Today, I’m bringing you my fine-tuned recipe for homemade Ritz crackers. They’re crispy, flaky, a little sweet, a little salty, and perfect for snacking.
Like most of my copycat recipes, I worked hard to make these taste as much like the real thing as possible. I tested and tested so you can confidently make and serve these little crackers, knowing that they taste as close to the iconic crackers in the red box as they can.
If you love saltine crackers, you may also enjoy my spent grain soda crackers.
For ease of browsing, you can find all my appetizer recipes in one place. Now let’s get down to it!
Watch my Ritz cracker recipe web story here.
You’ll Love These Crackers If…
Not all recipes are for all people, and that really goes for copycat recipes especially.
These crackers are for you if you like:
- Light and crispy crackers
- Crackers to take a back seat to whatever you put on them
- The nostaligic combination of anything on a Ritz cracker
- To make copycats you can barely tell apart from the originals
If these homemade Ritz sound like your cup of tea, you can jump straight to the recipe.
If you need some more convincing or just want to read all the tips and tricks and step-by-step photo directions, read on.
Either way, if you do decide to make these cracker, I have a favor to ask:
When you do make this recipe, it will help me and other readers if you:
✅Rate the recipes using the stars in the recipe card⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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So Many Test Batches!
This section is here for people who are interested in my process of dialing in a copycat recipe.
If that’s not your thing and you just want to make the crackers, head straight to the recipe.
For the rest of you baking nerds, and I include myself in that group, here’s what I did.
First, I found several copycat Ritz recipes on the Internet just by doing a Google search.
I wrote all the ingredients and amounts down in a grid, ingredients down one side and the names of the sites across the top.
Then I compared all amounts to come up with a starting place.
From there, I added a bit more or a bit less of ingredients to try to get it dialed in and taking notes.
It was a frustrating process, because the more different ways I tested, the more differnt ways they didn’t taste like Ritz!
And then, I did what I should have done in the first place when trying to make a name brand copycat: I looked at the box.
That’s exactly what I did when I made the Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie copycats several years ago, and those worked out beautifully.
That helped me nail the proportions of fat, flour, sugar, and salt. The rest was just adjusting the leavening and the amount of leavening and water.
And since there is both sugar and corn syrup (on the box: high fructose corn syrup, which is much different than regular corn syrup), I split the difference down the middle.
How to Make Homemade Ritz
First, and this might be the most important piece of the puzzle:
Bake your crackers on an oven-safe, grid-type cooling rack.
It will allow them to cook evenly, reduce the chance of them burning or cooking unevenly, and let air circulate all around them so they puff into the light, crispy crackers you love.
I will mention this again, specifically in the “equipment recommendations” section, but I wanted to give you a heads up now.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- bread flour: Provides the bulk of the recipe and protein to give the crackers structure. Bread flour works here since there is a lot of fat in the recipe. The higher protein allows for a sturdy as well as light and crispy cracker
- sugar: Provides a touch of sweetness as well as assisting in browning
- baking powder: The leavening that allows for flaky, crispy crackers
- salt: Snaps all the flavors into focus
- baking soda: Adds a little more *oomph* to the leavening for nice, light crackers. It also helps to make them more crispy
- vegetable shortening: The fat in the crackers. It provides tenderness by coating a good amount of the flour. I used Crisco
- corn syrup: Provides just a little extra sweetness and helps the crackers stay fresher a bit longer
- water: This is a fairly wet dough so the leavening doesn’t have to work too hard to puff the crackers up
- butter flavored vegetable shortening: For brushing on the tops of the baked crackers. You can use butter, but in that case, I’d recommend using clarified butter or ghee since both are 100% fat while whole butter contains water that can make it harder to get the crackers nice and crispy
I tried making the dough both ways: doing a few rolls and folds and just rolling it out once, and since they’re rolled so thin, there’s very little difference.
My vote is to save the time and energy and just give them one simple roll before cutting out the crackers.
- Whisk dry ingredients together.
- Cut in the fat with your fingertips.
- Stir in liquid until the dough just comes together.
- Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll out thin and cut crackers.
Here are some collages that show some of the steps so you know what you’re looking for.
The top left image below shows all the dry ingredients mixed together while the one top right shows the texture a bit more closely.
Note that while there are no large pieces of shortening, the mixture still is light and floury. Do not overwork the fat into the flour too completely or your crackers won’t puff as much and will taste a bit oily.
Make sure to stir the corn syrup and water together really well, and once you drizzle the mixture into the dry ingredients, scrape the pitcher to make sure you get all the corn syrup into the bowl.
Jenni Says: Rub in just with your fingertips and do it pretty quickly, making sure the mixture is still light and floury when you’re done.
NOT PICTURED: Wrapping the finished dough and chilling the dough for about 30 minutes.
After the dough chills, cut it in half and work with half at a time, leaving the remaining half in the fridge.
Roll it out on a well-floured surface and flour the top of the dough pretty liberally as well. (Feel free to use all-purpose flour for dusting).
Use your bench knife to make sure the dough isn’t sticking. If it does start to stick, carefully lift the dough up and toss a bit more flour underneath.
The dough should be thin enough to start seeing the countertop through it but not so thin you could read through it. Shoot for somewhere between 1/16″-1/8″. But know you will probably not be able to get them as uniform as a “real” Ritz.
And that’s okay. Slight irregularities just let folks know they’re eating homemade Ritz crackers!
Cutting Out and Docking
Use a fluted cutter from a set of graduated, nesting cutters about 1 1/4″ in diameter to cut the Ritz. They will shrink up a bit in the oven, and you will end up with crackers that are just about the same size as the boxed kind.
Snip off the top of a toothpick so you have a blunt and skinny stick to work with.
Poke 7 holes in each cracker: one in the center and a circle of 6 around the center one.
Or just poke some holes–it doesn’t really matter too much, but if you’re gonna make a copycat, it may as well taste AND look like the originals.
Remove the docked cracker dough to your grid-type cooling rack set over a sheet pan.
No need to give them a lot of room. These don’t spread.
Bake on the middle rack at 400F for about 8-9 minutes. I rotate the pan 180 degrees after 5 minutes and then check them at 3-4 minutes.
They will be a little puffed, a bit smaller than when they went in, and a mottled pale-and-golden-brown all over. Some spots may be a little deeper golden brown.
As soon as you remove the crackers from the oven, brush each one liberally with melted butter-flavored Crisco (or clarified butter or ghee), and then sprinkle a large pinch of salt over the entire tray–you really only need 2-3 grains of salt per cracker, so just give everything a light sprinkle from relatively high up so the salt disperses evenly.
NOTE that in the above photos, I baked on parchment directly on the sheet pan. You can see how unevenly the crackers brown. Trust me that baking on a rack will give you the very best results.
You can be done after sprinkling with salt, but to get the crispest crackers that are most similar to the boxed kind, turn off the oven, allow it to cool until it’s lower than 300F–275F is ideal–and put all the crackers back in to crisp for 20-30 minutes.
This last go-round in the oven won’t brown them anymore than they already are, but it will allow any moisture that may still be hanging out in the crackers to bake off and evaporate away.
Now, you can let them cool completely before storing in air-tight containers for about a week.
Now that you can make homemade Ritz, feel free to play with the recipe to make it your own.
Here are some ideas for you:
- cheese Ritz: Add 2-3 oz grated cheddar cheese to the dough. Cut the amount of shortening in half
- herbed Ritz: Add 2 teaspoons of your favorite herb mix. After baking and brushing with butter-flavored Crisco (or ghee or clarified butter), sprinkle some more herbs on top along with a pinch or two of salt
- savory Ritz: Add 1/2 teaspoon each granulated garlic and onion powder along with a little cayenne for savory little crackers perfect for topping with cheese
Other delicious inclusions: Old Bay or another favorite spice blend, cracked black pepper, hot paprika, pepper flake, and Parmesan cheese.
Equipment You May Need
The most important thing you’ll need to make these crackers is an oven-safe, grid-type cooling rack that fits in a jelly roll pan or a half-sheet pan.
You can find them sold as a set, but as long as your rack fits in your pan, you’ll be good to go.
- Perfect for baking all kinds of crackers
- Also use it as a roasting pan set
- Use each piece separately for baking and cooling cookies
The second-most important tool is a fluted cutter of the right size. I have this set of Ateco fluted cutters, and this is the one I used for the Ritz. They baked up into the perfect Ritz size.
Thiis is the set I use, and I love them. Use the larger cutters for tartlet shells. The smaller ones are great for cookies and crackers of all diameters. Nesting cutters save space and give you so many options when choosing a size for a baked good. I always wash by hand.
Other equipment you’ll need:
- large bowl: for mixing the dry ingredients and the dough
- whisk: to whisk dry ingredients together. If you mix the corn syrup and water together in a bowl, you can use the whisk to mix them together really well, also
- rolling pin: to roll out your dough. I prefer a tapered French pin
- bench knife: One of the most useful tools in my kitchen, I use it for everything from portioning dough to transferring crackers, cleaning off my work surface, and helping to unstick any dough that might stick to the counter
- kitchen scale: especially with copycat recipes, you want to be as accurate with measurements as possible, so if you don’t have a kitchen scale, please get one
Tips and Tricks for Success
Here are some tips for cracker success:
- Cut in fat with a light touch.
- Bake at a high temperature. 400F works well for these crackers.
- Reroll scraps only once to make a second round.
- Bake crackers on a rack for even air circulation and to guard against excessive and/or uneven browning.
These two bear repeating in teal text boxes:
Bake crackers on a grid-type cooling rack on a half-sheet pan. This allows for even crisping and browning with much less chance of burning.
Even if you have enough dough leftover for a third roll, don’t do it. Second roll crackers will be almost as good as first roll crackers, but ones made by rerolling again will be tough and weird.
Lots of smackerels are great on a homemade Ritz cracker, because as the ads used to say, everything is better when it sits on a Ritz!
From eating them sandwiched together with peanut butter or open-faced with some peanut butter and a healthy smear of mixed berry jam or apricot preserves to using them as the base for my mom’s Red Sauce–the best sauce to pour over a block of cream cheese ever, you just really can’t go wrong.
For a super easy appetizer or light supper, pair them with broiled goat cheese. You won’t be sorry!
Ritz Cracker Q & A
As written, yes, although the sugar and corn syrup can be questionably vegan. Of course, if you substitute ghee or clarified butter for the butter-flavored shortening, the crackers will no longer be vegan, but they will be vegetarian.
After the second bake, cool them completely and then store them in an airtight container. They should be good for about a week.
The best way to do this is to put them on a paper towel-lined plate and microwave them for 30 seconds or so. Allow them to cool to room temperature on a rack, and they’ll be good as new. Be careful not to leave them in the microwave too long or they will start to burn. One minute will be too long, so start checking them at 30 seconds. You should hear a gentle sizzle when you open the microwave, and they should be very warm but not scorching hot.
There’s really no reason to freeze the baked crackers, but you can freeze the dough for up to a couple of months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge and then roll them, cut them, and bake as directed. You can also freeze the cut crackers before baking and then bake them directly from frozen on a rack on a cookie sheet.
Other Cracker and Snacky Recipes
Please, please, please make some pimento cheese to enjoy on Ritz crackers. You will be so very happy you did.
I also have a pimento cheese spread that has some cream cheese in it so you can unmold it for fancy parties. Or for Halloween, as you’ll see if you follow the link!
If you enjoy rye, you may like my little rye crackers. Build baby Reubens on them with a little corned beef, a spoonful of sauerkraut, and a wee drizzle of Russian dressing.
If you love crispy, then you’ll love my puff pastry cheese straws. Very easy to snack upon.
If you have any questions about this or any other recipe or post on the site, there are a few ways to get in touch.
You can leave a comment on the post, and I’ll be back in touch within 24 hours.
If your question is more pressing, don’t hesitate to email me, and I should be back in touch within 4 hours (unless I’m asleep) or often much more quickly than that.
A Note About Measurements
This is the kitchen scale that I recommend for home cooks and bakers. Using a scale will help you be more accurate and consistent in your measurements.
It is lightweight, easy to store, accurate, and very easy to use.
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
I hope you’ve learned something from this post or that you’ve decided to make the recipe.
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- 7.6 oz (216 grams or about 1 3/4 cups) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3.1 grams (generous 3/4 teaspoon) salt (I use Morton's kosher salt. Weighing it will give you the most accurate measuremnt)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 oz (57 grams or a scant 1/4 cup) vegetable shortening (I used Crisco. For extra buttery flavor, use 1 oz each regular and butter-flavored Crisco)
- 3 oz (28 grams or 2 Tablespoons) cold water
- 1 oz (28 grams or 2 scant Tablespoons) light corn syrup
- butter-flavored Crisco, melted
- kosher salt, for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the corn syrup and cold water to dissolve the syrup. Set aside.
- Add the vegetable shortening (plain or a mixture of plain and butter-flavored) to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and rub it in with your fingertips pretty thoroughly. You want to make sure there are no large pieces, but the mixture should still have a light and floury texture when you're finished. It shouldn't seem oily or curmbly.
- Evenly drizzle in the water/corn syrup mixture, making to scrape the bowl/pitcher to get any corn syrup that might be clinging to the sides or bottom.
- Stir together the liquid into the dry ingredients with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to keep from overmixing.
- Once the mixture it thoroughly wet, give it a couple of kneads in the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated.
- Scrape the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it well, and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, heat your oven to 400F and set a rack in the center of the oven.
- Get a half-sheet pan and fit it with an oven-safe, grid-style coolling rack. Set aside.
- Once your dough has rested in the fridge, liberally flour a clean work surface, cut the dough in half, and work with 1/2 at a time and put the other half back in the fridge.
- Place half the dough onto the floured surface and flour the top.
- Roll the dough out as thinly and evenly as you can. You should just be able to see the counter through the dough, but it shouldn't be so thin you could read through it. Shoot for about 3mm or a little thinner than 1/8".
- Use a fluted round cutter to cut out crackers as close together as you can. Gather up the scraps, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate. You should be able to get about 30 crackers from the first pass.
- Snip the tip off a skewer or toothpick and make 7 holes in each cracker. One in the center, and 6 in a circle around the first hole.
- Remove the crackers to the grid on the baking sheet. You can place them very close together--they won't spread. Leave maybe 1/4" between the crackers.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Rotate the pan 180 degrees, and bake an additional 3-4 minutes, until crackers are puffed and golden-brown.
- As soon as the crackers come out of the oven, brush each one liberally with the metled butter-flavored Crisco and then sprinkle with just a touch of salt. Use less than you think you need. One reasonable-sized pinch of salt should be enough to very lightly salt the whole tray.
- Repeat steps 10-18 with the other half of the dough.
- Combine the scraps from both halves of the dough and press them together into a rough disc. Roll out to about 3 mm thick and cut as many more crackers as you can. Throw away any scraps as crackers made with them will be tough and weird.
- Bake off the rerolls as you did the other two trays.
- Turn off the oven and let it cool to no hotter than 275F.
- Place all the crackers back in the oven and let them sit in the hot-but-off oven for about 20-30 minutes to dry out and crisp up.
- Remove from the oven again and allow them to cool completely before storing in airtight containers for about a week.
- To recrisp any that seem to be getting soft, but them on a paper towel-lined plate in the microwave and microwave them on high for 30-40 seconds. Allow them to cool completely for maximum crispiness.
For More Buttery Flavor
Try using all-butter flavor Crisco as opposed to just using it to brush the tops after baking.
To Use Real Butter
The flavor will not be the same at all, but if you want to use real butter, your best bet is to use clarified butter or ghee instead of whole butter. Since butter has water in it, it will make your crackers tougher, but both clarified butter and ghee are both 100% butterfat with no water.
- Make cheese Ritz by adding 3-4 oz shredded sharp cheddar to the dough. Cut back on the Crisco by half.
- Add 2 teaspoons of your favorite herb blend to make herbed crackers
- Add 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder plus a little cayenne for savory, spicy crackers
After cooling completely, store in air-tight containers for up to a week. Recrisp on a paper towel-lined plate in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then let them cool completely again.
Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 5 crackers
Amount Per Serving Calories 92Total Fat 4.6gSaturated Fat 1.4gSodium 94mgCarbohydrates 11.6gFiber 0.4gSugar 0.6gProtein 1.4g
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Thanks so much for spending some time with me today.
I hope you enjoy the homemade Ritz crackers. Downhome never felt so fancy!
Take care, and have a lovely day.