On Baiting + Homemade Cheez-Its

homemade cheez-it recipe

On most days, my little girl is very reasonable and a great partner in most domestic escapades. She loves a trip to the park or the bookstore. She doesn’t complain when we pop into a thrift store or take the odd trip to Anthropologie. I’m not naive, however. I know this won’t last forever.  There will come a day when Maeve is no longer a little girl. She won’t be grasping at my pant legs and crying out for mama.

She will decide it’s more fun to spend time with her friends or, better yet, to enjoy a long afternoon at the library reading ahead in all of her advanced textbooks. I will be a bit misty, but I will feign understanding. Or, will I?

As far back in my memory as I can recall, going shopping with my mother was boring. There was so much I wanted to do more than mill about a department store. I protested and protested. I hid underneath the racks and pulled all the tags off the clothes. I invented games and counted flecks on the carpet. It was torturous and I once got lost in a store on purpose to spice up our trip. It was fabulously exciting. Did you know there are little rooms in the employee area where the salespeople harbor lost children? It’s true. Everyone was kind and nice. There’s was candy there too. And, to make it all the more wonderful, they put out a dramatic call for my mother over the intercom. The attention was intoxicating. The punishment later that afternoon at home, however, was quite another story.

homemade cheez-it recipe

I know my mother either needed the company or was without an alternative. She didn’t use baby-sitters. I was her youngest and, therefore, often the child who was along for the ride. I’m sure this was hard for her, but, at some point, she hatched a method of luring me into submission on these trips. Food. That was her ploy. She knew me too well. If I agreed not to fuss and to join her on a shopping trip, there would be treats. Sometimes, it was thin mints or chocolate covered cherries. I loved both of these endlessly, but the best bait of all was a box of Cheez-It crackers. That might sound weird, but I am a salt and savory girl through and through.

I would eat those cheddar crackers until my throat was parched from the salt overload and my fingers were orange. They were, and still are, a favorite snack of mine. This is why I was delighted to come across a recipe for homemade Cheez-It crackers. It’s incredibly easy too. In fact, you likely have every ingredient in your cupboard at this very moment.

homemade cheez-it recipe

Today, I give you Cheez-Its. They’re perfectly salty, savory, and bursting with cheddar. They’re addictive too. Sure, it’s not gourmet fare. I imagine there are plenty of other stops on the internet where you can find your foie gras today. But, think about it. Many of you are probably going to need a good baiting technique someday. Your wee ones won’t always be so cooperative. Why not lure them with a homemade cheesy cracker?

I’m not sure it gets much better than this.

homemade cheez-it recipe

Homemade Cheez Its

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons ice water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cheddar, butter, and salt until soft and combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed (the dough will be dry and pebbly). Slowly add the water and continue to mix as the dough forms a ball.

Pat the dough into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter or sharp knife, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer to the baking sheets. Use the tip of a chopstick to punch a hole into the center of each square.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes it a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.

Adapted from ReadyMade Magazine

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62 Comments

  • February 16, 2012 - | Permalink

    Oh those shopping trips… such torture for me too!!!

    I love cheez its too! I could eat a whole box in a sitting, which is why I can never buy them.

  • February 16, 2012 - | Permalink

    Surely much better than the bought version!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • February 16, 2012 - | Permalink

    I love the shot with M’s little fingers! Cheezits are a weakness of mine, too. There’s something about that salty/cheesy/crunch!

  • February 16, 2012 - | Permalink

    These look so lovely and take me right back to my childhood. Such simple and natural ingredients too!
    PS. I love the photo of Maeve in her high chair eating her Cheez-Its!

  • February 16, 2012 - | Permalink

    Well you never know. My daughter is 25 and loves to go shopping with me, and I thought I wanted to have a daughter because she would be by my side, and my son is the one who wants to live in here while Maialen, my daughter because of her career (fashion designer graduated in the London College of Fashion),left us to work in Madrid and at 25 she´s already an independent woman who doesn´t know where she´s going to finish……so you never know. An advise, hug her a lot, kiss her a lot and enjoy her while you can….they will at least sooner or later miss your love…I guarantee you that.
    Love
    Marialuisa

  • February 16, 2012 - | Permalink

    These look perfect! I just the other day had someone ask me if I have a tried and true recipe to make these at home and I had to say that, No, I didn’t. I’ll have to try this one out!

  • Christy Lukes
    February 17, 2012 - | Permalink

    I adore Cheez-Its. They are absolutely one of my guilty pleasures. I get it from my Dad…who, as it turns out, calls them the “Cadillac of all Crackers”. Which is hilarious because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like Cadillacs. I’ll have to make these for him sometime!

  • February 17, 2012 - | Permalink

    Such an easy recipe, and so many ways to play around with the flavors (I bet some rosemary or pepper jack would be great). Thanks for sharing!

  • February 17, 2012 - | Permalink

    I so want to make crackers and these look like a great recipe to try out.

  • February 17, 2012 - | Permalink

    Your story about getting lost in a department store on purpose was too funny. Little Tot used to be a good shopper, but now that he’s walking he gets bored riding the cart. Finger foods have become our friend!

  • February 18, 2012 - | Permalink

    I want to make these. Yes. I. Do.

  • February 19, 2012 - | Permalink

    never apologize for good taste!

    oh man, these are so going into our oven…

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  • Charlotte
    February 19, 2012 - | Permalink

    These are amazing! Thank, foodgawker, for directing me here! I hadn’t realized before how similar cheezits are to a simple pie crust (with A LOT of cheese). I had to add a bit more water to get the dough workable (almost a 1/4c) and mine were done in 5-7min, not 15-17. Thanks so much! I’ll never buy cheezits again.

    • redmenace
      February 22, 2012 - | Permalink

      Charlotte,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the crackers. Thanks for your comment!
      Robin

  • February 20, 2012 - | Permalink

    When my daughters DRAG their kids shopping, which is very often, the kids make a game of it!! The find the “treasures” on the floor! Hobby Lobby is one of their favorite places to go to find “treasures”!! A bead here a flower petal, a sequin, a “diamond”!! Although, Ross and TJ Maxx also provides some good finds. If they find enough then they go home and make an art project out of the “treasures”!!

    • redmenace
      February 20, 2012 - | Permalink

      Becky,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I love the idea of creating “found art” from places like TJ Maxx. It’s brilliant. Don’t you wish we could have just a small percentage of the creativity of children as adults? I want it back! However, I guess I can live vicariously through my wee one.
      Have a great holiday!
      Robin

  • Graça Sobrinho
    February 21, 2012 - | Permalink

    I would like to know how much weighs a stick of butter !
    Thanks !

    • redmenace
      February 21, 2012 - | Permalink

      Hi Graca,
      Thanks for your question. A stick of butter weighs 4 oz.
      I hope you enjoy!
      xo
      Robin

  • February 22, 2012 - | Permalink

    I made cheese crackers for my little one too and she enjoyed them! I will try your recipe as well…it sounds so simple and good!

  • February 22, 2012 - | Permalink

    Thanks so much, this was a great post! I love learning about new hobbies.

  • February 22, 2012 - | Permalink

    I’m so happy to have come across your blog. I very much enjoy the way it looks, and the way you use food to tell stories. Our newborn baby girl’s middle name is Maeve, too. :) Wonderful work!

    • redmenace
      February 22, 2012 - | Permalink

      Malcolm,
      Thanks for your comment and congratulations. Another Maeve! How wonderful! I wish you lots of joy and a good helping of sleep:)
      Robin

  • February 23, 2012 - | Permalink

    I can’t wait to make these for my two year old! Blessing our curse, our local grocery store has ‘shopper in training’ carts – toddler sized carts that have horrible wheels that hardly work. Ugh. Anyway, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Julie
    February 27, 2012 - | Permalink

    Were the crackers all still touching when you baked them or do I need to separate them out a bit before I bake?

    • redmenace
      February 27, 2012 - | Permalink

      Hi Julie,
      Thanks for your comment. I scored the crackers with a knife before putting them in the oven so they were, yes, still touching. Once I removed them, it was easy to cut them apart due to the previous scoring. I hope that helps. Enjoy!
      xo
      Robin

  • February 29, 2012 - | Permalink

    Robin, I made these and they were delicious! Cheez-its are favorites of my boyfriend and I as well and the batch I made (while not as pretty as yours – I’ve gotta leave them in the fridge longer next time and roll them out thinner than I did, but I was just too eager to eat them!) didn’t even last 24 hours before we had devoured them all. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!

  • March 15, 2012 - | Permalink

    I am so addicted to Cheez-its. I always thought they put some kind of drug in them to stop me from eating them. What a simple recipe, thanks for sharing, my addiction will continue when I make these weekly.

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  • Marilyn
    March 26, 2012 - | Permalink

    Wow. This is great I am addicted to anything cheese.
    Unlike most kids I enjoyed my shopping trips with my mother. She always made me feel so important. As a added treat we always stopped for lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant or in one of the Department store restaurants.

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  • Ac
    April 4, 2012 - | Permalink

    Made these today and they are absolutely delicious! I also had to use more than 2 T of ice water but wasn’t a big deal. The only challenge I had was that the crackers stuck to the wax paper. Did you spray the paper prior to baking?

    • redmenace
      April 4, 2012 - | Permalink

      Hi Aimee,
      Thanks for your comment! I didn’t use wax paper for these. I used parchment. I find it works really well. No sticking and your baking sheet stays clean!
      xo
      Robin

  • April 23, 2012 - | Permalink

    I do have everything for this recipe right now! Yay! I must pin and then make these!

    • redmenace
      April 23, 2012 - | Permalink

      Joy,
      I’m delighted. Please let me know what you think!
      Happy eats,
      Robin

  • Kristy
    April 28, 2012 - | Permalink

    I’ve made a cracker with a similar recipe, but I never thought to refrigerate the dough. Brilliant! It gives extra flakiness to the cracker… Duh! Looking forward to trying this recipe.

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  • Rebecca
    July 12, 2012 - | Permalink

    How long will the crackers keep? I like to make several batches of a recipe like this and package them for the week (or next few weeks if possible) to put into lunches/snacks. But I’d like to know if they’re gonna go bad after a day or two because of the cheese. Should they be refrigerated? Thanks for sharing – we love Cheez-its!

    • redmenace
      July 12, 2012 - | Permalink

      Hi Rebecca,
      We love cheez-its around here too! What a great idea for lunches and snacks. I kept the crackers for 1 week in an airtight container. I didn’t refrigerate them and they were just fine. More than that, however, I wouldn’t recommend! Good luck!
      Robin

      • Rebecca
        July 12, 2012 - | Permalink

        Thanks! Chances are, they won’t make it past 2 days in my house with 3 little munchees, but good to know!

  • July 17, 2012 - | Permalink

    I figured out that if you take regular shredded cheddar cheese and put a pile of it in a pan coated with non stick spray then let it melt only flipping it once until crispy it tastes just like a cheese it and if you want it chewy don’t leave there as long

  • August 19, 2012 - | Permalink

    These look great!! I am going to add them to my Mouth Watering Mondays post this Monday. Come on over to see it at http://www.noshingwiththenolands.com Cheers, Tara

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  • olivia
    August 21, 2012 - | Permalink

    thank god i found this recipe! my mom hates buying the store brand because of all the nasty ingredients

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  • Aundrea
    August 30, 2012 - | Permalink

    Stupid question I know lol but Would a regular hand mixer work? Or silicone scraper? I don’t have a stand mixer.

    • redmenace
      August 30, 2012 - | Permalink

      Aundrea,
      Thanks for your question. It’s not dumb at all. Use the handmixer. I think it will be perfect. Let me know! Good luck!
      xo
      Robin

  • CHERYL
    September 4, 2012 - | Permalink

    cAN YOU SUBSTITUTE WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR FOR THE CUP OF FLOUR?

    • redmenace
      September 4, 2012 - | Permalink

      Hi Cheryl,
      Thanks for your comment! I wish I knew the answer, but I don’t. My suggestion is to go for it. I always think it’s a good idea to experiment with baking. You might, however, want to try white whole wheat flour so that the texture of the cracker remains smooth and not too grainy. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
      Robin

  • Cass
    September 9, 2012 - | Permalink

    Came out pretty good! I think I left it too thick, though…it was more chewy than crunchy. However, the outside were crunchy; I think next time I’ll try and leave more space in between the cracker that way they all get crunchy texture!

  • September 22, 2012 - | Permalink

    Oh my gosh! I’m stealing this recipe. I’ll be the next cookout queen for sure with homemade cheezits! :P Thanks for sharing.

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  • Audrey
    April 25, 2013 - | Permalink

    These are delicious! My second batch is in the oven now. The first only lasted a few days and the adults ate them faster then the child.

    I did substitute white whole wheat flour for white and they turned out great, just needed more water, I used almost 4 tablespoons.

    Instead of pre cutting, I just layed the whole thing out on the tray, poked some random holes, and cut when they were finished. They turned out fine and it made it so much easier to cut. The only downside could be that a few of the edges got a little crisper, but that’s not a bad thing.

    • redmenace
      April 25, 2013 - | Permalink

      Audrey,
      I’m so glad you all enjoyed these. I love the idea of substituting the whole wheat flour.
      Thanks!
      Robin

  • Tuki
    May 16, 2013 - | Permalink

    Is it still possible to make these without a Kitchen-Aid mixer (I don’t have one, sad, I know)! LOL Would my hands or a hand mixer suffice? Thank you, these look delicious and I can’t wait to make them for my littles!

    • redmenace
      May 16, 2013 - | Permalink

      Tuki, Do you have a handmixer? That would work too. If not, I say you try your hands. You’re a mama and you’re strong! Let me know how it goes!

      • Tuki
        May 16, 2013 - | Permalink

        Thank you so much for the reply, Robin. I do have a hand mixer. Will definitely try this and see how it goes. If I could do it in my Vitamix, I would! LOL Looking forward to trying these. And, um, a Kitchen-Aid mixer will be on my Christmas list this year! Blessings!

  • Kay
    July 15, 2013 - | Permalink

    These were a great success using a gluten free flour mix. Delicious! Thank you so much!

    • redmenace
      July 15, 2013 - | Permalink

      I am so glad to hear that! I have a niece with Celiacs so we will have to try this variation. Do you have a recommendation for a flour mix? Thanks!

      • Kay
        July 19, 2013 - | Permalink

        For these I just used my basic rice mix: 4 c. brown rice flour, 1 1/3 c. potato starch and 2/3 c. tapioca flour. That mix works well for me for lots of recipes. Again, thanks! My kiddos loved these!

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