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. Tam

    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. 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. meggan

      Thanks for this, Sara! Very helpful.

    3. meggan

      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. Janice

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

    5. meggan

      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!

    6. meggan

      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. Sha

    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. sha

      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

    2. meggan

      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!

    3. meggan

      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!

  3. Mary W

    Can this be made using graham crackers?  5 stars

    1. meggan

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

  4. Sha

    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. Lois

      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

    2. meggan

      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.

    3. meggan

      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!

  5. Gwyndolyn Candelaria

    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. meggan

      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.

  6. Jean Armstrong

    Can this be frozen?

  7. Susan Murrell

    How long could you stor these? 

    1. meggan

      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.

  8. Lori

    This recipes looks really good!5 stars

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

  10. 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

    1. ANNA FRICKS

      Can you use cocoa.

    2. meggan

      Hi Anna, without trying myself I am not sure what would happen if you did! :-/

  11. meggan

    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.

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