Say goodbye to saltines straight from the sleeve. New cracker platters are a form of art, and they’re a great tool for any host to have in their arsenal.
For far too long, party platters have been trapped in the domain of satines and cubes of orange cheese. But when they’re done correctly (and with a little flair), a cracker platter can be a beautiful centrepiece, and a talking point in its own right. If you want to create a gorgeous cracker arrangement for your party but are unsure of where to start, this guide has you covered.
It’s tempting to reach for the assorted cracker pack at your local grocery store, but what’s inside usually doesn’t offer much variety, and occasionally comes with a host of sweet, cookie-like additions that aren’t ideal for a savoury platter. Instead, when choosing your crackers, go for a mixture of shapes, lengths, sizes, colours, textures, and flavours. Many crackers are naturally vegan, but it’s a good idea to check the labels in case dietary restrictions are concerned, and your gluten-free guests will appreciate there being at least an option or two for them as well.
Keep a secret stash.
Guests tend to heartily indulge at parties, so make sure that you purchase more than you think you’ll need. Do not, however, put everything out at once. Crackers sitting out in the open (particularly if the weather is humid) tend to get stale. Instead, put out a generous assortment, but keep the rest of the crackers sealed in reserve. A great way to preserve them is to store multiple open sleeves of crackers in a resealable plastic bag or large resealable container. That way, you can replenish your platters as needed while keeping everything fresh.
Break up the beige.
Sometimes, cracker platters can get a little monotonous. Brighten them up with deliberate bursts of colour; fresh herbs, dried or fresh fruit, and cut vegetables are a great way to achieve this. Another good idea is to intersperse your platter with smaller bowls of dips to add visual intrigue—as a bonus, this also enables guests to reach the dips more easily.
Know the perfect pairings.
To really take your party food to the next level, you can pre-assemble crostini for your guests, or set up small stations where they can make their own. Some suggestions include:
- Sturdy crackers with guacamole, topped with thinly shaved cucumber and fennel, with fresh parsley as a garnish
- Toasted homemade pita chips with Sabra caramelized onion and smoked paprika hummus, topped with crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts
- Garlicky crostini with Sabra roasted red pepper hummus with coarsely chopped olives, capers, and thinly sliced green onions for garnish
- Toasted, sliced naan with Sabra Greek Olive hummus, topped with diced cucumber and tomato with fresh basil
Keep it organized.
Bring a little order to the chaos by setting out small tongs, dipping spoons and plenty of napkins. Label different items so that people can easily tell what they’re eating. For the sake of guests with dietary restrictions, keep gluten-free, vegan or nut-free items separate from those containing potential allergens, and ideally stock those platters with more of the same ilk (i.e. vegan dips go with vegan crackers, gluten-free charcuterie and cheese go with gluten-free crackers, and so forth).
Have fun with it.
Remember that dishes don’t have to be perfect-looking in order to be fun. In fact, a looser style of decorating is “in” these days — food seems more approachable when no one has to worry that they’ll be the first to break a perfect pattern. Instead of neat lines or perfect concentric circles, try arranging your crackers in smaller piles, or loose arrangements that allow for overlap with other elements on the platter.
Already planning your party spread? Learn more about Sabra hummus and the lineup of mouthwatering it comes in. It’s the perfect addition to any party platter.