(Not) Recipes

Make Your Own Crackers, Win "Best Cheese Plate" Award

July 17, 2018
Every good cheese board needs good crackers. Photo by Ty Mecham

In ancient (definitely not ancient) times, one might have said to someone they suspected of losing their mind that they had gone crackers. Crackers! You might have clicked on this article just to see what the fuss was about, to see what kind of truly unreasonable person out there was spending their time making crackers when there are probably hundreds of perfectly delicious varieties of crackers available for a perfectly reasonable price at any store—the grocery store, the convenience store, the big-box store, even the drugstore. Perhaps you think I have gone crackers myself. I guess you could say that I have: I love making crackers from scratch.

We make pie without thinking twice about it, don’t we? Crackers are easier and more appropriate (or maybe just more likely) for everyday noshing. Yes, like pie, there will be a rolling pin involved. But you’ll get a lot more mileage out of a batch of crackers, you’ll get to flavor them according to your whims, and they’ll take an hour, tops, start to finish.

The cheese plate of your dreams is calling. Shall we?

You can make any (any!) kind of crackers with this easy-peasy ratio:

  • 5 parts flour

  • 1 part cornstarch

  • Salt, pepper, spices, seeds, cheese, whatever to taste

  • 1/2 part oil

  • 2 parts ice water

  • More of the “whatever” to scatter over the top, if desired

For the sake of knowing what you’re getting yourself into, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup oil, and 1 cup water will yield two baking sheets’ worth of crackers (that’s about 100 square-inch pieces).

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I kept it simple for the first time: 1 cup AP flour, 1/4c white wheat flour, 1/4c cornstarch, 1/4t kosher salt, 1/8c olive oil, a bit less than 1/2c water. The dough was easy to make and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ll try other add-ins in my next batch! Thanks so much!! ”
— Mona

On flour: I’d recommend making at least half of this all-purpose flour. The rest can be whatever you’ve got or are inclined toward. Rye flour makes a really delicious cracker; so does buckwheat flour, graham flour, good old whole wheat flour… Flax meal or wheat germ could also be used for part of the flour. I have not experimented using a gluten-free flour mix but I imagine it would work beautifully. I’ve also not tried using nut meal/flour for any part of the flour, but again, I think it would work great; you might start with a small amount.

On cornstarch: Maybe you weren’t expecting to find cornstarch in crackers, but here it is, and this is why: A little cornstarch in there with the flour keeps gluten development—which gives crackers their structure but can also make them tough—to a minimum. The result? Crispier crackers. (This is a tip straight from the extremely Genius recipe for Aretha Frankenstein’s Waffles of Insane Greatness, which you should make before you even make a batch of crackers if you haven’t already.)

On oil: I generally like olive oil here, but use whatever you have or whatever’s speaking to you. Melted coconut oil is another great option. If you want to use something strongly flavored—like toasted sesame oil, which I’d highly recommend—use it for only part of the oil. You can also use melted butter here, but know that it decreases your crackers’ shelf life slightly. Okay, and this isn’t oil at all, but: For a touch of sweetness, add a tablespoon or two of honey or maple syrup along with the oil.

On fun stuff: That is, what gives your crackers character, makes them sing! Salt—both kosher or sea salt or whatever you like best in the dough and a coarse or flaky salt sprinkled over the top—is a must, as far as I’m concerned. (That said, if you’re watching your salt levels, DIY crackers a great option for you because you can totally control what goes in.) Everything else, both mixed right into the dough and sprinkled over the surface once rolled out? Up to you. That could mean: seeds—like sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, poppy, flax; herbs—like rosemary or thyme, but stick to dried ones here; spices—like smoked paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon, dry mustard, fennel seeds (pound in a mortar and pestle until somewhat crushed before adding to the dough); cheese (must be relatively dry and easy to grate finely, like Parmesan, pecorino, or Gruyère).

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way:

All that’s left to do is mixing. I like a fork for this job. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, including any mix-ins; pour in the wet ingredients and stir until a cohesive ball forms. At this point, you can wrap this dough tightly in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for up to a day.

When you’re ready to bake, lightly flour a piece of parchment paper the size of a baking sheet. Sprinkle the dough with flour (depending on how much dough you made, you may want to roll out only half at a time) and use a rolling pin to roll the dough as thinly as you possibly can. If you have a pasta roller and you’re feeling crafty, this is a great time to use it. Whatever you’re using, aim for 1/8th of an inch thick. Like pasta, it’s really important to roll crackers a consistent thinness; unevenly rolled crackers will brown in some places and still be doughy in others.

Transfer the dough on the parchment to a baking sheet. Sprinkle with anything you want to sprinkle—coarse salt, more dried herbs, edible flowers (!), more seeds (if you have a bagel seasoning mix—either from Trader Joe’s or a homemade version—this is the best possible time to bring it out)—and press firmly with your hands so they stick to the dough.

Press like you mean it! Photo by Ty Mecham

You’ll break your finished crackers into pieces by hand. For an avant garde sort of look, bake the dough just as it was rolled out, then let the finished cracker break into pieces along its own imaginary dotted lines. You’ll get lots of funky shards. For a slightly less funky look, use the tip of a sharp knife to score the dough with a grid before popping it into the oven, then break the baked and cooled cracker into pieces along the scored lines.

Bake at 425°F until dry at the center and golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. If you’re baking two sheet trays at a time, rotate them back to front and top to bottom halfway through.

When they’re done, let these giant crackers cool completely, then snap into smaller pieces. If, as you’re doing this, you notice that your crackers are not as crispy as you’d hoped, do not fret. Just pop them back into the (still-warm, or heated to 200°F) oven for 20ish minutes. That should do the trick.

Now all you need is cheese.

Flavor ideas!

  • smoked paprika + cheddar
  • black sesame seed + toasted sesame oil
  • fennel seed
  • whole wheat + honey
  • black pepper + pecorino
  • rye flour + rosemary
  • A sweet cracker, you say? Add a couple tablespoons of sugar (brown or white) and a few shakes of cinnamon, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before baking. Especially if you’ve used part graham (or even whole wheat) flour, you’re well on your way to a DIY graham cracker.

More Good Snacks for Your Cheese Board

Have you ever made your own crackers? Share your experiences with us below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • JM
  • Mona
  • amazinc
  • Anne
  • abbyarnold
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


JM July 9, 2023
Fantastic recipe, especially as a way to use leftover whey (in place of the water). Some notes on toppings:
- brushing with a glaze of olive oil can better adhere toppings before baking. Also, drizzling a little olive oil after baking can reduce any potential dryness
- anise + a drizzle of honey can replicate the flavor of tortes des Ines Rosales. I skipped the egg white and just went with olive oil
- za'atar is great
- anything with more moisture, e.g. the onion and garlic in everything bagel or a salt-free rub should not be baked the entire time. I added it 5 minutes the total 15 min bake time and just had to apply some more olive oil.
Mona July 2, 2020
I just made these crackers and they are wonderful! I have been searching for a substitute for a well-loved Trader Joe’s product they stopped carrying a couple of years ago - Panne de Guittano (sp?) - the thinnest cracker ever! So I made half the recipe and only baked half of that at a time so that I could roll it out super thin - and it worked! They are not quite paper thin, but are really close. I’ll be making these a lot! I love knowing exactly what’s in the dough; no palm oil, etc. I kept it simple for the first time: 1 cup AP flour, 1/4c white wheat flour, 1/4c cornstarch, 1/4t kosher salt, 1/8c olive oil, a bit less than 1/2c water. The dough was easy to make and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ll try other add-ins in my next batch! Thanks so much!!
JM July 9, 2023
I think this might be pane guttiau. I made another batch where I didnt measure the ingredients as closely and just winged it. So more flour to cornstarch ratio and more liquid to produce a softer dough. I got these to roll paper thin.
amazinc July 1, 2020
Love this idea. I'm also making crackers from my sourdough discard...6 oz. discard, 1 oz. butter/oil. Gently spread on silicone lined baking sheet, sprinkle on whatever...I used Trader Joe's "everything but the bagel" mix. Bake at 325 10 minutes, then score and bake for 35-40 minutes more. This makes only about 2 dz. crackers so I'm going to try your recipe, since we go through 24 at one sitting!!
Anne February 22, 2020
I make some very awesome Tangy crackers with my sourdough starter discard. It needs to be at 100% hydration, so it is what you just newly poured off when you feed your sourdough. Simply Add a sprinkle of olive oil, pinch of salt, herbs of choice if you wish… pour it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet Or Olive oiled silpat, Spread thinly as possible.(1/8”is my goal-give or take) Put in preheated 325’ oven, bake 30 minutes, pull out and score if you wish, or turn pan around and leave alone for another 30 minutes, and just break in pieces when it is cooled. Very tasty, you can add in seeds, herbs or just leave as is. I grew up with ‘waste not - want not’ attitude, so this makes me much happier than discarding really good organic flour at a tasty stage.
abbyarnold July 26, 2019
Here is a link to my special Ranch Dressing mix. Add a tablespoon of this into your dry ingredients for ranch flavored crackers (and who doesn't love Ranch?). https://food52.com/recipes/77720-classic-ranch-dressing I know, I'm shameless, but everyone goes crazy over this ranch mix, and for some reason it hasn't gotten any attention on Food52.
RisenWell February 11, 2019
Years ago, I almost began a cracker business. After making the dough, I rolled small balls of it through a pasta machine to get a consistent thickness (and stackable shape)...works like a charm.
Teri D. February 11, 2019
Please....make sure to include a printer-friendly page. Even if I just save it to my hard-drive, I really DON'T want the entire page, comments, etc. JUST the recipe please!
K.V. November 29, 2020
You can remove the comments and any superfluous text yourself after you copy and paste onto a Word doc. Simple solution.
RHafer November 30, 2018
Amazing recipe that truly works! I used 1 part buckwheat flour, 1.5 parts lentil flour and 2.5 ap flour and it worked great even with those sturdy flours.
BoulderGalinTokyo July 31, 2018
Thanks for sharing. Poppy seeds are good, and Sautéed onion w/ or w/out cheese. Also might try this recipe in this cracker: https://food52.com/recipes/16172-white-chocolate-whole-wheat-cookies-with-pink-peppercorns
FrugalCat July 27, 2018
This looks too ambitious for me. Maybe during the winter...
I've already planned to put Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning on it.
Syl July 20, 2018
Thanks, I will make open sandwich size, bruschetta size and triangles for dipping. 👍😢
Ttrockwood July 18, 2018
I love making crackers! Ever since I discovered those expensive sturdy seedy crackers i lust after them and my wallet cries. I make the cracker version of the life changing bread that is posted here too. They’re probably too intense for a cheese board so this recipe looks like a great alternative!
The life changing crackers are here-but don’t do the dried figs variation they burn fast. I use extra fennel seeds
Eric K. July 17, 2018
These were very delicious.
Cory B. July 17, 2018
I ate these and they were delicious!
Caroline L. July 17, 2018