Turn Saltines Into Savory Treats Using Melted Butter And Spices

For most of us, saltines are a classic cracker we've enjoyed and utilized for various occasions, from an upset stomach remedy to a crunchy foundation for cheese and peanut butter to a garnish for seafood chowder. However, you can transform saltines into a gourmet, savory snack by tossing them in melted butter and spices.

Buttered saltines are a longstanding Southern tradition that dates back to Atlanta in the 1970s. As with many iconic dishes, buttered saltines were invented out of necessity. According to lore, the sous chef at Atlanta's Capital City Club whipped up the first buttered crackers on the fly to serve with the soup course after he realized the restaurant's stock of oyster crackers ran out. The crisp, savory, buttery crackers were such a hit that the recipe quickly spread to restaurants and households throughout the South.

Because saltines are so dry, airy, and crisp, they are well-suited to absorb all the flavorful seasoned butter. They'll also crisp back up perfectly after a short stint in the oven. To make them, toss a sleeve of saltine crackers into a skillet of melted butter and spices until fully coated. Then, spread the buttered saltines on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes or 400 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes.

Buttered saltines and spice combinations

Buttered saltines are a more budget-friendly version of a crostini, as the recipe swaps crackers for old bread slices with the same elegant and decadent results. You get a wonderful crunch bursting with savory spices and dairy richness. You can use spices or seasonings that fit your culinary theme or accompaniments. Even if you plan to enjoy them as snacks, you could use a different seasoning mixture for each sleeve of saltines to create a veritable variety pack.

For even more convenience, you can use a packaged spice mixture like ranch seasoning, taco seasoning, or Cajun seasoning. Cajun seasoned butter-baked saltines would be the perfect pairing for pimento cheese or a bowl of gumbo. Use ranch-seasoned buttered saltines as a tangy, buttery compliment to a tray of smoked salmon. For a simple twist on cacio e pepe, try seasoning the melted butter with freshly cracked pepper and a hearty shaving of Parmesan cheese.

The original recipe recommends using clarified butter or ghee for an even richer flavor and a way to raise the butter's relatively low smoke point to withstand baking the saltines at higher temperatures. That said, if you bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, plain unsalted butter will supply plenty of flavor without breaking its smoke point threshold. If you're looking for a dairy-free option, use avocado oil instead of butter.