the surface of the ingredients and pulse again until butter is cut into the mixture and the mixture appears pebbly/crumbly.8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add water and pulse until ingredients begin to cling together.3 Tablespoons ice water
- Divide dough into two or three parts and form each into a ball. Flatten each into a square shape and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one hour and up to 3 days.
- Once dough has nearly finished chilling, preheat oven to 375F (190C).
- Working with one square at a time, roll dough to be between ⅛ and ¼” (0.3-0.6cm) thin.
- Use a pastry wheel or pizza cutter to cut dough into 1” squares.
- Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet and use a toothpick or the blunt end of a wooden skewer to pierce the center of each square.
- Sprinkle lightly with additional kosher salt (I use about 1-2 teaspoon total for all of the crackers) and transfer to 375F (190C) oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Allow crackers to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.