Homemade Cheez-Its

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on January 31, 2011

Guess what? An improved, updated version of this recipe can be found in my cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats. Buy it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local indie bookstore!

My latest piece for ReadyMade magazine was an assignment that made my junk food-loving heart sing: create a recipe for homemade Cheez-Its and hold a blind taste test to judge them against regular and natural brands.

Unsurprisingly, my call for taste test volunteers was well-received. Putting a bunch of women in a room with a few bottles of wine and asking them to wax poetic on the merits of different cheese cracker brands is something to behold. The best comment of the judging panel: “Can we put these on pizza later?” (I’ve still got the unedited discussion on mp3, if you’re willing to pony up a few hundred bucks for access to our Prosecco-fueled pontifications.)

Our highly scientific findings? We discovered that the perfect Cheez-It cracker has superior crunch, unmistakable cheese flavor that doesn’t devolve into pure saltiness, and just enough grease to leave a light sheen on your fingers.

But the thing is, there’s no such thing as a bad Cheez-It. Even though the slightly sour aftertaste of one brand was unflatteringly compared to fish food (ok, who amongst my friends has actually tasted those little amino flakes? My lips are sealed) and the texture of another reminded us of a communion wafer, we all fully admit that we’d kill a whole box of any of the brands sampled while parked on the couch watching Parks and Recreation. An imperfect Cheez-It is still a mindlessly edible Cheez-It.

Click the image below for a full-size PDF of our Taste Off.

The group wasn’t as kind to the other kind of junk food we taste tested that night. Note to “healthy” cookie companies: when you get responses like “tastes like a basement” and “Is this a dog treat?”, it might be time to reformulate your recipes. What is this mysterious food? The answer is revealed in the April/May issue of ReadyMade.

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