I personally tested a variety of graham cracker substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion. Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or want a swap that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.
The best substitutes for graham crackers are digestive biscuits, rich tea biscuits, or vanilla wafers. If you’re not opposed to a flavor change, Biscoff, gingersnaps, or Oreo cookies are also fabulous alternatives.
I made different batches of s’mores to put several graham cracker substitutes to the test.
Graham crackers are made with whole wheat flour and sweetened with honey (or molasses). Their texture is like a cross between a cookie and a cracker – crispy and slightly crumbly. They’re a staple ingredient in s’mores and you’ll also see them used as a crust for cheesecakes and pies.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Digestive Biscuits||Less sweet than graham crackers||9/10|
|Rich Tea Biscuits||Delightful crunch, less sweet than graham crackers||9/10|
|Vanilla Wafers||Lighter texture, slightly one-dimensional sweetness||9/10|
|Biscoff Cookies||Addictive caramelized flavor, snappy texture||8/10|
|Gingersnaps||Has a warm, spiced flavor ideal for fall-themed desserts||8/10|
|Oreo Cookies||Sweeter than graham crackers||7/10|
|Shortbread Cookies||Has a buttery, rich flavor and a more crumbly texture||7/10|
|Homemade Graham Crackers||Made with simple ingredients||9/10|
For those on the other side of the pond or simply looking for a different twist, you can’t go wrong with using digestive biscuits instead of graham crackers.
Much like graham crackers, they’re sturdy enough for s’mores and their delightfully crumbly texture also works perfectly with pie crusts and dessert bases.
The only difference I noticed was that they were less sweet than graham crackers. I didn’t mind this with my s’mores, but I recommend adding an extra tablespoon of sugar if you’re blitzing these biscuits up to make a dessert crust.
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with digestive biscuits.
Rich Tea Biscuits
This British classic is another excellent alternative to graham crackers.
They had a delightful crunch and held up well when I used them for making s’mores. But like their cousin, digestive biscuits, they tasted less sweet than graham crackers. So you can also up the sugar when using these for cheesecake crusts.
And here’s a fun fact: did you know these tea biscuits were the base for Duchess Kate Middleton and Prince William’s cake?
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with rich tea biscuits.
A childhood favorite for many, vanilla wafers are light, airy biscuits with a hint of vanilla flavor. In terms of texture, they were lighter than graham crackers and their size meant I had mini s’mores. They were still delicious though.
Another thing I noticed with vanilla wafers is that their sweetness was more one-dimensional. You won’t really notice it with s’mores, but if you’re using vanilla wafers to make a crust for a cheesecake, I recommend mixing them with a dash of cinnamon to add an extra layer of flavor.
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with vanilla wafers.
If you haven’t tried Biscoff cookies yet, you’re missing out – they have a really addictive caramelized flavor because they’re flavored with brown sugar and cinnamon.
These Belgian cookies were also delightfully snappy, so they made every bite of my s’mores extra satisfying.
Psst… if you’re using this to make a crust, I highly recommend cutting back on the sugar to avoid making your desserts too sweet. And here’s a fantastic recipe for Biscoff spread.
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with Biscoff.
As the name suggests, these biscuits have a satisfying crispiness that makes them a superb substitute for graham crackers.
The only catch is they taste drastically different. They’re flavored with molasses and spices like ginger and cinnamon, giving them a warm, slightly spicy taste. I loved them with my s’mores, but they’re best paired with cozy, fall-themed flavors. Imagine a gingersnap-lined pumpkin pie cheesecake? Yum!
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with gingersnaps.
If you’re in the mood for a sweeter, chocolaty treat, Oreo cookies are a fun substitute for graham crackers. They echo the crunch of graham crackers, but their creamy filling and rich cocoa flavor make them more indulgent.
Most Oreo s’mores recipes I found kept the cream filling, which turned out too sweet for my liking. But I think it’s the perfect treat for those with a sweet tooth.
And if you’re using Oreos in a recipe that already calls for sugar, consider cutting back on the sugar so the whole thing isn’t too sweet.
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with Oreo cookies.
Originating from Scotland, shortbread cookies are all about buttery richness. Their crumbly texture and pronounced butter flavor make them a luxurious substitute for graham crackers.
The catch is they were more crumbly than graham crackers, so I had a difficult time making s’mores with them. They unfortunately didn’t hold up well.
Don’t let that put you off using them in pies and other desserts though! The melt-in-your-mouth quality is delicious in cheesecakes.
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with shortbread cookies.
Homemade Graham Crackers
When in doubt, why not make graham crackers from scratch? The process was surprisingly straightforward, and if you like baking, you’ll probably have most of the ingredients you need already.
Pro tip: if you’re crafting a pie or cheesecake, a user of the recipe suggested treating the dough as a regular pie crust. Roll it out, line your baking pan with it, and pre-bake it. This allows you to skip making the crackers, crumbling them, and then forming them back into a crust. I didn’t try this, but it’s worth a shot if you’re short on time.
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with homemade graham crackers.
This might seem like a bad suggestion at first, but hear me out. While you obviously can’t make smores with crushed cereal it will make a good pie crust!
And there are so many different flavors to pick from. You can go for something plain like cornflakes, fruity like fruit loops, or chocolatey. Or to keep the flavor similar to graham crackers, go for something with a cinnamon or honey flavor (like cinnamon toast crunch – a favorite in my household).
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with crushed cereal.
If you’re a fan of the sweet but salty effect, replace your graham crackers with saltines.
I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth, so this substitute was a welcome break from all the sweet biscuit options. And the salty flavor would go brilliantly with anything peanut butter, caramel, or chocolate flavored.
Psst… another salty alternative you can consider for crusts is crushed pretzels. But be careful with these options if you’re watching your sodium intake because the salt levels can build up quickly!
How To Substitute: Replace graham crackers in a 1:1 ratio with saltine crackers.
Substitutes To Avoid
I know we’ve gone through a ton of graham cracker substitutes, but I also came across a couple of substitutes that didn’t work out:
- Coconut macaroons: I found coconut macaroons too soft and sweet to be used for s’mores, and they didn’t work as a crust because they’re too sticky and wet (although I did wonder what would happen if I dried them out in the oven)
- Ice cream cones: These are crunchy and would work as a crust, but I prefer all the cookie and biscuit options because they bring more flavor.
- Sponge cake: This obviously has a different texture than graham crackers, so I don’t count it as a good substitute. But if you’re looking to switch things up, cheesecake recipes that call for a spongecake crust actually exist.
Read Next: How To Make S’mores Without Graham Crackers
Best Graham Crackers Substitutes + 3 To Avoid
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 7 tbsp butter, softened
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
- In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. This should take you about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until well-incorporated and a soft dough forms.
- Add the milk, honey, and vanilla extract. Mix until well incporporated. .The dough should be soft and sticky.
- Divide the dough in two discs and wrap both in plastic and chill for one hour.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously flour your counter and place one ball of dough.
- Pat into a 5×6-inch rectangle, sprinkle with flour, flip, and dust again. Work from the center out and add more flour as needed. Roll the dough until roughly 15 x11-inches and very thin. Slide onto an aluminum baking sheet and brush away excess flour. Repeat the whole precess with the remaining dough.
- To mimic store-bought crackers, score each sheet of dough into 2 ¼ by 4 ¾ – inch rectangles. Prick the dough with a bamboo skewer
- Bake until crackers are firm and darkened, about 10-12 minutes. As soon as they're out of the oven, cut along the scored lines with a knife. Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container.