How-To & Diy

How to Make Homemade Cheez-Its

November 11, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Samantha Seneviratne from Love, Cake shows us how to make our favorite baked cheese crackers at home.

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It’s 8 PM and the kids just went to sleep. Not my kids (I’m only thirteen), but the kids I’m babysitting. And now I’m trying not to move a muscle or make a sound so that those kids stay put. It’s a serious struggle because the kitchen is basically calling to me. I’m practically all alone in a house full of of someone else’s junk food, and I can’t wait to launch my official raid of the snack cupboard, get a can of Fresca out of the fridge, and sit down in front of MTV.

When I see a Cheez-It, I'm transported back to that time. The red package immediately has me calculating how many crackers I can stuff into my mouth without the box feeling too empty to put back in the pantry. Let me just suggest that you keep these homemade cuties -- which are perhaps even more addictive than the originals -- very well hidden; better yet, take them with you when you leave the kids at home with the babysitter. 

Homemade Cheez-Its

Makes about 5 cups of crackers

2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 1/2 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) finely grated sharp cheddar
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a food processor add the flour, baking powder, and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and cheese and pulse until very well combined. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and pulse until the dough is just wet enough to come together when squeezed. Add up to 2 tablespoons more water if necessary. 

Divide the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Press each half of dough into a flat square, wrap well, and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Working with one square at a time, roll the dough out to a scant 1/8-inch thick. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the dough into 3/4-inch wide strips. 

Then cut the dough in the other direction to make 3/4-inch squares.

Use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the center of each square. Freeze the dough until firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Roll and cut the remaining dough, then preheat the oven to 350° F.

Brush half of the dough with beaten egg white and sprinkle it with salt. Use an offset spatula to gently break the egg-washed dough apart and place the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake until puffed and set and browned on the bottom, about 14 to 16 minutes. (Make sure to cook them well so that the finished crackers are crisp. Completely frozen dough may take a few extra minutes to bake.)

Transfer the parchment with the baked crackers onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining frozen crackers. Store the cooled crackers in an airtight container.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Samantha Seneviratne

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Writer. Baker. Sticky bun maker.


luvcookbooks December 22, 2016
So good!!
[email protected] August 14, 2016
Just made these and was too lazy to freeze the cut crackers before baking. They puffed up a bit more (and were probably a little thicker) than they should have, but the flavor and flaky, buttery texture was spot on. I also hand-cut the butter into the flour mixture, similar to making pie crust, and the end results were no worse for the wear.
kpks December 31, 2014
Can I mix these by hand? No food processor, only hand held mixer
Neuf350Z November 16, 2014
I've been making these for a while and they are awesome. I like to roll them out a little thinner than suggested. They're easy to make, yummy and don't last long!
Cynthia C. November 13, 2014
YES. Everything about this is perfection. And omg yes to raiding the pantry!!!! I was all about the "how much ice cream can I scoop off without it looking like I ate any" test.
Lise B. November 13, 2014
I loved these crackers as a kid! (And maybe also as an adult.) Definitely trying these.
vvvanessa November 12, 2014
I might make about a thousand batches of these.
Phyllis G. November 12, 2014
omg. this recipe is very exciting. i used to be so psyched when the kids i was babysitting fell asleep. then i full on raided the ice cream and the cookies and the soda.
Panfusine November 11, 2014
This is a life saver recipe, I have a 5 yr old who subsists on this and spaghetti. thank you soo soo much!
Merrill S. November 11, 2014
I am a closet Cheez-It addict. Will be making these soon for sure!
Sam1148 November 11, 2014
I've made these before and they where excellent. Hint: Put the grated cheese in the freezer so its crumbly instead of clumpy. can find cheddar cheese powder online which adds a bit 'cheese dust' element to the product.