Hard Tack Recipe

Hard Tack is a simple biscuit made with flour, water and salt. It formed a major part of the daily ration for Union Soldiers during the Civil War. When eaten fresh, they are fairly tasty - but during the war, they often didn't reach the soldiers for several months, earning them the nickname "tooth dullers"!

My first experience with these biscuits came as a Junior High School student, when in observance of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, we watched the sunrise while dining on hard tack and homemade butter.


2 cups flour

2/3 cup water

6 pinches salt

Preparation and Cooking

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add the water, and knead it with your hands to make a dough. If the dough sticks to your hands add a little bit more water (not too much).

Spread the dough out on an ungreased cookie sheet to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. You can do this by hand or with a rolling pin. Keep in mind it doesn't have to look perfect. The dough should be in the shape of a rectangle.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and cut the dough into 3 inch squares.

Into each square, punch 4 rows of 4 holes (16 holes total). You can use a clean nail or a fork if you prefer.

Flip the crackers over and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!

For a softer cracker, use a 375 degree F oven.

Hard Tack is a simple, earth friendly recipe with great historical significance. It's a great recipe to involve your kids with.

Return to Earth Day from Hard Tack here

Return to Green Living Saves Us from Hard Tack here