These gluten-free Cheez-Its are legit! These cheddar cheese crackers are a spot-on copycat of the original! Easy to make, crunchy, and delicious! Bursting with that tangy cheese flavor you used to love!
Today, I give you homemade, gluten-free Cheez-Its. Yes, people! All the crunchy, cheesy cracker flavor you've been missing. And listen, I have tried some other recipes out there. I looked at a lot of others too, but I found they're basically all the same and don't quite hit the mark. They're not quite like a real Cheeze-It! Which is why I came up with this recipe!
Really, I hate to knock on anyone else's recipe, but the truth is all of those other Cheez-It, goldfish, and bunny cracker 'copycat' recipes? They are basically cheesy pie dough baked into crackers. Don't get me wrong... there is nothing wrong with eating little pieces of buttery, cheesy pie crust! It is good, but... it is not really a Cheez-It! It is not a goldfish cracker! It is just not the texture or the flavor you're probably looking for.
So how is my gluten-free Cheeze-It recipe different? Let's talk ingredients.
If you take a look at the ingredients in the original Cheeze-It crackers (or Goldfish, or Cheddar Bunnies) you may notice something that surprises you... yeast! That was an ah-ha moment for me in developing this recipe!
Cheez-It crackers, goldfish crackers, and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies all contain yeast! It's the yeast that gives them that interesting flavor and texture! So I set out to develop a cheesy, yeast-based cracker to mimic those classic cheese crackers we all used to love and I'll tell ya what, you're not going to believe how good these are!
I know what you're thinking, "Ack... she said yeast! Buh-bye!" But wait, don't go! This recipe truly is simple to make! You'll see.
A few more ingredient notes:
- Gluten-free 1:1 flour: I tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure, Namaste Perfect Blend, and Cup4Cup. All worked great! The Namaste dough was a little bit more crumbly but still fared well. The Cup4Cup crackers browned up more quickly than the other two flours I tested.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Sharp cheddar gives that ultra cheesy flavor. Get a block and shred it yourself, please!
- Instant Yeast: Instant yeast, RapidRise, or Bread Machine yeast are what you want. This type of yeast can be mixed right in with the dry ingredients. If you only have regular active dry yeast, dissolve it in the warm water before mixing it in with the other ingredients.
Food Processor: You will want to use a food processor for this recipe. It helps to get the cheese fully blended into the dough. I have not tried other methods for making these crackers so I can't attest to how they will turn out otherwise.
Optional, but helpful:
- Cookie Cutters: With small cookie cutters you can make the crackers into many fun shapes, but you could also just cut them into squares.
- #2 Piping Tip: The small end of the piping tip punches the perfect-sized hole in the center.
- Rolling guides: A rolling pin with guides or guide bands that fit on your rolling pin are helpful for rolling the dough into an even thickness.
Step by Step Guide to Making the Crackers
Step 1: Make the Dough
Grate the cheese with the grater attachment on the food processor. Then switch to the regular blade. Pulse the cheese with the dry ingredients until well combined. Pour in the wet ingredients and blend it all to form a dough.
Step 2: Rest the Dough
Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. This gives the yeast time to activate and develop flavor. The longer you let it rest, the more flavor you will get out of the cracker. The dough will not rise much, which is normal.
Step 3: Roll out the Dough and Bake
After the dough has rested, it's time to roll it out. For best results, roll the dough out into an even thickness, about ⅛ inch thick. Cut the dough into your desired shapes and punch a hole in the middle. You can use small cookie cutters or just cut them into squares.
I used small flower cutters, about 1-inch and 1 ½-inches in diameter. Then I used a #2 piping tip to punch the hole in the center, just like a regular Cheez-It cracker! Once you've got your shapes, sprinkle with salt and bake!
Twice Bake for Crunchy Crackers
The most important tip for getting that crispy cracker texture, that lasts, is baking the crackers twice!
After you first bake the crackers, you'll probably find that they are already crunchy so you might wonder why you should bake them again.
The problem is that the longer the crackers sit, they tend to get soft, which makes for a very sad cracker! So to make these stay sufficiently crunchy we need to get out all of the moisture.
That's where the second bake comes in. Baking them twice allows you to get out enough of the moisture so they will retain their crunchiness for days to come without over-browning them in the process.
- Keep 'em fresh! After crackers have cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week, or longer.
- Re-roll that dough! You can re-roll the dough as many times as needed to use up all of the dough. The crackers will still be flaky and delicious!
- Don't skip the rest! You must let the dough rest for at least 1 hour. The yeast needs time to activate. You can let the dough rest for up to 24 hours. The longer you let it rest, the more flavor will develop from the fermentation of the yeast, which results in a tangier flavor.
- Don't forget to bake twice! If you don't bake them twice, your crackers may start crisp but then soften the longer they sit.
I hope you enjoy these Gluten-free Cheddar Crackers! Whether you were a Cheez-it, Goldfish, or Bunny fan, I know you'll love these crackers! If you try them, come back and leave a comment! I'd love to hear what you think! Don't forget to pin this recipe for later or share it with your friends!
More Gluten-free Snacks
If you love snacks as much as I do, here are a few more recipes to check out! Those easy soft pretzel bites are so delish!
- 8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese , not pre-shredded
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend , such as King Arthur Measure for Measure, Namaste Perfect Flour Blend, or Cup4Cup Multipurpose
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup warm water, approx 120°F
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or oil
Make the Dough
- Grate the cheddar cheese.
- Place the cheese, flour, yeast, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor with the regular blade attachment.
- Pulse until well combined into a fine mixture.
- Pour in the warm water and melted butter or oil.
- Blend again until well combined. The dough may look crumbly but should hold together when formed into a ball.
- Place the dough into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Chill for 1 hour or overnight.
Bake the Crackers
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Start with half of the dough. Roll it out on floured parchment paper to about ⅛ inch thickness.
- With a knife or small cookie cutters, cut out crackers into desired shapes, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in size. Punch a small hole in the center of each cracker with a small (#2) piping tip or skewer.
- Place on baking sheets with enough space in between each cracker so that they are not touching.
- Repeat the above steps with any remaining dough, re-rolling as needed to use up all of the dough.
- Bake 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the bottoms.
- Allow the crackers to cool completely, about 1 hour or even overnight, then do the second bake.
- Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake the crackers again for 10-15 minutes or until crunchy throughout.*
- Cool completely before storing in airtight containers.