An easy baked chicken dish spruced up with buttery cracker crumbs and cheese! It's crispy, flavorful, CHEESY on the outside, and moist on the inside.
THIS CHICKEN. It's so many things I love all in one place!
A rich, crispy, buttery, cheesy coating.
Chicken that stays moist(!!!).
All made in the oven.
With pantry staples that you probably already have!
It's so delicious, and what I really love about a main dish that's baked is it's hands off enough that you can focus your attention on side dishes or table settings or choosing the playlist to totally nail the ambiance or whatever else you want to do!
There's a really good chance that you already have everything you need to make this chicken!
- Butter. Ah, the key to a really moist chicken here. Also key to making the crumb coating stick.
- Dijon mustard. Just a smidge gets mixed in with the butter before dredging the chicken. You can skip if you want, but it does add some amazing flavor!
- Sharp cheddar cheese. It melts and crisps perfectly! Just the right amount of cheesiness.
- Ritz crackers. Or another similar butter cracker will do!
- Seasonings. Using garlic powder, onion powder, and salt here.
- Chicken breasts. This recipe calls for just 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut each one into 3-4 cutlets for maximum cheesy coating! You'll have 6-8 pieces total.
How to Make It
Start by preheating your oven and greasing a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet. Olive oil spray or a paper towel with a dab of olive oil both work equally well here!
You'll also want to line your baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up!
Cut the chicken breasts into 3-4 cutlets each.
Melt the butter and stir in the mustard.
Add the cheese to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until it's in small pieces.
Add the crackers, olive oil, and seasonings and process again. It's okay if some of the crackers are in bigger pieces! Transfer to a square baking dish.
Dip the chicken pieces one by one into the butter mixture, then press into the crumb mixture, coating both sides. Place on the prepared wire rack.
Once all the chicken pieces are coated, bake for 20 minutes. You'll want to flip the pieces (carefully!) halfway through baking to get them crispy everywhere. Rest 5-10 minutes before serving!
Getting a crispy coating in the oven
There are three things that are really essential to maximizing crispiness in this recipe:
- Using a wire rack. Air circulation prevents sogginess.
- Adding olive oil to the cheese + cracker mixture. It's not much, but it helps so much with even browning and crisping!
- Flipping the chicken halfway through baking. Do this carefully to keep as much crumb coating on the chicken as possible! Flipping is essential to getting both sides as crispy as possible.
Eat this with...
Meat, cheese, and carbs are already pretty heartily represented here, so I like just a veggie or fruit to go with this. Some favorites are...
- Broccoli. Number 1 honorable mention because something about ritz and cheddar just NEEDS some broccoli in my book.
- Brussels sprouts (like these crispy shredded ones or these bacon-braised ones)
- Roasted winter veggies
- Homemade applesauce (I love this baked one!)
Cheddar Ritz Chicken
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for greasing the wire rack
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3-4 thin cutlets each
- Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack greased with olive oil on top. (You can use olive oil spray for this or pour a small amount of olive oil on a paper towel and rub over the top of the rack.)Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the Dijon. Set aside to cool.Meanwhile, place the cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until the cheese is in very small pieces - about 30 seconds. Add the crackers, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and process until the most of the crackers are finely crumbled (there will still be some larger pieces - that's okay!). Transfer to a 9-inch square pan.Dip one piece of chicken at a time into the melted butter, rolling to coat. Allow any excess to drip off. Press the chicken into the cracker coating, turning to make sure each side is fully coated. Place on the prepared wire rack. Repeat until all chicken pieces have been coated.Bake for 20-22 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the coating is crispy and the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165. Rest on the wire rack for 5-10 minutes before serving.