Saltine Soufflé Crackers

Here’s a recipe from my stepmother, Pat.  Or at least I think it’s from Pat.  Maybe it’s from my sister-in-law, Kathy or my dad’s friends from Arkansas, Shelly and Kermit.  I can’t remember, but someone explained how to make these at a family gathering, and I finally got around to trying the recipe myself.   It’s for those days when you’re bored you’ve invited friends over for a fancy party, then at the last minute, realized “Whoops! I don’t have anything in the pantry but Saltines!”

Saltine Souffle Crackers

This is a way to transform plain old Saltines into elegant pastry-like crackers.

I guess the first thing I should tell you is you’re not *really* making soufflés out of crackers. What you’re doing is soaking the crackers until they puff up with water, draining them, dotting with butter, baking, salting and cooling. Here’s an illustration of what happens along the way. I was a little stingy with the butter, but this should give you a vague idea of how much to use.

Saltine Souffle Crackers

The end result is a fancy brown cracker with a buttery flavor that can be eaten alone or served with dip. I like eating them straight, tossed with a little sea salt, as did the rest of the family.  I made them as I was making dinner, then put them out for people to snack on before the meal.  That’s always a good time to experiment with crackers, as people are usually starving.   If you try these, let me know what you think.

Saltine Soufflé Crackers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An old recipe where Saltines are soaked in water and baked.
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 2
  • 15 Saltines (to start)
  • Butter, unsalted or salted -- amount will vary
  • Water
  • Coarse sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment.
  2. Fill a 9x13 inch (ish!) pan with about 1 inch of very cold water. Put the Saltines in the water one by one, doing your best to cover them with a little water without breaking.
  3. Let the crackers sit and soak up water for about 10 minutes or until they become slightly waterlogged.
  4. With a slotted spatula, carefully lift the sopping crackers up, one by one, letting water drip out through the slots in the spatula. Try to keep the crackers from falling apart.
  5. Arrange the crackers side by side on your baking sheet.
  6. With a grater, grate some cold butter into a pile. I did this over a sheet of foil. Put a small (about 1/2 inch across -- see photo) pile of butter flakes in the center of each cracker.
  7. Bake the crackers at 425 on the center rack for 12 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and bake for another 22 to 30 minutes (check at 20) or until crackers are golden brown and seem crisp. Remove from oven and let cool completely. While they are cooling, sprinkle with a little coarse salt. If you’ve used salted butter, you might be able to skip the last bit of salt, but I used unsalted butter and felt the crackers needed it.
This is a small batch to get you going. After you get the hang of making these and figure out the perfect timing in your oven, you might want to double or triple the recipe.

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  1. says

    Sue, yes. I’d say it was. They weren’t that difficult to work with, plus they’re so cheap I felt like I had nothing to lose! It was a fun recipe to play with. My biggest challenge was getting the bake time just right.

    Cheryl, we have that same problem. We’ll eat one sleeve straight, but I usually use the rest of the Saltines in one of these recipes:
    Rooster’s Famous Fire Crackers and
    Cracker Candy

  2. Louise says

    Marion Cunningham published these as “Lil’s Ice-Water Crackers” in “The Supper Book” (1992). She said the recipe was given to her a long time ago in Los Angeles, and that eating one invites you to eat a hundred.

  3. Paula B. says

    I love all kinds of crackers including saltines so I know I will have to try making these soon. Had never heard of this “technique”. They look yummy and I believe it will be hard to stop eating them , thanks for the heads-up!

  4. says

    Interesting recipe, Anna!
    And a big congratulations about the book!!! Can’t wait to see it in November!

  5. Lorna says

    I learned to make these in my high school cooking class back in the 60’s. Are you sure you soak the crackers for 10 minutes? I seem to remember it was only about 10 seconds, although I no longer have the written recipe. I also brush the wet crackers with melted butter and sprinkle poppy seeds and sesame seeds on them before I bake them. They are so good and I get a lot of compliments on them.

  6. says

    Hi Lorna,
    I’m so glad you are familiar with this recipe!! About the soak time, I tried another version that had the quick 10 second soak time. The 10 second crackers were great, but I found that with the 10 minute soak time, they puffed up more (due to the absorbed water) and baked up a little lighter. However, I liked the 10 second soak version too. Also, if you only soak for 10 seconds you can brush them with butter or oil rather than use grated butter.

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