I Tried Ina Garten’s 4-Ingredient Chipotle Cheddar Crackers

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Ina Garten says a frozen log of cheddar chipotle cracker dough is her secret to hosting success.

Ina Garten

Ina Garten is the queen of hosting cocktail and dinner parties.

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“I just like to make one thing and then buy the rest,” Garten told Bon Appétit when talking about the appetizer portion of a dinner party. “If you’re not careful, making appetizers can take as much time as making dinner.” 

So, she sticks with these cheesy crackers, she said.

“The sharp Vermont Cheddar and spicy chipotle chili powder with crunchy sea salt really wake up everyone’s taste buds,” Garten told the publication. “My friends can’t stop eating these!”

The home cooking maven shared the recipe with Bon Appétit, and I tried them out for myself.

The recipe requires four ingredients, plus two types of salt for seasoning and topping.

Ina Garten chipotle cheddar crackers

Ingredients for Garten’s chipotle cheddar crackers.

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The main ingredients in this dish are aged cheddar cheese, all-purpose flour, chipotle powder, and unsalted butter. 

Additionally, the recipe requires kosher salt for cooking and flaky Maldon salt for the top of the crackers to boost the flavor and provide some texture variation. 

These are pretty easy to make. For prep, all I had to do was grate the cheese and put all the ingredients together.

Ina Garten chipotle cheddar crackers

Grating the cheese didn’t take as long as I had anticipated.

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The recipe calls for half a pound of aged cheddar, grated. Luckily, I didn’t have to do any measuring with the dairy because the block I bought was exactly eight ounces (1/2 pound). 

Grating cheese always feels a bit laborious, but my hunk was room temperature and it slid easily through my box grater. 

I added it to my mixing bowl with one cup, plus two tablespoons of flour, 1/4 pound of unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of ground chipotle powder, and one teaspoon of kosher salt.

Since I don’t have a stand mixer, combining everything was the most difficult part of the process.

Ina Garten chipotle cheddar crackers

I tried a whisk, but a wooden spoon was my best option for mixing tools.

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It took some trial and error, but I eventually got it. 

The instructions say to use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric handheld mixer, but I don’t have either of those in my kitchen. I do have an emulsion blender that has a whisk attachment, so I thought I could try to use that after my wooden spoon idea proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.

But, the whisk caused bits of flour and cheese to fly onto my kitchen floor, so I returned to my trusted wooden spoon and turned up the elbow grease. After a while, I saw the tiny dry bits come together and then form large clumps, just as the instructions had said would happen. 

If you have some sort of electric mixer, I would highly recommend using that. But if you don’t, just stay the course with a wide, semi-flat spoon and you’ll get there. 

Once the dough was made, rolling it into a log was easy.

Ina Garten chipotle cheddar crackers

I thought the dough was easy to manipulate.

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I emptied the dough from my bowl onto a lightly-floured cutting board. Then, I gently pressed, rolled, and formed the orange blob into a 12-inch-long, 1 1/2-inch-thick log. 

The dough isn’t sticky like bread dough, though. It’s more buttery and somewhat crumbly like biscuit dough. So instead of rolling it out and then kneading it together into a log, I found myself forming it mostly by pressing it together, manipulating the shape until it looked the way I wanted it to.

This part took less than two minutes. 

The dough has to rest for at least one hour in the fridge.

Ina Garten chipotle cheddar crackers

I left my cracker dough in the refrigerator for a few hours, but I transferred the rest to my freezer for a later date.

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I cloaked the log in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to firm up and chill.

Garten’s recipe says it should sit for at least one hour, but I ended up leaving mine for three. I meant to start preheating the oven as soon as I put it in the fridge, but once I checked on the dough an hour later, I realized I forgot to turn the oven on.

She also says that you can keep it refrigerated for several days, or you can freeze it for up to four months.

After the dough was set, I sliced it and baked the discs until golden brown.

Ina Garten chipotle cheddar crackers

These took 15 minutes to bake in my oven.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider


After I finally preheated my oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, I sliced up my now-solid stick of dough into rounds that were 1/2-inch thick.

I placed them on my baking sheet — which I lined with parchment paper — and sprinkled the circles with some of the flaky salt. Then, I slid them into the hot oven for 15 minutes. The recipe recommends cooking for 15 to 17 minutes, so I started with the former.

When my timer went off, they were already golden brown, so I removed the tray and let them cool. The recipe says they should be served at room temperature. I tried one while it was hot — it was super soft and started to sag between my fingers. 

The finished crackers are full of flavor, have a unique texture, and would pair well with other fresh appetizers.

Ina Garten chipotle cheddar crackers

The finished crackers were both crunchy outside and soft inside.

Rachel Askinasi/Insider


My brain kept relating these cheesy crackers to shortbread cookies — I mean, they are the same shape and size! But each time I took a bite, I was reminded that these are appetizers, not desserts.

I think the texture is a cross between a biscuit and a cracker. It’s soft and flaky in the middle, but the edges have a subtle snap to them when you break off a piece with your hands.  

The chipotle and the cheese work together to create a flavor profile that, in my opinion, tastes exactly like Cheez-It crackers. The chipotle fills your mouth with a smokey flavor and sometimes hits the back of your throat with heat. It’s a really interesting way to deepen the flavors of this baked cheese snack.

If I were making these for a gathering or a holiday, I would put them on a board with things like fresh grapes and sliced cucumber, which would lighten the experience of this rich cracker. 

Since it’s so easy to make and tastes impressive, I understand why this is the one app Garten makes for parties. As for everything else on the hors d’oeuvre table, store-bought is fine.



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