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Skip the store and make your own Cheez-It party mix! Homemade cheddar cheese crackers are tossed with pretzels, wheat chex, oyster crackers, and the most addicting spice mix.The California Wine Club's Premier Series, the most popular of all the clubs.
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What makes this recipe special
Even before my college days, I would have junk food binges. I was one unhealthy teenager, skipping lunch and coming home to eat bowls of ice cream or chips. One of my favorite snacks was Cheez-Its. As ashamed as I am to say it, I made it my mission to try every flavor of the cheesy cracker. Now I'm proud to say that my snacks consist of healthier goodies. But I do still crave Cheez-Its every once in a while. To fill that void, I decided to make my own Cheez-It party mix. At least this way I know that the Cheez-Its have no preservatives or funky additives - just cheese!
- Flour: To make the crackers slightly healthier and heartier, we're using a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. You can substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose instead if you prefer.
- Sharp cheddar cheese: For the distinctive cheese flavor, use sharp cheddar cheese, not mild. You can purchase a block of sharp cheddar cheese and shred it by hand.
- Party mix: You can use any variety of crackers but I stuck with the original mix and included pretzels, corn chex, and oyster crackers. Just be sure to keep the amounts the same as listed in the recipe.
- Lawry's seasoned salt: A savory spice blend of paprika, celery, turmeric, garlic, salt, and other spices.
How to Make Homemade Cheez-It Party Mix
Step 1: Make cheez-it dough
Who would have thought Cheez-Its only consisted of 6 ingredients? Yes, it's that easy!
For the type of cheese, I stuck with sharp cheddar cheese since I wanted to make the original Cheez-Its. If you want to recreate one of their other varieties, explore different cheeses. Try Swiss, Colby, mozzarella, white cheddar, or cheddar jack for different options (yes those are all real flavors sold!).
A food processor is a great tool when making the dough; however, you can also use a pastry cutter or your hands. The key to making the dough correctly is using ice water. You want the dough to remain chilled to prevent the butter from melting. Why? The tiny pieces of cold butter will melt while baking, creating little pockets of crispy Cheez-Its.
Step 2: Cut and shape crackers
The dough itself is easy to make, it's the rolling and cutting part that becomes tedious. You want to make sure the crackers are 1/16-inch thin or they'll be too dense.
This recipe makes approximately 100 cheez-its, which means you have to cut 100 squares and pierce each one. Unfortunately, I do not have a fluted pastry cutter so my Cheez-Its didn't look exactly like the store-bought versions. But it's the taste that counts!
Unlike the store-bought Cheez-Its, these will puff up in the oven. Let them cool before mixing them with the other crackers and seasoning.
Since the seasoning mix already has salt, skip salting the cheez-its when they are finished baking.
In all honesty, the Cheez-Its themselves did not taste exactly like the store-bought versions. They are a bit more buttery but that's not necessarily a bad thing!
Step 3: Complete the party mix
Now that we have the base ready, it's time to toss together all the crackers. You can be creative with your party mix but I stuck to pretzels, wheat Chex, and oyster crackers.
The seasoning for the party mix is a little spicy with a bit of zest. Toss it all together and pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, stirring every minute. Then, let the crackers cool and dig in!
I have to say, this Cheez-it party mix is very addicting. Sure it makes a large batch, but you're going to need the entire lot, especially if you're making these for a party. I can sit here and munch on these for hours...which I guess isn't saying much since I have had those tendencies before. Nevertheless, I urge you to give these a try, with or without homemade Cheez-its!
Frequently asked questions
You can prepare it by hand and with the help of a pastry cutter. The process is similar to making biscuits, so if you're familiar with that method you'll be able to make these crackers.
Absolutely! You can make your own party mix and just purchase all of the crackers. Continue with the recipe, tossing everything in the spice mix and heating them in the microwave.
Store the crackers in an airtight container in a dry, cool area and it should last for 1 week.
More cheesy snack recipes
Looking for more cheesy snack ideas? Try these:
Homemade Cheez-It Party Mix
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour (100 grams)
- ⅓ cup whole wheat flour (50 grams)
- ¼ cup butter (57 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup ice water (62 ml)
- 2 cups unsalted pretzel sticks or mini pretzels
- 2 cups corn or wheat chex
- 2 cups cheez-its
- 2 cups oyster crackers or Cheerios, cornflakes, potato sticks, etc
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons Lawry's seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- Combine flours, butter, salt, and cheddar in a food processor. Pulse until salt and cheddar become small chunks. Add ice water while the food processor is running until a dough forms. Form dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out dough into a 1/16-inch thick square and cut into 1x1 inch squares. Poke a hole in the center of each square with a skewer. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until crackers are lightly puffed and golden browned. Remove and let cool completely.
- In a small bowl, combine melted butter with garlic powder, seasoned salt, chili powder, and cayenne.
- Toss cheez-its with pretzels, Chex, and oyster crackers. Pour seasoning butter over crackers and toss to coat. Microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 3 minutes, tossing every minute. Spread the party mix in an even layer on parchment paper and let cool. Serve.