Buttery Ritz Cracker Chicken

published Mar 11, 2023
Ritz Cracker Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts encrusted in buttery Ritz crackers, then baked until tender and juicy.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Cooked ritz cracker chicken on cooking rack.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Take it easy for dinner tonight with this delicious meal that’s ready in a flash. Ritz cracker chicken takes ho-hum boneless, skinless chicken breasts and two common pantry staples — mayonnaise and Ritz crackers — and turns them into a crisp and juicy main dish. It’s a chicken dinner that you’ll find yourself making again and again.

What Is Ritz Cracker Chicken?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are encrusted in buttery Ritz crackers, then baked until tender and juicy.

What sets this recipe apart is how the chicken is breaded and baked. Chicken breasts often end up dry and tough, due to the challenge of cooking unevenly thick meat. I remedy this by pounding each breast to an even 1/2-inch thickness. On top of that, I skip the traditional three-step breading process, opting instead for a quick coating in seasoned mayonnaise. The best part: Both of these steps can be done in the same gallon-sized zip-top bag! Coat the chicken breasts in a mixture of buttery, crushed Ritz crackers, then bake on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet so that the coating turns toasty and brown all over.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Can I Only Use Ritz Crackers?

Coating chicken breasts in Ritz crackers imparts every bite with crunchy, buttery flavor. While the recipe calls for Ritz crackers, you can substitute your favorite crushed crackers, chips, or cereal like Cheez-Its, saltines, tortilla chips, and corn flakes cereal.

If you’re substituting another cracker for the Ritz crackers, make sure to weigh the crackers using a food scale first, before coarsely crushing them with your hands or a rolling pin. Once crushed, double check the volume of your crumbs before dredging the chicken; you should have 1 3/4 cups of crumbs.

Ingredients for Ritz Cracker Chicken

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Ritz crackers
  • Unsalted butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

What Does the Butter Do for Ritz Cracker Chicken?

Instead of topping the breaded chicken breasts with a pat of butter before baking, mix the crushed Ritz crackers with melted butter to produce an evenly brown, crunchy coating with a robust buttery flavor.

Credit: Kelli Foster

What to Serve with Ritz Cracker Chicken

Ritz Cracker Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts encrusted in buttery Ritz crackers, then baked until tender and juicy.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 5 1/4 ounces

    Ritz crackers (1 1/2 sleeves; about 50 crackers)

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet, place on the rack, and heat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, place inside a gallon zip-top bag and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with remaining breasts.

  3. Place 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in the large plastic zip-top bag and massage to combine. (Replace with a new bag or use a 9x13-inch baking dish if the original zip-top bag has holes from pounding the chicken.) Add the chicken back to the bag, seal, and massage to coat the chicken completely in the mayonnaise mixture.

  4. Place 5 1/4 ounces Ritz crackers (1 1/2 sleeves or 50 crackers) in a wide bowl or pie plate. Use your hands to crush the crackers into irregularly-sized crumbs no larger than a pea.

  5. Cut 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into 4 pieces, then place in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, 20 to 40 seconds. Add melted butter to the cracker crumbs and toss with your fingers or a fork to combine.

  6. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, press the chicken into the crumbs until evenly coated all over.

  7. Place the chicken in a single layer on the heated wire rack. Bake until the breading is golden-brown and the thickest part of the chicken registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Make ahead: The chicken can be pounded and refrigerated in the mayonnaise mixture up to 1 day in advance.