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!

A stack of Christmas crack on a gray plate.

I grew up eating Saltine Cracker Candy every Christmas. We stored the candy, and all of our holiday goodies, on the patio outside (or in the garage if it was going to be REALLY cold that night). Everything went in leftover ice cream pails or plastic tubs.

My favorite thing to do was build the cookie plate for Christmas morning. I’d choose a few of each and pile them on the large glass Christmas plate, building a collection of the best offerings from my mom’s annual baking day.

Christmas Crack always went on top and it was always the first treat to disappear. To this day, the cookie plate remains my favorite holiday tradition.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Christmas Crack Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Christmas Crack.

Ingredient notes

  • Chocolate: Sometimes chopped bar chocolate works better than chocolate chips. To melt the chocolate, you can either 1). melt it in the microwave and pour it over the top, or 2). 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.
  • Toppings: Try chopped pecans, pretzels, OREOs, M&Ms, toffee bits, peanut butter cups, toasted coconut, coarse sea salt, 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 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.
Saltine crackers lining a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  1. 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).
Someone holding a thermometer in a brown, bubbling liquid in a small pan.
  1. 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.
Someone spreading the sugar and butter mixture over the saltine crackers.
  1. 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).
Chocolate being spread onto the layer of saltine crackers.
  1. 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.
Four flavors of Christmas crack on a white platter.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 12 servings of Christmas Crack.
  • Storage: Depending on the season and the humidity, Christmas Crack should keep well in an airtight tin or container for about a week or longer at freezing temps (like on your patio or in your garage, Midwestern friends!).
  • Freezer: Christmas Crack freezes well! Break or cut it into pieces and store it in freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months.
Four flavors of christmas crack on a white platter.

Recipe FAQs

Why is my Christmas crack chewy?

The caramel topping needs to get to the hard-crack stage or it will be chewy. This means you may have to bake it a little longer or adjust your oven temperature slightly (every oven is different). I insist on a candy thermometer so you know when you are in the 300 to 310-degree range.

What can I substitute for saltine crackers in Christmas crack?

Club crackers, graham crackers, or buttery Ritz crackers are all delicious bases for this candy.

Why did my Christmas crack layers separate?

Make sure the hardened caramel topping is still warm when you add the chocolate to prevent separation.

Why is my Christmas crack sticking to the foil or parchment?

It might still be too hot. Let the candy cool until it’s easy to handle, then remove it from the foil or parchment.

A stack of Christmas crack on a 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 108 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 373

Ingredients 

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

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. Chocolate: Sometimes chopped bar chocolate works better than chocolate chips. To melt the chocolate, you can either 1). melt it in the microwave and pour it over the top, or 2). 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.
  2. Toppings: Try chopped pecans, pretzels, OREOs, M&Ms, toffee bits, peanut butter cups, toasted coconut, coarse sea salt, candy canes, or drizzles of white chocolate. Or, just leave it plain!
  3. Yield: This recipe makes about 12 servings of Christmas Crack.
  4. Storage: Depending on the season and the humidity, Christmas Crack should keep well in an airtight tin or container for about a week or longer at freezing temps (like on your patio or in your garage, Midwestern friends!).
  5. Freezer: Christmas Crack freezes well! Break or cut it into pieces and store it in freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 2gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 275mgPotassium: 174mgFiber: 2gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 688IUCalcium: 37mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. Definitely wasn’t what I was looking for when searching “Best Damn Crack Ever Recipe”. But this looks delicious.

  2. Can you clarify if the toffee mixture should be stirred constantly during the 3 minutes as it is getting up to 270?
    Sometimes toffee recipes say to stir UNTIL it comes to a boil, and then to stop stirring during those 3 minutes or so of cooking time.
    What method do you use?
    Thank you!

  3. I don’t understand why you bake the toffee mixture. I see all the recipes online say to bake it, so there must be a reason. Couldn’t you just cook it to hard crack stage (300 degrees) on the stove and pour it over the crackers? My mixture looked perfect (took it off the stove at 280), spread it onto the crackers, and baked for 5 minutes. The texture changed to gritty in the oven. My thermometer and oven are both calibrated. I’m a candy maker and tried this but failed and I’m not sure why. Maybe overcooked?

    1. Hi Judy, for my recipe, the caramel is nearly set and only needs 5 minutes in a 300-degree oven to harden. Anything hotter, at least for mine, and the sugar could burn and the caramel would be ruined. I just know that sugar burns, and it burns easily, so I bring it to a certain point on the stove and then finish it in the oven. In theory, I don’t see why you couldn’t, other than the candy may be harder to spread. Again, just speculation! I hope this is helpful even though I can only say why I’m doing what I’m doing, not in comparison to anyone else. I’m sorry that the candy was gritty for you. I appreciate your thoughts as a candy maker. Sorry again – Meggan

    1. Hi Nellie, yes! If you don’t want to make your own, it should be fine using store bought caramel. Good luck! – Meggan

  4. I’ve made this numerous times at Christmas, but we call it Saltine Toffee! It is easy and quick to make and makes a great gift – very popular!

    “Christmas Crack” is what we refer to as either Crock Pot Candy, or Mr. Goodbar knockoffs, at least that’s what I think of when someone mentions Christmas Crack. It matters not, it’s delicious!

    Thanks!5 stars

    1. Thanks Gini! Love those other names, so glad you love the recipe! – Meggan

  5. I really love your blog.. wonderful recipes. This one worked out great for xmas- I’m going to do it again for NYE.5 stars

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