homemade cheez-it crackers

Step aside, Kellogg. Better crackers coming through.

CHEEZ-ITS are wonderful–and we all know this because we’ve been eating them since we were ten (unless you’re 75). We can each vouch for the fact that they have overly addictive properties–so many, apparently, that we’ve been instructed to get our own box. But, with all due respect to Kellogg and Sunshine Biscuits, I have to say that these homemade crackers are something else–they exceed all cheesetastic levels, and I wouldn’t doubt if the discernible tastes of real cheddar and butter send you over the moon (I suggest buckling up). They embody all of the characteristics that one loves about a CHEEZ-IT, including that salty and cheddar-cheesy crunch, as well as a new element of texture that Kool-Aid drinking, braces-wearing, CHEEZ-IT-eating ten-year-olds can’t quite yet appreciate. The texture is less like a snack you’d put into a paper bag lunch, and more like those gourmet cheese straws you’d pair with wine at a cocktail party.

Who has the mature cheese cracker now, Mr. CHEEZ-IT cheese-tester?

There are only two things separating these beauties from the original fluorescent orange crackers. The first, of course, is that they are homemade, and because these are homemade, they are made fresh and baked free of any preservatives or odd ingredients like “soy lecithin” or “paprika oleoresin.”

(Please excuse me while I fact-check real quick…okay, yep…only 5 ingredients down there. Way cool.)

The second difference is that they lack the notches that appear on all four sides of the store-bought cracker. CHEEZ-ITS pride themselves on their allegedly amazing grip, so shouldn’t these imitators, too? Well, no, because these easy-to-hold crackers won’t be dropped unless it is into a bowl of steaming tomato soup. They’re large and in charge–and I could probably dub them the pantry bully if they weren’t so easy to love.

While these crackers are lovable from all angles, what I adore most is that any taste-tester would be instantly able to tell that they weren’t poured from a box; that, and they would feel twice as mature eating these as they would forcing their hand down a narrow cardboard chute that is often too tiny to comfortably grab a decent amount of crackers anyway. These are great on their own, with some peanut butter, or in a bowl of soup. Whichever way you try them, I’ll bet you can’t eat just one.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

(Yields about 40 crackers — Adapted from Country Living goldfish crackers recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 (7-ounce) bag grated extra-sharp 2% reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or paprika)

5 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour, butter, cheese, salt, and cayenne in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until crumbly. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together, similar to making a pie crust. (You may not use all the water.)

Wrap dough in plastic wrap, press into a disc, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (this is important).

Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper. (It’s sticky!) Roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Carefully flip dough in parchment over, and gently peel off the top layer. Using a pizza cutter, trim dough into a rectangle, then cut into 2-inch squares. Carefully transfer squares onto baking sheets, using a spatula if needed. (I poked holes in the top of mine, though I’m not sure they made them puff up any less.)

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until crackers are just slightly turning light brown. Taste one for crispness. If they are not to your liking, bake just a few minutes longer–I baked mine for a full 25 minutes.

You can store these in an airtight container for up to 5 days–but I guarantee you they won’t last that long. If crackers are soggy after storing, re-crisp in a preheated 400º oven for about 4 minutes.



Filed under Snacks

132 responses to “homemade cheez-it crackers

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  4. Louanne

    I confess, I LOVE Cheezits, but I made these today and they are so very, very yummy, I may never buy the box again. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  5. What a fabulous idea, love this recipe! So glad I found your blog, new follower! xoxo

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  12. I think every thing made of cheese is wonderful….lets see how your recipe tastes.

  13. Juliana

    I’ll try to do this recipe today :)

  14. Juliana

    I’ll try to do this recipe today :)

  15. Seems delicious. Nice pictures. Congratulations.

  16. What about using whole wheat flour? Could you just bake the crackers right on the parchment paper instead of transferring them off? I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    • Not sure about the whole wheat flour but I don’t see a problem as to why it wouldn’t work! And yes!–definitely bake them on the parchment paper! They will stick and not come off if you don’t :). (When I said “transfer” I was just referring to from the parchment-covered work surface to the parchment-covered baking sheet)

    • I made these with whole wheat flour and they tasted more bread-y than cracker-y… not as amazing as all the reviews said…

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  18. angie

    My grrandmother used to make these o so much better than cheeseits thank you for posting she passed before i could learn the recipe i ate these before i ever tasted a cheeseit when i was a kid and i loved them

  19. B.A.

    These are fantastic! They’re great with any cheese/herb combination. 2 inches was kind of big, I cut them into 1-inch squares and they were great. Dough kept fine overnight by the way.

  20. Shauna

    I’m going to take your recipe and dust the crackers with bacon salt before baking. Let you know how it goes.

  21. Just made a batch of these for the first time today! Delicious! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  23. This is genius. I can’t wait to try these!

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  25. Diana G.

    I´m making it now with Lawry´s Seasoned Salt instead of the salt/cayenne (in the same amounts). Love it!!! :)

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  29. Wow! I need to make this, Looks amazing!

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  31. Dante

    I’m trying this recipe out right now, and they smell incredible. Can’t wait to try one. If they work out I’ve already imagined a version with garlic and parsley in the dough made with parmesan cheese. Thanks for the recipe!

  32. meghan

    these were amazing! my whole family loved them! i also added some mozzarella cheese and pepper flakes.

  33. You can get the ripple effect by using a pastry cutter to cut the squares out :)

  34. Kathryn

    These look really yummy. I think I’ll make them this weekend!! :)

  35. Yummy, these look great and a wonderful alternative to the ones you can buy, can’t wait to give this a try.

  36. Lydelle

    What do you think about baking these in a wood fired oven ? I’m picking one up and I am really curious to see how baked goods may turn out in it.

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  39. These can be made with the same amount of blue cheese instead of cheddar- very sophisticated! They are also delicious with a bit of toasted cumin (about a teaspoon, coarsely ground) or a shot of liquid smoke.

  40. Shalene

    Thanks a lot! Now my husband and I are addicted and making cheese crackers every few days. I even make extra dough to keep in the fridge and I still cant bake them as fast as we eat them.

    Seriously though, I never thought these would replace cheese-its in my household, but now we’re like, “what-its?”

  41. quilt32

    Actually, I’m 80 and ate Cheez-Its as a child. I googled and found out they originated in 1921 in Dayton, Ohio (the town where I was born). BUT, I’m definitely going to try your version. They look great.

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