These tasty little cheese crackers are extra-delicious when made from scratch. Once you've gotten your fill of classic cheddar, feel free to switch them up. Try grated Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of cheddar or add a little cayenne for some kick. —Samantha Seneviratne
Test Kitchen Notes
You may not ever think about making something like Cheez-Its at home, but it's a lot easier than you think, and you know exactly what goes into them—not something you could probably say about the crackers that come in a bag at the store. They also taste better and are super-fun to put together. No fancy ingredients or chemicals you can't pronounce here. All you need for this recipe is flour, baking powder, salt, butter, cheddar cheese, and an egg white. That's it! You do, however, need a food processor and fluted pastry wheel to get that classic square shape. They're perfect to make for a party appetizer or fun game day snack. Or just keep a container in your pantry so you can reach for a Cheez-It or two whenever the craving strikes.
After pulsing the flour, baking powder, and salt in the food processor, simply add the cheese and butter and keep pulsing. Gradually adding water helps bind the dough together. It really is so simple, and you'll find a variety of uses for this foolproof dough. It has to first chill for a half an hour, then after cutting (and poking the hole in the center!), the dough continues to set in the freezer for about 10 minutes, though you could store the dough in the freezer for a few weeks if you want to plan ahead of time. After that, the crackers take just about 15 minutes to bake in in the oven, and your Cheez-Its are ready to go. —The Editors
- Prep time 1 hour 20 minutes
- Cook time 15 minutes
- Makes 5 cups crackers
kosher salt, plus more
7 1/2 ounces
finely grated sharp cheddar (about 3½ cups)
unsalted butter, room temperature
(or more) ice water
large egg white, lightly beaten
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and baking powder until combined. Add the cheese and butter and pulse until very well combined. Add the water and pulse until the dough is just wet enough to hold 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 ⅛ inch thick. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the dough into ¾-inch-wide strips. Cut the dough in the other direction to make ¾-inch squares. Using the flat end of a wooden skewer, poke a hole in the center of each square. Freeze the dough for 10 to 15 minutes, until firm. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Brush half of the dough (keep the remaining dough in the freezer) with the egg white and sprinkle with salt. Using an offset spatula, gently break the dough apart and place the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until puffed, set, and browned on the bottom. (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 to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining frozen crackers. Store the cooled crackers in an airtight container.