The best graham cracker crust comes from homemade Graham crackers. I realize that might seem a little…much…for some folks, but honestly, they aren’t hard to make, and if you’re just going to turn them into crumbs, you don’t even really have to bother rolling them out and cutting them.
I am telling you, if you are a cheesecake fan or a no-bake pie fan, you will really be able to up your Graham crust game by making Graham crackers from scratch!
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Why Make Your Own Graham Crackers?
Mass produced food is convenient, but it isn’t always awesome and doesn’t always contain the highest quality ingredients.
For example, here’s the ingredient list for Nabisco’s Honey Maid Graham crackers:
- Unbleached Enriched Flour
- Graham Flour
- Soybean And/Or Canola Oil
- Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate)
- Soy Lecithin
- Artificial Flavor
While there is nothing inherently awful about this ingredient list, there is no really good reason for the oils, lecithin (an emulsifier) or the artificial flavor.
When you make your own Graham crackers, you can leave out the lecithin altogether and use butter and real flavoring/s for Way Better Flavor than store-bought.
By the way, Honey Maid Graham Crackers have a 182-day shelf-life. Is that the kind of cookie you want to make a crust out of?
I think not.
How To Make Graham Crackers
Homemade Graham crackers are easy to make. And, once you’ve made them, save some for eating and then grind the rest up in the food processor to make the best Graham cracker crust you’ve ever had.
You can also freeze the crumbs for a good month or two so they’ll be ready the next time you need to whip up a Graham crust.
Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- all purpose flour
- whole wheat flour or Graham flour (they’re pretty much the same thing)
- baking soda
- brown sugar (dark or light)
- Whisk all the dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Cream the butter, brown sugar, and honey together until smooth.
- Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed.
- Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment until about 1/8″ thick.
- Refrigerate for about an hour to firm the dough up.
- Bake until done.
Once they’re ready to bake, you can either use a pizza wheel to cut them into crackers of whatever size you want or leave it as one big sheet to bake and crumble for crumbs.
If you do decide to cut them, to make them look like “authentic” Graham crackers, use the tines of a fork to pierce them all over to give them that classic look.
Once you bake your Grahams, go back over your score marks with the pizza cutter as soon as they come out of the oven. Let cool completely and then break them apart into crackers.
Why Is My Crust Sometimes So Hard To Cut?
The phenomenon of the hard as a rock Graham cracker crust has to do with the amount of sugar you add to your crumbs (and the amount of sugar that’s in the cookies you use to make the crumbs).
If you add a lot of sugar to your crust, especially if you prebake it, all that sugar will melt and then harden into a sheet of candy that you just can’t cut with the side of a fork.
PRO TIP: There is no real need to add additional sugar to crumb crusts. The filling is usually sweet enough, and your crumb crusts will turn out crunchy yet easy to cut.
If making a crumb crust with a very sweet cookie, add some ground nuts to the crumbs to cut down on the sweetness and reduce the risk of your crust turning hard as a rock.
What To Do with Your Graham Crackers or Crumbs
Just because the recipe you’re following doesn’t call for a Graham cracker crust doesn’t mean you can’t make one.
Graham cracker crust is ridiculously tasty and there’s no reason you can’t use one to go with your favorite cheesecake or no-bake recipe.
If you have a lot of crumbs, you can use them to add crunch to ice cream like in my strawberry cheesecake ice cream or top any Sundae.
You could even make a “S’mores Sundae” with hot fudge sauce, marshmallow fluff, and Graham cracker crumbs!
How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust Out of Graham Crackers
Whether you’re using store bought Grahams or you make your own, making your crackers into a Graham cracker crust is really easy.
- Measure out 1 1/2-2 cups Graham cracker crumbs.
- Pulse with 1/2-3/4 stick butter and a pinch of salt.
- Press into the bottom and up the sides (or not) of your pie pan or springform pan.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F to set the crust.
A Note About Measurements
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids. Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat, (or Graham) flour
- 1 t . baking soda
- 1 t . cinnamon
- 1/2 t . salt, or to taste
- 8 oz . butter (2 sticks)
- 5 oz dark brown sugar, (you can use light, if that's what you have)
- 2 T . honey
- Thoroughly whisk together dry ingredients.
- Cream butter, brown sugar and honey until smooth. It doesn't need to be light and fluffy. Just smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough just comes together.
- Remove from mixer and roll out between two sheets of parchment to about 1/8" thickness.
- Chill this sheet of dough until firm-ish.
- Sprinkle your crackers with cinnamon sugar before baking, if you want.
- Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheet/s at 350 degrees, F, until golden and firm--the timing depends on if you've cut them apart or are baking them as one humongous cookie.
- Allow to cool completely, then break the cookies apart or just crumble them or whir them in a food processor to make crumbs.
To make your Graham crust, take some graham crumbs (usually 1 1/2-2 cups is sufficient for a 9" crust) and mix them with melted butter and the optional nuts until it just holds together. Then, press it into the pie pan and bake at 350 degrees, F, for about 8-10 minutes to set the crust.
- KitchenAid 6 quart Stand Mixer
- KitchenAid Hand Mixer
- Unbleached Parchment Sheets for Half Sheet Pans
- Set of Two Half-Sheet Pans
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Amount Per ServingCalories 91 Saturated Fat 3g Cholesterol 13mg Sodium 113mg Carbohydrates 10g Sugar 4g
Thanks for spending some time with me today.
Enjoy the best Graham cracker crust you’ll ever make (and eat), and have a lovely day.