These Animal Crackers are so simple and delicious, you’ll want to bake them for your kids every week! And I have a hunch that they’ll bring you right back to your childhood as well. 

Animal Crackers from weelicious.comPin

One of the first store-bought treats I recall my mom giving my brother and me were those adorable Barnum’s Animal Crackers in the old fashioned circus box. I used to love getting all dressed up, draped in a smocked dress with my big feet clad in black patent leather shoes, and clomp around the house holding the white string handle attached to the top of the box and act like it was a purse.

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.

I have such a special place in my heart for those crunchy animal shaped cookies and wanted to share them with my kids, but with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup I was determined to figure out how to make a homemade version that was just as delectable.

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

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Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher 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


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


Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 220mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

  5. You can mix it with your hands, a pastry blender, or two butter knives to get to the consistency of coarse meal!

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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. Ambika,
    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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. […] but with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup I was determined to figure out how to make a homemade version that was just as […]

  19. 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!

  20. 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 🙂

  21. 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!

  22. […] made some animal crackers withthis receipe.  The first time I made them I followed the recipe exactly but this time I substituted some of the […]

  23. 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!

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

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

  28. 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?

  29. 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!

  30. 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!!??

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

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

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