It was only a matter of time before the Nostalgia Series had a homemade cheez its recipe included! Cheez its were my absolute FAV growing up. I would come home after school, turn on Oprah at 4pm and eat a huge bowl of cheez its. It was my ritual and those were the good ol’ days. So when the opportunity to make a homemade baked cheez its recipe popped up, you know I just had to take it. These are super easy, use real cheese and can easily be made vegan. Plus no food processor required. And you probably already have all the ingredients!
This whole entire recipe comes together in a stand mixer, and the actual dough takes about five minutes. After that it’s just rolling it out and shaping it, which is the fun part! These cheez-its are great as a weekend activity with kids or something to add to your stress-baking list. Or you can just make ’em to make ’em, which tbh is the best way to do it 😉
Table of contents
How this homemade cheez it dough comes together
When you look at how this dough is made, it might seem like magic. You just put everything in a stand mixer, let the mixer do all the work and then add water! Even when I write it down it seems kind of crazy.
There are a few reasons this dough comes together as easily as it does, but before we get to that part, let’s break down what you actually use in the dough:
- 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese – this is about half a pack, and it MUST be shredded. A block of cheese won’t break down the same.
- 150 grams all purpose flour – this is about 1 cup, packed.
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast – lots of people ask me about nutritional yeast. It’s a yellow powder that gives off serious parmesan vibes. I use it in this recipe to add cheese flavor, but without adding any fat or moisture that cheese has. This makes a crispier cracker, but without salvaging any flavor!
- 2 tsp salt – necessary for the taste!
- 2 tbsp turmeric – now this is optional. I use it mainly for color. Turmeric does have a distinct smell, so if you have a sensitive nose, feel free to skip this or use another orange food coloring alternative.
- 1 tbsp olive oil – most other recipes use butter as their fat source, but I’ve found oil works just as well. I even use it in my other Nutritional Yeast cracker recipe.
- 1/2 cup ice water – necessary to bring the dough together, it’s just that extra layer of moisture!
making the dough
Now the dough is super easy to make. Just throw all the ingredients in the mixer (except for the the water), and put the mixer on medium-high speed.
What’s happening now is the cheese shreds are gradually being broken down into minuscule pieces. They then get coated with the flour and spices, and the whole mixture ends up looking like bright orange gravel. Sounds bizarre….and is a little bizarre. But also 1 million times delicious.
When you get to the stage where your mixture looks like orange sand/gravel, that’s when you gradually pour in the ice water. Switch the mixer to low, and a dough will form in less than a minute.
The fattiness from the cheese helps this combination, and the water helps bring everything together. You don’t want to mix this dough too much though, because that will build up some gluten and make your cheez its tough. Mix it just enough to form it into a dough ball!
After that you just let it rest for a bit and you are good to go to the next step of rolling/cutting.
How to shape and cut the homemade cheez its
We all know how a cheez it looks, but when it comes to homemade baked cheez its, getting that perfect look isn’t always super easy. But there are a few ways I try to make it easier:
- Roll out the dough on a parchment paper surface – this will make it easier to cut and remove the cheez its, without having to roll them out on a floured surface. I’ve found a floured surface tends to ruin the look and feel of the cheez its, so I opt for the parchment paper trick instead.
- When rolling the dough, aim to make it into a long rectangle – it doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can definitely trim the edges. But starting with a square or rectangle shape will make it easier to cut out the cheez its.
- Use a small knife or pizza cutter to cut out long strips of the dough. Then do the same the other direction. This is the easiest way to get 1’x1′ squares of dough to make into your cheez its!
- And lastly, adding the circles in the middle of the crackers is def not required, but tbh it is pretty fun. So up to you what you choose with these!
Tips to get your cheez its extra crispy
Now when making homemade baked cheez its, it seemed almost impossible at first to replicated that amazing crunch that food science labs have carefully curated. But after some trial-and-error, I think I figured out how to get the perfect ~crisp~
The first thing you have to remember is roll the dough suuuuper thin. Thinner than you think it should be. I would say 1/4 cm is the most you want to go for. The dough is mostly cheese when you think about it, so the actual cracker needs to be very thin in order to get that cheese crispy in the cracker as opposed to chewy.
And the next way to get the crackers crisp seems kind of counterintuitive. We are going low and slow with the baking method. Bake these at 350F for 20 minutes. This will preserve their color and minimize browning, while still getting the crackers cooked through all the way. It’ll help give them that perfect crunch while keeping that light orange color!
And one last thing: let your crackers cool completely when they are out of the oven. Since these bbs are almost all cheese, they need that bit of time to crisp up! If you eat them fresh out fo the oven, you’ll be feeling some serious calzone vibes. Which is pretty delicious, but def not what we are going for.
Tips & substitutions
There are a few substitutions that are great for this recipe. I know that the ingredients are simple, but sometimes you don’t have everything on hand, and sometimes you want to veganize something or make it gluten free. And all of that can be done here!
Here are some substitutions you can make for this homemade cheez it recipe:
- All purpose flour – can be subbed for a 1:1 gf flour if you are gluten free!
- Shredded cheddar cheese – if you are vegan, there are tons of great dairy free alternatives on the market. I like Daiya cutting board shreds as a great alternative, but really any dairy free cheddar could work!
- Nutritional yeast – I know nutritional yeast is still becoming more common in grocery stores, so if you can’t find it, you can always use commercial cheddar cheese powder. That ingredient is also a bit hard to find, but it is sold in select grocery stores around the USA!
- No oi? Melted butter will work just fine 🙂
- And the turmeric is completely optional, it’s just for color. Feel free to leave it out if you don’t have any on hand!
And that’s it for this recipe! It’s a fun one, so definitely tag me on Pinterest or Instagram if you make it! And if you liked it, it would mean the world to me if you left a five star rating below. It really helps me and my website grow! Ok, after all of that, hope you love this recipe, and happy baking 🙂
Homemade Cheez-Its Recipe
- 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 150 grams all purpose flour OR 1:1 gf flour blend about 1 cup
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp turmeric optional, for color
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup ice water
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- In a stand mixer, add your cheese, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, turmeric and olive oil. Mix on high for about 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese has turned into crumbles and the whole mixture looks like bright orange sand.
- Drizzle in the ice water and put the mixer on low. Let it combine into a shaggy dough, then stop the mixer and use your hands to press the rest of the dough together.
- Press the dough into a ball, cover and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Place the dough on a large sheet of parchment paper and roll out until it is very thin. You want it no thicker than 1/2 cm thick.
- Cut the dough into 1' but 1' squares. You can do this by tracing long vertical strips down the dough, and then long horizontal strips.
- Use a chop stick or toothpick to indent a small circle into the center of each square.
- Separate the squares out and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until the edges of the crackers are slightly crispy. It is very important to let them cool all the way to allow the cheese to crisp up!
- After the crackers have cooled, they are ready to eat!