Although Cheez-It has yet to come out with a fully vegan version of the classic childhood snack, other companies have risen to the challenge and created plant-based dupes that give the original crackers a run for their money—like Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares and From The Ground UP Cheddar Cauliflower Crackers.
While these crackers will certainly hit the spot for the dairy-free queens in the room, when we came across this one-ingredient air fryer vegan “Cheez-It” recipe, we knew we had really struck gold. It’s crispy, crunchy, and super easy to make—which means you're less than 10 minutes away from having a bowlful at all times of day. Here’s how to (air) fry 'em up.
How to make one-ingredient air fryer vegan Cheez-Its
@clarecreated this was actually good??? #cheese #vegan #cheezits #foodtok #snack #snackideas #snacks ♬ don't miss me - sped up - Claire Rosinkranz
To do bake a batch, Clare grabs a package of store-bought vegan cheese (the 365 by Whole Foods Market, Cheddar Non-Dairy Slices to be exact). She then cuts each slice into four equal pieces and pokes a small hole in the center of each quarter to create that iconic Cheez-It look. Next, she spreads the squares in an even layer in an air fryer basket lined with a small sheet of parchment paper will an equal-sized piece of aluminum foil underneath.
Now, here’s where the magic happens. Clare air fries the small vegan cheddar squares for eight to nine minutes at 350°F or until super crispy and crunchy. That's it.
Once they're ready, they’ll look like a cross between a parmesan crisp and a good ol’ Cheez-It cracker. You can snack on them as-is, or try dipping a few into your favorite vegan cashew queso dip to dial up the plant-based cheese factor even further.
No air fryer? No problem. You can make vegan Cheez-Its in the oven, too
Don’t let your vegan Cheez-It dreams drift away just because you don’t have an air fryer, because you can make them just as easily in a regular oven, too. In a TikTok video by @justincooksgood, Justin demonstrates how. He preps the vegan cheese squares just as in the previous method. Bonus points: Instead of using only cheddar slices, he opts for two types: Daiya vegan cheddar and provolone.
@justincooksgood Vegan Cheez-Its #vegancheese #cheezits #homemade #foodhack #snack #vegancheezit #easyrecipe #fyp #fypage #diy #vegansnacks ♬ venus fly trap - brakence
For some extra flavor (and for more of that authentic Cheez-It look and feel), Justin aso adds a sprinkling of coarse salt over the top. Finally, he lines a baking sheet with the squares over a sheet of parchment paper and cooks them at 275°F for 35 minutes. Once golden and crispy, Justin removes them from the oven and lets them cool for about 10 minutes. The crispy squares, he says, taste "almost too cheesy.” We're sold.
The best vegan cheese to use for your cheez-its
If you’re in need of some vegan cheese recommendations, we’ve got you covered with this RD guide to choosing the best of the best plant-based cheese on the market.
What's more, “[vegan cheese] varieties made with a base of potatoes, carrots, nutritional yeast, nuts, or seeds might pack more nutrients than their dairy counterparts,” Lauren McNeill, RD, a Toronto-based registered dietitian, previously told Well+Good. "They can also include more fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium." So this recipe might be a smart snack for the dairy-lovers in your life, too. You never know until you try!
An RD shares their guide to cheese alternatives:
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