The Secret Ingredient to These Homemade Cheese Crackers? Instant Mac and Cheese Powder

POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois
POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois

Christina Tosi is known for the over-the-top cakes and confections from her Milk Bar bakery. The famous chef has an abundance of recipes on her website, and one that recently intrigued me is her recipe for homemade cheese crackers. The secret ingredient? Well, it's something you probably already have in the back corner of your pantry or cabinet: the cheese powder from a box of instant macaroni and cheese!

These homemade Cheez-Its require minimal ingredients, a little time and patience, and just a few pieces of equipment. The basic dough is a great base for just about any flavoring you want to add. In the past, I've made ranch cheese crackers using powdered ranch dressing mix, spicy cheese crackers by adding sriracha, and even garlic and herb cheese crackers with dried herbs and garlic powder mixed right into the dough before baking.

POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois

The recipe is super easy to follow and uses a food processor to mix everything up. If you don't have a food processor, you could easily do this by hand, with a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, but it will take a little bit longer since you want to incorporate the ingredients really well.

POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois

The butter for the mix needs to be cut up into smaller chunks so it breaks down into the cheese mix without leaving big clumps. This is also when you're going to want to add any additional flavoring.

POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois

I pulsed the ingredients together to start then ran my food processor on high for about 30 seconds to get everything mixed well. When it's ready, it will form a thick dough and begin to pull away from the sides of the food processor. The dough should look electric orange thanks to the addition of the powdered cheese from the box of macaroni and cheese.

POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois

Flour a work surface lightly, dump the dough out onto the flour, and try to form it into a rectangle for easy rolling. The dough will be a little sticky, so if you need to flour the top of the dough to roll it out easier, that's fine. I floured mine a few times as I rolled it out so it didn't stick to my rolling pin.

You could also roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap for an easier cleanup. If you go this route, make the pieces larger than you think you're going to need them to be.

POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois

Be sure to roll your dough out pretty thin since these bake at a lower temperature for a pretty short amount of time. Cut it up into pieces, in whatever shape you want. I find it easier just to make squares with a pizza cutter so I can get these on a pan, into the oven, and into my mouth faster!

POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois
POPSUGAR Photography | Megan duBois


Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 to 25 minutes
Yield2 servings

Christina Tosi


    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 shredded cheddar cheese (if you don't have cheddar, use whatever kind of shredded cheese you have)
    • 1 packet cheddar cheese powder from boxed macaroni and cheese
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 tablespoon water


    1. Heat oven to 250°F.

    2. Mix flour and both cheeses together with a food processor, with a mixer, or by hand.

    3. Add butter and water and mix until the ingredients form a bright-orange dough.

    4. Flour work surface, dump dough out onto it, and roll into a thin sheet, or roll the dough into a thin sheet between two pieces of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap. Cut the sheet into shapes with a pizza cutter. Transfer each individual cracker to a sheet pan.

    5. Optional: before baking, poke a hole in the top of each cracker to make it look more like the real thing from the store.

    6. Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on how thick your crackers are and how crispy you want them. They should be golden brown around the edges.

    7. Let cool before devouring.


    You can make these into just about any flavor you want, including spicy sriracha, zesty ranch, and garlic and herb.