Animal Crackers Recipe (Egg Free)

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This animal crackers recipe is so simple to make with only 6 ingredients you likely already have on hand! They are egg-free and nut-free and lightly sweetened with maple syrup for a crunchy treat you won’t be able to stop snacking on!

Animal crackers served with blackberries and raspberries.

I promise it doesn’t get easier than these 6-ingredient animal crackers! They’re a simple snack you can feel good about giving to your little ones that are refined sugar-free and free of additives. This fun-shaped animal cookie cutter makes them look and feel like the real deal, but you can use any small-shaped cookie cutters you have on hand. Get those little ones involved in making these crackers with you for a hands-on activity and snack in one!

If you love these homemade animal crackers and are looking for some other nostalgic snacks, you’ll love these homemade goldfish crackers, homemade cocoa puffs, and homemade Cheez-it crackers as well!

What You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need to make this animal crackers recipe:

Ingredients to make homemade animal crackers.
  • Butter: I used unsalted butter for these crackers. If you only have salted butter on hand, just omit the salt from the recipe. Make sure that the butter is softened to room temperature beforehand.
  • Maple Syrup: The main source of sweetness for these crackers.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Make sure to measure your flour correctly. Scoop the flour into the measuring cup and use a knife to level it out.
  • Ground Cinnamon: Warm spice for added flavor and taste.
  • Vanilla: To enhance the flavor of the crackers.
  • Salt: To balance out the flavors of the dough.

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Recipe Substitutions & Additions

  • Butter: For a dairy-free option, swap the butter with dairy-free butter like these olive oil plant-based butter sticks.
  • Maple Syrup: You may replace the maple syrup with equal parts honey. Note – Honey should not be offered to babies under the age of 1 as per CDC guidelines.
  • All-Purpose Flour: For a gluten-free option, swap the all-purpose flour with an equal part gluten-free flour blend. You may also use white whole wheat flour, but start with a smaller amount as whole wheat flour absorbs liquids a little differently than all-purpose.

Step By Step Instructions

Steps to make homemade animal crackers.

STEP 1: Add the softened butter and maple syrup to a bowl and use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to cream them together on high speed until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes (Images 1 & 2).

STEP 2: Add the ground cinnamon, vanilla, and to the bowl and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute (Images 2 & 3).

STEP 3: Add in the flour (Image 4) and mix on low speed until it forms a dough. It may seem crumbly at first (Image 5), but it will form into a soft dough (Image 6). Scrape down the sides as needed.

Steps to make homemade animal crackers.

STEP 4: Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the fridge to allow the dough to chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. This step is important and it will allow the flour time to hydrate and make it easier to roll out. *Note: If you’re in a pinch, you can place the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.

STEP 5: After at least an hour, place the chilled dough on the counter to allow it to slightly soften. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

STEP 6: Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour on a surface or sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on top (Image 7). Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out until it is about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick. Use animal cracker-shaped cookie cutters (or any mini cookie cutter) to cut out shapes from the dough (Image 8).

Steps to make homemade animal crackers.

STEP 7: Transfer the shape cutouts to a parchment paper-lined pan (Image 9). Gather the scraps and reroll them out to cut out more shapes from the dough until all of the dough is used. Add additional flour on the surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. I was able to make two trays full of mini crackers using this dough.

STEP 8: Bake the crackers for 7 to 10 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown (Image 10). Keep a very close eye on the crackers as they can burn easily. Allow the crackers to cool completely before removing them from the pan.

Storage Instructions

Once cooled, store the homemade animal crackers in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. They may also be frozen for up to 2 months in an air-tight, freezer-safe container. Thaw the crackers at room temperature.

Animal crackers served with blackberries and raspberries.

Tips For Success

  • If the dough seems crumbly after adding in the flour and mixing on low speed, add in 1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water and continue mixing on low speed until it moistens and forms into a dough.
  • If the dough still seems sticky when you are rolling it out, add a little more flour to the surface/rolling pin to prevent it from sticking, or roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper.
  • I like to use these spring button animal cracker cutters because they make it so easy to cut out the cracker shapes! The spring button helps the dough shapes pop right out without distorting their shape.
  • Make sure to let the crackers cool completely before serving. They will be soft at first right out of the oven but will firm up as they cool.
  • Make sure that your butter is softened to room temperature beforehand. Cutting butter up into cubes will help it come to room temperature quickly. Using cold butter may result in the mixture curdling, so make sure to let it fully soften.
Animal crackers served with blackberries and raspberries.

Recipe FAQs

How many crackers does this recipe make?

This recipe makes approximately 70 animal crackers using the spring button animal-shaped cutters. Make sure to gather the scraps and reroll the dough to get the most cracker shapes out of your dough.

What should I do if my dough is sticky?

If the dough is sticky, add some extra flour to the surface and the rolling pin to help prevent it from sticking and make it easier to roll out the dough. If the cracker cutouts are sticking to the dough, try dipping the cutter in some flour before pressing it into the dough.

How far in advance can I prep the dough?

You can prep this dough 3 to 4 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. The dough will need to sit out at room temperature for a few minutes to soften before rolling out.

Other Homemade Snacks You’ll Love

If you tried this Animal Crackers Recipe please leave a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below! I love hearing from you!

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Animal crackers served with blackberries and raspberries.
5 from 34 votes

Animal Crackers Recipe (Egg Free)

This animal crackers recipe is so simple to make with only 6 ingredients you likely already have on hand! They are egg-free and nut-free and lightly sweetened with maple syrup for a crunchy treat you won't be able to stop snacking on!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 15 servings (makes about 70 crackers)

Ingredients 

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour

Instructions 

  • Add the softened butter and maple syrup to a bowl and use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to cream them together on high speed until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure that the butter is fully softened to room temperature and that you can easily put a dent in it if you press your finger into it.
  • Add the ground cinnamon, vanilla, and salt to the bowl and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Add in the flour and mix on low speed until it forms a dough. It may seem crumbly at first, but it will form into a soft dough. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the fridge to allow the dough to chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. This step is important and it will allow the flour time to hydrate and make it easier to roll out. *Note: If you're in a pinch, you can place the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • After at least an hour, place the chilled dough on the counter to allow it to slightly soften. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour on a surface or sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on top. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out until it is about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick. Use animal cracker-shaped cookie cutters (or any mini cookie cutter) to cut out shapes from the dough.
  • Transfer the shape cutouts to a parchment paper-lined pan. Gather the scraps and reroll them out to cut out more shapes from the dough until all of the dough is used. Add additional flour on the surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. I was able to make two trays full of mini crackers using this dough.
  • Bake the crackers for 7 to 10 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown. Keep a very close eye on the crackers as they can burn easily. Allow the crackers to cool completely before removing them from the pan.

Notes

    • If the dough seems crumbly after adding in the flour and mixing on low speed, add in 1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water and continue mixing on low speed until it moistens and forms into a dough.
    • If the dough still seems sticky when you are rolling it out, add a little more flour to the surface/rolling pin to prevent it from sticking, or roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper.
    • I like to use these spring button animal cracker cutters because they make it so easy to cut out the cracker shapes! The spring button helps the dough shapes pop right out without distorting their shape.
    • Make sure to let the crackers cool completely before serving. They will be soft at first right out of the oven but will firm up as they cool.
    • Make sure that your butter is softened to room temperature beforehand. Cutting butter up into cubes will help it come to room temperature quickly. Using cold butter may result in the mixture curdling, so make sure to let it fully soften.

Nutrition

Calories: 101kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 40mg, Potassium: 27mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 140IU, Vitamin C: 0.003mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!
Until next time, Lily!

About Lily Payen

Hi, I’m Lily! The mama behind Feeding Tiny Bellies. I’m here to help you take some of the stress out of meal times for your little ones. My goal is to create simple recipes with baby in mind that can easily be adapted for the entire family.

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Recipe Rating




30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are absolutely wonderful! This recipe is flawless and do yourself a favor and invest in the cookie cutters because they make these cookies next level. I have made two batches for my granddaughter, but I keep them on rotation for me at our home because they are WONDERFUL with hot tea in the afternoon. So good! Well done!!!

    1. Hi Retha! I’m so glad to hear that you and your granddaughter both enjoy these crackers! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback!😊

  2. 5 stars
    My daughter loves these! I cut half into animal shapes and the other half into long biscuit shapes and poke little holes in them with a fork to make look like my walkers shortbread cookies- this way my daughter can enjoy with me without the added sugar that are in mine! I noticed someone said their dough never formed and was very crumbly- mine is similar to that before forming into a disc to put in fridge (I use a countertop kitchen aid mixer) but all I do is use my hands to smoosh it all together to form ball. The consistency is crumbly and doesn’t look like it will do anything but it does easily! Just wanted to throw it out there in case the crumbly consistency scares anyone off- it totally still works and the cookies come out yummy!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that your little one enjoyed these crackers! I love the idea of making some resemble little shortbread cookies! Thank you for sharing the tip about the dough, I’m so happy you enjoyed them, Kinzie!😊

    1. I’m so glad you liked them!😊 Unfortunately applesauce wouldn’t work as a replacement for the maple syrup since it would alter the texture and taste of the crackers completely, but another liquid sweetener like honey would also work!