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!

About

Posie grew up on a farm in Maryland and spent her summers in Vermont. As an editor for King Arthur and Sift magazine, she feels lucky to bake every day and connect through writing. She loves homemade bread warm from the oven, raw milk cream, ...

comments

  1. JD

    LOVE this and can’t wait to begin. I am a bread baker and now I want to make animal shaped crackers for a special event for 100 guests. Yes, I am nuts, thank you very much. Can I freeze the cheese-free dough recipes in batches? How long will crackers stay fresh if kept in an air tight container? Thank you in advance

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The crackers should keep for several weeks in airtight containers, JD, and we’d recommend doing a test batch freezing before the big event to make sure you still like the final results after being in the freezer. Annabelle@KAF

  2. Newbie baker

    I’ve used my unfed starter to make sourdough crackers several times, but I just can’t get the rolled dough to a consistent thickness. It always is a bit thicker in the center–which leads to those crackers being more chewy than crisp. When I put extra attention on flattening that part, the dough just tends to stick to the rolling pin. I’m using parchment paper, liberally floured. Is there any special trick to getting the entire mass of dough consistent?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there! It sounds like there is uneven pressure being put on the rolling pin when the dough is being rolled out. It can feel odd and maybe a little uncomfortable to press in the center of the pin if you’re using a French pin not a ballbearing rolling pin but this may help, depending on the kind of rolling pin you have. also, we think cutting your dough into two smaller pieces might make the dough more manageable and easier to roll to an even thickness throughout. We hope this helps! Morgan@KAF

    2. JA

      Another possibility for why your crackers are thicker in places is if the rolling surface isn’t truly flat. A slightly warped cutting board or a dip in the counter top could be the culprit.

  3. Annmarie Harkrider

    what is the proper consistency for a good crisp cracker? In other words how would I know if I needed to add a little bit more flour or water to get the consistency right? Thank you

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Annmarie! You want to work with your dough until it’s cohesive, but not sticky. Adding liquid somewhat slowly can help prevent the stickiness from sneaking up on you. Do all you can to avoid adding extra flour (to any baking recipe, really) as it will mess up the ratios of all of the other ingredients. Holding back water and adding it slowly ideal. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  4. Jerri

    What if you can’t have gluten, dairy, nuts and tree nuts . That includes almond flour what flour would you recommend for saltine crackers?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Jerri. You can make the Vermont Cheese Crackers recipe (omitting the cheese or using a dairy-free version) and swap out the flour for our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. It’s a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour in any non-yeasted recipe. This will be the case for any of the other cracker recipes calling for AP, so you have plenty of delicious options to choose from. You could even make the sourdough version using a gluten-free sourdough. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  5. Nichael Cramer

    I always enjoy have a fresh box of homemade crackers sitting around the house for a quick micro-snack during the week.

    One tiny point:

    I have one of the King Arthur’s Pastry Wheels. I use the “fluted” wheel to cut out my crackers.

    It adds a nice feature to the edge of the crackers.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Karen, the perfect balance of temperature and baking time will vary based on your specific recipe and your oven, but if you’d like to decrease the temperature to 375°F, you may need to extend the baking time to 18-20 minutes. If you reduce it to 350°F, the crackers may need to bake for as long as 24-26 minutes. Be sure the crackers are nicely golden brown before they’re removed from the oven. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  6. Ana

    I really miss the old Nabisco Fat Free Soda crackers. Is there a recipe available to make them? All recipes I see call for some type of oil. Is there a cheese I could use instead of oil? Also, would Ricotta work? thank you, Ana

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ana, we do have a couple of different recipes for soda crackers: one for Traditional Soda Crackers and one for Gourmet Soda Crackers. Both recipes call for some sort of added fat (shortening in the first, butter and oil in the second), and we haven’t explored a fat-free version ourselves. If you’re up for an experiment, feel free to give it a shot and report back – we’d be curious to hear how a cheese sub works. Mollie@KAF

  7. 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
    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

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