Five-Alarm Firecracker Saltines


Spice up your average appetizer offering.

Five-Alarm Firecracker Saltines

Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs

If you're ready to step up the heat on these Butter-Baked Saltines, you've come to the right appetizer recipe. Saltines are the versatile cracker that keeps on giving: They can go from chili or soup topping to minty dessert with the whip of a whisk.

In this spicy snack, we take a handful of all-purpose spices, a bottle of hot sauce, and of course sleeves of saltines, and we create one tongue-torching appetizer. Bring these to a party or potluck, and you'll have to explain again and again how you can pack so much flavor into something so basic and small.

These Firecracker Saltines are hot—and meant to be hot. Don't shy away from them. But if you need to scale them down just a bit, cut back on the cayenne pepper.

Enlist these crackers in your game day menu along favorites like hot wings, and the people who believe in the philosophy "the hotter the better" will have found their favorite snack.


  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 2 (4-oz.) sleeves saltine crackers (about 78 crackers total)


  1. Place oil, hot sauce, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt in a large ziplock plastic bag. Press out excess air, and seal. Shake vigorously until mixture is combined. Add crackers to bag; reseal and gently shake to coat evenly in oil mixture.

  2. Let crackers soak at room temperature at least 1 hour or up to overnight, shaking and turning over bag every 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 300°F with racks in the upper third and lower third positions. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil, and place an ovenproof wire rack on top of each.

  4. Remove crackers from oil mixture in bag; discard remaining oil mixture. Transfer crackers to prepared wire racks, arranging cracker in a single layer. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to break up any large clumps of seasoning on the tops of the crackers, which could burn in the oven. Bake in preheated oven until dry, crisp, and golden, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through bake time.

  5. Remove from oven. Let crackers cool on racks completely, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

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