Animal Crackers
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Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers from



Animal crackers are synonymous with kids. Little ones just love these imaginative treats and I'd bet you have your own fond childhood memories of eating them....and with good reason. Animal crackers are fun, scrumptious and many moms generally keep them on hand to keep everyone happy. If your kids are like mine, any food in the shape of an animal is usually a hit, and the first time I made these crackers for my son and daughter, there was a lot of excitement about which animal they each were going to pick first.

In coming up with this recipe I bought a bunch of boxed brands to see what they were made from and to try replicating the texture and flavor of the best ones. Most animal crackers are made with mace, which is a lovely spice, but not one most people have in their pantry. I substituted allspice in mine and they turned out perfectly. The same goes for lemon extract. You probably don't have it on hand, but you can use your vanilla extract for a similar cookie.

Whether you're making these for a birthday party, school snack or a holiday party, these Animal Crackers will bring out the kid in everyone.

Photo by Maren Caruso

Animal Crackers

  • Prep Time: 30 mins,
  • Cook Time: 15 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
Animal crackers are synonymous with kids. Little ones just love these imaginative treats and I'd bet you have your own fond childhood memories of eating them....and with good reason. Animal crackers are fun, scrumptious and many moms generally keep them...


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or mace
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
  • 1 large egg


  1. 1. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. 2. Add the butter and pulse to combine.
  3. 3. Add the vanilla extract and egg and pulse until the dough forms into a ball.
  4. 4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. 5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. 6. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out animal shapes.
  7. 7. Place cut outs on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. 8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. 9. Cool and serve.
Animal Crackers

Nutrition Information

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  1. rob

    April 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    I found the dough to be very crumbly and hard to work with, frustrating for the kids. I’m a pretty experienced baker, and if I made these again I would try adding another egg. The texture was nice and crunchy, the taste was ok.

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  4. dayla

    June 22, 2014 at 10:35 am

    just made these with whole wheat. obviously a little darker, but still nice and sweet. i think i rolled my dough too thin as i had to rescue them from the oven before getting too dark, but good, easy recipe!

  5. Dorothy

    May 13, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Is there a way to make these egg-free?

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  7. khill

    March 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I used leftover baby oatmeal. Worked perfect. Very good.

  8. Stacy

    December 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I just made these for my 16mo old daughter and substituted gluten-free flour….they came out delicious!!!! My dough was really dry though, so I added a second egg. Do you recommend this usually, or could it have something to do with the gluten-free flour?

    • Camille

      February 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Oh Morran! Good to hear that she did alright duinrg this time of year! It looks quite cozy in the bathroom and I’m sure she enjoyed the radiostation :)I wish you all the best for 2010, Camilla!

  9. Candice

    December 1, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Can you make this without a food processor? Will a blender do?

  10. amber ippolito

    October 17, 2013 at 11:56 am

    is there any spice alternative to allspice? lol I want to make these but don’t have the allspice

  11. grammerstrof

    September 30, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I am having a lot of trouble using cookie cutters to make shapes. The dough is just too sticky. I put the dough in the fridge for 1hr but it didn’t seem to help much. Any suggestions?

  12. Lisa Wagner

    June 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Does anyone have a good source for the animal shape cutouts?

    • Camlle L.

      December 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      If you have a Michael’s near you, they have the Wilton mini cookie cutters. I found Noah’s Ark, Wedding/Spring, and Christmas ones there. Hobby Lobby has some Christmas ones, but no other mini ones. I would suggest Michael’s.

    • catherine

      June 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      This is the set I have!

    • Andrea

      June 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

      I’ve seen them at Michael’s and JoAnns before in the cake decorating section

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  14. Julia

    June 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Just made them with my toddler… they’re delicious!

  15. Ambika

    May 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Catherine,
    I am a huge fan of weelicious & thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes :-) My li’l one is lactose intolerant and I try to substitute butter whenever its possible. So can we use earth balance vegan spread or crisco (not really healthy, i know!) instead of butter in this as well as the other cookies recipes you have posted.

    • Andrea

      June 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      In most recipies you can replace butter with coconut oil (a direct 1 to 1 ratio) I use it in a lot of my cooking…but since the butter has to be cold to give the right consistency I’m not sure how well that would work? Maybe if you chilled the oil first?

      • Kristin

        September 3, 2013 at 11:34 pm

        For future reference…A better substitute for Crisco is sustainable palm shortening. I use Spectrum brand. Though I agree, coconut oil is also a good replacement for butter in most recipes as well. It’s best to have both virgin and expeller processed coconut oil on hand for when you want or don’t want added coconut flavor.

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  17. srdaniel

    February 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    How do you store these: Refrigerator or counter? How long should they last?

    • catherine

      February 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      I store them on the counter and they last about five days! You can also freeze them before or after baking for up to 3 months!

  18. Steph

    January 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Great recipe. Very easy. I made these with ww flour and added a bit of bran for extra fibre. Used brown sugar instead of white and I used orange rind and cinnamon as it was what I had on hand. These turned out perfectly and my wee one loves them.

    • Steph

      January 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Forgot to mention that I subbed 1/2 cup of almond flour -again to improve nutritional value. I have a very finicky wee one so have to use every opportunity to boost the nutrients.

  19. Ruth

    September 5, 2012 at 8:14 am

    New favorite cracker recipe! Made them w/ the 5-yr old. Used wheat germ instead of oats (b/c I’d just used the last of the oats for granola bars!) and it turned out great. Definitely dust the rolling surface and pin with flour, so it doesn’t stick. We have the same set of mini-cookie cutters, and it makes a LOT. Although it would have made more had we not snitched so much of the cookie dough…

  20. Amy

    August 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Just made these with my 3 year old and we had a blast. They came out great! I used a good amount of flour on my surface and on the rolling pin and that kept the dough from sticking. I can’t wait to make these again, it makes A LOT!

  21. Anne

    July 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Just placed a batch in the oven. I’m so excited about them but had problems with the dough. The minute I rolled the dough it turned to mush and I had the hardest time getting them onto the cookie sheet. They were very sticky. I’m sure they will still taste just as good.

    • Kim

      July 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      I just rolled out mine too and it was also very sticky, I couldn’t even get it onto the cookie sheet without it looking like a blob. I just re-rolled the dough and put it back in the fridge for a little bit, hoping then I can just cut out the shapes really fast before they get too sticky again. I live in AZ so I’m sure the hot weather isn’t helping!

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  24. MamaTick

    May 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    The rule of thumb for substituting honey for sugar is use half honey. The recipe calls for 1/2 c sugar, you would use 1/4 c honey and then cut back on the other liquids by a quarter. I am going to try them w/ honey and I will let you know!

  25. Jane

    February 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I made these last night and they are yummy! I made the vanilla version as I didn’t have lemon extract. I also added 12 Tsp cinammon and some raisins. The kids loved them :-)

    • Jane

      February 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

      That should read 1/2 Tsp cinammon…

  26. Jennifer

    January 29, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Could honey be used in place of the sugar?

    • catherine

      January 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Hmmm I’m not totally sure. The honey would probably change the consistency of the dough. If you want to try it I would start with 3/8 cup of honey instead of the 1/2 cup of sugar. Usually when using honey as a replacement you have to reduce other liquids, and there aren’t really any other liquids in this recipe. I would also add the honey while adding the vanilla extract instead of in the first step. If you try this and the dough is too wet or sticky try adding a touch more flour. Happy experimenting!

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  28. Lauren

    October 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    How would you substitute agave for the sugar? Would it just be 1/2 cup as well and do you have to turn the temperature down on the oven? Would the cookies be the right consistency/hold together still? Thanks!

  29. Tabitha

    October 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Just made these with number shapes! We’re vegan, so I omitted the egg and used ground flaxseed instead. (1 tsp ground flaxseed, 3 tbsp water, use a hand mixer to beat until a bit thickened and frothy). These were sure yummy!!! Thanks so much.

    • Leticia

      September 17, 2013 at 11:11 am

      thanks for the egg replacement information – I always wonder how the recipe changes when switching out the egg!

  30. Lori

    October 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    LOVED them! can’t wait to buy lemon extract now ( I used vanilla). soooo easy for my 3 year old to make – he had a great time!! thanks!

  31. CCMom

    October 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I’m gonna use them for halloween cookies!

  32. Emily

    October 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I was just given an entire ABC/123 cookie cutter set. I think this will be their inaugural use!! :)

  33. Paulina

    October 16, 2011 at 4:37 am

    We made them lastnite my little girl loved em!!!

  34. Marlena

    October 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I’m also curious about how many cookies these will make and if they can be frozen. If they can would it be before or after they are baked? And how long do they last after being baked?

  35. vmeyn4

    October 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    My 2 1/2 year old little guy and I just made these! They are so yummy! It made it even more special that we could do these together. I measured everything and he was able to dump it all into the food processor. He LOVED hitting the pulse button! I rolled while he pressed in his favorite Halloween shapes! It made a TON of perfect little cookies for my little fella! Thanks for this great recipe!

  36. holly

    October 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    I can’t wait to try these!!

    I’d also love to see a salerno butter cookie re-make…you know the ones that were flower shaped and had a hold in the middle to stick your finger in??

    or vanilla wafers!!??

  37. HereticPrincess

    October 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Lemon extract! No wonder animal crackers taste so lemony and delicious. I’ve always wondered why they taste like lemon, and now I know!

  38. Gina

    October 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Will Quick 1-Minute Oats work? Excited to make these!

  39. janelle weems

    October 12, 2011 at 9:22 am

    so cute! cant wait to make them!

  40. Kiki

    October 12, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Will regular whole wheat flour work?

  41. Jennifer

    October 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Wouldn’t nutmeg be a closer replacement for mace?

    Also wondering if this would work well with white whole wheat flour instead of AP. Might have to give it a shot.

  42. Brenda

    October 12, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I’m referring to the spices or ingredients.

  43. Brenda

    October 12, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Well if I dont have it on hand, & I’d like to make them,,,,,, I’ll just buy it.

  44. Jenn

    October 12, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Can they be frozen

  45. Anna

    October 12, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I’ve been meaning to look up a recipe, thanks for saving me the time!

  46. Tiffany

    October 12, 2011 at 5:45 am

    What difference does unsalted butter make? I always buy salted.

    • Krissy

      October 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Just omit the salt in the recipe then, and your crackers should turn out perfectly and not have a salty taste. Like you, I generally go salted butter, so I just cut out salt in recipes and never face a problem.

    • Samantha F in St. Paul

      October 12, 2011 at 7:21 am

      Because of the all spice and the salt you are adding to the cracker, using unsalted butter cuts down on the amount of sodium you are consuming while eating these crackers. Also, it cuts down on the salty taste of the cracker because of the other spices.

  47. Sarah Jackson

    October 12, 2011 at 5:33 am

    How would you suggest making these without a food processor?

    • Samantha F in St. Paul

      October 12, 2011 at 7:19 am

      If you have a blender you could use that in place of a food processor; it should have a pulse button/option on it. If not you would just need to put them all in a bowl and mix to combine.

  48. Vanessa s

    October 12, 2011 at 4:12 am

    Where did you get the cookie cutters?

    • Brandy

      October 12, 2011 at 9:36 am

      I just bought these cookie cutters last weekend at Michaels art & craft store.

    • Vanessa s

      October 12, 2011 at 4:14 am

      Oh and about how many cookies come out of this recipe? :)