Christmas Crack

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! Scroll down for a video tutorial.

Christmas Crack is so easy to make, it should be criminal. (Bad puns, anyone? Is this even a pun?)

Let me start over.

Today we’re talking about the easiest Christmas candy on the Internet: Christmas Crack.

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!

Unlike other candies that require thermometers, chocolate dippage, and paraffin, Christmas Crack requires crackers, butter, sugar, chocolate chips, and walnuts.


Just 5 ingredients, 30 minutes, and lots of joy.

To make Christmas Crack, you arrange saltine crackers on a pan. If you have a jelly roll pan, that’s a nice size for arranging 35 crackers. But, any large rimmed baking sheet will do.

Next, boil equal parts butter and brown sugar to the soft-crack stage (270 to 290 degrees). It takes about 3 minutes. It’s sort of like a genius instant caramel sauce that hardens (it’s not “actual” caramel). You’re going to love it.

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!

Now, pop the pan in the oven for 5 minutes to continue cooking the caramel to hard-crack stage (300 degrees to 310 degrees). Remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second increments at 50% power until melted (stirring after each increment). Spread over the hardened caramel.

Next, toppings. Pecans and walnuts are classics, but M&Ms, crushed OREOs, pretzels, toffee bits, or drizzles of other chocolate are ALL GREAT IDEAS!

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!

If you want fairly square pieces of candy, I recommend cutting it while it’s still warm, straight out of the oven. Chill the Christmas Crack in the refrigerator until it hardens.  If you want a more rustic look, let it harden and just break or chop into pieces.

Then try to save some for Christmas Day, because you’re really going to want to eat it all.  Immediately. Right now.

Save this Christmas Crack to your “Desserts” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

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!
5 from 9 votes

Christmas Crack

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
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 325 kcal


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bake 5 minutes or until the candy hardens (300 to 310 degrees if using a candy thermometer). Remove from oven.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second increments at 50% power until melted. Spread over hardened caramel.
  5. 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.

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  1. 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! xxx

  2. Hi Meggan, I am still catching up from Xmas, love these 5 ingredient beauties, Happy New Year’s to you!

  3. This recipes looks really good!

  4. How long could you stor these? 

    • 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. Can this be frozen?

  6. 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?

    • 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.

  7. 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

    • 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!

    • 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!

    • 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.

  8. Can this be made using graham crackers?  

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

  9. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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!

  10. 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.

    • 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.

    • The same thing happened to mine. Wasted a lot of ingredients.

    • 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!

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • Thanks for this, Sara! Very helpful.

  11. These look so good and want to try them this year but I am the only one in my family that likes nuts in cookies. Can you top these with anything else? m&ms/coconut/crushed oreos?? Wondering if anyone else has left out the nuts?

    • Hi Michele, yes, yes, and yes! M&M’s, coconut, OREOS! All great ideas. Use whatever you want. I think the nuts add crunch, but all these flavors sound amazing. Pretty sure I’m going to make the OREO one next. Thank you for your question!

  12. I used small pretzel sticks, along with everything else. Amazing recipe. Crack is wack!!

  13. I am going to make these….. after reading the comments, I wonder about using parchment paper instead of foil to line the pan….. I will let you know how it works out. :) 

    • Oh, just noticed that the instructions include the option of using parchment paper! *blush*

    • Hey there’s a lot of rambling on the page (mine), no worries if you didn’t see it at first glance. :) I hope it works out for you and that you love it, Alison!! Thanks.

  14. IMac I make this all the time my family loves that they beg me to make it I use different kinds of chips like caramel salted caramel and the chocolate together I use a large cookie sheet and it works great one sleeve of crackers plus a few more and I just break it in pieces instead of cutting

  15. I followed the directions,  it my chocolate chips didn’t melt…they crumbled to chocolate dust! What happened?

  16. I make this all of the time! I love it. The one thing I do, in addition to nuts, is to sprinkle with powdered sugar.

  17. 5 minutes for the chocolate chips to soften, is too long. There is a sweet spot and overheating chocolate makes it grainy.

    Candy should always be prepared with a thermometer, otherwise you risk getting the wrong finished texture because it depends on how hot you are cooking it. (anywhere from soft, grainy praline to over-done toffee). It should be cooked until it reaches the soft-crack stage, just under 300°F. The time in the oven should take it over the edge to the hard crack stage, which is what toffee should be finished at.

    • I think you are right, Valerie. What works for me clearly isn’t working for the masses, so the only way to account for all the possible variations from ovens and extra seconds here and there is to use a thermometer. As for melting the chocolate, I’ve never had a problem with 5 minutes but other people are. I’ll have to retest and adjust my instructions. The beauty of this recipe was the idea that no thermometer was needed and that it would be fairly “easy” but I guess I was wrong on that! Thanks for your help on this.

  18. Parchment paper :) nothing sticks

  19. I am super exited to try your recipe for my Christmas party.

  20. How does it taste with saltine crackers compared to the gram crackers?

    • Honestly I think they taste “mostly” the same. The strongest flavors come from the hardened candy mixture and the chocolate. I’m pretty sure you could pour that over cardboard and it would taste good (I’m kidding). If you are person who “loves” the salty/sweet combo, I’d go with saltines. If you don’t care, if salty/sweet is “meh” to you, go with graham crackers like my mom. :) But the REAL question is – which cracker do you have in your cupboard? Or which one is cheaper? ;)

  21. Just made  two batches of this. One was made on top of graham crackers had peanut butter and chocolate chip combination because that’s what I had on hand and then pretzels sprinkled over-the-top. The other had saltine crackers and for some reason  all the saltines floated to the top above the caramel after I took it out of the oven I hope that’s not gonna be a disaster! Those have heath bar pieces sprinkled on top. Hope that’s not too much ‘toffee’? Is there such a thing??  Anyway what could be bad it’s all going to taste good! I think from now on I’ll only use graham crackers, it  seems to make the whole experience a little bit more manageable .

  22. I made this last year and used m&m’s. This time I made it with pecans and added a red and green icing drizzle to it to add Christmas color. I’m going ro make another batch at Christmas and top it with pretzels and crushed candy canes!

    • These variations all sound SO GOOD! So many things you can do to make this recipe even better. :) The red & green drizzle is so obvious but I never thought of it!

    • I made it with the red and green chocolate chips.  It made it look quite festive and still tasted fantastic!

  23. Amazing receipe. I left out peanuts and walnuts and used the crushed toffee bits. They were great. Also added about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to chocolate chips for the sweet salty taste. 

    • Hi Jody, thanks so much for these ideas!! I love the sea salt to bring out the saltiness in the crackers and obviously toffee bits is the best idea, ever. :) Glad the recipe worked for you!

  24. Use parchment pape, not aluminum foil:)

  25. My granddaughter makes this, and its to DIE for. I will try it this year. Note: years ago, back in the 1960’s, my dear friend Doreen made this and called it ”ALMOST ROCA”

  26. hi, i made this today, everything was fine, till i put the chocolate chips on, i put them on and returned to the oven for 2 minutes, and went to spread them, and they wouldn’t spread, they were cores, grainy. took them out of the oven and turned it off and returned them to the oven for another 3 minutes, still wouldn’t spread, so i turned the oven back on and put them in for 6 addition minutes, no spread, just grainy, and broken , i wonder if the chips i used were bad, or what, but i wonder if i melt the chips on the stove next time would that help.

    • Hi Elaine, did you have the oven on at 300 degrees for baking the candy and then shut it off? Once the chocolate is coarse and grainy, you usually cannot ever spread it. It is usually the result of an oven that’s too hot, but if you had it at 300 degrees at first (and then turned off completely) you shouldn’t have had issues. However, some others have reported this (even though it hasn’t happened to me) so I may just change the recipe to melt the chips some other way. I am so sorry about that. It should still taste fine but yeah, once the chocolate “seizes” there is no spreading it. So sorry about that!

  27. Can you use crocks instead of butter?

    • I have no idea! I have never used that, does it melt the same as butter? It’s definitely worth a try but I just don’t know.

  28. Can you use margarine instead of butter??

    • Hi Liz! I have no idea. Does it melt the same as butter? Have you successfully made other candies with margarine? If so then I think it would probably work, I just don’t have any experience with margarine to know. Thanks for your question!

    • Margarine does not work the same as butter in this recipe, And you don’t have to melt the chocolate separately… when you pull the crackers with the brown sugar and butter out of the oven you can sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and wait just a couple of minutes then spread them out with a spatula. much easier.

    • Hi Brenda, that is how I have always made this myself and that’s how the recipe was up until recently. BUT, so many people have had issues with their chocolate seizing, I changed the recipe to melt the chocolate chips separately. More work, yes, but hopefully fewer failures. :-/

  29. Love this,stuff, but I make it a little different. Not a chocolate fan so I omit it and also use club crackers

  30. I just tried this recipe and my toffee got way too dark before it even got to temp (using a candy thermometer) and I could tell it was on the verge of burning. I had been stirring diligently and heat was med low. I’d definitely try again but any thoughts of what I did wrong?

    • Hi Lori, I’m guessing you have a really powerful stove that does a good job heating things. It sounds like the temperature progressed too quickly, so the only thing I can think of would be to cook it at a lower temperature for longer. That is really the only thing I can think of. I’m so sorry to hear that!

  31. 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!

    • 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!

  32. 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?

    • 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!

  33. 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?

    • 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.

  34. 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!

    • 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.

  35. I tried this recipe thinking it was going to be “easy”. Got to the melting chocolate chips part, followed the instructions and had the same problem with the chocolate chips not melting and pretty much turning into dust. So disappointing! I bought Christmas tin cans to give out to my family and everything. The chocolate chips were Toll House, a brand-new bag. What a waste!

    • Hi Kimberly, I’m sorry to hear that. The recipe instructions state that you should melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (in 30-second increments at 50% power) and spread them on top of the candy. Did the dust situation happen in the microwave? If you do 30-second increments at 50% power, which is probably what Toll House has on the bag, you shouldn’t have problems with the chocolate seizing. I’ll add instructions for melting the chocolate in a double-boiler, too.

  36. 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:)

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

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

  38. 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?

    • 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.

  39. 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 

    • 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! :-/

  40. 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!!

  41. 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!😜😃

    • 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. :(

  42. 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!!!

  43. 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.

  44. 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!

  45. can this be frozen for 2-3 wks before serving? thanks!

    • 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!

  46. 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.

    • 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!

  47. 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.

  48. 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!

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