How to bake homemade crackers: A guide to DIY snack foods

Homemade crackers: Does that sound like an impossible feat? My friends are always mystified when I set out a plate of homemade crackers. To them, crackers come from the store in a plastic sleeve or a cardboard box.

Luckily, I grew up in a household rife with homemade snacks. I won’t say I didn’t ever covet the miniature bags of Goldfish or cans of Pringles my classmates had — I did on a daily basis (lunchtime was trying on my 8-year-old nerves). But I did gain an early appreciation for the benefits of replicating classic snacks at home.

Crackers are deceptively simple to bake. For the novice baker, they’re a perfect entry point into baking: quick, delicious, and difficult to ruin. (And let’s face it: True snack connoisseurs love slightly burned crackers. We call them “well-done.”)

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

The most challenging part of a cracker recipe is rolling the dough thinly enough to ensure that your crackers are crispy. Again, imperfection in this regard still yields a tasty result: If your crackers are too thick, they’ll be just as flavorful but will have less snap. Let nothing deter you from trying your hand at this!

In the time it takes to search for your wallet and car keys, you can make homemade crackers. Of the dozens of recipes on our site, you can find one to match your favorite store-bought variety: soda crackers (like Saltines), Vermont cheese crackers (like Cheez-its), crunchy seeded crackers (like gourmet flatbreads), or homemade versions of graham crackers or crisp bread.

Some cracker recipes require a quick rest of the dough in the refrigerator before rolling; others you can bake immediately. There’s a cracker recipe to fit every timetable!

The best part of mastering homemade crackers? Customization. Most cracker recipes are a blank canvas of sorts, a perfect place to experiment with dried herbs, cheeses, seeds, fancy salts, and other ingredients. Just like bread dough, crackers are limited merely by your imagination.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade crackers — whatever the type — tend to follow the same steps: Mix up your dough, chill (if needed, particularly for softer or more buttery doughs), and then roll out as thinly as possible. Cut into your desired shape, prick with a fork, and bake.

I turned to one of our expert bakers here at King Arthur, marketing coordinator (and cracker lover) Gwen Adams, to get her tried-and-true tips for making the best homemade crackers yet. Combine her tips with some of our favorite and most reliable cracker recipes, and you’ll be on your way to new levels of snacking bliss.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Crackers Tip #1: Get in shape!

After cutting your dough into the desired shape, pull away and discard (or re-roll out if you have enough) any scraps and stray edges of dough. Those stray edges and little bits will scorch too easily.

Although rustic-looking crackers are fun, uniformly-shaped square, rectangular, and round crackers will bake more evenly than jagged ones. Get creative! The recipe might direct you to cut your dough into squares, but you can think outside of the box. Use any shape you like; just keep them uniform so that each cracker bakes consistently.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Crackers Tip #2: Separation anxiety

To achieve crispier edges, separate your crackers before baking. This step isn’t strictly necessary (the crackers will always crisp as they cool), but try it out and see the difference it makes.

Homemade Crackers Tip #3: Cool it

If you’re baking in a humid kitchen environment (hello, New York City summer), allow your crackers to cool in a turned-off oven with the door propped open slightly. This will help the crackers crisp up better.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Crackers Tip #4: Smarter storage

To store your crackers, allow them to cool fully and then place them in an airtight container. Shielding the crackers from air will help maintain their snap longer.

Homemade Crackers Tip #5: Thin for the win

The thinner the dough, the crispier the crackers. If your dough is too thick, you’ll end up with softer crackers that resemble a bread stick more than a true cracker. You should aim for a thickness of about 1/16″; rolling your dough on a piece of floured parchment helps to stop it from sticking as you roll.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Take a look at the dough for my version of our Sourdough Crackers. I’ve added dried basil and oregano to the dough for an herbed twist: You can see how thin the dough is right before cutting.

A great trick: If you have a pasta machine (or the pasta attachment with a KitchenAid), use it to roll your cracker dough into thin sheets.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Crackers Tip #6: Parchment perfection

Parchment paper is a baker’s best friend. Rolling your dough (and cutting it) on a sheet of parchment paper makes transferring simpler. Just pick up the parchment and slide it onto a baking sheet. With such thin dough, this is especially crucial.

You can then slide the finished crackers onto a cooling rack easily with the help of the parchment.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Crackers Tip #7: Steam room

Ever wonder why store-bought crackers sport pricked patterns on the tops? Pricking the dough with a fork allows steam to escape, which keeps them from inflating and puffing up. Don’t skip this step!

Homemade Crackers Tip #8: Wholesome snacking

Gwen points out that crackers are a great place to start with if you’re looking to add more whole grains to your diet. You can easily substitute whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour in your cracker recipe. You get more nutrition and a nuttier, richer flavor. Everyone wins.

Feeling ready to become a cracker master? Start with one of these excellent recipes:

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Cracker Recipe #1: Vermont Cheese Crackers

A homemade version of a Goldfish or Cheez-it, these addictively cheesy crackers feature our Vermont cheese powder (the very finest sharp Vermont cheddar in powdered form) for an intensely savory, salty flavor. I love cutting them in small circles with a miniature biscuit cutter for a prettier presentation.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Cracker Recipe #2: Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crackers

Made with just almond flour, egg, and seasonings, this recipe couldn’t be simpler (or quicker!). While nicely suited for gluten-free eaters, the nutty flavor makes it a wholesome snack that anyone will crave. This is a great example of an easy-to-customize recipe; garlic powder, dried herbs, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or flax seeds would all be wonderful additions.

Homemade Crackers via @kingarthurflour

Homemade Cracker Recipe #3: Sourdough Crackers

If you, like me, feel slightly sad every time you discard half of your sourdough starter come feeding time, here’s your perfect recipe. Unfed sourdough starter adds a pleasant tanginess to these crunchy crackers, which you can cut into any shape (I like diamonds or squares, as shown here) and flavor with any add-ins (our artisan bread topping or pizza seasoning are both great contenders).

Now it’s your chance. Try your hand at making homemade crackers; tell us your favorite versions in the comments below!

comments

  1. Susan

    My favorite is your Crunchy Crackers recipe with a variety of seeds on the top. I roll them with a pasta maker to speed things up. Yum. I need to make them again, right after the Pane Bianco

    Reply
    1. Susan

      The pasta maker really is handy to get the dough conditioned and rolled. You can even “laminate” the dough this way. Once rolled, lay it on the counter (or other surface), sprinkle herbs on 1/3 of it. Fold the ends in and then run it through the pasta machine again – start with a wider opening and reduce the thickness.

      The dough will get more supple with each “set of runs” through the machine. One run is starting at the thickest dough and reducing the thickness until rolled thin or the dough tears. Fold in 1/3s or 1/4s. Run the next set perpendicular to the first set of runs. Repeat and run a third time.

      The dough will get very supple usually.

  2. Cecelia Briggs

    Sure I going to try making Milk Crackers (New England Biscuit). Publix used to carry them as did Winn Dixie , not anymore.. I have recipe but they come out like a rock
    please help. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cecelia, we’d love to help you out, but first we need more information. My suggestion would be to call the Baker’s Hotline number at 855-371-2253 so we can talk about the recipe, the ingredients, methods, etc.
      Bryanna@KAF

    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      I’d give it a shot! I don’t think it would add too much moisture, however, if you want to be cautious, I’d suggest trying this recipe instead which is quite similar but calls for cheese (and it is SO good!). Good luck! -Posie

    2. marianne repka

      the CHEESE PENNIES recipe from the KAF cookbook is delicious. i made them for our group tea and got raves–they wanted more. it uses sharp cheddar that you shred yourself. do not use bagged shredded cheese. great recipe as expected from KAF.

  3. Sherry R

    I’ve made your Rich Crackers many times for my grandchildren. I cut them with small round cutters and the kids call them “cookies.” I split the batch one time and added Italian herbs. The kids picked up real quick on those and wouldn’t touch them. The adults appreciated it though.

    It’s past time to make them again.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      The texture of the cracker can change, especially if it’s humid at all. The good news is that you can pop them in a 350°F oven for a few minutes and they’ll crisp right back up again. MJR@KAF

  4. Mary

    Hello! I just purchased a bag of your Cheddar Cheese Craxkers in the cafe at your Norwich store. They are AWESOME! Is the recipe available? Are any of your cheese cracker recipes close to this taste? Thank you for an amazing product

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mary, thanks for paying us a visit and for picking up a bag of our crackers! Our Team worked hard to come up with just the right balance of flavor and texture, and we’re glad to hear it was worth it! The recipe is unique to our cafe, and not something we share online. If you’re feeling inspired, we’d suggest starting with our recipe for Vermont Cheese Crackers or for Crunchy Parmesan Crackers. The cheesy version of our Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crackers is another of our favorites. Hope this helps get you started and that you’ll pay us another visit again soon! Mollie@KAF

  5. Elizabeth Manenji

    I love crackers! thanks for this very easy to follow recipe. How long can they last before going bad

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Elizabeth, most cracker recipes will stay fresh when stored in an air tight container at room temperature for up to a week. For longer storage, you we recommend freezing them. You can always re-crisp your crackers before serving by popping them into a 350°F for 3-5 minutes before serving. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sarah, we do sell a docking tool as part of a Dough Prep Set. The set also includes three other cutting blades: a pizza and pasta blade, crimper and cutting wheel, and fluted wheel. Hope this does the trick! Mollie@KAF

  6. Kay

    It’s too humid in my part of the country to keep homemade crackers crisp for more than 12 hours after they’re baked. However I do like to make a fresh batch for tomato soup!

    Reply

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