Homemade Cheese Crackers Recipe

The fantastic homemade cheese crackers I made for my nephew when he came to stay last week. Inspired by a recipe from Alana Chernila's The Homemade Pantry.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Let's make homemade cheese crackers! When my nephew comes to stay with us he likes to stand in the big front window to watch the buses come up the hill. From this viewpoint he can also see a number of plastic owls perched amidst the turrets and gingerbread of the Victorian houses he calls "castles". I think the owls are there to keep the pigeons in check, but quite honestly, I'm not sure they're very effective. I found an antique owl cookie cutter recently, and thought it would be fun to bake owl shaped crackers with Jack when he came to stay with us last week. I used the cheese cracker recipe from Alana Chernila's The Homemade Pantry, and never looked back. They deliver big-time on the cheese flavor, are snappy and crisp, and you can bake them off at your convenience.
Homemade Cheese Crackers on a Baking Sheet

Cheese Crackers Are Better with Good Cheese

One word of advice, don't skimp on the quality of cheese you use here. It's where much of the flavor in these crackers comes from. I used a strong white cheddar cheese, but you can certainly use a good orange cheddar. Or branch out from cheddar altogether - you know a Gruyere version is going to be good. And it might take some experimenting, but a blue cheese version would be worth trying to get right. Or how about a blend?

Homemade Cheese Cracker Dough
Here (above) you see the dough prior to rolling it out. You can wrap this tightly with plastic and freeze for later use. Or make double, and freeze half. Be sure to label your dough with a "cheese cracker" note, date it, and use within six months.
Dough rolled on Marble Counter
When you roll the dough a bit thin, you tend to get crisper crackers. Thicker you might not get as much snap once the cheese crackers have cooled. Play around with thickness to get your crackers just the way you like it.
Homemade Cheese Cracker Dough Before Baking
I baked half of these cheese crackers as owls, and then did the remaining half as teardrops. 
Cracker Dough on Baking Sheet
A shot I took with my Land Camera of Wayne reading and practicing the alphabet with Jack after baking cheese crackers. It's hard to believe this is the same little guy.Jack after Baking Crackers
It's fun to find old metal cutters for crackers and cookies. I've collected a bunch over the years at flea markets and yard sales. Keep your eyes peeled!
Cheese Crackers fresh from the Oven

Take a minute to have a look at Alana's book - it's lovely, and it has all sorts of recipes related to making everyday pantry items - toaster pastries, ketchup, mozzarella, instant oatmeal, peanut butter cups, and yogurt. You can find Alana here, and here and here.

Thanks for the inspiration A - hope to cross paths again soon!

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Homemade Cheese Crackers

5 from 3 votes

I took a few liberties with Alana's recipe. The recipe below takes my tweaks into consideration - using whole wheat pastry flour, etc. Any unbaked dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen for a couple of months. Alana also indicates you can re-crisp baked crackers in a 375F / 190C oven for 5 minutes if you like.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus additional for baking sheets
  • 1 1/2 cups / 7 oz / 200g whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for the counter
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 6 ounces / 170 g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 ice cube
  • seeds (optional)
  1. Combine the butter, flour, dry mustard, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is crumbly and the butter starts to integrate into the mixture, about 30 seconds. Add the cheese and mix again on low speed for a few seconds.
  2. In a measuring cup, combine 3/4 cup water, the vinegar, and the ice cube, and let sit for a moment to get cold. Add 6 tablespoons of the vinegar mixture to the dough and mix on medium speed for 20 seconds. Continue to add liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clings in a ball to the beater. Then mix for an additional 30 seconds. Mound the dough into a ball, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours, and up to 3 days.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator 15 minutes before you are ready to roll it out. Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C and grease two baking sheets. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, press into a flat disc, and roll it with a rolling pin until the dough is 1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes using a knife or cutter. Any leftover dough can be rerolled for more crackers.
  4. With a spatula, transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheets, allowing nearly an inch between crackers. If you're adding seeds as an accent, press them gently in place now. Bake until the bottoms are browned, and the tops take on a good amount of color as well - 18 - 25 minutes, depending on how thick your crackers actually are. And rotate the sheets halfway through baking (or when the crackers in the back look like they are browning more quickly than the front). Turn off the oven, prop open the oven door with a metal or wooden spoon, and allow the crackers to crisp as the oven cools - at least twenty minutes.

Makes 3-4 dozen small/medium crackers.

Adapted from Alana Chernila's The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making. Published by Clarkson Potter April 2012.

Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Yay, what an easy recipe :) A little experience getting them just before they brown (the white cheddar orangish on the bottom & almost hard/taking on color at the top), would make them perfectly crispy. Imagining these with nutmeg & pepper plus one of cayenne, hot sauce, herb, or dried tomato. Wonder if a little starch might keep it still crispy but crumble easier?


Yay! I've been wanting a cheese cracker recipe that doesn't use a food processor. Bonus that this one uses whole wheat!


I love the baking sheet!!!! Where can I get one like that?


    Look on Etsy or at flea markets!

    Heidi Swanson

I simply have to make these for my children who love to come home from school and eat crackers with cheese or houmous. You have a lovely blog and a beautiful kitchen.


Looks delicious:) Great recipe! Thanks.

dla seniora

I made the dough last week but had to freeze it as I had no time to bake them. I finally rolled, cut out, and baked them today and my house is filled with the aroma! If I keep 'testing' them as they cool and crisp in the oven, my husband will get none! Can't wait to make them for my grandchildren. Finally used the tiny cookie cutters I've had for years!


I have a batch of these crackers crisping in the oven right now and I can't stop eating them! They are delicious. I admit to using "cheap" cheddar cheese since that is what I had on hand today but next time I'm at the store I will buy some nicer cheese and make some more. I have made crackers before and liked them but could never get them as crispy as I wanted. Now I know the secret, the cooling in the oven! Genius! Just as a tip to people thinking of making them, the crackers shrink and puff up quite a bit while baking so they are quite a bit smaller out of the oven than when you cut them out. Also I found cute cutters in my kids' play-doh collection that were the perfect size!


If this recipe really works like all of your others do, I will fly to San Francisco and kneel at you feet. I've been looking for a cracker recipe for so long so that I don't have to buy them anymore! These look delicious!


EXACTLY what I have been looking for! Thank you Heidi, I was just talking with my husband about how I am going to work on making more staples after spending $5 a box on good crackers.


Oh these are so lovely! And, as cute as those owls are, I really love the teardrops.


I love cheese so whenever i see a recipe with cheese in i am dying to try it out. I think these look great, can't wait to try these out.

David Head

Looks like a great snack to have around the house!


I made Homemade Cheese Crackers yesterday and my son Andrew loved the taste so much. I served the cheese crackers in a Silver Mini Kova Cup and my son enjoys every bite of the cheesy and crunchy crackers while watching his favorite cartoons. This morning, he asked me for more cheese crackers.

Sarah Bentley

I love owl and I feel like a ninny not haven't thought of making owl-shaped cheese crackers before. Thanks for sharing Alana's recipe.

Cooking Classes London

I love owl and I feel like a ninny not haven't thought of making owl-shaped cheese crackers before. Thanks for sharing Alana's recipe.

Cooking Classes London

so happy to have discovered Alana's blog and book! Crackers have always been in my to-do list, but I've always thought they were much more difficult to make! Love the owl shape, my little nephew will love them! Have a wonderful weekend Heidi!

Juls @ Juls' Kitchen

Sold. The crackers and the book. I need both!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Wonderful -- I just got this book and it really is a treat. I can't wait to make a whole wheat version of these crackers. Thank you!


Made these last night to send with Himself on a plane trip (He also got apples, Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad, and strawberry rhubarb cake). I rolled the dough into two 1" diameter cylinders and after chilling, sliced it into discs. Not as fun as cut-outs, but so much faster and easier... I used cheddar and parmesean, and I added a shake of cayenne and black and white pepper... Then I riffed on the seed idea- each cracker got dipped/ pressed into either Canvas Ranch Veggie Seasoning or Chili Flakes (He loves spicy food!). These came out great!


These are truly delicious. I made a batch last night and rather addictive. It is an especially lovely recipe, because you can tweak it to fit the ingredients you have on hand and still turn out a darn good cracker!

Em Lentini

Ovenex - search that term on eBay and you''ll find the baking sheets.


Hello, Thanks for the adorable picture that I fell in love with. I am going to make this recipe today. Can I use regular flour? I have some whole wheat but doesn't say pastry flour. thanku :)


I'm so thrilled about these! My daughter loves goldfish (of course) but I'd much rather prefer her to eat something home made and organic. Thanks! Kacie


I've always wanted to try making homemade crackers! These look amazing, Heidi. Everything you do is beautiful.


My daughter gave me tiny bikini set of cutouts; now I have a recipe to use them on, sounds fabulous & yummy!


What a great idea for kids! The black and white photo of your nephew is beautiful. Great blog post!

Sarah @ Fresh Living

I happen to live with Jack, we are indeed lucky to have such a wonderful auntie and uncle in his life.


I used a food processor instead of a mixer and the dough came together as described and the crackers baked up deliciously. (Just in case I am not the only one who doesn't have a mixer...)


The owl crackers are so adorable and what an inspiration for your nephew!


These look and sound delicious, Heidi. I am a cracker fiend.

Sharyn Dimmick

Oh yeeaaaa these look lovely and so delicious!!! Man, I wanna make some crackers now--and the (as per usual) gorgeous pictures don't help either. :)

Ellie@Fit for the Soul

I love crispy cheese crackers! Your photos made me miss my French rolling pin.


Too cute and as everything is healthier homemade, I will need to try! Thanks


I made these last night, and they were even better than I'd hoped. This recipe is definitely going to make regular appearances in our house - thank you!


If those are as good as your gougeres...then you're about to make me fall in love with cheese crackers again! Peace

Mike @TheIronYou

So adorable. I have been wanting to try making homemade crackers for quite some time. I've just never quite gotten around to it. I'm always trying to buy healthy ones at the store, but I would love to start making our own. Yours are so cute. Thanks for sharing!

Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are}

I love your antique baking sheet. I have a few of those too. The owls are too cute, as is Jack.

jan canyon

I'm assuming you made the ABC book in the background. Love the concept of learning about letters from everyday objects.


I love the addition of vinegar. I am going to have to try these - a gluten free version! Jack is lucky to have you!!


This is such a sweet recipe, Heidi. I don't think I've ever tasted homemade cheese crackers, I think it's time. I bet Jack is still talking about his owl crackers!

Cookie and Kate

Unfortunately we have one of those dumb old plastic owls, too. Ours was supposed to keep the swallows from pooping all over our outdoor table & chairs, but they totally ignore it. All it does is make it look as though we have very poor taste in outdoor decor.


I totally dig the owls! Next up, foxes, rabbits and deer. Looks like my cookie cutter collection needs a bit of a sprucing up. I do love me a sharp white cheddar. In cracker form of course.

Elizabeth (Greens & Seeds)

I totally dig the owls! Next up, foxes, rabbits and deer. Looks like my cookie cutter collection needs a bit of a sprucing up. I do love me a sharp white cheddar. In cracker form of course.

Elizabeth (Greens & Seeds)

So cute, I love their pine nut eyes! It's good to know that the crackers are good and cheesy, I always worry even when I'm buying them. I'd recommend Danish Blue if you want to experiment with blue, we've always find that it goes furthest and holds it's flavour best when used in cooking. Although I've never used it in baking. :)

idiosyncratic eye

yum! perfect for satisfying cheesey cravings :)

leslie gaworecki

These look so gorgeous! These would be a perfect addition to a cheese platter.

Anna @ the shady pine

Hi H - I'm thinking I might have to introduce these cheesy crackers to my son (he just turned 1). I realize it may be early, but they are so much better than store bought goldfish! - Hope you're having a great weekend! - Noelle

Noelle @ GreenLemonade

Love the Owl shape, i'm going to try this one ... thanks Living2Cook*


I ordered Alana's book last week and can't wait for it to arrive in a few days. Crackers, butter, cheese, yummm!


Beautiful post. I love the owls! Adorable.


Those little owls are adorable. Awesome cracker recipe - definitely will try it soon!

Julia {The Roasted Root}

Those owls are amazing! (The cookies themselves sound great too, of course.) I have some whole wheat pastry flour I've been needing to use up, so I'm happy to see it in there. Your crackers paired with some tomato soup seem just right on this dreary Boston day.

A Plum By Any Other Name

I adore Alana's book and these are pretty much the cutest crackers ever.


I've had big plans to make homemade cheese crackers for a while now, but your cute crackers put my dreams of crispy cheesy crackery goodness to shame! Borin ol me was just goin to make em into squares!

Part Time House Wife

I have been looking at Alana's book and thinking about buying it for some time now... Thanks for the recommendation! Your crackers are adorable, and almost anything with cheese is a winner in my book!

Jill @ 42potatoes

so lovely and simple. i bet these would translate easily and successfully into little gluten-free versions too... may have to give them a go!


Cute! But I love the flowers on the kitchen counter from pic. 2!


Love the recipe! I will try to make them with spelt flour only, it should work. I love your baking sheets too! Are they cast iron? Vintage?


These cookies look delicious! I would try them wirh parmesan or gruyere! Maybe add some spices to them. What can i use as a substitute for the white wine vinegar?


I have been telling my kids that I want to make homemade crackers for some time and these ones look wonderful and simple, so no excuses. I am always looking for healthy non-processed snacks to pack the kids for school. I am also going to check out Alana's book. Thanks for the recommendation.

jackie @ marin mama cooks

These are gorgeous and adorable. I could sit here in the rain and just munch away on these crackers.

Belinda @zomppa

Finally a cheese cracker recipe I want to try. The difference is as simple as the flours. Somehow I was not moved to make the recipes that called for white flour, even though I spend a lot of time swapping at least some of the white flour with whole wheat flour in my baking.

Robin (Hippo Flambe)

I love the owl cracker with pumpkin seed eyes ! So lovely:)


Those owl crackers are adorable! My little sisters would love them. Homemade crackers have been on my list of things to try... thanks for the recipe!


oh these are too cute! what a special homemade snack!

Simply Life

These crackers sound delightful! And your nephew is so adorable. Love those little owls!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

Where did you get those cool baking sheets?


I love cheese! I've tried two supermarket puff pastry cheese stick versions now and am very bad at making a packet last very long. Definitely going to try and make these with gruyère as you suggest...love how you made the owl eyes as well :) YUM!

this is lemonade

I love the owl cookie cutter. These are wonderfully artistic and sound delicious. Can't wait to try them. I'll also be on the lookout for an owl cookie cutter when I'm searching through vintage treasures. What are the chances?


What a beautiful post this is. The picture of Wayne and your nephew is just wonderful. Those owls are adorable-with those eyes. How clever! I have to say, I've never made homemade crackers before. I'm not sure why. These would go over well around here. Will be sure to check out this book too, sounds great.


I know these are good because of the mustard powder. I've been wanting to bake these & homemade wheat thins. Off to the kitchen!


These look so good! Alas...I am gluten/grain free, so no wheat flour for me! I will try them with almond or coconut flour, and let you know the result!


Wow, these owl crackers are brilliant! I am going to make these for my neice she will love them. Thank you


Oh, those owls are *too* cute! What fun.


Those owls were adorable! Where did you find an owl cookie cutter? Thanks for the recipe, and I love your blog! :)


I just bought Alana's book at Powells in Portland - after I had sworn I'd not buy a book there - mainly for the cover. Fun to read about the making of the cover now! It worked for sure - I was drawn into those toaster pastries. The first recipe I saw was the cheese crackers and I was sold so was excited to see you make them and know they were as good as they looked in the book.


They look delicious! Do you think I could replace the cheddar with another kind of cheese? I can't really find good quality cheddar here in Brazil. Thank you


Ooh very fun! I've never made crackers before - how special. I want to think this would be a healthier snack than a cookie, but I think I might be just fooling myself.


What a lovely post. You are building some great memories for him - you're a cool and thoughtful aunt.

Linda NYC

The owls are the cutest things I have ever seen. I don't suppose I have an owl cookie cutter but I have to dig through my collection today & get these made quickly. My kids would love them!

Needful Things

So sweet to see your nephew as an infant and now so big(!). My niece turned 17 today (she lives near you in Sebastopol) and I remember when she was just a little bundle. Crackers look delicious and like everyone else, I love the owl version.


What a great replacement for pre-packaged fish or animal crackers! The owl ones are adorable :)

Anjali @ The Picky Eater

WOW This recipe is going to be a sure hit in my house... I love the teardrop and those owls... Cute!!! Quick question can we skip the mustard powder, thats the only thing I don't have on hand otherwise I am good to go tmrw morning... B/w the pic of wayne reading to ur nephew Jack... so precious!!!

Reem | Simply Reem

The owls are seriously the cutest thing I have seen in a loooong time. It's easy to make cutesy cookies, but to make adorable savory crackers, well, my hat is off to you :) ADORABLE!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

My kids are totally hooked on cheesy fish crackers, they are gonna get such a kick out of homemade ones! Great idea, now I just need to find some very small cookie cutters...I'll keep an eye out. :)

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

This recipe looks amazing! I love cheese crackers, but sometimes it is hard to find them at the supermarket without a long list of ingredientes I don't even know what they are. Thank you for recomending Alana's book it looks very interesting.

Martha @ Weekend Doings

I thought the teardrop ones were pretty cute - then I scrolled down and saw the owl ones. Too adorable!

leaf (the indolent cook)

Such adorable owl crackers! What a lucky little nephew. My little man is nearly 4 years old too, time flies that's for sure.

Emma Galloway

We have been fans of Alana's for a long time and absolutely love her new book. I have made the crackers too - and they are delicious. Mine didn't look as perfect as yours, but so tasty. This is a great recipe. We used white cheddar too but gruyere sounds smart! Love the idea of little animal cookie cutters. Thanks Heidi.


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