Christmas Crack Recipe

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

If I had to pick just one Christmas candy to make every year, it would have to be Christmas Crack. It’s lightning fast to make, uses simple ingredients, and most of all, it hits all the right notes, no matter who you are.

This saltine toffee candy delights chocolate lovers, caramel aficionados, and salty/crunchy fans alike. My recipe is endlessly adaptable when it comes to toppings, too. You can make a dozen batches a dozen different ways, all in a single afternoon.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

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Best of all, this Christmas cookie/candy is ready in about 30 minutes, perfect for last minute hostess gifts, pot lucks, or the Secret Santa present you forgot to order online.

Oh, and get ready to share the recipe—this is the best Christmas Crack recipe around.

Need Christmas Crack for a last minute cookie exchange? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

What is Christmas Crack?

Part brittle, part cookie, part English toffee, all fabulous; Christmas Crack is some seriously delicious stuff.

Here’s the secret: ordinary saltine crackers are covered in a molten, brown sugar and butter sauce and baked until caramelized and crisp in the oven. The caramel sauce transforms the crackers into some sort of other-worldly pastry—really!

Then everything is slathered in melted chocolate, topped with chopped nuts, and cut into pieces.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

How do you make Christmas Crack?

If you’ve never made this recipe before, get ready for some magic!

To make things simple, I use a 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pan  and a candy thermometer I bought just for making Christmas Crack.

You don’t absolutely need one, but it helps get the caramel sauce at the right stage.

To get ready, line the pan with parchment, foil, or a silicone baking mat, for easy removal. Next, arrange the crackers in a single layer in the pan.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

Then melt the butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan. This gets brought to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes; watch for the mixture to darken.

In case you have one, at this stage, a candy thermometer should read 270-290 degrees.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

Carefully pour the butter and sugar mixture over the crackers and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake at 300 degrees for 5 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 300-310 degrees, the hard-crack stage of caramel.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

Melted chocolate comes next. Melt the chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave, using 30-second increments and stirring in between each cook time. Then spread the chocolate over the hot cracker caramel mixture.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

If you’re a purist, you can stop there.

But if you feel like jazzing it up, that melted chocolate will take whatever you have: crushed OREOs, chopped nuts, you name it. Press the pieces into the chocolate using the flat side of a spatula.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

The crackers will form a single sheet once cool. Then you can cut into squares or break into jagged pieces by hand while still warm. I make nice even squares with a heavy-duty chef’s knife.

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

How long will Christmas Crack last?

Under normal conditions, 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.

Of course, you’re a stronger person than I am if you still have any left after a couple days. It’s called Christmas Crack for a reason!

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

Christmas Crack Variations:

Not only is this the easiest Christmas Crack recipe, it’s also the most versatile. Here are just some of the ways you can make this addictive candy even more craveable.

  • Christmas Crack with graham crackers: Make a batch of Christmas crack with graham crackers, and you just may convert all your s’mores loving friends.
  • Christmas Crack with Ritz crackers: Buttery Ritz crackers take Christmas crack up a notch or two. Or try my Ritz Cracker Cookies, an even easier cookie to make, especially if you like peanut butter!
  • Christmas Crack with white chocolate: Melt your favorite brand of white chocolate and top it with crushed candy canes…hello!

What you might know as saltine cracker toffee, I lovingly call Christmas Crack: it’s sweet, crispy, a little salty, and absolutely everyone who tries it wants more, more, and more. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas dessert, let’s get cracking!

Christmas Crack Toppings:

I love chopped walnuts or pecans, but don’t let me stop you from going wild with your favorite chopped candy or cookie.

  • M&Ms
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Oreos
  • Butterfinger
  • Andes candies
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Pretzels
  • FANCY French sea salt
5 from 54 votes

Christmas Crack Recipe

Christmas Crack is all your Christmas candy wishes - on crack! You won't find an easier candy to make, anywhere. It's salty, sweet, and ADDICTIVE!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword candy, chocolate
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 325kcal
  • 35-40 saltine crackers or graham crackers
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups toppings as desired such as pecans walnuts, crushed OREO cookies, pretzels, toffee bits, M&Ms, or drizzles of other melted chocolate
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a 15” x 10” x 1” pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Line up crackers in a single layer in rows on foil.
  • 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.
  • Sprinkle nuts or other toppings and press into the chocolate using a greased spatula. Cut into squares while warm. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Because of reader feedback, I've been able to improve this recipe by suggesting the use of a candy thermometer (thanks Valerie!). I hadn't used one previously, but there are enough variables here that things can go wrong.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal


 

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  1. Theresa S Brown

    Made this for the first time. It came out okay, except the Carmel came out a little burnt , I used a candy thermometer but was kinda scared to reach the temperature you said. It was looking super dark already, so I just used it like that!! Any suggestions? Thanks5 stars

  2. Carolyn

    Made this twice now and it is great. First time I followed the recipe temperatures exactly and I had this amazing crackle butter toffee like top. The second time I couldn’t find my candy thermometer and guessed at the temp. It was still great, more of a light caramel but yummy. I topped it semi-sweet chocolate and swirled in peanut butter chips. What a great taste. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  3. Mary DeWitt

    I MADE THIS THE OTHER DAY AND IT WAS SO GOOD I MADE IT AGAIN TODAY. .LAST TIME I USED WALNUTS THIS TIME PECANS. CAN`T STOP EATING IT THANK U.5 stars

  4. Marcia

    Made as currently updated and the recipe works perfectly! Use Reynolds NONSTICK FOIL! I used a candy thermometer to 285-290. Melted chocolate and spread with an offset spatula after the caramel/cracker layer cooled just a bit to prevent caramel from shifting. Lightly toasted chopped pecans prior to sprinkling on warm chocolate. Chilled then cut into uniform pieces with a long knife. Thanks!5 stars

  5. yennefer

    Christmas crack is the best. Lots of variations and I’ve never had a Christmas crack I didn’t love. My grandmother use to make this, throwing together odds and ends in the kitchen. Don’t make it complicated. Ive made it camping. Even if you bomb, it’s still delicious. I never use a candy thermometer, the butter/brown sugar appears mixed when ready. Prehaps a good tool for those that like to crank the heat. But if you keep the heat low you’ll be fine.5 stars

  6. Erika Butcher

    Just curious. I’ve been comparing a number of Christmas Crack recipes and most bake at 400 or 425. But yours is 300. Why do you use such a low temperature? Trying to figure out the best method.5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Erika! Thanks for the question. 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 don’t know what everyone else is doing out there, but it is possible they are adding the caramel to the crackers at an earlier stage and need to give it more time in the oven to finish. Does that make sense? This is purely speculation! 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 other recipes could pull it off the stove at an earlier stage. 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. Good luck! I hope you find the best recipe for you!

  7. Sara

    can this be frozen for 2-3 wks before serving? thanks!5 stars

    1. Erin

      Yes! I some how found a small container of it in my deep freeze 9 months after Christmas and it still looked and tasted amazing!

    2. meggan

      Hi Sara! Yes definitely! Thus freezes really well. It’s smart of you to get ahead! :) thanks for the question. I’ll update the post with this info!

  8. Karla Harper

    Oh and I pour melted almond bark in a pretty design over the top of the semi sweets, then add chopped pecans and milk chocolate minis! Yumm!5 stars

  9. Karla Harper

    I happened on to this recipe while I was making spinach artichoke dip. I Have made these twice in the past weeK, following your recipe exactly. I do not use a thermometer. I honestly cannot believe how absolutely delicious these are. Both my children take them to school and share them with their friends and their friends keep asking for more and more….Im an RN and was delighted to watch people’s face light up, just like mine had, when I took them to work. The flavor and flakiness of that Cracker makes it hard to believe it was ever a Saltine. I am planning on making lots of this and giving it as a Christmas gift that I know everyone will love. Thank you so much for the delicious recipe.5 stars

  10. So I never follow recipes… I simply use them as a guideline… (could be 3 failed marriages of constantly controlling me). 😂 anyway… I didn’t have saltines, so I improvised with club crackers and it was awesome!!  I then went to store and forgot saltines again!!!  So I bombed on some easy sugar cookies(uh, weren’t so easy as they crumbled). But I used the crumbled sugar cookies as a base and WOW!!  I kept some for a bake sale at work and mailed the rest to my nephew and his buddies who are in Afghanistan right now!!!  Thanks for the awesome recipe!!!5 stars

  11. Deanna

    I have begun to believe I am NOT supposed to make this; may be a message from my hips.  This sounds so good and I’ve never had it before, but the two batches I have made thus far ended up in the garbage.  Note:  I am one of those people who have a difficult time throwing out food, but….The first batch had burnt toffee because I turned the heat back on to try and melt those darn chocolate chips!  The second batch, I tried to melt the mini chocolate chips in the microwave and had to re-warm due to timing issues and ended up with that powdery nasty chocolate dust!  GRRR!  I am still deciding whether I will try ONE more time; you know, three strikes, you’re out!😜😃5 stars

    1. meggan

      Oh no Deanna, what a nightmare! I am so sorry. I do know sometimes people have problems with this recipe. Maybe you have a super powerful microwave? Chocolate dust is THE WORST, it makes me so angry. If the chocolate chips are mini, look at the package for microwaving instructions. Maybe it’s different. So sorry you’re having problems! It looks so simple but not if it keeps failing. :(

  12. colleen

    I made this Christmas Crack, followed the instructions exactly, and they came out perfectly. I’m not sure why anyone is having issues if the directions are adhered to precisely. My whole family loves it and they are always giving suggestions for new variations. Love this recipe. Thank You!!5 stars

  13. Amy Smith

    I tasted Christmas crack at a party and it was delicious, I tried it and it tasted so sweet you couldn’t even eat it! I followed the recipe to a tee?! Help!! Thank you 5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Amy, it’s really hard for me to say what went wrong! The only possibilities are that you used more sugar than you were supposed to, or you just have a lower tolerance for sugar than the rest of us who love this stuff! I’m honestly not sure. Did the caramel seem to work fine? Did you cook it to the appropriate temperatures? If you truly did exactly as the recipe instructed, maybe the version you tried at a party was just less sweet overall! Wish I could help more! :-/

  14. Tesha

    Does it matter if you light or dark brown sugar? And I tried it and I totally failed. My candy was really thin? I had a lot of liquid to where my crackers were floating. Is that common?5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Tesha, it shouldn’t matter if you use light or brown sugar. I’m guessing you didn’t boil it long enough (did it hit 270 degrees?). It needs to hit 270 degrees to hit soft-crack stage and thicken up. Then when you pour it, it should pour like caramel sauce. Sorry it didn’t work for you! I definitely recommend using a candy thermometer.

  15. Hannah

    This was simplicity itself. It turned out perfectly my very first time. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

    1. meggan

      MAKES MY LIFE. Seriously, Hannah, thank you for sharing. I’m glad it worked for you. :) Merry Christmas!

  16. Karen

    If you butter or spray coat your pan and then pop into freezer for 5-10 mins. once chocolate has been spread, the entire rectangle of Christmas Crack will just pop right out of the pan! Then you can easily and with minimal waste or cracker crumbs snap into pieces – no cutting required. Hope this is helpful! Love this recipe:)5 stars

  17. Andrea

    I tried another recipe last week and they were good but the toffee part didn’t harden. I tried this one and it is perfect! 270 degree is the trick! And parchement!5 stars

    1. meggan

      So great to hear, Andrea! People seem to be having problems all over the internet with the Christmas Crack this year. Glad yours turned out! Mine always does too.

  18. Heidi

    I made this stuff tonight, put it out in the cold storage. How long does it take for it to completely cool so I can break it?5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hey Heidi, you could probably break it cold. Otherwise let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so and you should have no problems! Thanks.

  19. Mindy

    I love this recipe but I use Ritz crackers for extra buttery goodness. The only issue I’m having is that the toffee mix never gets hard. It stays gooey, which still tastes wonderful, but I think I’m doing something wrong. I boil for three minutes, no stirring. Pour it on, coat the crackers and into the oven for 4-5 minutes. I let it cool on the counter for a little bit and the rest of the way in the fridge. Am I just not getting the toffee mixture hot enough?5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Mindy, it is possible you aren’t getting it hot enough. If you have a candy thermometer, I’d try watching the temp on it and making sure it hits at least 270 degrees. It should definitely get hard by the time you take it out of the oven (300 to 310 degrees). I hope it tastes good either way!

  20. Sarah Brown

    My pans are a little smaller and hold 24 crackers instead of 35. I use a toaster oven to cook/bake and yy pans are a little smaller. They hold 24 crackers instead of 35. How do I adjust the recipe down? Thank you!5 stars

    1. meggan

      Hi Sarah, I would just cut everything in half. Possibly even the crackers (using 20 instead of 24 even though your pan holds 24). However, you would probably have enough of everything to cover 24 crackers if you just made half the caramel and used half the chips. Sounds like it should be just fine!

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