The Best Cracker Toppings for Next-Level Entertaining

twelve crackers with toppings
Photo: Dera Burreson

There are crackers and cheese—then there's fancy crackers and cheese. For an exciting twist on the classic combo, we show how versatile a cheese and crackers snack can be by using flavorful jellies, sliced produce, herb sprigs, and creamy spreads. We have tasty ideas on what to eat with crackers for your next charcuterie spread, a delicious snack, or even cracker toppings for lunch.

01 of 15

Fruit and Cheese

Cracker with aged cheddar and apple
Dera Burreson

If you already love pairing fruit and cheese on a charcuterie spread, then this cheese and crackers combo is a no-brainer. Top your favorite kind of cracker with aged cheddar cheese and sliced fresh apples or pears for an easy, unbeatable afternoon snack.

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Berry-Serrano Pepper Jelly

charcuterie plate with berry-serrano pepper jelly
Andy Lyons

Spice up snack time (literally) by serving crackers topped with fiery homemade pepper jelly. You can take the edge off the heat by adding a smear of spreadable cheese, such as cream cheese or goat cheese. If serrano sounds too hot for your cracker appetizer, opt for our classic jalapeño jelly recipe or a purchased version.

03 of 15

Brunch Starter

Cracker with crème fraiche, cucumber, smoked salmon, dill, and cracked pepper
Dera Burreson

Get a taste of brunch any time of day by snacking on crème fraîche, cucumber, smoked salmon, fresh dill, and cracked black pepper on top of crackers. Plain yogurt can also stand in for crème fraîche if desired. To make each cracker topping taste even more like a bagel, try switching up your cracker toppings with cream cheese to mimic bagels and lox. Just replace the crème fraîche with a spoonful of cream cheese—whether you include the cucumber or not is up to you.

04 of 15

Garden Snack

Cracker with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato, and salt
Dera Burreson

A few fresh ingredients are all it takes to transform plain crackers and cheese into a bite-size caprese salad. Start with a piece of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes, then sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Drizzle on a little balsamic if you'd like. Serving with just cheese, basil, and tomatoes can make a great snack, but adding a drizzle of balsamic glaze gives it an extra kick as a party appetizer.

05 of 15

Kid-Pleaser Cracker Toppings

Cracker with Nutella and banana
Dera Burreson

There's a reason we call these cracker toppings "kid-friendly." Stack crackers with peanut butter and banana slices just like their favorite brown-bag sandwich. We take this cracker snack recipe one step further—into dessert territory—by substituting a chocolate-hazelnut spread for peanut butter. Even adults won't be able to resist.

06 of 15

Make-It-Mine Wine Jelly

cheese board with crackers and wine jelly
Blaine Moats

Wine, crackers, and cheese were probably already on your party-planning list anyway, so why not combine them all into the ultimate appetizer? Pick up a bottle of your favorite vino, then use it to make homemade wine jelly. Set out a jar with your board so your guests can add a smear to their cheese and crackers snack.

07 of 15

Mediterranean Treat

Cracker with cream cheese, green olive tapenade, and sliced green olives
Dera Burreson

Want a snack that transports your taste buds across the globe? Look no further than this Mediterranean-inspired cracker topping. Load up your crackers with cream cheese, green olive tapenade, and sliced green olives, then close your eyes and imagine you're on vacation as you take your first bite.

08 of 15

Triple-Olive Tapenade

Triple-Olive Tapenade
Andy Lyons

Three different kinds of olives make this tapenade shine. Use this just-salty-enough homemade tapenade recipe whenever you need cracker toppings for lunch, a snack, or a party. You can also change it up to make fig and olive tapenade, artichoke and dried tomato, or orange-scented almond variations.

09 of 15

Company's Coming

Cracker with mustard, gruyere, roast beef, and cracked pepper
Dera Burreson

Need your cheese and crackers to be dressed to impress? This satisfying combination of mustard, Gruyère, roast beef, and cracked pepper was made for sharing with guests. Serve this cracker spread at your next dinner party, or treat yourself to an extra-special afternoon snack when you need a pick-me-up.

10 of 15

Pesto Pleaser

Cracker with ricotta, pesto, and parmesan shard
Dera Burreson

Translate your favorite pasta dish into a delicious anytime snack. Ricotta, basil pesto, and Parmesan shards lend delicious Italian flavor to crackers. Keep the cracker toppings as is, or add a small slice of prosciutto before garnishing with Parmesan.

11 of 15

Basil Pesto

bowl of basil pesto with olive oil
Andy Lyons

With this homemade pesto recipe on hand, you'll always have a delicious snack just moments away. For vegan cracker toppings, add a spoonful of pesto on top of your favorite cracker (just be sure to use vegan cheese in the mix). But if you're an extreme cheese-lover, this pesto will pair great with a slice of Parmesan or provolone.

12 of 15

Sweet Surprise

Cracker with ricotta cheese, raspberry, and shaved dark chocolate
Dera Burreson

We don't know about you, but we're always yearning for something a little sweet when 3 p.m. rolls around. Satisfy your cravings for a sweet snack in a snap with a cracker spread of ricotta, fresh raspberry, and shaved milk chocolate. Each one is like its own bite-size dessert.

13 of 15

Mexican Spice

Cracker with avocado, pico, cilantro, and chili powder
Dera Burreson

If you can't wait for taco night, you can sneak a taste as an afternoon snack by topping crackers with sliced avocado, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, and a dusting of chili powder. It's almost like sampling salsa and guacamole at the same time.

14 of 15

Salty and Sweet

Cracker with blue cheese and honey
Dera Burreson

Crumbly blue cheese drizzled with honey (or try hot honey) is a winning combination of sweet and salty flavors, and the texture contrast makes it even more satisfying to eat. Add an extra crunch and gourmet appeal to this bite-size appetizer with a nut-based cracker.

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Cracker with hummus, chopped peppers, feta, and oregano seasoning
Dera Burreson

Use your favorite hummus spread as a starting point for this healthy snack. Protein-packed hummus, nutrient-rich bell peppers, and low-fat feta crumbles garnished with oregano seasoning are a delicious play on Mediterranean flavors. Simply omit the feta crumbles to make a vegan cracker topping.

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