Homemade “Cheez-Its” – grain and dairy free with vegan option

Love CHEEZ IT CRACKERS, but need a healthier option?  These Homemade CHEEZ IT® CRACKERS are gluten, grain, and dairy free and oh so yummy!  Your favorite cracker from your childhood is healthy enough that you can eat the whole batch without guilt.
{I just love it when I can remake a processed food into a healthier version, like my “Almond Joy®” Bars, homemade protein bars, powdered sugar substitute, sugar-free lemonade, homemade ketchup, and 5 ingredient salad dressing. If you’re like me, Cheez-Its® were one of the most addictive snacks of your childhood.  I can’t think of a time that I sat down with a box of those without almost polishing off the entire box.

Or at least more than I should have (ahem).
Anyone else with me?

Well, my CHEEZ-IT® days are over since I am gluten-free (and presently dairy-free due to an apparent food allergy), but thanks to Kate from Kate’s Healthy Cupboard, I can have CHEEZ-IT®s again!

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Well, sort of.

Homemade “Cheez-Its®” that are gluten-free, grain-free and even dairy-free, with a vegan option.

Now that’s something to get excited about!

Have you heard about nutritional yeast?

It’s a mystery to some but a staple for many — particularly for those who are vegans or are allergic to dairy.

It gives a really nice cheesy-nutty flavor to dishes, sans the milk.

We’ve used it in our home for years, since my son was born with a life-threatening milk allergy

We have several favorite recipes using nutritional yeast:

5 Ingredient Salad Dressing – Our New Favorite
“Dorito®” Popcorn

and Kate has a few tempting ones as well:

“Cheesy” Kale Chips and
Cashew Alfredo Sauce

Sorry for the long introduction, but I am so thrilled with this recipe.  Here’s Kate and her fabulous recipe for you to enjoy. Oh, and this post has affiliate links in it so if you click on it and make a purchase a commission might be made. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.}

Here is a recipe that uses nutritional yeast, instead of cheese,  for a dairy-free cheesy cracker recipe that you can feel good about eating!

I almost didn’t get a chance to take a picture of these before they were gone.

Someone was sneaking them off the pile of my setup for the picture…they are that good!!!

Love CHEEZ IT CRACKERS, but need a healthier option?  These Homemade CHEEZ IT® CRACKERS are gluten, grain, and dairy free and oh so yummy!  Your favorite cracker from your childhood is healthy enough that you can eat the whole batch without guilt.

Quick notes

*Honeyville or Bob’s Red Mill almond flour will work just fine for these crackers.


I used melted butter to make these a bit “creamier” tasting, but expeller pressed coconut oil will work for dairy-free option.

What childhood snacks were your favorite?

Kate's Healthy Cupboard - a healthy cooking blog Kate Criswell is a Fitness Trainer and Nutrition Coach who loves spending time in the kitchen tweaking recipes to make them healthier yet still satisfying and delicious.  For more of her grain-free recipes and tips, visit Kate’s Healthy Cupboard at www.kateshealthycupboard.com.

Shared at The Prairie Homestead, 3 Boys and a Dog, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Gluten-Free Homemaker, The Nourishing Gourmet, Food Renegade, We Are that Family, and Real Food Forager.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Haha, yes, I ate Cheez its like they were going out of style! It might be good for me that I can’t have them anymore 😛 This vegan option sounds amazing! Nutritional yeast is a life saver AND it is actually a good source of nutrients. I was so surprised! Thanks for sharing, these look delicious!

  2. Oh wow, this really is a recipe to get excited about!!! I can’t wait to make these, my family will LOVE them :)


  3. Rebecca says:

    These sound really good. Can you recommend a substitute flour? (My son is allergic to wheat, barley, millet, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, milk, sesame, lentils, and non-baked eggs. :-) On a side note…I just made him “mac&cheese” for the very first time (he’s 7yo) using coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and salt for the sauce. He absolutely loved it. Even his twin, who loves to eat the real thing anytime we go to a restaurant, gobbled it up.

    • I’m sure Kate will be by but I would think seed flours – have you tried sunflower or pumpkin?

    • Melissa Huffines says:

      Sounds like my son! I often grind up old fashioned rolled oats and use that in place of flour. Not sure how it would work for this recipe, but it’s an idea to try!

    • I’d try sunflower seeds. Pulverize them in a food processor to make a flour. I’ve made crackers with them before and they are delicious.

    • I have a cracker recipe that uses sunflower seeds made into a flour. They are so good and I think you could use them in place of almond flour. Just pulverize them in a food processor into a flour!

  4. I LOVE Cheez-Its and just had some for the first time in forever. I KNOW they are BAD, so I’m excited for this version! Does Nutritional Yeast ever go bad? I have some that’s been sitting in my pantry for years….

    • Hmmmm…I don’t know. I would check and see if it smells rancid. I assume it could – I typically leave mine in the fridge or freezer. Maybe Kate can help.

    • I have no idea if it goes bad! The Bragg’s container of it probably has an expiration date and I imagine it’s good for quite some time!!

  5. Can you tell us how many servings it makes and how many crackers per serving? Or, how many crackers you got for the whole recipe? Thanks! MyFitnessPal recipe calculator gave me the following nutritionals for the whole recipe:
    Calories 1479
    Total Fat 117 g
    Total Carbohydrate 66 g
    Dietary Fiber 33 g
    Sugars 8 g
    Protein 72 g

  6. gita zee says:

    I have a question. I deal with candida and never eat yeast. I have never heard of nutritional yeast. Am I right in assuming that this is the same as eating regular yeast? If so, I won’t be able to enjoy crackers. But I see there are other recipes to try. TY in advance.

    • It is not. There is some controversy about it but the most common viewpoint that I have read is that it doesn’t feed candida but some folks might find themselves sensitive to it depending on their severity and how they react to it. So I would personally try it and see how you do. Not medical advice, of course. I hope you can eat it!! If you can have dairy you could try dried parmesan instead perhaps.

  7. So.Delish!!! Can’t wait to try these!

  8. Cheez-Its are my guilty pleasure – I love that I can eat them now without feeling guilty!! Thanks for the recipe. Pinned!

  9. Hello,

    Rather than yeast, do you think we could we substitute cheese if we are not dairy-free?

    • I think dried parmesan would work. I was thinking about adding that to the post and will do so now. Thanks and enjoy!

    • You could definitely use cheese in this recipe…I wish I could! Yu may not need the oil, since cheese adds fat, not sure though!!

  10. Hi Adrienne,
    I really love cheez, I’ll try it.

  11. These look sooo good! I love cheez-its.

  12. These crackers look amazing! Thanks for linking them up at Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Looks like you forgot to leave a link back. :)

    • Oops Linda! Did you check again? My son said he did it. We’ve had 2 family crises this week so I am so sorry. My father in law died and another issue that I will blog on in the future.

      If it didn’t work out I can share them again.

      Take care!

    • Sorry about that. I linked back on Thursday.

    • Hi Linda – that was my son who said that “I linked back on Thursday”. Just let me know if you are OK if we share it again -thanks for your understanding.

  13. I am so excited to try this recipe! I have all the ingriendents in my kitchen right now! As soon as I get a free minute I will make them and let you know how the turned out…haven’t had a cheesy xracker in 2 years! Gluten and dairy free since 2012 and never felt better :) thanks!!!

  14. Michele Reeve says:

    I have all the ingredients for this except for the nutritional yeast. I feel silly asking, but what is nutritional yeast? All of the ingredients are expensive so I don’t want to make a costly mistake.

    • It’s a nutty / cheesy tasting yeast that doesn’t feed candida. It’s often used for vegans to get B12 in their diet. You could use dried parmesan if you like instead. There’s a link to it in the post – no silly questions – no worries :).

  15. The reason I buy Cheez-it’s, is for the cheesy taste. Where’s the cheese?

  16. I was wondering if there is any other flour I could use other than almond flour. I live in Ghana,and can’t get almond flour. Some flours that I can find are: Rice flour,Tapioca Flour,Millet Flour,and Coconut flour! Thanks

    • I think you could use any but the coconut flour. You could try grinding your own almonds into a fine meal too. Hope you enjoy them!

    • Can you get cashews or sunflower seeds? You could grind those into a flour. You could try rice flour with a bit of tapioca mixed in, but the amount of flour will be less if you do that. This will take quite a bit of tweaking, you may need to add water or other liquid. You may have to just spread the dough instead of rolling it out. Sorry, I have not tried this and those flours work very differently than nut or seed flours!!

  17. These look perfect!!

  18. These are wonderful thank you! I didn’t have lemon juice so I halfed it and used apple cider vinegar. I’m going to try and see if I can use a different flour since my son can’t have nuts.

    • So you tried it w/ the almond flour? I bet pumpkin and sunflower seeds would work fine.

      • Yes today I did. I was making them for my gluten free/dairy free/ egg free sister as a thank you! My son is dairy, gluten, and nut free plus others like sunflower. I’ve never seen pumpkin seed flour. What about brown rice or sorghum flour?

    • ACV should work in place of the lemon juice! Rice flour works so differenly compared to nut and seed flours. You may need to add liquid of some sort, even water. The dough may not roll out, you may need to spread out on parchment.

  19. Sorry, I made these, and the crunch just isn’t there. The flavor of a Cheez-it is close. But nowhere near the crunch. Maybe adding some tapioca flour would help. The almond flour, just doesn’t crisp up. Had to waste all the ingredients.

    • I have made these a dozen times and they are always crunchy! Maybe you didn’t bake them long emough, they should brown a bit. Adding a stach may make them airy, but that also adds carbs…not what I wanted in this recipe. Obviously they are not airy crunchy like cheezits, but that is near impossible to replicate with nut flour!!

  20. Danielle Moore says:

    How important is the yeast in this? My son is on a dairy free, gluten free, soy free, corn free, YEAST free diet. Could I get away with baking soda somehow?

    • The yeast here gives it the cheesy flavor. Check to see if you can have this kind. Some practitioners are OK and some are not. It doesn’t feed candida but it can be cross reactive for some folks is my understanding. Hope you can have it!

  21. Hi, I tried these today with the chia egg (no allergy, just had no eggs in the house). They came out very dry and crumbly. The taste is good, just wondering if there is something I can do to make the dough bind better?

  22. These are terrific! I can’t believe how much they taste like Cheez its! The tang of lemon juice works so well with the nutritional yeast. The texture is different from actual Cheez its, of course, but the flavor is right on! I used a flax egg and olive oil, and I added extra water because the dough is a little dry and tough to pull together. Next time I may use a tad less flour. I also sprinkled a little course sea salt on top, which is a must — this really makes it!!!! Thank you for an easy, delicious recipe.

  23. is there anything besides nutritional yeast i can use? im out and our local health store will be out for the next 2 weeks

  24. I know I’m coming in late to this post, so I don’t know if anyone will respond. However, I didn’t see anything in the post or the comments about shelf life or expiration dates. Because there’s egg, do they have to be refrigerated? Supposing I don’t have a family to help me eat them right away, how long before they go bad?

  25. I’m not sure how long these will last. We eat them pretty fast around here! I know they’re fine for at least a week. You could try freezing half the dough and only make half at a time.

  26. My favorite snack when I was younger was cheesy popcorn with hot sauce on it! Now I make it with nutritional yeast and coconut oil. But my favorite treat was hundred grand candy bar. Tried one for the first one in 10 plus years and it was not that great :(. It was plasticity and bland. So sad but then super cool because I now have changed my palate for good food, not evil food looking poison! Love your cheek it’s recipe. My friend shared them with me and now I found another place to get good easy recipes! Thank you :).

  27. I just made these. The flavor is good, but the feel in the mouth was chalky….dry clay like..very dry….I had to drink water after every bite :(. When I formed the dough it was not at all dry, but was very moist and a bit sticky. I used Bob’s Red Mill’s almond meal. I made sure I measured the ingredients correctly. The only difference was that I used only 2 tbsp nutritional yeast instead of 3 tbsp. Baked only for 12-15 mins. As noted in the recipe, I removed the outer ones because they were browning. What must have I done wrong here?

  28. Lori Hannah says:

    This recipe was followed exactly. These “crackers” taste nothing like cheez its. Waste of ingredients…

    • I am so sorry you had that experience. I have had so many people (particularly on Facebook) tell me that they loved the recipe. Do they taste so bad that they are inedible? Just b/c they don’t taste like Cheez Its to you, perhaps they can still be eaten :). Thanks.

  29. I made these with cashew flour and a chia egg and they turned out great! The cashews and nutritional yeast really compliment each other to create that “cheese” flavor! Really crispy and flaky, the perfect crunchy snack that I’m always craving! Thanks for the recipe :) Will definitely be making these again.

  30. Just made these – they taste good but I really don’t taste cheesy to either me or my kids. I made some simple paleo crackers the other day and I think these taste almost the same.
    Not sure if anyone is watching this, but could you add more nutritional yeast for more “cheese” flavor? What brand did you use for the nutritional yeast? I also wanted dairy free so used coconut oil, maybe the butter helped bring out the cheese? What about ghee being used instead of the coconut oil? An last, what other gluten free flours could be used that maybe wouldn’t compete with the “cheesy” flavor?

    Again, they taste good – just can’t taste any different between these and the regular almond paleo crackers.

    • Hi there. Sorry they didn’t turn out as expected. I am sure you could add more of the nutritional yeast. I do think that the yeast tastes cheesy but I guess if you’re going for real cheese taste you might be disappointed. I would think that the butter would help too. Ghee is a great idea. As for GF flours, if you’re thinking grains, you could do rice and maybe a small amount of millet or buckwheat or sorghum. The proportions will be different but I think it would work.

  31. Penney Nile says:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I am a Cheez-It addict, and like you, I can demolish an entire box in one sitting; however, in the time since I was diagnosed as a hypertensive and diabetic, I have searched for recipes for old favorites like Cheez-Its, potato chips and the many kinds of sweets that I can no longer eat due to the amount of sugar they contain that would be healthier and contain less of the things that are not good for me to eat. I will be trying out this recipe very soon!

  32. Does yeast really feed candida? Once it is baked it killed isn’t it? I have heard that it bothers candida but it doesn’t seem like it should when its dead.

    • Some people are sensitive to it b/c it is similar to the yeast that is proliferating in the gut, etc. Kind of an allergic reaction, so to speak. Hope that helps.

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