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Homemade Cheez It Recipe

You’ll love this copycat Cheez It recipe! Homemade cheese crackers are easy to make and so much fresher than the store bought brand.

These easy Cheez-it crackers are perfect party appetizers, and they pair wonderfully with snacks like brown butter pan roasted almonds and mini cheese balls with pretzel stick skewers.

I love to experiment with making the homemade version of store-bought foods, don’t you?

6 homemade cheese crackers on a white plate with a glass of Chardonnay.

I add one tablespoon of vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum organic cold-press palm oil shortening) to this cheddar cheese cracker recipe.

Making the dough with both butter and shortening adds a little structure that makes the crackers less shortbread-y and more cracker-y. If you don’t have organic vegetable shortening on hand, you can just use all butter.

I used sharp cheddar cheese instead of extra-sharp, which gives the crackers a slightly milder taste that our family prefers. I also found that reducing the original cooking temperature improved the texture of the crackers; even so, my baking time was less than what the original recipe called for.

After I posted this recipe, several readers wrote in to share their success with other flours:

  • Tara made the crackers with King Arthur Gluten-Free baking flour.
  • Tracy used brown rice flour and made the crackers for Passover.
  • Sarah used white whole wheat flour.
  • MN Mom used half whole wheat, half unbleached white flour.

Hurray! I love hearing about the ways you make a recipe your own, and your comments help all of us.

Shall we get started?

Homemade Cheez It Crackers

*8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

*3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

*1 tablespoon organic vegetable shortening (or substitute 1 tablespoon unsalted butter)

*1 teaspoon sea salt

*1 cup flour

*2 tablespoons ice water

Combine the cheese, butter, shortening and salt in a food processor or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Homemade cracker recipe at Happy Simple Living

Add the flour and pulse or mix on low speed until the mixture is combined.

Making homemade crackers at Happy Simple Living

Add the ice water slowly with the mixer or food processor running.

Homemade cracker recipe at Happy Simple Living

The dough will just start to come together, and should look something like this:

Making Cheez-its from scratch at Happy Simple Living

You may need to add a few more drops of water, but go slowly so you don’t overdo it. Gather up the dough and pat it into three disc shapes. Don’t knead it or mess with it too much.

Homemade cracker dough at Happy Simple Living

Wrap the discs tightly in waxed paper or parchment and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until you’re ready to bake the crackers. The dough can be refrigerated like this for up to 5 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Let the dough sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes, and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your favorite baking sheet.  Gently begin to roll the dough out directly on the parchment paper. At first it may seem a little unyielding:

…but just take your time and press the cracks back together as you go.

Making homemade crackers at Happy Simple Living

Keep persevering, and roll the dough quite thin, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.

Now it’s time for the fun part! Cut the crackers into 1 inch squares. You can use a pizza cutter, a sharp knife, or a fancy pastry cutter to do this.

Cutting dough for homemade crackers at Happy Simple Living

Poke a hole in the center of each cracker with a skewer. Along with being decorative, the hole allows the steam to escape which helps your crackers bake up nice and crisp.

Use a sharp spatula to separate the crackers gently on the parchment paper and transfer the whole paper (scraps, too – perfect snacks for the chef!) to a baking sheet. Bake the crackers for about 12 to 13 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. (Depending on how your oven cooks, your baking time may be more or less so watch the first batch carefully.)

Cool the whole sheet on a wire baking rack and repeat with the remaining dough. You can serve the crackers warm, or cool them completely and store them in a container with a tight fitting lid.  If you’re going to store them for more than a week, you can freeze the crackers in a container and just let them come to room temperature before eating them. They freeze really well.

This recipe makes about 8 dozen crackers. In our household most of these disappeared within 45 minutes of baking, but if you can hold some back they pair really well with a nice glass of Chardonnay.

Make your own cheese crackers with Happy Simple Living

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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47 thoughts on “Homemade Cheez It Recipe”

  1. Thanks for the shoutout! And I LOVE that you paired them with wine (though, truth be told, I’ll sometimes eat store-bought Cheez-Its with wine. I have no shame.)

    • Casey, you are my kind of girl. I will be forever in your debt for introducing us to these wonderful crackers, and if you are ever in Denver I hope you’ll stop by for wine and Cheez-its! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. OMG!! These look so delicious. I’m not much of a cook, and as a bachelor, I don’t really have the right tools for the job, but I’m definitely going to see what I can do to make a batch of these hm cheese crackers…:) Maybe I can share the ingredients, prepping and cooking with a friend. Thanks for the post and all the best


  3. I came across your website when googling where to buy cheesecloth in my area (I know, of all things!)…and by golly, I am so glad I did! What a wonderful plethora of thoughts, tips and inspiration for simplified, self-sustaining living, a lifestyle my husband and I desire for our family of six. I look forward to reading more of your approach and ideas on choosing to live simply and well.
    PS. Not that you need to know, but I was looking up cheesecloth, as I have a huge crop of black raspberries and am going to can jelly (as opposed to freezing it like I did last year) and I realized cheesecloth is needed…and as a bonus, I now know how to make yogurt! (Thank you!)

  4. I’ve been making these for a few months now. I use a food processor. I’ve never had luck with my mixer and I also omit the shortening and just use butter in place of that. They taste so good and very similar to the store bought kind…better in my opinion.

  5. Eliza, Thank you for sharing a recipe for my favorite crunchy salty, un-healthy snack! I eat healthy most of the time, but I can’t resist cheeze-its! Now I can make my own, more healthy version of them! Blessings from Bama!

    • I added 1/2 wheat and 1/2 unbleached flower and still yummy! next I’ll add a bit of garlic powder. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Dear Melody,
      The crackers will stay fresh in a tightly covered container for about five days at room temperature. Or stick the container in the refrigerator, and they’ll stay fresh for 10 to 14 days. You can easily freeze the dough. Just thaw it in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before rolling and baking. Good luck!

  6. I’m about to try these with gluten free flour. I hope they turn out, we haven’t been able to find a yummy gluten free cheese cracker yet.

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    • Dear Nicole,
      I haven’t tried the recipe with gluten-free flour, but I think it might possibly work because of the generous quantity of cheese in the recipe. The flour mainly adds a little structure to hold the buttery cheese mixture together. If you try it, will you report back to us?

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  11. I just wanted to let you know that I featured this post in my ‘Weekend Picks’ (http://rebeccashearthandhome-proverbs31heart.blogspot.com/2012/05/weekend-picks-52512.html) on my website. This recipe looks absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try it!

  12. These are awesome! I just finished making them but subbing white whole wheat flour instead of regular white and they are YUMMY! Thanks for the recipe and I plan on making these more often for my little boy.

  13. Pingback: Cheese Crackers Make Me Happy!
  14. Thanks for the great recipe! It was really easy to follow and turned out wonderfully! Here is my batch: http://littleraindrops.com/blog/2012/07/12/cheese-crackers-make-me-happy/ ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Iv just tried this and these crackers are so nice. better then shop bought. and they are so yummy and easy to make even for me !.Its cheap to make and you can make so many.Thankyou for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚ will do is all the time now

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  19. Just made them!! So fabulous. I did a little variation- used brown rice flour- for passover- and Colby jack cheese!!! So delicious- everyone( including kiddos loved them!!)

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the cracker recipe, and happy it worked with brown rice flour. Happy Passover and thanks so much for letting me know about your good results. xo

  20. These are phenomenal, and so easy to make. So far I’ve made two batches – one with sharp provolone, one with sharp cheddar – both using white whole wheat flour. Way better than store bought, and super delicious!

  21. My son and I just made these biscuits – they turned out really really yummy!! Thankyou – they will b a favourite baked many times in the years to come!

  22. Made some, ate some. Made some more, ate some more. Will continue to do so in that order. Thanks for the tasty recipe.

  23. Absolutely delicious crackers — my son is addicted to commercial cheese crackers and these won him over completely. A sprinkle of sea salt on top made them completely irresistible. Thank you for a great recipe!

  24. Well, you should be ashamed of yourself. I now have a new high-fat addiction, and it is ALL YOUR FAULT! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I made these today with Swiss cheese (no cheddar on hand), and used the 3 T butter plus a T of coconut oil. Two disks I cut in little squares as you instructed, but the third disk (after rolling out) I sliced into about 1/4 inch wide strips using a pizza cutter. They didn’t need to bake quite as long as the squares, but they were OH SO GOOD!!! Extra crunchy! We had company for lunch, served the crackers with homemade chicken noodle soup. Grown men ate one bowl of soup each, and made themselves sick on the crackers. Shame on you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. I love this recipe. I have one suggestion. I used a hand crank pasta maker to roll out the dough. It gives a regular thickness and makes the process basically easier.

  26. I just made these! I just substituted the 1/4 cup of butter for hummus to make it lower fat. Um… You can’t tell. Amazing, yummy, easy, awesome!

  27. Has anyone with “coconut flour” experience tried this recipe subbing coconut flour for the wheat flour? You would probably use only 1/4 cup. Would anything else require modification?


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