5 Ingredients or Fewer

Ritz Cracker Shortbread

December 14, 2020
4.3 Stars
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.
Author Notes

An almost classic shortbread. But instead of all-purpose flour, we’re calling in pulverized Ritz crackers. Unlike AP, this foundation is flavorful in its own right, yielding a shortbread that’s exponentially more buttery, salty-sweet, and craveable, though from a distance no one will quite know why.

A few notes on the ingredients: I opted for confectioners’ sugar versus granulated for an ultra-flaky, ultra-tender cookie. The butter should be impressionable if you poke it with your finger, but not greasy or melty.

If you want to take this idea and run with it—go on, run like the wind! Swap in the same weight of saltines or Goldfish or pretzels, and report back after you do. —Emma Laperruque

Watch This Recipe
Ritz Cracker Shortbread
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • makes 16 cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 sleeves (about 200 grams) Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 cup (63 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (heaping if you’re feeling salty)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature, cubed
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Add the crackers to a food processor and run until a powdery flour forms. Pulse in the sugar and salt. Sprinkle the butter cubes on top and pulse again until a clumpy, lumpy, streusel-ish mixture forms—it shouldn’t turn into one big blob, but it should easily hold together when squeezed between your fingers.
  3. Dump the shortbread dough into an 8x8-inch baking dish. Use your hand to evenly flatten, then use a fork to prick all over.
  4. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown and dry to the touch. After you remove the pan from the oven, immediately cut the shortbread into 16 squares, then let cool completely before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michelle Toth
    Michelle Toth
  • mywaterdr
    mywaterdr
  • Ashley Taylor
    Ashley Taylor
  • Tracy
    Tracy
  • Michael Braun
    Michael Braun
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

18 Reviews

Tessi March 10, 2021
My sister and I made these in our own respective kitchens, about 3 weeks ago. She followed the recipe to the letter (unsalted butter, the extra heaping 1/2 t. of salt and mixing it up in a food processor. She used a pyrex baking dish, so baked for only 3o minutes. She was very pleased with the results.

Not to be out-done, I made mine the next day. I do not own a food processor, so went old-school. I crushed the crackers in a zip-loc bag using my rolling pin. I did so until it was quite uniform and very small crumb. I poured the crumbs into a mixing bowl, added the confectioner's sugar and the "heaping" 1/2 t. of pink sea salt, blending will with a fork. I cut the softened SALTED butter into small pieces, directly into the crumbs and then used a pastry blender to pull it all together. I used an 8 x 8 x 2" metal baking dish to hold the dough and followed the directions for flattening it out. I chilled it for 15 minutes, while I got my oven ready. Before baking, I lightly scored the dough into squares and pricked each square with a fork -twice. I baked for 40 minutes, then cut and cooled them as directed. They were so wonderful crispy and I really liked them, but I could have done without the extra salt; it was just a bit too much.

I am making them for a second time today, 3-10-21. I have changed two things. I used only a LEVEL 1/4 t. of pink salt and am using 1 stick of cultured and salted butter. They just came out of the oven and smell wonderful. I think the smaller amount of salt is going to be more to my taste and the cultured butter will add a little something extra!
 
Michelle T. March 2, 2021
This is just sounds so unhealthy I don't think I could even taste it. Crackers and butter --- does not sound appealing.
 
joytd February 2, 2021
What a great recipe! I love the whole crispy, crumbly, not-too-sweet, not-too-salty results. And oh, so easy to boot. I’ll be baking another batch this weekend.
 
Kate January 29, 2021
Jury is still out on this recipe. Intriguing idea, but mine turned out too dry and crumbly and VERY salty. I would omit the extra salt, and revisit the ratios. Something didn't quite work.
 
mywaterdr January 29, 2021
It probably turned out too dry because it was in the oven too long, I heeded the previous commenter's advice and only left it in for about 30 minutes, I checked it after 25 minutes though. Another thing I noticed was it's hard to tell when they're really done, they should be a light brown. If they're a deep brown they come out dry. If you make these again make a half recipe instead. Mistakes are costly.
Hope this helps!
 
mywaterdr January 25, 2021
Absolutely love this recipe Emma, great job! I loved how easy this was to make with just a few ingredients and best of all it left behind the most delicious aroma in my kitchen. Nice for once not to have to use flour or eggs! However, I did heed the advice of the other posters on this board and only left it in for approx. 1/2 hour, if that. Another thing, I added (salty) sunflower seeds instead of Kosher salt, which gave it an even crunchier taste. Personally I like my cookies with nuts, in this case, sunflower seeds were the perfect size, not too big like walnuts or pecans!
 
Ashley T. January 3, 2021
Using the concept of blending up a cracker/cookie in place of flour, I made banana cream pie shortbread using mini Nilla wafers blended finely, instant banana cream pie pudding mix, and 2 sticks of butter (one salted, one unsalted) and the same baking instructions as this recipe. Came out SO good- just sweet enough and not too banana flavored. Extra tasty with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
 
Tracy January 2, 2021
I made these and they tasted delicious. Hubby and dad liked them too. I added the optional salt and they had that sweet/savory blend that made them a bit irresistible. A keeper for me.
 
ssharma1121 December 27, 2020
This was an interesting recipe. I was a little short on Ritz crackers, so I added some goldfish crackers (by weight). I used 130 grams of Ritz and 70 grams of goldfish crackers. They were also done at the 30-35 minute mark, so check early. To me it tastes like the biscuits at Red Lobster with the texture of a shortbread. I personally don't care for the biscuits at Red Lobster, but I know many people that love them. I don't think I will make the recipe again, but I think every baker should at least try it out once. I think it is fun to use old things in new inventive ways.
 
Michael B. December 25, 2020
Made these this morning. Nicely salty and sweet. 40 minutes might be a tad long, but my did come out dark golden brown and not overdone at all. The heck with all the Slate.com naysayers. These rock.
 
Michael B. December 25, 2020
Made these this morning. Nicely salty and sweet. 40 might be a tad long, but my dud come out dark golden brown and not overdone at all. The heck with all the Slate.com naysayers. These rock.
 
94574 December 24, 2020
I know this off point however Ritz Crackers (while not as good as Keebler) are amazing in meatloaf, especially the "Everything" ones.
 
ssharma1121 December 27, 2020
I make my crab cakes with Ritz crackers as the filler. I grew up in Maryland, and they are the perfect filler!
 
Rose S. December 23, 2020
I made this last night just as written and we really like them! I had to look up whether or not to grease pan and learned it is considered critical NOT to grease for shortbread. Emma might add that note. They are delicate indeed. Not sure about baking time. At 35 mins they were browned but when I touched them my finger went in like they weren't done. At 40 mins even browner but still soft. Do they harden as they cool? Which is the guiding item, color or texture?
 
Rose S. December 23, 2020
I made this last night just as written and we really like them! I had to look up whether or not to grease pan and learned it is considered critical NOT to grease for shortbread. Emma might add that note. They are delicate indeed. Not sure about baking time. At 35 mins they were browned but when I touched them my finger went in like they weren't done. At 40 mins even browner but still soft. Do they harden as they cool? Which is the guiding item, color or texture?
 
Melanie December 21, 2020
I made these this morning, adding an additional 1/4 c. confectioner's sugar, omitting kosher salt, and baking for 31 minutes in my oven. They are superb! Oh, and I mixed in finely chopped dried cherries with the confectioner's sugar. Love this quick and unusual recipe. Thank you.
 
adr December 19, 2020
I made half a recipe. I followed the recipe and my first impression was these tasted very salty. They also taste very buttery and not too sweet. These are a very crumbly and delicate cookie and will break easily, so handle with care. I baked my half recipe for 20 minutes and they were fine. Cool completely before removing from pan.
 
marinalea December 18, 2020
These were good, but 40 minutes was way too long in the oven - mine were dark brown and definitely tasted overdone. I’d probably go around 30-35 minutes next time and add a little more sugar, as they didn’t taste sweet at all. Very rich and buttery though! Substituting crackers for flour was a great idea.