This is a traditional favorite with a few new twists that will leave everyone asking for more! The end result is a moist, buttery chicken with a crispy, flavorful coating. It will just melt in your mouth!
Chicken, Ritz crackers, cheese = Delicious
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While doing my meal planning for this week, I remembered I had bought a huge pack of Ritz crackers when Sam’s Club had them on sale. I needed another chicken meal and decided to try my hand at these Cheesy Ritz Cracker Chicken Bites.
I have to say, they turned out delicious! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (though chicken breasts would work just fine too!) because that’s what we had. Using chicken thighs is great if you don’t mind dark meat. I like using them because it creates a juicier, more tender bite of chicken.
A lot of versions of Ritz Cracker Chicken use the whole breast or chicken thigh, but I like cutting them into bite-sized pieces. With our kids being at such young ages, this gives us the freedom to serve them just what they will eat (or what we hope they will)! It also lowers the cooking time needed, which is always a plus for me!
TIP FOR CUTTING CHICKEN
I used whole frozen chicken thighs, but let them defrost just a bit before cutting them. If you cut them when they are still mostly frozen (but not too frozen, or you’ll just be sawing at them), they will still be firm and it will be much easier to slice through them.
I always like to gather all of the ingredients along with any dishes and utensils I will need prior to starting a meal. So after cutting the chicken, I gathered eggs, Ritz crackers, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese, Ranch seasoning, and butter. I also found my glass 9 x 13 casserole dish and some sturdy tongs . I have found that glass pie plates like these work really well for coating the chicken. They are just deep enough to cover the chicken completely, but shallow enough that it is easy to work with.
Prepping the Egg Wash and Cracker Breading
Crack 2 eggs into one of the pie plates and add 1 tablespoons of milk. Mix the eggs and milk well with a fork. This will be the first coating on the chicken.
Next, crush a sleeve of Ritz crackers or another brand’s equivalent. There are many ways to crush the crackers. I have found that I like to put them in a Ziploc bag and smash them with whatever utensil I have handy. You could also put them in a food processor for more even crumbs.
Mix the cracker crumbs along with 1/2 cup of cheese (I used a monterey/cheddar blend, but you can use whatever kind you prefer or you happen to have), 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon of Ranch seasoning (more or less to taste).
While you are doing this, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the oven in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. It should only take a few minutes to melt, so watch it closely or set a timer to remind yourself.
Breading the Chicken
This next step is the most time consuming, but is essential if you want the crispy outside, coupled with a melt-in-your mouth inside.
Start by dipping the chicken pieces in the egg/milk mixture.
After the chicken pieces are covered in egg, transfer them to the cracker crumb mixture. Roll the pieces of chicken around until they are well coated.
I started by using my tongs…but my years of working at Chick-fil-A got the best of me and I ended up just using my hands (clean of course!) to handle the chicken and make sure it was nice and coated. I find it easier to use my hands because the amount of food that I have to make to satisfy my family is so large that doing it with a spoon and/or tongs just takes too long!
Bake and Enjoy!
Place the breaded pieces in a single layer in a 9 x 13 pan. Cook at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times during the cook time.
Ovens cook in different ways, so always be sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.
We ate this with rice and fresh grape tomatoes and it hit the spot. The chicken was juicy and the outside coating was crispy, but still moist and buttery. I used Ranch as my dipping sauce, but this dipping sauce is reminiscent of Chick-fil-A’s sauce and is another favorite of mine.
Cheesy Ritz Cracker Chicken Bites
- 4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs BLSL breasts can be used as well.
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 sleeve Ritz cracker Generic butter crackers are fine!
- 1/3 cup cheddar cheese use your favorite, sharp, monterey jack blend, etc.
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Ranch seasoning
- 2 tbsp butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Chop chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.
- Beat eggs and milk together in shallow dish.
- Put butter in 9 x 13 pan and melt in oven.
- Crush Ritz crackers.
- Combine crushed crackers with cheeses and Ranch seasoning.
- Dip chicken in egg mixture, then coat in cracker mixture.
- Take pan with melted butter out of oven and place breaded chicken pieces in a single layer in pan.
- Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times throughout cooking time.
- Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce and fresh salad and/or fruit.