Oyster Crackers from Scratch…So Simple!

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I’ve realized that I learned to cook so that I could eat food that’s guaranteed organic, and one of the last remaining items I can’t find in the store is organic oyster crackers—those hard-as-nails ones that it takes grown-up hands to crack into your oyster stew or clam chowder. It’s really all about the oyster stew because that soup is nothing without a good cracker.

It took a snow day for me to learn to make them and oh…my…God. I will never buy another box! They’re so easy, so delicious, and so much better than the store-bought that it makes me wonder what the F we have all been thinking for the past 50 years.

Proof they are good: Lucia ate the last one about 30 minutes after they were out of the oven, and said with calm certainty: “I think we need to make more of these.” So you might want to double the recipe. This recipe made enough for three people to eat within 30 minutes.

Oyster Crackers


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (cut into bits)
  • 1/3 cup warm water


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Put the flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and warm water into a bowl and mix them together.
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into squares (no need to be perfect; you’re just going to roll them up into balls anyway). If you want nice little squares, that works, too; that would be like a “saltine” cracker.
  4. Roll the dough into little balls and place the balls on a baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until they are golden. Let them sit in the warm oven to make sure they get baked through. (They will get bigger as they cook).

AND GUESS WHAT!?!? They are so easy to crack into bits for your soup because THEY ARE NOT STALE!

Another victory for Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen! Life is good. Even though the snow is up to my hips…

DISCLAIMER: Feeding yourself and your children organic foods may cause extreme health, healing, and happiness.


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43 Responses to Oyster Crackers from Scratch…So Simple!

  1. Yen March 9, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    You must have really good ingredients! Mind sharing? :))

  2. maria (farm country kitchen) March 9, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    just everything organic!

  3. Gail Nickel-Kailing March 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    The answer to good ingredients in our house is always organic!

    I’ve got to try these, I love making crackers!

  4. Alice Green March 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    I love this just for the Disclaimer alone!!

  5. Gail Nickel-Kailing March 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm #


    If you like making crackers try my favorite sourdough cracker recipe. I generally make a batch every weekend and they just barely make it through the week. Yummy!


    Let me know what you think…

    Gail NK

  6. Donna in Delaware March 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    If it works for oyster stew, I’m sure that it works for my favorite, New England clam chowder. I prefer clams to oysters, and this recipe is easy-peasy! They look yummy and crisp! We always want things quick and easy, already made, but we are more than capable of making these for ourselves. Thanks for another good organic recipe Maria, always organic, butter and all!

  7. Karen Wendt March 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    Never made crackers in my life! it’s time now- these are so simple, and we eat crackers almost every day, with soup, fish, egg salad, etc. Why have I been buying them all these years, knowing the ingredients are less-than healthful?
    Thanks, Maria, for so many great recipes!
    By the way, when I was a little kid, my best friend’s father subscribed to Rodale’s ” Organic Gardening” magazine. Little did I know that as an adult (not telling how old) I would discover the computer site for y’all. And I have the original “Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening” that is The Best One!

  8. Doreen August 14, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

    I love your clam chowder recipe!! It is quick and easy and sooo delicious! I have shared it with lots of folks too!

  9. Carrie September 16, 2019 at 10:42 am #

    I am looking for a recipe to make giant oyster crackers. Does anyone here know what I’m talking about? I’m referencing when there is just one huge oyster cracker served in a cup/bowl of chowder. This version does look quite large in the photos. Has anyone tried making the big version of this recipe, or can anyone confirm the approximate diameter of these crackers? Thank you so much! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  10. Christopher Nyland November 4, 2019 at 5:11 pm #

    I used Eincorn flour its an old single row wheat from ancients absolutly delicious with a nutty flavor more expensive but worth it!!

  11. vicki February 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm #

    been looking for a recipe like this for a long time. Absolutely love them!

  12. Nancy March 31, 2020 at 4:07 pm #

    Thank you for the recipe. I am looking for a recipe to replicate the old OTC oyster crackers that were almost the size of a golf ball, dense and hard. Is this the same?

  13. Pete Russo April 20, 2020 at 1:46 am #

    OMG, Nancy!!!! If you find a recipe that is like OTC crackers, please let me know. I’ll keep experimenting.

  14. Chambers Cheryl May 10, 2020 at 10:39 am #

    My grandmother use to stew hers once they were cracked in a casserole dish with browned butter and milk. Would you know the proportion of milk and butter? I know they were just steamed. She didn’t bake them.

  15. Caroline May 29, 2020 at 12:24 pm #

    RE OTC crackers people are commenting on: ME TOO! I want a recipe that even comes close to those, so I’ll try this one. I’ve been looking for what ended up happening to them for the last two years. OTC sold them to Panorama Foods, and now all its websites are shut down and no word on what happened to the recipe, anywhere. I wanted to know if Vermont Common Crackers or Westminster crackers were anything like OTCs but nada. From talking with someone AT OTC in Trenton many years ago, I discovered that the flour and yeast matter and when salt is added matters, and that they take many dough risings, refoldings, and triple-baking and then specially cut and “sealed” to make them hard and delicious and flaky and smashable like the old “clackers” that were banned. So — VERY time-consuming. But SO delicious.

  16. Kim June 25, 2020 at 5:28 pm #

    I’m looking for the OTC Crackers too! I was hoping to find a good recipe here. I moved to Florida and they aren’t sold here. Getting ready to vacation north and was told by my dad that they aren’t anymore. I am sad about this. It is a tradition that him and I have, eating Oyster Stew with the OTC crackers. They are the best. Anything else are just saltine.

  17. Bev July 30, 2020 at 10:20 am #

    I hope this recipe with be a good substitute for OTC crackers in various recipes. Hoping for the best outcome. Thsnks!

  18. Diana September 11, 2020 at 4:48 pm #

    Have any of you familiar with OCT Crackers tried this recipe for comparison? My mother and grandmother, Camden, NJ natives, taught me how to properly crumble the crackers in my soups and oyster stew. No mean feat for a six year old. I’d love to make a version of cracker that comes as close as possible to the original. I don’t mind extra work if I get a good product.

  19. Patty November 18, 2020 at 1:54 pm #

    I came here looking for a replica of OTC Oyster Crackers too! I’m thinking there is no (or little) butter in them and they were mildly sweetened. I am going to try to fidget with this recipe to see what I can get. Thank you to Maria for posting this! These look the closest I have seen yet!

  20. robert hipple November 27, 2020 at 11:51 am #

    OTC are no longer in production. At least not the way they used to be. Tried the recipe as is. We reduced salt by half on our second attempt and increased the bake time. That’s most likely a function of the size of the balls we made and personal preference. Also added another TBSP of butter. Thx for sharing. Love to eat them with prepared horseradish!

  21. Nancy Croll November 30, 2020 at 7:55 pm #

    These oyster crackers are the closest tasting crackers to the OTC Oyster Cracker, which you can no longer buy.

  22. Jim Gish February 14, 2021 at 5:57 pm #

    Also very sad that OTC crackers are no longer available. According to a couple year old posting from Paramount Foods, the old bakers in NY stopped making them, and they bought the equipment, but because of new health and safety guidelines could no longer use it. They had the recipe, but apparently could never get it to work properly without the original equipment to use. Growing up, these were the absolute best with oyster stew. It was always a challenge cracking them because they were so hard. You had to put two together in your palm and try to smash them against each other to crack them. I look forward to trying this recipe. The flimsy things sold everywhere as oyster crackers are pretty terrible.

  23. Mark June 13, 2021 at 2:47 pm #

    Dad and I would watch Baseball games eat w/Horesradish.The best.last I had OTC 5 years ago.Will try recipe. Thank You.

  24. Harris September 14, 2021 at 4:09 pm #

    Beauty formula. Absolutely spot on.
    Thank you so much.

  25. Denise October 8, 2021 at 10:47 am #

    Would this recipe work with a gluten free flour like a paleo flour blend or a nut flour?
    Thank you!

  26. linda January 20, 2022 at 12:43 pm #

    Delicious: I used to love eating the large oyster crackers but cannot find in the stores, problem solved; thanks!!!!

  27. Jean Conley November 26, 2022 at 11:47 pm #

    I, also, am looking for a recipe for OTC, Trenton, that used to be in bowls on tables in seafood restaurants, next to jars of horseradish.( I hear it’s an East Coast thing)
    Recently, a friend gave me a bag of Taralli, which has a similar texture/crunch. Wondering if the use of white wine in a taralli recipe would create the same layering/ flakiness in the OTC. I’m gonna try it.

  28. Bob Darcy January 17, 2023 at 12:49 am #

    I just made these, and they are delicious. They remind me of buttermilk biscuits, but I haven’t let them cool completely and harden.

    I was actually trying to replicate a cracker ball that I remember from when I was a kid as Bookbinder’s Restaurant in Philadelphia. Those little balls were like jaw-breakers, and so delicious with a bit of butter smeared on them. Any suggestions for altering the recipe to get those hard balls of cracker heaven?

  29. Christina June 3, 2023 at 7:52 pm #

    I love this! When I was little my Pop pop would eat these with peanut butter and damson plum jelly. I’ve been looking for them for years with no luck and now I can make my own. Thank you. 🥰

  30. Lee K. Hall August 21, 2023 at 5:53 am #

    This site is amazing. It’s so good to hear all of you talking about the OTC crackers that I too, remember and miss so much. I’m an oyster stew lover and miss not having the perfect partner to go along with the stew and horseradish while waiting for my food to arrive. I’m going to try this recipe. Thank you for it. ☺️

  31. Lee K. Hall August 21, 2023 at 5:53 am #

    This site is amazing. It’s so good to hear all of you talking about the OTC crackers that I too, remember and miss so much. I’m an oyster stew lover and miss not having the perfect partner to go along with the stew and horseradish while waiting for my food to arrive. I’m going to try this recipe. Thank you for it. ☺️

  32. Mac September 27, 2023 at 12:56 am #

    There are many “oyster crackers” in the market these days – none approach the Original Trenton Cracker. Mostly like a version of a saltine. I’m waiting now for these to cool. Maybe a bread flour and yeast?

  33. Mac September 27, 2023 at 1:09 am #

    Just as I was afraid of – too light / not dense enough. the original crackers were much harder but the flavor is similar. The OTC were more in line with hard tack. Perhaps the cooling process? More research needed.

  34. Mac September 27, 2023 at 9:05 am #

    Just as I was afraid of – too light / not dense enough. the original crackers were much harder but the flavor is similar. The OTC were more in line with hard tack. Perhaps the cooling process or the buildup of gluten to toughen the texture? More research is needed.

  35. Joan Fox December 12, 2023 at 10:37 pm #

    Grew up eating OTC oyster crackers. They were available in Philadelphia in Acme Markets untill 2004. I have one of their oval bowls with the logo. I think my mother waitresses there in the 40s. I will try the recipe for a holiday treat. I am 83 years young and the crackers are one of my favorite memories. Don’t forget the horseradish. Thank you.

  36. BARRY M December 30, 2023 at 6:16 pm #

    What a treat seeing everyone here talking about the O.T.C. When I was young, I didn’t care for oysters, but I loved the stew served “blind”, and the Trentons were the perfection of it. Now that I happen to like oysters, I won’t eat the stew because there are not Trentons to complement the dish. All the other so-called oyster crackers I’ve seen are nothing but little, hexagonal saltines–what a rip off! You’ve got the right idea, Joan!–pass the horseradish, or a little seeded Dijon mustard is also great! I will give this a try and will combine the making of the recipe with some supposed tips I have seen elsewhere. BTW: I do believe, from what I have seen at various places, that the leavening in the O.T.C.’s was yeast. And, Mac, more research is the answer to almost everything. If I have any success, you all will hear from me again.

  37. BARRY Miller January 3, 2024 at 7:30 pm #

    Finally screwed up the energy and whatever to give this a first experiment. That’s after searching the WWW for other variations of the oyster cracker, aiming to be able to do something akin to the O.T.C. Actually, the ingredient list is very highly similar in most cases, but only a few have any sort of preparation procedure given. Marie’s ingredients are comparable with the recipes I was able to find. I have set the dough to autolyze overnight and will be baking tomorrow. As you said, Mac, I am looking to have that density and hardness of the O.T.C. that is sometimes mistaken for staleness. More later.

  38. Sue January 8, 2024 at 4:13 pm #

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. We miss the OTC crackers so much, and my last attempt at replicating it was a disaster. My question is, how long do you let the crackers rest in the warm oven before taking them out? That may be key to a crispy cracker. Thanks 👍

  39. Sue January 15, 2024 at 4:41 pm #

    My hubby loved them! They’re not like OTC crackers but very good! I left the dough rest about an hour after spraying plastic wrap with cooking spray. Be generous with the flour because it is a sticky dough. I cut 2by 2″ squares to make the balls. After baking I left the little dough balls rest in the oven for about 40 minutes. Very crispy and tasty 😋

  40. Ginny January 19, 2024 at 12:23 pm #

    Did anyone ever find a recipe that duplicates the old jawbreaker OTC oyster crackers? I have not found one, and wonder whether the original version might have had yeast.

  41. BARRY Miller January 20, 2024 at 1:33 pm #

    Hello again! Have been experimenting with various things, now, and can say that I seem to be getting a bit closer to the old O.T.C. “jawbreakers”, as Sue calls them. I just have not been able to get the inner texture quite right. So far, the outside is quite hard, as it is supposed to be, but that inner texture is still avoiding me. Believe me, Ginny, I have scoured the Weird World Web, as best I can, and have not been able to find a receipt that actually does replicate the REAL O.T.C.s. I’m on to the next experimental receipt! and will post again, later.

  42. Mark February 10, 2024 at 12:10 pm #

    Tried these last night and ended up with Saltine balls. I don’t believe that the OTC’s were leavened. When my 5 year old self was able to crack two with the use of both hands…I remember seeing the tight folds of the dough like the layers of glass in an aggie. No bubbles. No voids of fermentation. Just hard tack solid construction.
    I will play with this recipe nixing the baking powder and trying different emulsifiers. Also increased time in the KitchenAid mixer taking a page from the Maryland beaten biscuit recipe sans hatchet back!

  43. Diane March 26, 2024 at 9:29 pm #

    Unbleached Wheat Flour, Palm Oil, Sea Salt, Yeast.
    These are the ingredients in OTC crackers I think they were layered and baked. It is the inside
    texture that I crave and the hard outside the flavor was a little sourdough ish.
    I am going to try this recipe.
    Miss OTC

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