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, a lemon meringue tart 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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Homemade graham crackers stacked on a plate.

Homemade Graham Crackers, At a Glance

✅Skill Level: Beginner
✅Skills: The Creaming Method
✅Type: Crunchy Cookies
✅Number of Ingredients: 8
✅Prep Time: 15 minutes
✅Cook Time: 15 minutes
✅Chill Time: 1 hour
✅Yield: 72 cookies

Jump Straight to the Recipe

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
  • Sugar
  • Soybean And/Or Canola Oil
  • Honey
  • Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate)
  • Salt
  • 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.

If you know how to do the creaming method, you’re good to go and can skip straight to the recipe.

How To Make Graham Crackers

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

Ingredient collage for making Graham crackers.
  • all-purpose flour: You can most likely make these with all whole wheat flour. Using half all-purpose makes them a bit more refined in texture
  • whole wheat flour: or Graham flour. The two are similar and are interchangeable for the purposes of making these cookies/crackers
  • baking soda: reacts with the molasses in the brown sugar to provide just a little lift so they aren’t too crunchy or hard when baked
  • cinnamon: for flavor. Switch things up and use pumpkin spice or apple pie spice if you’d like
  • salt: brings out the flavor of the molasses, butter, and honey
  • butter: provides the fat, so it assists in browning and in helping the cookies hold together. It also carries flavor.
  • brown sugar: for sweetness, browning, and the acid to provide some lift. Use dark or light–it’s your preference.
  • honey: provides a bit of extra sweetness and keeps the cookies from drying out. Most honey is on the acidic side, so it too will react with the baking soda to provide some lift.

Procedure

  1. Whisk all the dry ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter, brown sugar, and honey together until smooth.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed.
  4. Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment until about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Refrigerate for about an hour to firm the dough up.
  6. 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.

How to Make a Crust from Your Homemade Cookies

Close up of meringue swirls and Graham cracker crust.
I made this crust for lemon meringue pie using my homemade Graham crackers. Delicious!

Whether you’re using store-bought Grahams or you make your own, making your crackers into a Graham cracker crust is really easy.

  1. Measure out 1 1/2-2 cups Graham cracker crumbs.
  2. Pulse with 3-4 Tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt. NOTE: Since homemade Graham crackers are much more buttery than store bought, you will most likely be able to get away with using less butter in your crumb crust. Try starting with 2 Tablespoons and only add more if the mixture doesn’t hold together when squeezed.
  3. Press into the bottom and up the sides (or not) of your pie pan or springform pan.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F to set the crust.

Other Ways to Use Your Graham Crackers

Of course, cheesecake comes to mind first. You can make a classic New York cheesecake or consider making a butterscotch cheesecake or maybe a chocolate cheesecake.

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!

Or use homemade Graham cracker crumbs in my S’mores Bars and then plop some ice cream on top of one of those!

Tips & Tricks for Success

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.

There’s no need to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. We’re making cookies and not a cake, so they don’t need to rise high.

Just blend the butter and sugar together until they form a paste.

If you’re going to be making Graham crackers to use for crust, there is no real reason to cut them into individual cookies. You can just bake them as one large sheet and then crumble them when they cool.

If you are going to cut them into individual cookies, use a pizza wheel for this. You can measure them if you want, but I just zip the cutter back and forth to get reasonably uniform squares.

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.

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.

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.

Homemade Graham Cracker Q & A

What’s the difference between whole wheat flour and Graham flour?

In whole wheat flour, the entire wheat berry is ground together to make flour. In Graham flour, the three parts: germ, endosperm, and bran, are ground separately. The endosperm is ground finely just like white flour while the bran and germ are more coarsely ground. Then it’s all mixed back together. And yes, you can absolutely use regular whole wheat flour in place of Graham flour in these 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 crus, 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.

How to crush Graham crackers without a food processor

I have a food processor, but I don’t always use it to make crumbs, so do what I do. Put your cookies in a heavy-duty zip-top bag and bash them into crumbs with a rolling pin. You probably won’t get it all crushed to dust, but it’ll do the job, and you’ll also be able to take out some of your frustrations on the cookies!

Questions?

If you have any questions about this post or recipe, I am happy to help.

Simply leave a comment here and I will get back to you soon. I also invite you to ask question in my Facebook group, Fearless Kitchen Fun.

If your question is more pressing, please feel free to email me. I should be back in touch ASAP, as long as I’m not asleep.

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03/07/2024 05:03 pm GMT

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homemade graham crackers

Graham Crackers

Jennifer Field
Homemade graham crackers are the best especially for graham cracker crusts. You can cut these with cutters, just bake them in a sheet, or you can slice them into thin rectangles and poke them with a fork to look like the boxed kind.  No need to separate them before baking.  You can break them apart when they're cool.

And you can and should use these to make the best ever Graham cracker pie crust too!
4.59 from 24 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Cookies and Bars
Cuisine American
Servings 72 Cookies
Calories 83 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat (or Graham) flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ½ 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

Instructions
 

  • 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 for an hour.
  • Optional: 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.

Did You Make Any Changes?

Notes

Storing

Your cookies will last in a sealed container at room temperature for about a week. If they do start to soften, you can refresh them in a 350F for 2-3 minutes. Cookies will recrisp as they cool.

Freezing

If you’d like, you can freeze the sheeted dough and save to bake some other time. Well wrapped, it will be fine for a month or even two.

To Make a Graham Cracker Crust

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 3-4 Tablespoons of butter and the optional ground 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.

Variations

Try experimenting with adding different spices. They’re your cookies, and wouldn’t ginger Grahams be delicious? Or pumpkin spice?

Tip

If you make a lot of crumb crusts, go ahead and blitz the whole batch up after baking then freeze the crumbs for the next time you need them. Measure out the amount you need and pulse with a little butter and a pinch of salt, then press into your pan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 83kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 109mgSugar: 5g
Keyword cookies, Graham cracker crust, graham crackers
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

Thanks for spending some time with me today. Enjoy the Grahams, take care, and have a lovely day.

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28 Comments

  1. In relation to the conversation about oil and butter, I am obsessed with brown butter and might like to try it when I make this. Should I add some water back in once I’ve browned the butter do you think?

    1. That is such a good question, Bee, and the answer is yes! Since butter is about 80%, in a recipe that was developed using whole butter, use 80% of the fat called for and add in roughly 20% additional liquid. There are also some milk solids to account for, but in a smaller-batch recipe, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Please let me know how they turn out–they sound like a stellar plan!

  2. Made the recipe per the instructions. Bake took quite a while to get done. This will be trial and error process. I can’t hold anything against it as so much of it has to do with taste. I am running a home bakery and confectionery. One of the things people like are the S’mores I make with homemade marshmallows and all scratch ingredients. The graham crackers are the last piece to the puzzle for me. I wanted a thicker cracker that would hold a good sized treat so this will take a bit of fooling around to get there.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. I’m glad it’s a good starting point for you–sometimes that’s all you need to go on and perfect your own. I can imagine that folks love made-from-scratch s’mores. Nice!

  3. 5 stars
    These are awesome!! I actually followed your recipe exactly… ok, well. ALMOST… I did use all whole wheat because I really love the flavour and texture. They are very buttery and delicious. I’m going to use the jagged edges for crust crumbs and some of the rest will be used for s’mores when we go on our Christmas tree hunt with the grands tomorrow. Thanks for a great recipe and Merry Christmas!!!

  4. Oh… and one used oil instead of butter, which is what is in the ingredient list of the store and name brands. Please remind me how that will change the texture, not just the flavour… thanks again. 🙂

  5. So… I have 8 Graham wafer recipes before me and so different!!! I think I am figuring out the ingredients (they are similar enough), but the mixing processes are of three types and I’m wondering how each method will affect the final product. You are the one who helped me to understand how that can change everything!!

    So… some treat the ingredients like a pastry dough and even just put it in a food processor.
    Some cream the butter like making cookies
    Some even go so far as to alternate adding the flour and liquid, the ones that add extra liquid…
    And you specifically say the butter doesn’t have to be “light and fluffy” which if I remember right usually makes for a better cookie

    Sooooo… can you explain why the differences or at least if the final product will be greatly affected based on the method I choose? Company’s Coming just says to put everything in a bowl and mix well…lol

    FYI these will MOSTLY be eaten as biscuits, not crushed for crusts.

    THANK YOU!! You have taught me so much already. I love the science of baking and understanding how I can change a recipe without destroying it… lol

    1. Oh, wow, this is so great! I love that you’re analyzing and comparing recipes and methods! A+++!

      When you’re looking at the methods for these Grahams, look at the proportion of flour to sugar to fat.

      Sugar brings moisture, tenderness and sweetness. Fat carries flavor, assists with leavening (in creaming) and tenderizes/inhibits gluten, and flour provides bulk and structure.

      The more fat to flour, the more render, and the sooner you introduce the fat to the flour, the more tender it’ll be. If you add a water-type liquid before you add fat, you’re toughening by developing gluten without any fat to inhibit it.

      Oil is 100% fat while butter is roughly 82% fat woth liquid and milk solids. All things being equal, oil will buy you a more tender dough since there’s no water to help develop gluten.

      There are a lot of moving parts, as you can tell! If you’re looking for crisp, whole crackers, choose a recipe that allows for moderate gluten development so your crackers won’t be too crumbly. I’d definitely go with butter over oil for that reason. The more sugar, the softer/more tender the cookie, so I’d choose a recipe that is lower in sugar.

      I hope that helps. Please report back!

      1. Awesome!! This is exactly what I needed to know!! Thank you so much.

        One other quick question. I have been totally convinced to switch to baking by weight — so much simpler!!! BUT, there is no weight for the flour in this recipe.

      2. I haven’t converted all the recipes yet, but for your reference, I weigh all-purpose flour at 4.5 oz/cup, cake flour at 4.25 oz per cup, and bread flour at 4.7 oz per cup. If you study my recipes, you’ll find some variation, but they all work as-written. With home-sized recipes rather than restaurant or bakery-sized, 1/10 oz of flour won’t make much difference. Hope that helps, Laurel!

  6. is this ‘dough’ supposed to be crumbly? doesn’t seem to stay together well for rolling . I tried a little water and it was better but hopefully I didn’t ruin it

    1. Yes, it’s a bit of a stiff dough. I think you’ll be fine with the additional water you added since whole wheat flour doesn’t develop gluten like more refined flours do. I hope you enjoy the Graham crackers!

  7. 4 stars
    had to improvise and make my own brown sugar, that extra bit of molasses gave it a more complex flavor.

    1. Yes, it’s the correct amount. This makes a fairly large batch of crackers though, so butter per cracker is really probably no more than about a teaspoon or so. You could absolutely give reducing the butter to 1 1/2 sticks a shot, and maybe adding just a touch more liquid. Take care.

  8. I’m a total newbie to baking and this is the second Graham Cracker recipe I’ve tried. Rolling the dough between parchment paper was the hot tip that changed my baking life.

  9. 5 stars
    THANK YOU.. an actual home made crust from scratch.. agh.. every other one is made from graham crackers – I don’t think that is homemade.

    1. Haha! You’re welcome! If you love homemade all-the-things, you need to pick up a copy of Stella Parks’s Brave Tart cookbook. Packed with homemade everything, including graham crackers, sweetened condensed milk, Nutter Butter cookies and tons and tons more. Highly recommend!

  10. I’ll have to try this out. So far I haven’t been very impressed with most pie crust recipies I’ve found online that recommend simple store bought crackers ground up and pressed with butter. I kept looking for a more authentic bakery style crust for my pies. So here’s looking forward to trying out this recipe sometime soon!

  11. I’m a new bakery owner, and I’m thankful for this post! I’ll be testing it out tomorrow for my pumpkin cheesecake crust! Thanks! xoxo – Taste of Love Bakery, LLC

    1. That’s great! (I just saw this comment–sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you) :/ So, what did you think, @d54c20300a345a2ed2c253025ffdce5b:disqus ? I hope it worked out for you! 🙂

  12. I am really starting to hate you, Jim. (she says as she prints off the recipe and checks her parchment paper supply…)

    There is NOTHING in this world more satisfying than graham crackers and peanut butter with a glass of ice cold milk.

    I am going to definitely have to consume more liquids to make up for all this ridiculous drooling!

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