This easy Christmas Crack recipe is the perfect holiday treat! Chewy homemade butter toffee is layered over light, crispy saltine crackers, and then topped with melted chocolate and your choice of tasty toppings.
Everyone’s Favorite Easy Christmas Candy
Are you getting excited for Christmas baking? I definitely am! But alongside cookies, bars, pie, and cake… I always have to make a pan (or two, or three) of this amazing saltine cracker toffee, also known as Christmas Crack.
And you know, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch… but I can guarantee that this chewy, chocolatey, lightly crispy candy is hard to stop eating! A tray of Christmas Crack is sure to be gobbled down in no time flat if you don’t keep a watchful eye on it!
What Is Christmas Crack?
If you’ve never tasted saltine cracker toffee before, you are in for one salty-sweet treat. This is a classic recipe that many of us learned at our grandmother’s elbow, using economical saltine crackers as the base.
Topped with a simple toffee mixture of boiled butter and sugar, the crackers expand a little bit, but remain crispy on the inside, while the toffee mixture adds a complex, browned-butter-and-caramel flavor… and a creamy, chewy texture. Seriously delicious.
Finally, to make Christmas Crack, you top your saltine toffee with a layer of melted chocolate and whatever festive toppings you like, from chopped nuts to red and green candies!
The ingredients for this recipe are super simple! You can also flexibly substitute what you prefer for lots of the ingredients, from the chocolate to the crackers. For more suggestions on how to customize this recipe, see the section on “Variations” below!
- Saltines: The sprinkling of salt on the crackers is a key part of this recipe, so I don’t recommend using unsalted saltines. You will need 40 – 45 crackers to make one tray of Christmas crack—that’s about one sleeve.
- Butter: Bring your butter to room temperature, and slice it into pieces.
- Granulated Sugar and Brown Sugar: I like to use a combination of one part regular granulated sugar, and three parts packed dark brown sugar, but you can go with all brown sugar if you prefer.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor. This is optional, though! The candy is great with or without vanilla.
- Chocolate Chips: I use semisweet, but milk chocolate or darker chocolate chips are fine, as well. Just go with quality chocolate that melts well.
- White Chocolate: Technically, this is optional as well, but I love the pure vanilla-like sweetness of white chocolate in this recipe! Plus, the swirls are so decorative.
- Toppings: Have your toppings of choice (such as chopped nuts, sprinkles, toffee pieces, etc.) ready. For some easy topping ideas, scroll down to the “Variations” section below.
How to Make Christmas Crack
To make this candy, you’ll need to make an easy toffee mixture on the stovetop. Don’t worry, it is so simple, and you don’t even have to use a candy thermometer for it to turn out beautifully chewy and creamy.
- Prep the Oven and the Baking Sheet with Saltines. Before you start making the candy, make sure your oven is set to preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a 15×10 rimmed baking sheet with foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the saltines in neat rows to cover the whole pan. Break some apart, if needed, to fill in the entire pan. Set the prepared pan aside.
- Make the Toffee Mixture. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Bring it to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, set a timer and continue boiling the mixture for three minutes. (You want the mixture to reach 275°F to 280°F, and I recommend using a candy thermometer for best results, but you can definitely do this without one.) When the three minutes are up, take the toffee mixture off of the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour and Bake. Quickly pour the toffee mixture over the crackers. Use a metal spoon or spatula to spread it evenly; some of the crackers will shift a little, but that’s okay. Transfer the baking pan to the oven, and bake the toffee-covered crackers for 5 minutes. The toffee should bubble and boil in the oven. Take the pan out of the oven.
- Add the Chocolate Chips. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee-coated crackers. Let them stand for 5 minutes to begin melting. When about half of the chocolate chips look like they’re turning shiny or liquid-y, gently use a spatula to spread them out. The chips should melt into a nice layer of chocolate on top of the candy.
- Melt the White Chocolate Chips. While the chocolate chips are standing and melting on the toffee crackers, you can quickly melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave. Make sure to use a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for one minute. Stir the white chocolate chips. If they aren’t fully melted, give them another 10 seconds at a time in the microwave until they’re melted fully.
- Drizzle the White Chocolate Over the Candy. Using a metal spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the candy while the regular chocolate is still soft. Then use a butter knife to make swirls by gently running it all over the surface of the candy.
- Add Toppings. You can add any extra sprinkles, chopped nuts, candies, etc. before the chocolate is set. Press them gently into place if they seem like they are not sticking. Then place the candy in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until completely set.
- Enjoy! Break the Christmas Crack into pieces before serving.
Tips for Success
Even the easiest recipe can have some quirks, so I rounded up a few helpful hints for making Christmas Crack. Grainy toffee and distempered chocolate seem to be common issues, but these tips will help yours turn out just right.
- Avoid Grainy Toffee: Keep in mind that the toffee mixture is going to boil twice: on the stovetop, and in the oven. So make sure the toffee comes to a rolling boil on the stove and that you allow it to boil for the full three minutes. Then, when it’s in the oven, make sure you peek in and verify that it’s bubbling away in there. If it isn’t leave it in longer. Toffe that doesn’t get the full first and second boil has a tendency to crystallize and become unpleasantly grainy instead of smooth.
- Avoid Grainy Chocolate: Melting the chocolate chips may seem like it’s going slowly, so you may be tempted to put the chocolate-covered candy back in the oven until those chips look good and melted. But that would be a mistake! Chocolate chips usually are melted before they look melted. So just sprinkle them on the hot candy and wait a few minutes. Gradually, about 50% of the chocolate chips will look shiny; go ahead and start trying to spread the chocolate at that point with a spatula. The chips should smooth out into an even melted layer. If they really aren’t melted, put the tray in the oven for just a minute or two and try again.
- Prevent Sticking: Using heavy-duty foil, parchment paper, or silicone baking mats is helpful for easy cleanup, and for getting candy out of the pan! I recommend spraying whatever you use with cooking spray, to make removing the candy even easier.
Christmas Crack can be customized in a ton of different ways! You can play with the chocolate, using all semisweet chocolate, or all white chocolate, or a mix of your favorites. You can also use different crackers. I think saltines have the best taste and texture, but I’ve heard of using Ritz crackers and even graham crackers. So go with what you love!
But the ultimate way to make this recipe your own (in my opinion) is by adding your favorite toppings. You can use almost anything! Here are some great ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Chopped Hazelnuts
- Chopped Bite-Sized Candy Bars
- Shredded Coconut
- Crushed Pretzels
- Mini Marshmallows
- Mini Peanut Butter Cups
- Banana Chips
- Toffee Bits
- Crushed Peppermints or Candy Canes
And just about anything else you can imagine!
How to Store Christmas Crack
You can store this candy in airtight containers or food storage bags at room temperature. It will keep for about one week (if you can keep it around that long!).
Can I Make This Ahead?
Yes! Christmas Crack can be made up to three weeks ahead, and frozen until you’re ready to serve. Wrap portions tightly in plastic wrap, and seal into freezer bags. Thaw before serving.
The Best Christmas Crack (Saltine Cracker Toffee)
- 40 – 45 saltine crackers
- ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature, sliced into pieces
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- Toppings: Extra nuts, sprinkles, toffee pieces, crushed peppermint, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a 15×10 inch baking sheet with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Line the saltine crackers up all over the pan. Break some apart, if needed, to cover the entire pan. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Bring it to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
- When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, boil for three minutes. (You want the mixture to reach 275°F to 280°F; I recommend using a candy thermometer for best results!)
- Immediately remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Quickly pour the mixture over the crackers, and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Transfer the baking pan to the oven, and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle the top of the candy with chocolate chips. They should melt within 5 minutes of placing them on top of the hot toffee layer. If not, you may need to place the pan back in the oven for a moment to help them melt. Spread the melted chocolate chips over the candy layer.
- While the chocolate chips are melting over the toffee, place the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. You may need to microwave them for an additional 10 to 20 seconds.
- Drizzle the white chocolate over the candy while the regular chocolate is still soft. Take a knife and run it over the surface of the chocolate to make swirls.
- You can add any extra sprinkles or candies before the chocolate is set, if desired. Place the candy in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until completely set.
- Break into pieces before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
More Holiday Treats
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark
- Peanut Butter Pretzel Crockpot Candy
- Reindeer Poop
- Easy Eggnog Cheesecake
- Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog)
- Peppermint Oreo Truffle Balls
- Butterscotch Haystacks
- White Chocolate Dipped Gingersnap Cookies
- Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
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