50 Ways to Top a Cracker

Serve some of these fun bites at your next holiday get-together.

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1. Pear Chutney with Blue Cheese Saute 1/2 diced onion, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon each chopped thyme and rosemary in 1 tablespoon butter until tender, 5 minutes. Stir in 2 diced peeled small pears and 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool. Stir in 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese and 1 teaspoon honey. Serve on crackers and top with chives.

2. Apple-Cranberry Chutney with Cheddar Simmer 2 diced peeled Gala apples, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/3 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 minced shallot, 2 teaspoons mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan until soft and almost dry, about 40 minutes; let cool. Arrange sliced cheddar on crackers and top with the chutney.

Brandied Figs with Brie (No. 3)

Brandied Figs with Brie (No. 3)

3. Brandied Figs with Brie Microwave 6 halved dried figs in a bowl with 2 tablespoons each brandy and water, covered, until steaming, 1 minute; let cool. Arrange sliced brie on crackers and top with the figs. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Tangerine and Beet Spread labneh on crackers. Top with thinly sliced cooked beets and tangerine segments. Sprinkle with za’atar and salt.

Blood Orange and Fennel (No. 5)

Blood Orange and Fennel (No. 5)

5. Blood Orange and Fennel Mash 3 tablespoons softened butter with 1/2 teaspoon each crushed fennel seeds and coarsely ground pepper. Spread on crackers and top with thinly sliced fennel, blood orange segments and fennel fronds. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and more pepper.

6. Roasted Grapes with Taleggio Toss 1 1/4 cups halved red seedless grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees F until browned in spots, 12 to 14 minutes. Arrange sliced taleggio on crackers and top with the grapes.

7. Lemon Ricotta with Anchovies Mix 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta with 1 teaspoon each lemon zest and chopped marjoram and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Spread on crackers and top with chopped roasted peppers and halved anchovy fillets.

8. Turmeric Egg Salad Whisk 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric and a pinch of salt. Stir in 4 finely chopped hard-boiled eggs and 1 tablespoon each finely chopped preserved lemons and cilantro. Serve on crackers and top with toasted pine nuts and more cilantro.

9. Bistro Deviled Egg Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons chopped cornichons, 1 tablespoon each dijon mustard, chopped chives and chopped tarragon, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread on crackers and top with sliced hard-boiled eggs and radishes and more chives and tarragon.

10. Shrimp with Guacamole Toss 8 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp with the juice of 1 lime, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin, chipotle chile powder and kosher salt. Cook on a grill pan over medium-high heat until charred and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Spread guacamole on crackers and top with the shrimp, sliced red jalapeños and cilantro.

11. Thai Chili Shrimp Cook 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until almost cooked through, 45 seconds per side. Add 3 tablespoons sweet Thai chili sauce and 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and rice vinegar. Cook, tossing, until glazed, 1 minute. Top crackers with shredded iceberg lettuce, the shrimp, sliced scallions, cilantro and sliced Thai chiles.

12. Herring with Cucumber Mix 4 tablespoons softened butter with 4 teaspoons horseradish mustard. Spread on crackers and top with pickled herring (blotted dry), sliced cucumbers and red onions, and fresh dill.

13. Vegetable Sushi Mash 1/2 avocado with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Combine 1/4 cup each finely diced cucumbers, radishes and scallions, 2 tablespoons diced seeded jalapeños, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon rice vinegar. Spread the avocado on crackers and top with the vegetable mixture and thinly sliced nori.

14. Tuna sushi Season one 6-ounce tuna steak with salt and pepper, then press in sesame seeds. Sear in a skillet with vegetable oil over high heat, 1 minute per side; thinly slice. Make Vegetable Sushi Crackers (No. 13), adding 1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste to the avocado mash and topping with the seared tuna.

Smoked Salmon with Pickled Onion (No. 15)

Smoked Salmon with Pickled Onion (No. 15)

15. Smoked Salmon with Pickled Onion Whisk 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt; pour over 1/2 thinly sliced red onion. Let sit 1 hour; drain. Combine 4 tablespoons softened butter and 2 teaspoons each capers and chopped dill; season with salt and pepper. Spread on crackers and top with smoked salmon, the pickled onion and dill.

16. Smoked Trout with Apples Spread crème fraÎche on crackers and top with thinly sliced green apple, dijon mustard, flaked smoked trout and chopped chives.

17. Maryland Crab Mix 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons each dijon mustard and lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon each Old Bay and Worcestershire sauce, 1 sliced scallion and a dash of hot sauce. Fold in 8 ounces lump crabmeat and season with salt and pepper. Serve on crackers and top with sliced scallions and more Old Bay.

18. Roasted Tomato with Basil Toss 1 pint halved grape tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F until softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Mix 4 ounces goat cheese with 1 tablespoon chopped basil, 2 teaspoons dried oregano and 1 grated small garlic clove. Spread on crackers and top with the tomatoes and torn basil.

19. Sun-dried Tomato Relish Drain 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes; reserve the oil. Chop the tomatoes and mix with 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon each reserved tomato oil and chopped thyme, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and a pinch of sugar. Spread mascarpone on crackers and top with the sun-dried tomato relish.

Mushrooms with Herb Cheese (No. 20)

Mushrooms with Herb Cheese (No. 20)

20. Mushrooms with Herb Cheese Saute 8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms in 2 tablespoons each butter and olive oil until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Spread soft garlic-herb cheese on crackers and top with the mushrooms, fresh parsley and lemon zest.

21. Broccoli Pesto with Dill Havarti Cook 1 cup broccoli florets in boiling salted water until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pulse in a food processor with 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts, 1 small garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon each mustard powder and kosher salt. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon water; pulse. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange sliced dill havarti on crackers and top with the broccoli pesto.

22. Spinach-Feta with Red Peppers Pulse half a 10-ounce package frozen spinach (thawed and drained) with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons each olive oil and chopped parsley, dill and scallions in a food processor; season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup crumbled feta. Spread on crackers and top with diced roasted red peppers.

23. Middle Eastern Cauliflower Cut 1/2 small head cauliflower head into florets and slice each in half; toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon each hot smoked paprika, ground cumin and coriander, 1 grated garlic clove and a pinch of salt. Roast on a preheated baking sheet at 450 degrees F until browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Spread baba ghanoush on crackers and top with the cauliflower and chopped parsley.

24. Curried Chickpea Mash Saute 1 teaspoon each minced peeled ginger and garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, 1 minute. Add one 15-ounce can chickpeas (drained), 3/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons mango chutney; season with salt and pepper. Simmer, lightly mashing, until the mixture is dry, 8 to 10 minutes. Spread on crackers and top with plain yogurt, sliced cucumber and cilantro.

Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds (No. 25)

Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds (No. 25)

25. Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds Slice 2 small Chinese eggplants into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Cook in 1/4 cup olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side; season with salt and pepper. Mix 1/3 cup plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange the eggplant on crackers; top with the yogurt sauce, a pinch of za’atar, pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

26. Harissa Carrots with Hummus Saute 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until softened, 15 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons harissa paste and season with salt; let cool, then stir in 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Spread hummus on crackers and top with the carrots.

27. Bacon Jam with Goat Cheese Saute 1 pound chopped bacon and 1 sliced shallot in a saucepan over medium heat until browned, about 20 minutes; pour off the fat, then add 1/3 cup each cider vinegar, brown sugar and water and 1 tablespoon chopped thyme to the pan and cook until jammy, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper; let cool. Spread goat cheese on crackers and top with the bacon jam and chopped chervil or parsley.

28. BLT with Rémoulade Whisk 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon each chopped cornichons and grainy mustard, 1 sliced scallion, 1 teaspoon each ketchup and hot sauce and a pinch of salt. Top crackers with small pieces of baby lettuce, thinly sliced plum tomatoes, cooked bacon pieces and a dollop of the rémoulade.

29. Butternut Squash with Nduja Toss 2 cups butternut squash (thinly sliced and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares) with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast on a preheated baking sheet at 450 degrees F until browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Spread nduja (spreadable sausage) on crackers and top with the squash and fresh oregano.

Butternut Squash with Caponata (No. 30)

Butternut Squash with Caponata (No. 30)

30. Butternut Squash with Caponata Make Butternut Squash Crackers with Nduja (No. 29), tossing the squash with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar along with the olive oil; roast 20 to 25 minutes, then slice into matchsticks. Arrange on crackers, omitting the nduja. Top with caponata, ricotta salata and fresh oregano.

31. Caviar Butter Mix 6 tablespoons softened butter with 1 tablespoon caviar. Spread on crackers and top with sliced radishes, chopped chives and flaky salt.

Jalapeño-Cheddar (No. 32)

Jalapeño-Cheddar (No. 32)

32. Jalapeño-Cheddar Mix 1/2 cup each softened cream cheese and shredded smoked cheddar with 1 thinly sliced scallion. Spread on crackers and top with sliced jalapeños.

33. Chicken Nacho Toss 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed) with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Spread refried beans on crackers and top with the chicken and shredded Mexican cheese blend; broil until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with pico de gallo, sour cream, sliced scallions and crumbled tortilla chips.

34. Mexican Street Corn Mix 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, 2 teaspoons lime juice and a pinch each of chipotle chile powder and salt. Stir in 1 cup thawed frozen fire-roasted corn. Spoon onto crackers and top with crumbled Cotija cheese, sliced scallions, cilantro and more chile powder.

35. Spanish Ham and Cheese Spread quince paste on crackers and top with thinly sliced serrano ham and manchego cheese.

36. Ham with Mustard Butter Mix 6 tablespoons softened butter with 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard. Spread on crackers and top with sliced ham and cornichons.

37. New York Hot Dog Cut cocktail franks in half lengthwise and cook in a skillet until browned, about 5 minutes. Spread spicy brown mustard on crackers and top with the cocktail franks and drained sauerkraut.

38. Spicy Andouille Cook thinly sliced andouille sausage in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Mix 1/4 cup softened vegetable cream cheese with 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce. Spread on crackers and top with the sausage and celery leaves.

39. Hawaiian Spam with Pineapple Slice one 7-ounce can Spam 1/4 inch thick, then cut each slice into 1-inch pieces. Cook in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side; toss with 2 tablespoons teriyaki glaze. Serve on crackers and top with thinly sliced pineapple and sesame seeds.

Prosciutto with Artichoke (No. 40)

Prosciutto with Artichoke (No. 40)

40. Prosciutto with Artichoke Top crackers with sliced prosciutto, shaved parmesan, sliced marinated artichoke hearts and baby arugula. Sprinkle with pepper.

41. Salami-Olive Relish Mix 2/3 cup chopped salami, 1/2 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives, 2 diced celery stalks, 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley and olive oil, and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Spread ricotta on crackers and top with the salami-olive relish.

42. Soppressata with Olive Tapenade Spread goat cheese on crackers and top with black olive tapenade and thinly sliced soppressata. Sprinkle with pepper.

43. White Bean Spread with Pancetta Cook 6 chopped pancetta slices and 16 sage leaves in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes; remove to a paper towel–lined plate with a slotted spoon. Transfer the drippings from the skillet to a food processor and add one 15-ounce can cannellini beans (drained), 1/4 cup water, 1 garlic clove and a pinch each of salt and pepper; puree until smooth. Spread on crackers; top with the pancetta and crumble the fried sage on top.

44. Banh Mi Toss 1/2 cup each carrots and daikon radishes (cut into matchsticks) with 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt; let sit 20 minutes. Top crackers with Sriracha mayonnaise, sliced liverwurst, the pickled vegetables, thinly sliced jalapeños and cilantro.

45. Pâté with Balsamic Onions Saute 2 sliced onions with 8 thyme sprigs in 2 tablespoons each butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until browned, 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until caramelized, 20 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar; let cool. Spread chicken liver pâté on crackers and top with the onions and capers.

46. Buffalo Chicken Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on crackers. Toss 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed) with 3 tablespoons Buffalo hot sauce and divide among the crackers. Broil until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with finely chopped celery and blue cheese dressing.

47. Sesame Chicken Dredge 3 chicken cutlets in flour, then dip in beaten egg, then press in a mixture of 1 cup panko and 1/4 cup sesame seeds. Fry in 1/2 inch of hot vegetable oil, turning once, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and cut into bite-size pieces. Serve on crackers; top with spicy mayonnaise, sliced scallions and cilantro.

48. Fried Chicken with Pepper Jelly Make the chicken for Sesame Chicken Crackers (No. 47) using a mixture of 3/4 cup each panko and shredded cheddar for the coating. Serve on crackers, top with pepper jelly and sliced seeded jalapeños.

Steak with Fresh Salsa (No. 49)

Steak with Fresh Salsa (No. 49)

49. Steak with Fresh Salsa Season 1 strip steak (3/4 inch thick) with salt and pepper. Cook in a grill pan over medium-high heat, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare; thinly slice. Mix 1/4 cup each diced yellow bell peppers, white onions and tomatoes, 2 tablespoons each olive oil and chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes; season with salt. Arrange the steak on crackers and top with the salsa.

50. Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream Mix 4 tablespoons softened cream cheese with 4 teaspoons horseradish. Spread on crackers and top with deli-sliced roast beef, capers and dill; season with salt and pepper.

Photography by Ryan Dausch

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