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Cracker Crusted Chicken Tenders (Air Fryer or Oven)

Is this anything more comforting than chicken tenders and french fries off the kids menu? No, the answer is no. Of course we can recreate them at home using breadcrumbs and an egg wash, which are delicious! But in this recipe we managed to recreate that restaurant quality buttery crust on the outside of these chicken tenders.

The secret ingredient is crackers!

Any buttery cracker will do. The classic option is ritz crackers but simple mills are another delicious option (slightly pricier but simpler ingredients). How fine you crush the crackers is up to you. I prefer to leave a few slightly larger breadcrumbs for extra crunch. The finer the easier the breadcrumbs stick and cover though so I wouldn't leave too many bigger pieces!

I followed my classic breading process and set up 3 plates- flour, egg wash, breading. This keeps the process clean and organized especially if breading a lot of chicken. For an extra crispy outside, I prefer to air fry these but of course baking them in the oven is an option! When baking I like to broil them a little bit at the end for extra crispiness.

Cracker Crusted Chicken Tenders (Air Fryer or Oven)

4 Servings | Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Notes: The cracker crust adds a buttery unique flavor and makes for the perfect chicken tender like you get in the restaurant! Dunk in your favorite ketchup and enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup crackers, crushed (I used 10 ritz crackers, recommend slightly more for a smaller cracker like simple mills crackers)

  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

  • 1.5 tbsp flour

  • Salt and Pepper

  • Nonstick olive oil spray

  • 16 oz chicken breast, cut into 8-10 tenders


  1. Arrange three dishes:

    1. Plate 1: Whisk together the flour, salt and pepper until combined.

    2. Plate 2: Pour egg whites and milk in the second plate and whisk together.

    3. Plate 3: Add ritz crackers to a baggie and use your hands or fork in to very small pieces, nearly crumbs with a few larger pieces. Toss cracker crumbs with parmesan on third plate.

  2. Bread the chicken tenders by rolling each one in the flour (shake off any excess flour), then dipping them in the milk (allowing any excess to drip off for a second or two) and lastly by rolling them in cracker mixture until fully breaded.

  3. Air Fryer:

    1. Spray bottom of air fryer with nonstick spray, place the chicken in the air fryer and spray the top of the chicken with nonstick spray. Bake the tenders at 350F for 20 minutes, turning halfway.

  4. Oven:

    1. Preheat oven to 400F.

    2. Spray a sheet pan with nonstick olive oil spray and arrange the chicken tenders. Spray the top with nonstick olive oil spray.

    3. Bake for 25 minutes, turning halfway.

    4. For an extra brown at the end, turn the oven on to broil for the last 2-3 minutes.

  5. Serve warm dunked in your favorite ketchup!


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Nutrition facts provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.


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