Look out, cheese and crackers. These recipes top you any day.

By Heath Goldman
Updated November 28, 2016
Wendy Granger

We don’t hate cheese and crackers. In fact, we could probably eat a whole tray in one sitting. But how about topping that cracker with cream cheese and pepper jelly instead? Or, forget cheese all together: smoky, lemony whitefish spread, anyone? And crackers can be more than just vehicles. Try crushing them up to make crispy golden breadcrumbs, or a salty, textured element in your new favorite compound butter.

Wendy Granger


Start with club crackers, and spread with a thin layer of softened butter. Top with thin slices of English cucumber, flaky salt, black pepper, and fresh dill.


Start with 10 crushed woven crackers. Combine with 4 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter. Season with salt to taste. With a large spoon, smear the butter across the bottom of a serving plate. Serve with chilled radishes.


Start with dried fruit and herb crisps. Spread plenty of softened cream cheese on each cracker and dollop generously with hot pepper jelly.


Start with 1 cup of cheese crackers. Mix with 1 cup each roasted unsalted peanuts, roasted unsalted cashews, and small checkerboard pretzels. Combine 3 tablespoons of butter, a finely chopped garlic clove, a pinch of cayenne, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and cook over low until fragrant. Toss the butter mixture with all of the goodies and spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 250°F oven, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. Once cool, mix in a handful of dried cranberries if you like.


Start with 15 crushed saltines. Toss with 4 tablespoons melted butter. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium, add a finely chopped onion and garlic clove, and cook until soft; season with salt and pepper. Mix in a bar of cream cheese, ¾ cup milk, 2 thawed packages frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry), and a pinch of nutmeg. Transfer mixture to a baking dish, and top with saltines. Bake in a 400°F oven until warmed through and the crackers are golden, 18 to 20 minutes.


Start with classic buttery round crackers. Combine ¼ pound smoked trout with a bar of softened cream cheese and 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives. Add fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture onto the crackers.