The 13 Best Cheese and Cracker Pairings of All Time
Do you have a favorite cheese? (Of course you do. You might be eating some right now.) What about a cracker? (So many choices!) Now, what happens when you put them together? Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts, or does combining your two number ones diminish each’s own individual pleasantry? There are ways to find the answers to these very important, veering-toward-philosophical questions. And we explored several of them.
We sampled as many different kinds of cheese and crackers as we could find. For this tasting, we stuck to cow, goat, and sheep milk cheeses. We also conferred with Alexandra Horne, senior manager of events and education at Murray’s Cheese, on a few of the pairings — because while cheese can be deeply personal, it’s also undeniably social.
1. Garlic & Herb Gournay Cheese and Water Crackers
Sometimes the cracker’s role is simply to let the cheese shine. This is one of those times. (Duh!) Boursin’s boldly flavored cheese is made with garlic, parsley, and chives, and its slightly crumbly, but mostly creamy texture shines when it’s spread on the center of the crispy and decidedly plain cracker with the etched logo. You know the one.
2. Canned Cheese and Woven Wheat Crackers
3. Pimento Cheese and Rice Crackers
4. Cheddar Cheese and Pretzel Crackers
This is the cracker version of the classic cheese dip and warm pretzel. And it’s, dare we say, perfection. Kerrygold makes delicious cheese with milk from grass-fed cows, and its Reserved Cheddar is the one you want. It’s aged for more than two years, so the flavor is more intense, and holds its own when paired with the Town House Pretzel FlipSides, which are pretzel on one side, cracker on the other. The Snack Factory also makes crunchy pretzel crisps that’ll play nice here.
5. Gjetost and Rye Crispbreads
Jan, our assistant recipe producer, loves to pair Gjetost, a Norwegian cheese made from goat and cow milk, with rye crisps. “The sweet and rich caramel-like flavor of the cheese perfectly balances the hearty crunch of the rye crisps.” (The Wasa brand is her go-to.) For the best bite, she adds, “It’s key to slice the cheese super thin with a cheese slicer!”
6. Brie and Crisps
Incredibly creamy, Brie is one of the world’s most beloved soft cheeses and it — rind and all — goes on top of crackers of “the finest quality.” Those crackers, made with cranberries and toasted hazelnut, are Leslie Stowe Raincoast Crisps. The fig and olive variety, specifically, brings a fun salty-meets-sweet mix to the party.
7. Manchego and Almond Flour Crackers
Fun fact: Manchego is a name-protected cheese made in Spain, specifically La Mancha, with milk from a Manchega sheep. It’s an aggressively salty cheese, and a delicious one at that — I’ve personally taken bites out of a wedge when I was unable (read: too lazy) to get my hands on a knife. Nut-based crackers, and ones made with almonds in particular, balance out the severity of the cheese. If your store carries Simple Mills, go for their Cracked Black Pepper crackers.
8. Goat Cheese and Rosemary Crackers
9. Pepper Jack Cheese and Butter Crackers
Before we talk cheese, quick cracker question: Do people eat an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers before they even set one on a plate? (We know Ina loves them!) These buttery crackers are satiating on their own, and yet even more so when paired with a smooth, spicy, and thinly sliced cube of Cabot Pepper Jack — another award-winning cheese from Vermont. Consider topping the twosome with another cracker for a DIY sandwich.
10. Mozzarella and Sweet Potato Crackers
Mozzarella, a traditional Italian cheese, has a more delicate flavor than some of its lower-moisture, longer-aged neighbors. (Hi, Manchego!) When we’re buying a ball in the grocery store, we usually get BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella. Here’s where it gets interesting: My personal recommendation is to eat the mozz in tandem with these RW Garcia 3 Seed Sweet Potato Crackers, almost as a chaser. Cheese first. Cracker second.
11. Gouda and Everything Seasoning Crackers
12. Blue Cheese and Honey Graham Crackers
13. Parmigiano-Reggiano and Dark Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers
To cap things off, we’re leaning into decadence. (Speaking of, check out our favorite cheese and cookie pairings.) The flavor of this classic cheese is as rich and complex as its hundreds-year-old history. It’s nutty and savory with just a hint of caramel sweetness, which makes it a natural companion to the equally rich dark chocolate covered graham crackers. I like to break off pieces of the graham crackers and top each with a nubbin of Parm.
What’s your favorite cheese and cracker pairing? Tell us about it in the comments below.