The Air Fryer Hack That Transforms Vegan Cheese Into Homemade Cheez-Its

With an addictively cheesy taste and crispy crunch — not to mention an extraordinary 11-month shelf life — Cheez-Its are great to have on hand (preferably in large quantities) whenever a snack craving strikes. The iconic, bright orange cheesy cracker has been around for over a century, invented in 1921 by The Green & Green Company in Dayton, Ohio. From there, the beloved, affordable snack helped get Americans through the post-World War I recession and the Great Depression. Now, there are over 30 different versions and flavors of Cheez-Its, from original cheddar and zesty buffalo wings to the newer Puff'd and Snap'd varieties.

While the brand boasts its use of 100% real cheese, real dairy isn't everyone's cup of tea. If you want the same crispy treat, minus the cow's milk, there are plenty of plant-based Cheez-It dupes at health food stores. But if you like to go the extra mile, you can actually whip up some vegan Cheez-Its in the air fryer. With just one ingredient, they're as easy to make as they are to munch on.

All you need is cheese and an air fryer

Making vegan Cheez-Its is simple, according to TikTok user @claredodo. The home cook with more than 15,000 followers frequently shares videos of their recipes for homemade baked goods, and one of their most popular videos to date is a how-to on creating vegan Cheez-Its using just one ingredient. 


this was actually good??? #cheese #vegan #cheezits #foodtok #snack #snackideas #snacks

♬ don't miss me – sped up – Claire Rosinkranz

Clare's plant-based cracker dupe uses store-bought slices of vegan cheddar cheese — specifically, the one from 365 by Whole Foods Market, though presumably any brand would work. They then cut the slices of cheese into smaller squares, poking a hole in the middle of each piece. (Are they really Cheez-Its without the iconic holes?) Finally, they go in the air fryer for less than 10 minutes, and the results are crispy, puffed vegan cheese crackers that resemble the beloved Cheez-Its. "That'" commented one mind-blown viewer, while another complimented @claredodo: "You're actually a genius." Want to try the recipe for yourself but don't have an air fryer?

Vegan Cheez-Its can be made in the oven, too

No air fryer, no problem: An oven works just as well for homemade vegan Cheez-Its. The caveat, of course, is that the process takes closer to 35 minutes in a conventional oven if you also account for cooling time. Nevertheless, TikTok user @justincooksgood makes the snack using not just plant-based cheddar slices, but provolone slices as well. They also add a few good sprinkles of coarse salt for extra seasoning. In one shady comment toward a particular brand, someone suggested that this is actually a tastier way to consume vegan cheese: "Finally! A way to make the texture of Daiya cheese work to your advantage!" Others remarked at how quickly vegan cheese "dries out," making the baking process a handy solution.

If you don't like the taste of plant-based cheese or are feeling particularly adventurous, you can even make vegan Cheez-Its completely from scratch. Vegan TikTok user @eat_figs_not_pigs shares a recipe for homemade vegan Cheez-Its on their website. With the power of nutritional yeast, a food processor, flour, vegan cheese, and spices, you can bake vegan Cheez-Its as cheesy as the original.