Easy Buttery Graham Cracker Crust

All of my favorite tips and tricks for a perfectly thick, easy, buttery graham cracker crust using only three ingredients (four if you use the pecan/nut option!) that's mixed and baked in under 25 minutes. This graham cracker crust is perfect for 9-inch cheesecakes and bakes (also works for square pans, see notes). Recipe includes variations, such as nuts and/or spices to add jazz hands to your recipes!
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This easy, buttery graham cracker crust recipe is perfect for cheesecakes, mini cheesecakes, tarts and basically any recipe that needs (WANTS) a graham cracker crust!

I’m not always in the mood to fuss with a regular pastry crust and an easy graham cracker crust comes in clutch when I want something quick and fabulous! I use graham cracker crusts in The Cake Book for all of my cheesecakes and sometimes I’ll add cocoa powder to a graham cracker crust (for a chocolate version), like I did with the Chocolate Espresso Cream Bars in The Cookie Book.

You’ll never need to buy another pre-made graham cracker crust with this recipe and you’ll get a crumbly, buttery, easy, sweet delicious crust that perfectly holds its shape every time. Let’s do it!!

A profile of one slice of pumpkin cheesecake with a graham crust and a  white background.
All of the ingredients to make a graham cracker crust on a white background.

Easy Crust Ingredients

Graham Crackers

My favorite for flavor and texture are the Honey Maid Graham Crackers; you can either use the honey or cinnamon flavor. Do not get them pre-ground.

You can also substitute Biscoff or another thick cookie 1:1 for the graham crackers.

Butter

With so few ingredients in this graham cracker crust, get the best quality butter you can buy. I specify unsalted butter but with no salt added to this crust base, feel free to use salted if that’s what you have on hand.

Sugar

I use 3 tablespoons (42 g) of light brown sugar for this crust. If you’d like to cut back on the sugar, you can easily cut it to 2 tablespoons (28 g) and the crust will taste perfectly delicious. You can also use dark brown sugar or granulated sugar in place of the light brown sugar.

Nuts (optional)

Nuts are optional. If you’d like to omit see the recipe…all you need to do is add in two additional whole graham crackers. Pecans, hazelnuts and almonds all make fun additions to your crust.

Spices (optional)

Try adding about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of spices to your crust to play up the flavors that are in the filling. I do that sometimes with my Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake by adding 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice. And with my Boozy Sugared Cranberry Cheesecake I add a combination of cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg. Add the spices at the same time you’re mixing in the sugar (see STEP ONE below).

**Ignore the eggs in these photos; I was photograph a cheesecake at the same time which is how they ended up in the pictures! xx

STEP ONE

Finely grind your graham crackers. You can do this by either pulsing in a food processor or high-speed blender or by placing them in a plastic bag and crushing them. I use either a rolling pin or the backside of a measuring cup for this. Make sure to break up any large clumps; you want them finely crushed so that they will form a cohesive crust. If using nuts (or spices), mix them in here prior to adding the butter.

Graham Cracker Crust Variations

Nuts

Included in this recipe are some nuts (which are optional and easy to omit if you don’t want them). I think they add a fun, subtle addition in terms of taste and texture. I use pecans, but hazelnuts and almonds are also delicious.

Spices

Try adding about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of spices to your crust to play up the flavors that are in the filling. I do that sometimes with my Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake by adding 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice. And with my Boozy Sugared Cranberry Cheesecake I add a combination of cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg. Mix in the spices just prior to adding the melted butter.

The possibilities are endless!

A wet sandy looking  crust mixture in a white bowl.

STEP TWO

Use a fork to fluff around the butter and graham cracker crumbs until the mixture resembles thick, coarse sand. Make sure every crumb is coated in butter! Break up any clumps.

Graham Cracker Crust Sweetness

I use 3 tablespoons (42 g) of light brown sugar for this crust. If you’d like to cut back on the sugar, you can easily cut it to 2 tablespoons (28 g) and the crust will taste perfectly delicious. You can also use dark brown sugar or granulated sugar in place of the light brown sugar.

STEP THREE

Pour the crumbs into your prepared pan (I like to line with parchment) and use the back of the fork to evenly spread the crumbs across the bottom of the pan and then pressing to form a firm, level surface. I like to use the fork to press the crust down and then use the bottom of a measuring cup to press down the center. You want to press firmly enough so that you have a bonded crust, but you don’t want to pack it down too heavily or it will become too dense.

Buttery Graham Cracker Crust Equipment

You don’t need much to make this crust, one of life’s gifts. Here are my favorites:

High Speed Blender or Food Processor to grind up the graham crackers

My favorite knife to finely chop up the nuts, if using!

My absolute favorite springform pan

Heat-safe mixing bowls for melting your butter

Pumpkin  cheesecake filling getting poured into a springform pan.

STEP FOUR

After baking in the center of a 350F (177C) oven for 11 minutes, let the crust cool completely before adding any fillings. This will help form a barrier so that the liquid won’t seep in and give you a soggy crust.

My Favorite Graham Cracker Crust Recipes

My favorite Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake that I make every year for Thanksgiving! These Salted Caramel S’mores Tarts are the stuff of dreams. Also holiday festive, I love this Boozy Sugared Cranberry Cheesecake. Enjoy! xo

A slice pumpkin cheesecake.

Easy Buttery Graham Cracker Crust

All of my favorite tips and tricks for a perfectly thick, easy, buttery graham cracker crust using only three ingredients (four if you use the pecan/nut option!) that's mixed and baked in under 25 minutes. This graham cracker crust is perfect for 9-inch cheesecakes and bakes (also works for square pans, see notes). Recipe includes variations, such as nuts and/or spices to add jazz hands to your recipes!
5 from 1 review
Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cheesecake, Pie
Keyword: Graham Cracker Crust, Cheesecake Crust, Dessert
Servings: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 10 (5 oz or 155 gm) whole graham crackers (or use 12 (6 oz or 180 g) whole graham crackers if you omit the pecans)
  • 1/2 cup (57 g) finely chopped pecans, optional
  • 3 tablespoons (42 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  • First, finely grind your graham crackers in a food processor, high speed blender or by placing in a plastic bag and smashing them with a rolling pin or a measuring cup. Be sure to break up any larger pieces. Place in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add in the pecans (if using) and brown sugar stirring to combine. Drizzle the butter over on top and stir with a fork until it resembles coarse, wet sand.
  • Firmly press the mixture evenly over the bottom of a 9-inch (23-cm) nonstick springform pan lined with parchment. Bake in the center of the oven for 11 minutes or until it starts to turn a little golden around the edges. Set the crust aside to cool completely before adding any filling.

Notes

BAKING VESSEL: This recipe works for cheesecakes, pies and bar cookies and is great for 8- or 9-inch (20- or 23-cm) cake or springform pan; either round or square.
MAKE AHEAD: Recipe can be made 1 to 2 days ahead of time. Wrap tightly in whatever pan you baked the crust in and stash in the fridge until ready to use.
FREEZE: Follow the above instructions, making sure it’s wrapped airtight. The crust can be stored for up to one month. Defrost, still wrapped tightly, overnight in the fridge.
Thanks for baking with me! Please tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

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