Homemade Black Pepper Cheez-Its

in Appetizers, Snacks

Crunching on things helps me think. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately. My brain is full of life thoughts, to-do lists and stuff…all resulting in me being spacier than normal.

My brain doesn’t have space to remember where I put my car keys. There’s other more important things to have room for!

But seriously, WHERE ARE MY KEYS?!

I have a million dollar idea for us. Don’t worry it’s not a weird pyramid scheme or anything.

Here it goes: I want to invent noise stickers and attach it to everything important. Like my sunglasses, wallet, credit card, car keys, laptop, etc., so every time something is missing, I’ll be able to go to  a console where I’ll be able to page those things. Each item will have a different sound assigned to it so I’ll know which buttons to press.  .

This is genius, no?!

I’m pretty sure we can make billions off of this. 

Since we’re technically inventors now, we’ll be thinking a lot, hence our need for stuff to crunch on. That’s where these cheez-its come in!

Homemade crackers are about the easiest thing ever to make. The dough comes together in five minutes–in a food processor, no less.

The tricky part comes with the rolling out the dough.  You want it super thin.  This dough is going to want to naturally puff up in the oven.

I wanted the cheez-its to be uniform so I broke out my measuring tape.  Let’s be cheez-it pros, guys.

I rolled it out and then cut it a 12 x 6 rectangle. And then using my measuring tape as a guide and using my ravioli cutter, I cut 1 x 1 inch squares.

Next, I used the blunt end of a skewer to make a hole in the center of each cracker.  This does two things: makes it so they don’t rise, and gives them that cheez-it look.  Cute!
Homemade Black Pepper Cheez-Its
Recipe adapted from The Lee Bros. (via Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces

3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough roughly into a 13 by 7-inch rectangle that is 1/16-inch thick. With a pastry wheel, trim off the sides into a 12 by 6-inch rectangle.  Next, cut the dough into 1  by 1-inch squares.  Using the blunt end of a skewer make a hole in each cracker.  Gently transfer the crackers (I needed to use a sharp knife to get them off the table) to a parchment lined baking sheet.  The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best.  Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of kosher salt all over the pre-baked crackers.

Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the baking sheet on a rack to cool.

Serve at room temperature.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Blog is the New Black July 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I think they make something like that for keys and remotes already! 😉

These look wonderful!


Lauren July 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Thank you for posting. These look delicious! Must adapt to gluten free. :)


Kenzie July 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm

This does look good! I’d love to know how the gluten free trial goes! Post an update if you can…


Channeling Contessa July 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Adrianna- I just discovered your blog and am in absolute love! I can’t wait to try out this recipe and many others, they look so good!


Katrina July 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I love this idea! These crackers sound so yummy!


Michelle July 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm

What adorable (and delicious!) little crackers!!

Knowing my luck, I’d lose the console that would help me find things! :p


Erin July 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm


only one problem: I don’t have a food processor. Could I use…like a blender? Lame question I know. :)


Adrianna July 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Totally not lame! I’d fine grate the cheese and use a hand mixer, or just mix it up with a wooden spoon in a big bowl.


Lucy July 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm

UGenius ! Crackers look yummy. I will have to try.


DessertForTwo July 27, 2011 at 7:43 pm

How fun! I need these! And I’m so glad to know I’m not the only person using a tape measure in the kitchen.

Love your new header! Sorry if it’s not brand new, I usually read ya in Google Reader :)


fashionablecollections July 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm

wow these look so delicious. Definitely going to try it out.

Fashionable Collections


Gene Westbrook July 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Hi Adrianna, I recently began an Internet Cookbook Blog, http://www.magnoliacollectionrecipes.com. Your recipe for “Homemade Black Pepper Cheez-Its” looks fantastic. I will definitely be trying it. It seems that every time I make a homemade cracker-type snack, guests are always amazed & delighted. Your website & choice of recipes are very appealing to me. Love the photos with the floured rolling board, the ravioli fluting tool for the edging, the lack of artificial orange coloring in the crackers, & the heavy black peppering. Makes my mouth water!
Before beginning my adventure into the Internet world of cooking, I had written & self published four cookbooks with 250,000 cookbooks in print; then I retired to give extra time to aging parents. Guess I just couldn’t permanently stay away, so hear I go again!
This week, I plan to add some favorite website links to my site. If you can find the time, I would greatly appreciate you taking a look at my site. If you feel that it is worthy of a link from your site, I would be very flattered. My best regards, Gene Westbrook


Adrianna July 29, 2011 at 7:01 am

Hi Gene, Thanks so much for saying hi and all these kind words. You’re awesome. xo


Baltic Maid July 28, 2011 at 1:38 am

These crackers looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!!!


Becki @ Becki's Whole Life July 28, 2011 at 2:22 am

These look wonderful and how to fun to make your own crackers? I love the pepper in here. I am sure that addition really makes the cheese pop. Your pics are beautiful. I just bought a Pampered Chef pastry wheel so this would be a great recipe to try with it! Thanks for sharing this.


Angharad July 28, 2011 at 2:54 am

I just want you to know that thanks to that first {gorgeous} photo I am now munching mindlessly and happily on some pita crisps {who even knew that was a thing?} at my desk. Power of persuasion….at least to eat if not to make these lovely looking things. Hey, it’s late.


Russell at Chasing Delicious July 28, 2011 at 4:01 am

These are just too perfect. Not only do they look delicious but the shots are absolutely gorgeous! I am going to have to try these asap.

I’m right there with you loosing these little things. I like your idea. It would sure help me.


Alyssa Trobacher July 28, 2011 at 4:26 am

These look awesome! I can almost hear myself crunching on them now. Can’t wait to try them!


hannah July 28, 2011 at 8:15 am

Hey girl, they already have something like that. It’s called a keyfinder. Some are noise activated, while others have multiple finders you put on objects and they are controlled by a remote. When you push the color coded button (blue for keys, red for purse, etc etc) that object will make noise.


Adrianna July 29, 2011 at 7:01 am

Great. They stole my idea. :(


Winnie July 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

These are so perfect I can’t stand it! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe :)


NicoleD July 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Your cheez-its are very impressive! I tried making homemade whole wheat cheese crackers and they were a terrible failure. These beauties make we want to give it another try.


Donna M July 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

These look delicious and I cannot wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!!


Nadette July 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Oh how i need a food processor! Ever since I saw Smitten Kitchen make her own flatbreads, I’ve been itching to make my own crackers, and these crackers just upped the ante! I love anything with a healthy dose of black pepper andt hese look divine!


Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake) July 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

i love these they are so cute! how did you get them so perfectly shapped!


Stephanie July 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Your cheez-its are so cute! I just want to pluck one off the screen and eat it!


Aime July 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I love the sound of these and your photos are (as always) so gorgeous.

I have a pastry wheel like yours, but I am tempted to use the teeny cat-shaped cookie cutter that I have…it just wouldn’t make as much as squares and I don’t want to waste a crumb!


Adrianna August 4, 2011 at 4:05 am

WHA?!?! Cat shaped cheez-its. I love it.


chris@thekeenancookbook August 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm

We are cheeze it fiends! I made some for new years eve but they didn’t look anywhere as good as yours,so ill be trying your recipe soon.my mouth is literally watering.
Ps thanks for the tip on poking the hole to keep them from rising, I never knew


Kate @ Kate from Scratch August 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm

These look delicious! I love the cracked pepper addition. Fantastic.


Lisa @ The Cooking Bride August 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

These look so beautiful and so delicious!


gina August 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm
emily August 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm

These were delicious! although I must say, mine turned out very perpper-y & salt-y. But I still loved them. LOVE your blog. You’ve inspired me to cook/bake more! (which the boyfriend loves). Thanks!


Adrianna August 4, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I love this!


Megan August 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I actually tried making these today! They didn’t turn out anywhere near as pretty as yours though. … Probably because I didn’t have a tape measure handy and had to kind of eyeball it. They turned out delicious though! Tasted even better than a real cheez-it. I’ll have to make these again soon. :) Thanks!


Adrianna August 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Meh…pretty doesn’t always equal delicious. But delicious always equals pretty. (In my book.) :)


Dana August 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Just made these today– and let me tell you- they are AMAZING! As a family, we go through about 2 boxes of Cheez Its a week, but we don’t like the aftertaste they leave in your mouth- or the amount of fat in them– with this recipe, I know what I’m eating, there’s no aftertaste, and they’re better than the original! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe- love the addition of the black pepper!


Adrianna August 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Yay! Love it!


Wendy of Wendys Hat August 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Wow! These look incredible!


Gina August 14, 2011 at 1:40 am

If I could only use one word for these…it would be A-mazing!! But since I can never say just one word…hahaha…just wanted to let you know how fabulous I thought these were. My bf and I gobbled these up so fast that I will have to make another batch tomorrow to enjoy at a more leisurely pace. I think I’ll play around with some spice combos…maybe cayenne and parmesan? Can’t wait to make some more :) Thanks for sharing!


frog3knitter August 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm

If anyone is interested… : )

I use a coffee stir straw to poke the holes in my crackers.. : )
AND… with the leftover edges that I cut off to make my squares… I roll them into a long thin log and roll them in sesame seeds, cut them into small bite size pieces and bake them up golden brown for my hubby… he loves him some sesame seeds : )



Adrianna August 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I bet they’re awesome with sesame seeds! Love it.


Mindy August 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm

WOW – fantastic, we couldn’t stop eating them, and I can send these to school, they pass the healthy snack test – the teacher doesn’t allow the box Cheez-Its but will allow these. Even my 15 year old son who loves Cheez-Its and was a skeptic and thought why bother, it’s just easier to open the box, realized these are probably healthier than the real thing and better! Thank you for your creativity, I found your blog from PW and I follow you regularly.


Adrianna August 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Awesome, Mindy! So glad. Yay.


Aybige-The Cat's Notebook September 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Hi Adrianna! Lovely blog, I started to look today page by page. Great idea this recipe and I would like to try but what is “half and half”? Cheers.


Adrianna September 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Half & half is definitely an American thing. Sorry! Half & half is simply half parts heavy cream and whole milk. You can substitute regular milk or heavy cream–should be fine. Hope that helps!


50+ and on the Run October 31, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Oh, these look great–gonna try these tonight while answering the door for trick-or-treaters! And thanks for the milk tip–I never have half-and-half around the house.


Noel February 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

My kids loved them. I used gluten free flour for one batch. My kids liked the one with gluten free better than the gluten ones. Thanks for sharing.


Adrianna February 3, 2012 at 11:53 am

Whoa. This makes me SO happy. Also, good to know they can be made gluten-free. Amazing.


Debra Fernandes July 31, 2012 at 11:28 am

how do I transfer to Enlish ie cups to ounces as for flour also is 1 1/2 teaspoon or 1and1/2 teaspoon black peper etc am desparate to try these


Katrina October 19, 2012 at 10:02 am

This is such a cute idea!
I think I may bring these to family thanksgiving!
I noticed people mentioning gluten free ideas. Tapioca flour is a great substitute, it is really hard to taste the difference between this and wheat flour.


Naomi December 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

These look lovely and delicious! But just so you’ll know, the cheese in your picture is shredded, not grated. Grated cheese is tiny, like what you do to Parmesan. Or nutmeg. It will make a difference in your recipe too. You have large shreds of cheese, and it IS what you want in this recipe. I like the touch with the zig zag cutter too. Yours turned out so nicely.


Romina February 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm

What brand and size food processor do you use?


Adrianna February 26, 2013 at 12:02 am

I have a 3-cup Kitchenaid.


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