This recipe for chocolate graham crackers features a deep, ultra chocolate-y flavor and classic sugar-dusted tops, just like the store-bought version. This homemade version is a little thicker and just a little bit softer than their inspiration, making them an even better treat!
When I lived in San Diego, one item our grocery store never seemed to stock (well, besides ziti) was chocolate graham crackers.
What's with that? They're delicious just on their own, and crushed to form the crust of my family recipe sour cream cheesecake? Sublime. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own!
These homemade chocolate graham crackers are crisp to bite into, but are a little softer and thicker than their store-bought counterparts. That just means you'll make less crumbs. 🙂
But what's the same is that they have that deep chocolate-y flavor you're expecting. And while it does nothing for the taste, I pressed the tines of a fork into their tops to make those quintessential dotted line rows that grahams have. Dusting the tops with granulated sugar also do the trick to make them look more authentic.
Besides the basic ingredients used here, this recipe is a great one to make when you're in the mood for a homemade chocolatey cookie, cracker, or biscuit and don't have any eggs, because none are needed here.
Let's talk about the flour. Traditional graham crackers use graham flour, which is a type of coarsely-ground whole wheat flour, to give them an extra hearty flavor. I'm not a graham purist because I enjoy using entirely all-purpose flour here and don't find any thing to be lacking. The chocolate flavor takes over the flavor here when compared with regular graham crackers so any taste difference from the flour is not on the forefront.
That said, if you'd like to lean more traditional, this recipe always works if you substitute in up to half of the flour with whole wheat or white whole wheat. See below for my tips on measuring flour correctly!
For a (small) bit of leavening, this recipe uses baking soda. Baking soda requires an acidic ingredient in order to react, and the unsweetened cocoa powder is its slightly-acidic pairing here. Note that I use a "natural" cocoa powder and not "dutch-process" cocoa, which per Cook's Illustrated, has been neutralized and wouldn't work to activate the baking soda.
Rounding out the ingredient we also have chilled and cubed unsalted butter, granulated sugar, salt, your preferred variety of milk, and vanilla extract.
First whisk together the dry ingredients, including the flour(s), cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Then cut in the chilled butter pieces using a pastry blender, two forks, or even your fingers. Break the butter up until it's in crumbly small pieces. The mixture won't be uniformly smooth. Much like with a pie crust, the small pieces of butter help form flakiness.
Separately mix together the wet ingredients: granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients in with everything else and mix until a ball of dough forms. At first the mixture will look too dry, all sandy and crumbly. But within a minute everything should moisten just right to form a cohesive ball of dough.
If after some time it's still too dry, pour in additional milk a tablespoon or so at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
Chill the ball of dough for an hour, or up to overnight. If chilling overnight, you may need to give it some time to sit out at room temperature in order for it to reach a rollable consistency.
Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment until it's around ⅛" in thickness. This helps these chocolate graham crackers end up a little thicker and a bit softer than the store-bought ones. You can roll it thinner to around 1/16" if you'd like, but keep an eye on them in the oven because they'll bake quicker.
Once rolled out, slice the dough into squares using a pastry wheel or a pizza cutter. Press the tines of a fork into the top, then sprinkle each graham with granulated sugar, lightly pressing the sugar into the surface of the cracker.
Bake for around fifteen minutes, maybe a bit more, or until the edges are firm and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. They will crisp up some as they cool so they won't be at perfect graham hardness when they come out of the oven. If they're not as crisp as you'd like after they've cooled some, you can put them back in the oven until they're to your liking.
- To measure the flour(s), stir up the flour in its bag or canister to "fluff" it up. Then spoon it into your dry measuring cup, taking care not to pack it in. Once the cup is full, use the straight handle of the spoon (or a knife) to level it off, letting the excess fall back into the bag.
- Natural cocoa powder (and not Dutch-process) is used here as it's acidic and allows the baking soda to activate. If all you have is Dutch-process, you might consider using buttermilk (or homemade buttermilk) here to provide the necessary acidity, though I haven't tried this way myself.
Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (see note)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder natural, not Dutch-process
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar divided
- 6 tablespoon milk (any will do)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk together flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the chilled butter pieces using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingers until they're around pea-sized or smaller. The mixture will not be uniformly smooth and that's okay.
- In a separate bowl, mix together one cup of sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until evenly combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour/butter mixture and mix (ideally using an electric mixer) until the batter forms a ball of dough. At first the mixture might look too crumbly and dry, but after 30 seconds it will moisten and start to become a cohesive, not-sticky dough. If it's still too dry, add additional milk one tablespoon at a time until the dough forms.
- Chill dough for at least one hour, up to overnight. If chilling for a longer time frame, you may need to leave the dough out at room temperature for a short period of time until it warms up a bit and becomes rollable.
- Once the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Roll out the dough on parchment paper until dough is approximately ⅛" thick, or thinner if you prefer. Cut dough into squares using a pastry/pizza wheel, and using the tines of a fork, lightly imprint dotted line rows into tops of the grahams.
- Transfer the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and arrange a bit of space between each graham cracker. Sprinkle remaining granulated sugar over top of each cracker, and lightly press down sugar on the surface with the back of a spoon so it adheres.
- Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the centers spring back lightly when pressed. They will not be totally hardened coming out of the oven, but will crisp and firm up additionally as they cool. Store in an air-tight container only when cooled completely.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
Note: The pictures in this post were updated April 2015. Additional recipe instruction and detail was added June 2020 per reader feedback -- thank you!
Linda P says
Can we use a cookie press to make these? I’m so shocked that we can’t find chelate Graham’s anywhere!
Hi Linda, I commiserate with you - I've lived places where chocolate grahams were very hard to come by! I don't know how this dough would handle in a cookie press as I know presses can be tricky sometimes. I've only ever made these by rolling out and slicing. If you're looking for something chocolate-y that can be made in a press, I have a recipe for chocolate spritz cookies you might like! https://www.mysequinedlife.com/chocolate-spritz-cookies/
Valerie Zwiers says
We make s'mores with chocolate graham crackers instead of a piece of chocolate, but the stores stopped carrying them. I found this recipe and it was a big hit at the cookout!! Lots of people commented that they have a new favorite way to make s'mores!!! Thank you!
You're very welcome, Valerie! So glad you liked it. Mmm now I'm craving s'mores!
Made for the first time and was a great success! The only issue for me was trying to roll out the dough on parchment paper which wanted to slide around on my work surface. Next time I’ll roll out on my marble pastry board.
I read through the comments others have left about the dough being to crumbly. I didn’t have that problem but I’ve been an avid bread baker for decades and learned many years ago that the moisture content in your flour will change based on the humidity at the time. So even though you might have to add an extra teaspoon or two of milk this time, you may not need to the next time. A good rule of thumb is to be diligent and pay attention to what the dough is telling you.
Great recipe. I love chocolate graham crackers and they have become almost impossible to find anywhere these days. I was pleasantly surprised how easy they were to make. This will be my go-to recipe for them from now on.
Thank you for your detailed review, Dawn! I'm so glad you liked them. 🙂
Ok, I let the dough chill overnight, but that was a mistake, for me, anyway. The dough was hard as a rock! So I let it warm up enough that I could roll it out. In the future, I will not let it chill more than an hour or so. But they baked up nicely, and they are very tasty!! They will be going to my 4th of July family get together.
Thank you for letting me know how it went! I've gone through and updated this post with extra information, including getting by with a lesser chill time. So glad to hear they've made the cut for your get together. 🙂
I live in NE Missouri, not very dry air here, but when I made these for the first time, I used a stand mixer, but the batter was very,very dry, really just a lot of crumbles. I had to add 3 Tbsp more of milk to make the batter come together enough to roll out. I haven't baked them yet, but the batter is yummy! I'll let you know, but if they're good, I'm taking them to our 4th of July bash!
Hi Pat, thank you for sharing your experience! Based on feedback I am going to update this post with additional details. I now live in a different climate than I did when I first posted this recipe, and have found eliminating the additional 2 tablespoons of flour or adding extra milk helps with the texture issue. I hope you enjoy!
When mixed, dough would not come together. Had to add few tablespoons more of milk to get anything to stick together. Then added too much. Got too sticky. Should I have used a mixer or whisk or spoon?
Hi Myria, I'm sorry you had trouble with this recipe. I use a mixer.
Kathleen Satterfield says
I had the same difficulty Myra had, the dough was too crumbly to do anything with, so based on her experience I carefully checked the dough as I added the extra milk. It took two more tablespoons to get the right consistency. (I used Almond Milk). I wonder if this is due to different climates - I’m in Flagstaff, AZ and it’s very dry here right now. San Diego is usually at about 50% or more humidity (I lived there for 25+ hrs). Anyway, I used heart shaped cookie cutters and am dipping them in melted white chocolate for Valentine’s day.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Kathleen! The difference in humidity is an interesting point. Glad you were able to tweak it to work -- they sound like such a cute Valentine's dessert!
I'd never tried chocolate graham crackers before. What a perfect homemade treat!
Ooh Diana they're so good. Lots of deep chocolate flavor!
Lucy @ Supergoldenbakes says
Nothing beats homemade. Your crackers look lovely and crisp.
Thank you Lucy! 🙂
I made homemade smores ice cream and wanted to try homemade graham crackers to put in it. They had to be chocolate of course. These were easy and perfect, but I've yet to try regular smores with them yet. I'm sure they're fantastic. I will be keeping this recipe, thanks!! 🙂
Awesome, Whitney - so glad you enjoyed! That's a great idea of mixing them into homemade s'mores ice cream (which sounds incredible, btw)!
We live overseas and sometimes it's really hard to find American brand snacks and if we do, they are super expensive. So I decided to try your recipe and so happy I did. These were super yummy! I made them a couple days ago and we're already out and my family is begging for me to make more.
Thank you for sharing your recipe!
Oh I'm so happy to hear that Claudine! I've never lived abroad but I have friends who have, and I've heard stories about how tough finding certain things are. Thanks so much for writing in! 🙂
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says
What a great homemade snack, I would love to eat a few of these (and then go back for more).
Thank you, Pamela! I may or may not be snacking on one as I type. 😉
Shells @ Bacon Egg & Cheesecake says
Oh gosh chocolate graham crackers are my FAVE!!! Already imagining all the things that can be done with these...
I love them too, Shells! Still scratching my head as for why the supermarket around here doesn't stock them. I'm super happy for this homemade version though! S'mores with these are INCREDIBLE. 🙂
Christine @ Cooking with Cakes says
Alyssa the site looks great!! congrats on this exciting new time! and omg those graham crackers, they look faboosh!! and how does San Diego not have chocolate graham crackers? missing chocolate anything is practically illegal in my book… you should probably move lol. awesome recipe!
Thanks so much, Christine!!! I'm a total website noob so pulling this off was a huge (and hugely stressful) deal! Don't want to go through that every weekend...
And I know, not stocking chocolate grahams is just the strangest thing. But when times get tough, the tough get going...hence this recipe haha 🙂
Kammie @ Sensual Appeal says
YAY for being self-hosted! Congrats on the move 🙂
I'm loving these graham crackers. I love graham crackers in general but chocolate ones... oh man!
Thank you! It's such a relief now that it's (mostly) done but whewww what a weekend! My brain still hurts.
I'll never pass up a graham cracker but I think chocolate ones are my fave. 🙂
Tutu and I will have to make these soon. We love cookies and she is a great sous chef already. Looking forward to the next great post.
Thank you! I have so many memories of being my mom's sous chef when I was little - I took my job of sprinkle duty seriously! I hope you enjoy, and let me know if you try them. 🙂