We all have our favorite indulgences. For me it’s Cool Ranch Doritos (or chips in general really). But no need to go to the store! Easy homemade salty snacks are fun to make! Plus there's something extra satisfying about cooking your own fresh and homemade snack that just can't be found in a foil bag.
They still may not be considered health food, but snack food made at home uses real ingredients. The short list of whole ingredients is far better for you compared to the laundry list of packaged ingredients, usually full of chemicals, preservatives and words you can’t even pronounce.
When I make these easy homemade salty snacks, I know exactly what goes into it -- including the work. While my efforts are mostly quite simple, I still respect the food more. Consequently, I'm more conscious of enjoying it as opposed to just mindlessly eating, as is typical when I rip into a bag of store-bought chips.
The other benefit to homemade snacks is the "wow" factor. It's rather impressive to bring a bowl to the table and proudly proclaim, “I made this.” We’ve become so accustomed to buying snacks that it is awe-inspiring when our guilty pleasures our made in our own home. Just beware, you may have an overbooked social calendar due to constant invitation to all game-day events.
If you are looking for recipes and more great ideas, be sure to check out the class taught by snack enthusiast, Cynthia Nims. Her new class, Homemade Salty Snacks, will leave you bustling with ideas, planning impromptu parties to showcase your salty talents.
Easy homemade salty snacks to try
My kids adore the animal-shaped crackers that taste vaguely of cheese and a hint of spice. When I plan ahead and have a few moments of spare time, I’ll skip the silver-foil lined package of fish-shaped crackers and reach for a block of cheddar instead. With a bit of cheese, butter and flour (use whole wheat for an added nutritious boost), you have a cracker that tastes better than the fish. These are so easy to make that even the kids love to be a part of the action.
Let’s not leave out the adults. Cheese crackers are not just for kids! When making these crackers for adults, I like to swap out the cheddar for something with a bit more bite and heft. Try gruyere, Parmesan or even a farmy blue to serve alongside crudités and dip.
Up the homemade factor in cheese crackers and other dishes by learning to make your own cheese in the Craftsy class Artisan Cheese Making!
Chips? Now we’re really speaking my language. Don't let cooking with hot oil intimidate you. Once you realize that deep frying really isn't scary, you may turn your kitchen into a chip-making factory.
My favorite thing about homemade chips is the variety. The many types of spices and salts you can shower onto them once they emerge from the hot oil is endless. Try freshly ground and toasted spices, like fennel and coriander salt. Smoked salt and paprika also sounds delicious. I love the idea of using a bit of dried herbs attempting to re-create my favorite, cool ranch.
Once you are done frying, you can reuse the oil by allowing it to cool and then using a funnel to get it back into the bottle. This oil can be used at least three times.
I’m telling you, batches and batches of chips are in your future. But don't be limited to the classic russet potato. Many other vegetables love the bubbling bath of hot oil. Experiment with beets, carrots or perhaps parsnips.
While we’re on the subject of chips (and you still have that pot of oil hot), try cutting some tortillas into triangle shape wedges and fry those up. Corn tortillas work wonders. I like to finish mine with salt and a squeeze of lime or even go sweet by sprinkling cinnamon and sugar over the hot chips.
Make the chips a touch lighter, while still getting that satisfying crunch, by roasting the tortilla in the oven for healthy baked tortilla chips.
Photo via Craftsy instructor Cynthia Nims
Nothing gets much better than a warm, copper colored pretzel, a pile of spicy mustard and a good Belgian ale. What makes a pretzel a pretzel is giving the dough a quick bath in a mixture of baking soda and water. I use a bit of brown sugar or molasses in my pretzel bath too to add an extra layer of flavor.
Knowing that pretzels really are just a basic dough that has been bathed before baking, we can not only make all sorts of pretzels at home but we can also turn basically anything dough into a pretzel.
Spray crackers with a fine mist of the bathing solution or turn homemade hamburger buns into pretzel buns. The result is the same deeply tangy flavor and deep mahogany brown color signature to your favorite twisted pretzel.
Spiced nut mix
When you are planning a party, it’s always great to have lots easily accessible snacks, allowing people to have something to nibble on wherever they are. For this reason, spiced nuts are often on my party menu. They are easy to make, can be modified to suit any flavor, and are a fairly nutritious, filling bite.
I love using a recipe that calls for a frothy egg white, which provides the nuts with a shattering, crisp bite. I also love to use fresh herbs in the mix, like rosemary or thyme, along with dark sugars like maple or muscovado.
I don't know about you, but I’m ready for a snack!
Check out the Craftsy Food & Cooking section for a vast collection of cooking recipes to make more of your favorite treats and dishes at home!