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Sweet, salty, crunchy, and easy, it’s no surprise that Saltine Cracker Toffee has been a favorite holiday treat for decades! The simple dessert requires just 5 ingredients and is perfect for packaging on cookie trays or gifting to friends and neighbors at Christmas. Nobody can resist the delicious combination of salty crackers, buttery toffee, rich chocolate, and toasty pecans in every bite of saltine toffee!

Close up shot of Christmas crack in a green tin

Saltine Toffee

Saltine cracker toffee, also called “Christmas crack,” saltine toffee bark, chocolate saltine toffee, or simply saltine toffee, is a classic homemade holiday candy that’s so easy, anyone can make it! If you shy away from baking cookies or cakes from scratch, this quick treat is the perfect solution.

You only need a handful of simple ingredients and a few minutes of prep. By layering saltine crackers with homemade caramel, chocolate, and chopped pecans, you have an incredibly delicious combination of sweet, salty, and crunchy flavors. It’s like a saltine cracker English toffee, or a homemade twist on a Heath bar. This rich and decadent dessert tastes like it came from a professional confectionary, but it’s made in your own kitchen with very little effort!

Stirring toffee in a saucepan

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of saltine toffee bark. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Saltine crackers: a crunchy, salty base for the toffee.
  • Butter: use salted butter for the best tasting toffee.
  • Brown sugar: combines with the butter to make the toffee.
  • Chocolate chips: I like semi-sweet chocolate chips to balance the sweetness of the caramel, but you can substitute with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or any other variety that you prefer.
  • Pecans: finely chopped nuts add the perfect finishing touch to this sweet treat; however, the pecans are optional and you can certainly omit them if you want a nut-free treat.
Pouring toffee on top of saltines

How to Make Toffee with Saltine Crackers

This dessert is one of the easiest Christmas treats that you can prepare, and it makes a great gift for friends or family during the holiday season.

  1. Arrange saltines in a single layer on a parchment paper lined or aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. It will bubble and foam.
  4. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the saltines.
  5. Bake in a 400°F oven for 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top, and then let the chocolate sit for a few minutes until it softens and starts to melt.
  7. Spread the melted chocolate in a single layer over the toffee crackers. I use an off-set spatula for this step.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  9. Let the pan cool, and then transfer to the refrigerator so that the toffee can harden.
  10. Cut or break into pieces and enjoy!
Spreading melted chocolate
Sprinkling pecans on top of chocolate

how to avoid grainy toffee

If you find that your caramel separates or becomes grainy when heating it on the stovetop, this is likely due to crystallization or because the temperature gets too hot. Toffee becomes grainy when the sugars crystallize, a process that happens when the melted sugar splashes up onto the cold sides of the pan. It loses its moisture and turns back into a sugar crystal. If this crystal touches the melted mass, it causes the caramel to seize up and become grainy.

To avoid grainy caramel, stir very gently so that the ingredients aren’t splashing up against the sides of the saucepan. If some sugar does get on the sides of the pan, just take a pastry brush and dip it in hot water, washing the sugar back down into the rest of the mixture. Also, make sure that the sugar melts into the butter before the mixture boils.

Side shot of saltine toffee bark in a green Christmas tin on a table

Can you fix grainy toffee?

If you find that the caramel gets gritty or grainy, remove it from the heat. Gradually reheat the mixture over low heat or medium heat, carefully adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time as you slowly stir. Once the water has evaporated and the mixture is warm again, you can increase the heat and bring it to a boil to finish the process.

Why is my Christmas Crack chewy?

Saltine cracker toffee should be very crunchy when it cools. If your toffee is chewy, you may have used something other than butter (such as margarine or coconut oil). Other fats will not work for this recipe — you need the real deal butter!

Another possibility is that you didn’t boil the caramel for long enough. Once the mixture starts bubbling and boiling, keep it at a boil for at least 4 minutes. If it doesn’t reach a certain temperature, the toffee will not harden when cooled, and instead you’ll end up with a soft, chewy, sticky mess.

Close overhead shot of a tin of chocolate saltine toffee on a table

Storage

Store the saltine cracker toffee in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. While it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, I like to keep it really firm in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Can you freeze saltine cracker candy?

Yes, you can freeze saltine toffee in an airtight container for up to 3 months; however, I find that the crackers get a bit soggy and just aren’t quite as crunchy when thawed. This is not my preference — it’s best when enjoyed fresh!

Hands holding a tin of saltine cracker toffee

Recipe Variations

  • Use any variety of chocolate chips that you prefer: semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate.
  • Instead of chopped pecans, substitute with chopped walnuts or almonds.
  • Omit the nuts, or replace them with holiday sprinkles for a nut-free dessert.
  • Use graham crackers instead of saltines. You’ll just be missing some of that salty flavor contrast.
  • Ritz crackers are also a nice substitute for saltines.
Side shot of a Christmas table with a tin of Christmas crack

Tips for the best saltine cracker toffee recipe

  • Stir carefully as the caramel gradually heats to avoid splashing the mixture up the sides of the cold pan (which can cause crystallization and a grainy texture).
  • I like semi-sweet chocolate chips, which are a nice balance with the sweetness of the caramel.
  • Once the saltine cracker toffee cools enough so that you can handle the pan, transfer the tray to the refrigerator to cool completely. This will help it really firm up.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the saltine toffee into squares along the cracker perforations, or just use your hands to break the toffee into smaller pieces. It’s not supposed to look perfect, so don’t stress!
Table full of holiday treats like saltine cracker toffee and gingerbread cookies
Square shot of a tin of saltine cracker toffee

Saltine Cracker Toffee

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Cooling Time 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 357 kcal
Sweet, salty, crunchy, and easy, it's no surprise that Saltine Cracker Toffee has been a favorite holiday treat for decades!

Ingredients
  

  • 48 saltine crackers
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag chocolate chips
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Arrange saltine crackers in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes.
  • Pour the butter mixture over the saltines.
  • Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the crackers from the oven; sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Let the chocolate rest for a few minutes while it softens and melts on top of the hot crackers. Spread the melted chocolate in an even layer over the top. Sprinkle with chopped pecans, if desired.
  • Let the pan cool for a few more minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool and harden completely. Break into pieces and serve!

Notes

  • Stir carefully as the caramel gradually heats to avoid splashing the mixture up the sides of the cold pan (which can cause crystallization and a grainy texture).
  • I like semi-sweet chocolate chips, which are a nice balance with the sweetness of the caramel.
  • Once the saltine cracker toffee cools enough so that you can handle the pan, transfer the tray to the refrigerator to cool completely. This will help it really firm up.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the saltine toffee into squares along the cracker perforations, or just use your hands to break the toffee into smaller pieces. It’s not supposed to look perfect, so don’t stress!
  • Use any variety of chocolate chips that you prefer: semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate.
  • Instead of chopped pecans, substitute with chopped walnuts or almonds.
  • Omit the nuts, or replace them with holiday sprinkles for a nut-free dessert.
  • Use graham crackers instead of saltines. You’ll just be missing some of that salty flavor contrast.
  • Ritz crackers are also a nice substitute for saltines.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/12 of the recipeCalories: 357kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 2gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 268mgPotassium: 67mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 475IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: Christmas crack, saltine cracker toffee, saltine toffee, saltine toffee bark
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. I love any kind of toffee. I’m going to try a smaller version of this with gluten free crackers, just to see if they hold up for the base. You never know with gluten free crackers! Thank you for what sounds like a great recipe.

    1. That’s great, Alene! Report back and let us know how they work. I’ve never had gluten-free crackers, and I know that information will be helpful for others, too. Happy holidays!

  2. I LOVE this recipe. It has become a holiday tradition for sure. I wanted to share that I got a little creative and landed on a winner. I used chocolate graham crackers and white chocolate chips that I spike with peppermint extract. I either mash candy canes for on top or use red and green sprinkles.
    Happy Holidays-
    Rene’