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A cracker is a flat, dry baked food typically made with flour. In UK English, crackers are sometimes called water biscuits[1][2], savoury biscuits or biscuits[3]. Flavorings or seasonings, such as salt, herbs, seeds or cheese, may be added to the dough or sprinkled on top before baking.[4] Crackers are often branded as a nutritious and convenient way to consume a staple food or cereal grain.

Crackers with herring and garlic sauce.jpg
Water biscuit crackers, plain and as part of a snack, with herring and garlic cream topping and a parsley garnish
Place of originVarious
Created byunknown
Main ingredientsFlour, water
Reproduction of 19th-century hardtack, in the Army (square) and Navy (round) styles

Crackers can be eaten on their own, but can also accompany other food items, particularly as or with appetizers - such as cheese or meat slices; dips; or soft spreads such as jam, butter, or peanut butter. Bland or mild crackers are sometimes used as a palate cleanser in food product testing or flavor testing, between samples. Crackers may also be crumbled and added to soup.[5] The modern cracker is somewhat similar to nautical ship's biscuits[6], military hardtack, chacknels[7], and sacramental bread. Other early versions of the cracker can be found in ancient flatbreads, such as lavash, pita, matzo, flatbrød, and crisp bread. Asian analogues include papadum and senbei.



The holes in crackers are called "docking" holes. The holes are poked in the dough with something pointed, such as a fork[8], to stop overly large air pockets from forming in the cracker while baking. Crackers come in many shapes and sizes - round, rectangular, triangular, or irregular.

In American English, the name "cracker" usually refers to savory and/or salty flat biscuits, whereas the term "cookie", or "biscuit" in UK English, while similar to a cracker in appearance and texture, means it is sweet. Crackers are also generally made differently: crackers are made by layering dough, while cookies, besides the addition of sugar, usually use a chemical leavening agent, may contain eggs, and in other ways are made more like a cake.[9] Crackers sometimes have cheese or spices as ingredients, or even chicken stock.

Saltines and oyster crackers are often used in or served with soup. Additional types of crackers include cream crackers and water biscuits.

Cheese crackers are prepared using cheese as a main ingredient. Commercial examples include Cheez-It, Cheese Nips and Goldfish.

Graham crackers and digestive biscuits are also treated more like cookies than crackers, although they were both invented for their supposed health benefits, and graham crackers are sweet.

Mock apple pie is made using Ritz (or similar) crackers.


Cracker brands include Bremner Wafers, Captain's Wafers, Cheese Nips, Club Crackers, Handi-Snacks, In a Biskit, Town House crackers, Ritz Crackers, Stoned Wheat Thins, Triscuit, TUC and Wheat Thins, among others. Such crackers are sometimes spread with cheese, pâté, or mousse.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Water biscuit definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  2. ^ "British Vs. American English: Food Terminology". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  3. ^ "Biscuit definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  4. ^ Manley, D. (2011). Manley's Technology of Biscuits, Crackers and Cookies. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. Elsevier Science. ISBN 978-0-85709-364-6. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "The right moves for soup sippers". tribunedigital-baltimoresun. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  6. ^ Gooii. "Hardtack (Ships Biscuits) recipe - Cookit!". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  7. ^ Raffald, Elizabeth (1818). The Experienced English Housekeeper: For the Use and Ease of Ladies, Housekeepers, Cooks, &c. : Written Purely from Practice, and Dedicated to the Hon. Lady Elizabeth Warburton, Whom the Author Lately Served as Housekeeper, Consisting of Near Nine Hundred Original Receipts, Most of which Never Appeared in Print ... with Two Plans of a Grand Table of Two Covers and a Curious New Invented Fire Stove Wherein Any Common Fuel May be Burnt Instead of Charcoal. James Webster.
  8. ^ "How To Make Crackers at Home | Kitchn". Kitchn. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  9. ^ "Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies". NESTLÉ® Very Best Baking. Retrieved 2018-11-07.

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