I’m the Grocery Editor at Kitchn and These Are, IMHO, the 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 I explored a few of them.
I went to my local grocery store and sampled as many different kinds of cheese and crackers as I could find. For this tasting, I stuck to cow, goat, and sheep’s milk-made cheeses. I also conferred with Lisa Freedman, Kitchn’s Executive Lifestyle Director and noted cheese fanatic (check her bio), and 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.
Concessions were made. Unexpected combos were created. And in the end, a delightful array of sliced, cubed, spreadable, and even sprayable cheeses found their cracker counterparts. Here are my official top 10 picks for the best pairings!
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. Cheddar Cheese and Pretzel Crackers
This is the cracker version of the classic cheese dip and warm pretzel. And it’s, dare I say, perfection. Kerrygold makes delicious cheese with milk from grass-fed cows, and their 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.
3. 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.
4. Blue Cheese and Honey Graham Crackers
Ah, blue cheese. If there’s a more polarizing cheese, then let me know in the comments below. But I think fans and skeptics alike should give this daring pairing space on their grazing board. The funky cheese with a Honey Made graham cracker is the most dynamic duo on this list.
5. Canned Cheese and Woven Wheat Crackers
A spray of cheddar cheese atop an original Triscuit? It’s not fancy, but it sure is a crowd-pleaser! The texture of the cracker, its slightly salty flavor, and a blob of Easy Cheese is what childhood memories are made of.
6. 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.
7. Goat Cheese and Rosemary Crackers
Give me a log of Vermont Creamery’s classic goat cheese and a tray of Carr’s Rosemary Crackers and I’m good. The award-winning cheese‘s mild flavor and delightfully smooth texture are exactly what the savory, well-seasoned crackers warrant. It’s almost like they were made for each other!
8. 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? (I 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.
9. 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 I’m buying a ball in the grocery store, I 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.
10. Gouda and Everything Seasoning Crackers
This final combo is everything — and not just because of the crackers. Boar’s Head Gouda, with its distinctive buttery cheese, brings a real vibe to these Everything Crackers, made with caraway, poppy and sesame seeds, garlic and onion, from Target’s Good & Gather line. To be clear, this list is in no particular order. But if it was, this pairing would be more than Gouda ‘nough to close it out.
Don’t see your favorite pair? Tell us in the comments below!