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Make your own Cheddar Cheese Shortbread crackers with just a few ingredients in 20 minutes. These little bites are so addictive you’ll want to make a double batch.
Christmas is such a great time of the year no matter where you live. We’ve lived in South Florida for over 12 years now and I thought I might miss a bit of the holiday cheer with the warm weather. But I can truly say, I have not missed any of the cold, snow, wind – you know – all that winter stuff.
Even in Florida, we have our annual ugly sweater/crazy Santa party and each year. I take advantage of this annual party to allow my friends and family to be taste testers for my new recipes. I have to say, these Cheddar Cheese Shortbreads are a big hit and now take center stage each year as a Fan Favorite!
I originally called these crackers, but when my husband took one bite he claimed they were more like a shortbread because of the buttery cheesy flavor. They have a butter flavor and the consistency of shortbread with the added kick from the cayenne pepper. They are a little crispy on the outside with a little bit of snap but light on the inside.
cheddar cheese shortbread shapes
I have two different shapes that I like to use when making these. The shape is dependent on my cooking them right away or freezing the dough to cook later.
Bake them now – little round cracker bites
If I am going to make the dough and bake these the same day, I use a small cookie scoop and scoop out small balls. I lay them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. I use the bottom of a shot glass or small glass to press them down just a bit. And then I bake them. I end up with little bite-sized crackers.
If you have enough room in your freezer, you could also place the cookie sheet of crackers (in photo 2) in the freezer overnight. Then transfer the crackers into a zip-top bag. I usually don’t have enough room in my freezer so I use the log-shaped method when I am freezing the dough.
bake them later – rectangle-shaped crackers
If I am going to make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it, I shape the dough into rectangle-shaped logs. I wrap them in plastic wrap and then place them in a large zip-top bag. When I am ready to bake them, I cut thin crackers out of the log and they are ready to do into the oven.
What Makes a shortbread a shortbread?
This is a very good question! To be a shortbread usually means that the pastry is crumbly and has a higher content of fat or shortening. I think now, most people use butter like me and not actual shortening which is what my Mom use to bake with.
Krazy Kitchen Mom Tips for making cheddar cheese shortbread
- It’s important to refrigerate this dough for 1-2 hours before you bake them. That gives the butter more time to cool which will give your shortbreads a flakier texture.
- You can also freeze this dough for up to three months. You can make the actual little crackers and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a zip-top bag and they are ready to go when you want to bake them. Bake them right from the freezer and increase the cooking time by 3-4 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.
- The other way to freeze them is to roll the dough into a long log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Slice little crackers and bake.
- I recommend that the first time you make these only add the 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper as the recipe calls for. Unless you don’t mind a bit more heat as we do. I use 1 full teaspoon of cayenne when I make these.
- And don’t worry if you see little speck of cheese in your shortbread, they are supposed to be that way. (Wink!)
If you like this appetizer recipe, you might also like these:
- Mini Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Four Ingredient Olive Cheese Bites
- Three Cheese Cranberry Flatbread
- Cornbread Spinach Bites
- Puff Pastry Cheese Stars
Cheddar Cheese Shortbread
- 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese - room temperature
- 2 sticks butter - room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper use 1 teaspoon because I like the spicy taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a bowl, whisk together salt, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper and set aside.
- Mix cheese and butter with a stand or hand mixture until smooth.
- Add flour/spice mixture 1/2 cup at a time.
- Roll dough into small balls (golf ball or smaller size); place on a baking sheet covered with parchment or a non-stick baking pad.
- Press each small ball with a small glass or a shot glass to flatten and make a consistent size.
- Chill to dough balls for 1 hour or freeze them.
- Bake for 15-19 minutes until they are golden brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- I recommend that the first time you make these only add the 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper as the recipe calls for. Unless you don't mind a bit more heat as we do. I use 1 full teaspoon of cayenne when I make these.
- This dough can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for up to 4 weeks.