These super crisp gluten free parmesan crackers, made with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and cornmeal, are perfect for snacking, packing in lunches, or serving as an appetizer.
Of all the crackers I've made, the most requested are the buttery Ritz-style gluten free crackers since they are truly perfect. These Parmesan crackers are much crunchier and have a deeper, richer flavor, though.
I made them rather small, but you can make them bigger and serve them with wine and cheese. Or even use a pastry cutter, pizza wheel, or even a bench scraper to cut the dough into squares or rectangles, which would be a much faster way to go.
The Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese helps give them a true depth of flavor, and the cornmeal gives them that bite. They have a surprisingly small amount of butter, but the extra butter brushed on top before sprinkling plenty of coarse salt really helps them taste buttery.
Don't forget to poke some holes on top of the crackers before baking, since that helps them to crisp as they bake. Get those nice, round holes in the dough by poking a toothpick in straight and then moving it around in tiny circles to widen the hole.
What are your favorite packaged gluten free crackers?
There are so many brands of packaged gluten free crackers available today. Even Nabisco makes a gluten free variety called “Good Thins,” so you know we've really gone mainstream.
(If you're missing the taste of Wheat Thins, by the way, we've got a recipe for homemade gluten free “Wheat Thins.”)
I'd like to do a round-up product review post of the very best packaged gluten free crackers since I don't make my own crackers from scratch every time we feel like having a cracker. (I'm a normal person, after all, even though I do spend all day every day in the kitchen!).
So far, I really like the Nabisco Good Thins, but also Lance brand crackers (my kids love the peanut butter sandwich crackers), and we love nearly everything that Schar makes. I really don't care for Mary's Gone Crackers brand, but that's just personal preference.
What's your favorite brand of packaged gluten free cracker? I'd love to know what else I should try. I also have about 10 different brands of packaged gluten free pretzels to share with you soon. As always, I will purchase the products with my own cash money, as I don't accept any free product from anyone (much to my children's confusion).
In this recipe, I use a brand of buttermilk powder called Saco. In my experience, it's readily available in most larger grocery stores. It's the canister with the jolly chef on it. I bet you've seen it before.
Buttermilk powder really adds richness to these crackers without adding any moisture which can keep them from crisping up in the oven. Despite the instructions on the canister of buttermilk powder, though, I don't find that it makes a good substitute for liquid buttermilk when that's called for in a recipe like our gluten free birthday cake.
I use buttermilk powder exclusively in its powder form as an addition to the dry ingredients in a recipe like this one, where I'm trying to add complexity to the flavor. In place of buttermilk powder, you can use an equal amount (by weight) nonfat dry milk powder.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: These crackers have a few different forms of dairy, and some are harder to replace than others. In place of butter, you can try using Earth Balance buttery sticks (for the butter in the crackers, and the brushed butter on top).
For a dairy-free replacement for buttermilk or dry milk powder, try using coconut milk powder. I really like Native Forest brand, although I haven't tried it in this particular recipe. The liquid cow's milk can be replaced with your favorite brand of unsweetened nondairy milk. The hardest form of dairy to replace is Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. These are Parmesan Crackers, after all.
I have a sneaking suspicion that you could replace the finely grated cheese with nutritional yeast which does tend to have a cheesy flavor. Pay careful attention to the moisture content of the mixture, though, if you do use nutritional yeast. You may have to add more milk.
Corn-free: There is almost exactly as much yellow cornmeal here as there is all purpose gluten free flour, so it's a major component of the recipe. I like coarsely ground cornmeal here the best since it really adds great texture and chew.
If you'd like to replace the cornmeal, you can try using millet flour, which has a similar texture. I'm afraid I haven't tried anything like that, though, so I can't be sure.
Gluten Free Parmesan Crackers
1 1/4 cups (175g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 cup (132 g) coarsely ground gluten free cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
4 tablespoons (23 g) cultured buttermilk blend (or 4 tablespoons (24 g) nonfat dry milk)
1 cup (80 g) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted (still warm)
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, buttermilk blend, and grated cheese, and whisk to combine well. Add the 4 tablespoons butter and the milk, and mix until combined and the dough begins to come together. Divide the dough into two parts, and press each into a small ball. Place the first ball of dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper, and roll into a rectangle a bit less than 1/4-inch thick. If you’d like to roll out the dough without parchment paper, wrap it tightly and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes first. Then, sprinkle the dough lightly with extra flour as you roll it out. With a fluted (or simple round) 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough and place them on a prepared baking sheet about 1/2-inch apart (they will actually shrink, rather than spread, a bit during baking). Gather and reroll scraps. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Using a toothpick, poke 4 evenly spaced holes toward the center of each of the rounds of dough. Poke the holes in a tight circular motion to create well-rounded holes. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of all of the rounds of dough lightly with the 2 tablespoons of melted, warm butter. Sprinkle the tops of the rounds liberally with more coarse salt.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once during baking, for about 12 minutes, or until the crackers are dark golden brown on the edges and lightly golden brown on top. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in a tightly sealed glass container at room temperature. They should stay crisp for a few days that way. If you place them in plastic or refrigerate the crackers, they will become stale rather quickly.
Originally published on the blog in 2012. Most images, video, most text new; recipe very lightly edited for clarity.