You’ll love this salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy saltine cracker candy, sometimes known as Christmas Crack, and you can make it in 15 minutes with just 5 ingredients!

Pretzel topped flavor of christmas crack stacked on top of each other on a white plate.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled ingredients for Christmas crack in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Saltine crackers: Or substitute Club crackers, graham crackers, or buttery Ritz crackers.
  • Chocolate: Sometimes chopped bar chocolate works better than chocolate chips depending on which brand you use. You can either melt the chocolate in the microwave and pour it over the top, or sprinkle the chips on the hardened caramel topping, let them sit for a minute to melt, and then spread the softened chocolate chips with a spatula. Make sure the caramel topping is still warm when you add the chocolate or the layers might separate.
  • Toppings: Try chopped pecans, pretzels, OREOs, M&Ms, toffee bits, peanut butter cups, toasted coconut, coarse sea salt, dried fruit, candy canes, or drizzles of white chocolate. Or, just leave it plain!

Step-by-step instructions:

I highly recommend a candy thermometer so you know when the caramel hits the right stage in hardness (300 to 310 degrees Fahrenheit).

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, foil, or a silicone baking mat. This makes the cooled cracker toffee easy to remove. Arrange the saltines in a single layer in the pan.
    A layer of saltine crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep your eye on it and watch for the mixture to darken. If you have one, a candy thermometer should read 270-290 degrees.
    Someone taking the temperature of christmas crack sauce in a black skillet.
  3. Carefully pour it over the crackers and spread it evenly with a spatula.
    Christmas crack sauce being spread onto the layer of saltine crackers on a baking sheet.
  4. Pop the whole sheet into the oven and bake at 300 degrees for 5 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 300-310 degrees, otherwise known as the hard-crack stage of caramel. Remove the pan from the oven and scatter chocolate chips over the hot crackers. Wait a few minutes to let them melt and soften, then spread the chocolate evenly.
    Chocolate being spread onto the layer of saltine crackers.
  5. You can leave the candy plain, or top that melted chocolate will take whatever you have: crushed OREOs, toasted pecans, candy, pretzels, you name it. Press the pieces into the still-warm chocolate using the flat side of a spatula. As the pan cools, the crackers will form a single sheet. You can break it up into jagged pieces, or cut it into squares with a heavy-duty chef’s knife.
    Top layer of christmas crack split into four toppings; pretzels, oreos, m&ms, and pecans.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Getting the caramel just right: Because everyone’s oven is a little different, you may have to bake a little longer, or adjust the oven up a bit to get the caramel to get to the hard-crack stage. I really recommend a candy thermometer so you know when you are in the 300 to 310-degree range.
  • Cool completely: Sometimes the candy can stick to the foil or paper, so try to let the candy cool enough so that you can handle it, then take it off the foil or parchment.
  • Storage: Depending on the season and the humidity, Christmas Crack should keep well in an airtight tin or container for about a week. Or if you’re in the Midwest, do you ever do that thing where you store your Christmas treats outside on the patio or in your garage? Christmas Crack will be good in those sub-zero conditions for a few weeks at least.

Four flavors of christmas crack on a white platter.

More Christmas candy:

Christmas crack on a round plate.

Christmas Crack

You'll love this salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy saltine cracker candy, sometimes known as Christmas Crack, and you can make it in 15 minutes with just 5 ingredients!
5 from 94 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 373

Ingredients 

  • 35-40 saltine crackers (see note 1)
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (see note 2)
  • 1 ½ cups toppings such as chopped pecans, crushed pretzels, M&Ms, or crushed OREOs (see note 3)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 15” x 10” x 1” pan with parchment paper, foil, or a silicone mat. Line up crackers in a single layer in rows on prepared sheet.
  • Meanwhile, using a candy thermometer, melt butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 to 3 minutes (270 to 290 degrees if using a candy thermometer). Immediately pour over crackers and spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Bake 5 minutes or until the candy hardens (300 to 310 degrees if using a candy thermometer). Remove from oven.
  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second increments at 50% power until melted. Spread over hardened caramel. (You can also sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hardened candy, pop it back in the oven until melted, and spread after that).
  • Sprinkle nuts or other toppings and press into the chocolate using a greased spatula. Cut into squares while warm. Cool completely for at least 15 minutes and store in the refrigerator.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Saltine crackers: Or substitute Club crackers, graham crackers, or buttery Ritz crackers.
  2. Chocolate: Sometimes chopped bar chocolate works better than chocolate chips depending on which brand you use. You can either melt the chocolate in the microwave and pour it over the top, or sprinkle the chips on the hardened caramel topping, let them sit for a minute to melt, and then spread the softened chocolate chips with a spatula. Make sure the caramel topping is still warm when you add the chocolate or the layers might separate. 
  3. Toppings: Try chopped pecans, pretzels, OREOs, M&Ms, toffee bits, peanut butter cups, toasted coconut, coarse sea salt, dried fruit, candy canes, or drizzles of white chocolate. Or, just leave it plain!
  4. Getting the caramel just right: Because everyone's oven is a little different, you may have to bake a little longer, or adjust the oven up a bit to get the caramel to get to the hard-crack stage. I really recommend a candy thermometer so you know when you are in the 300 to 310-degree range.
  5. Cool completely: Sometimes the candy can stick to the foil or paper, so try to let the candy cool enough so that you can handle it, then take it off the foil or parchment.
  6. Storage: Depending on the season and the humidity, Christmas Crack should keep well in an airtight tin or container for about a week. Or if you're in the Midwest, do you ever do that thing where you store your Christmas treats outside on the patio or in your garage? Christmas Crack will be good in those sub-zero conditions for a few weeks at least.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 2gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 275mgPotassium: 174mgFiber: 2gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 688IUCalcium: 37mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I followed these directions exactly and the chocolate chips will not melt enough to spread.  Next time i will just melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and spread over the top.  Any idea why the chocolate chips wouldn’t melt??   I put the pan back in the oven several times and they just wouldn’t melt enough to spread.

    1. Hi Tam, that seems odd to me. Was the oven hot? I cannot image why chocolate chips would not melt if the oven was hot. I mean, eventually they would have to melt. Right? Did they ever take on that shiny look, appearing as if they have softened? It would definitely be easier to spread the melted chocolate if the chips were already distributed on top. Not sure what’s going on! Sorry about that.

    2. Hi Janice, I sent you an email to try to make things right. I’ve fixed the recipe including Valerie’s suggestions for using a candy thermometer, so hopefully others will have more success. Thanks for your feedback!

    3. Hi Tam, I sent you an email to try to make things right. I’ve fixed the recipe including Valerie’s suggestions for using a candy thermometer and lowering the oven temp so the chocolate doesn’t seize. Thanks for your feedback!

    4. I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times in the past. You need to use high quality, newly purchased chocolate chips. If you use cheaper chocolate or chocolate chips that have been in the pantry for a while, it won’t spread. If that doesn’t work, I’m not sure.5 stars

  2. Thanks for your reply. I do use a lot of foil in pan and when it cools enough to be cut I cut it. Then place in fridge till harden. I lift out by foil and turn upside down on wooden cutting board. Trying to peel foil off is easy on the first inch or so near edges but the middle sticks to foil badly and a lot of the cracker and Carmel stuff won’t peel from foil I wind up tossing foil and a lot of the Christmas crack away.5 stars

    1. Hi Sha, I sent you an email to try to make things right on the Christmas Crack front. Thanks for your feedback so I can improve the recipe!

    2. Thank you or your reply, I’d like to share that after talking to several people they suggested one thing I may be doin wrong is to NOT stir the butter and sugar those 3 min during boil…I was stirring like crazy afraid it might burn or stick.5 stars

    3. Thanks for this, Sha! I will update the recipe and add the info about not stirring. I sent you an email regarding your first attempts with the recipe, please let me know if you didn’t receive it. Thanks!

    1. Yes, absolutely! That’s actually how my mom makes it. I will add that to the recipe notes. :) Thank you for your question!

  3. Every time I make this the middle is gooey and I have a hard time getting out of pan, I line pan with foil and the foil sticks like glue. I’ve tried boiling sugar and butter longer… Please help

    1. Hi Sha, you should be using a baking sheet with a very small rim (not a cake pan, for example). Even if the foil sticks to the candy, you should be able to cut it and just peel the foil off. I would also say make sure you are covering the pan completely with foil, even if that requires more than one piece, so you can slide the candy off the pan to a cutting board before cutting. The middle might be gooey at first but should harden eventually. Does any of this sound like it might help, or am I just barking up the wrong tree here? So sorry you are having issues!

    2. Its very important to remember to use PAM or some other type of non stick spray on your foil before you put the crackers down. Otherwise you will have a sticky mess!5 stars

    3. Hey Lois, that’s a great idea. I have never actually done that, but that would probably help a lot. Come to think of it, I think the last time I made this, I used parchment paper. I wonder if that’s why it worked better. Sha, do you happen to have parchment paper? I would try that if you have it or feel like buying it. I’m so sorry for all the issues.

  4. This recipe does not specify using unsalted butter, although that is what is shown in the photo. Is unsalted butter recommended, or is salted butter okay to use?

    1. Hi Gwyndolyn, sorry for the confusion here. I *rarely* have unsalted butter on hand and don’t normally cook with it. I may have used it that one day when I took the photos, but if I were going to make Christmas Crack today (and I just made it two weeks ago) I would use salted butter. I know the argument about why you shouldn’t – so you can control the salt in a dish, manufacturers all use different amounts of salt, etc. But, I don’t worry about that. I really don’t. So, use whatever you want! If you are watching your salt intake or something, please feel free to use unsalted.

    1. Hi Susan, I would keep these for weeks refrigerated or frozen (or on a cold, wintery patio). At room temperature, maybe 4 to 5 days depending on the temperature inside your house.

  5. Magic! What I love about these is that they seem so fancy but hide a sneaky little fact – they only use 5 ingredients and are super easy to make. 
    Love the Parade post too – was a nice surprise to see one of my recipes there. Thank you Meggan – and wishing a wonderful Christmas to you and the family! xxx5 stars