Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders

Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders

Back in high school, when I had a little something called a “metabolism,” my after-school snack was Cheez-Its and a Diet Coke. There was just something about that salty-sweet combination that made the neon orange crackers disappear faster than my dignity at an *NSYNC concert.

But I have no shame in sharing my enduring love of the iconic cheddar cracker, which in my later years now does double-duty as a flavorful replacement for breadcrumbs. I believe there is no such thing as having too many quick, easy chicken dishes in your recipe repertoire. And these Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders deliver on the quick and easy promise while also paying homage to a favorite childhood snack.

A dollop of Dijon mustard takes these crispy tenders from blah to brilliant in a way only Dijon can do. There’s just something about the tangy richness of the mustard that pairs perfectly with cheddar. So skip the drive-thru and the deep-frying and whip up this DIY take on easy, cheesy baked chicken tenders prime for dipping and dunking into your choice of condiments.

Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders

Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders

Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders

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Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 15 min


2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cheddar crackers, such as Cheez-Its or Cheese Nips
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/4 pounds uncooked chicken tenders
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 475°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it with the olive oil.

Pulse the cheddar crackers in a food processor until finely ground, or alternately, place the crackers in a plastic bag, seal it and use a rolling pin to crush the crackers. Transfer the crackers to a wide, shallow bowl and stir in the paprika.

In a separate wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs with the Dijon mustard. Place the flour in a third wide, shallow bowl.

Bread each tender by coating it in the flour, shaking off any excess, and then dipping it in the eggs. Transfer the tender from the eggs to the crackers, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to ensure an even coating, and then placing the tender on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the breading process with the remaining tenders, arranging them in a single layer about 2 inches apart.

Bake the tenders, turning them over once, until they're golden brown, about 15 minutes total.

Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste.


60 Responses to “Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders”

  1. #
    Jess — May 15, 2013 at 1:08 am

    If I’m going to indulge in Cheez-Its, THIS is the way to do it. What a fabulous idea. I can’t resist those cheesy crackers either, but this looks even more fun than having them on their own!

  2. #
    Kathryn — May 15, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Oh these sound amazing! Love that you used cheesy crackers and the spicy hit from the mustard. So full of flavour!

  3. #
    Tieghan — May 15, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Ok, these look perfect! Like the best chicken finger ever!

  4. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — May 15, 2013 at 8:58 am

    These look great!!! Sometimes there’s just nothing like a great chicken finger!!!

  5. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — May 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Cheez-its!! This is brilliant!

  6. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — May 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Chicken tender me!

  7. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — May 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

    These look so perfect! My kids will love them!

  8. #
    amy @ fearless homemaker — May 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Oh. my. heavens. These look SO good. I have a major weakness for cheese crackers (especially homemade cheez-its) AND chicken tenders, so I’d be all over these. For real – they look AMAZING!

  9. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — May 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This is one of those moments when I really really wish I could just jump through the screen and grab a mouthful of these… they look JUST. SO. YUMMY.

  10. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — May 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Oh yum I bet the dijon does wonders for these!

  11. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — May 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Wow, these look so delicious, Kelly! LOVE the idea of coating them with cheddar crackers – brilliant! I bet they’re so delish with that dijon too… mmm!

  12. #
    Happy Valley Chow — May 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Holy cow or should I say chicken? Those look absolutely incredible, great job!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  13. #
    brandi — May 15, 2013 at 11:33 am

    these look so perfectly crispy! i’m going to have to make these soon.

  14. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — May 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    This is so creative Kelly, I love it!

  15. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — May 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I {heart} Cheez-Its big time! Love this recipe!

  16. #
    Gabrielle — May 15, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Such a creative take on chicken fingers! I LOVE IT.

  17. #
    Mimi @ Culinary Couture — May 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    These just look absolutely scrumptious!

  18. #
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Oooh, Dijon and Cheddar together in Chicken Fingers! Love the idea of crushed cheese crackers to coat chicken fingers. Who doesn’t love Cheez-Its and have fond memories munching on them as a kid? Terrific addition to a chopped salad or a great picnic or party snack, too!

  19. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — May 15, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I have such a weak spot for Cheez-Its. This sounds amazing, Kelly!

  20. #
    ashley - baker by nature — May 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I could eat these for dinner any night of the week!!! Love how crispy-crunchy they look. Mmmm.

  21. #
    Miss Kim @ behgopa — May 16, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Brilliant. These look amazing. Can I get some diet coke with that??! I’ve been a diet coke junkie since I was 12…I’ve been cutting back though. It’s so horrible but I still need it sometimes!

  22. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — May 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    We would absolutely devour these here! I need them asap :)

  23. #
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef — May 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    these would be so dangerous at my house!!! yum!

  24. #
    marla — May 17, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Mmmm. Gonna share on FB & Pin now!!

  25. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 17, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Come to momma! These need to happen in my kitchen!

  26. #
    Tiffany — May 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Love the dijon flavor idea. Takes baked crispy chicken tenders to a whole new level, I bet!

  27. #
    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker — May 19, 2013 at 2:33 am

    This is such a great idea, never thought about using Cheez-Its as a breading. Gorgeous colors and I can’t believe it’s baked and not fried! YUM!

  28. #
    Caitlin W — May 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I’m making these tonight! Anyone have suggestions for what to serve on the side? Such a unique flavor… I think my standard side salad will be way too boring.

  29. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion — May 21, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I never thought of putting mustard in my chicken like this. a must try

  30. #
    Annie — May 22, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I shared this immediately on facebook and had a friend tell me she drove over a box of Cheez-Its recently (…?…) and she is going to make this as am I. I can’t quit Cheez-Its even at 30 with a normally healthy diet. Great idea!

  31. #
    Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen — May 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    In high school I was a cheez it and peanut m&m type of girl. Sweet & salty all the way baby! These chicken tenders look so moist and delicious. I have never tried chicken with cheeze it crust but must put it on the list!

  32. #
    Buckley — May 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I notice you use the original “Cheez-it.” However, is it possible to substitute that flavor with a White cheddar, Hot and Spicy or even the Italian Four Cheese variety?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 3rd, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

      Absolutely, Buckley! You can use any flavor of cracker.

  33. #
    Kathleen Richardson — May 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I just know my grandsons would gobble these up!

  34. #
    Kassandra — June 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I abhor mustard but these look and sound amazing… I’m willing to give it a try!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 2nd, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      Haha, I love your willingness, Kassandra! The mustard flavor is very, very mild. And when in doubt, leave it out!

  35. #
    Tracey @ Cooking with Love — June 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Oh yum! That’s all I can say!! :)

  36. #
    KATIE — July 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Do you have a recipe for the honey mustard looking sauce that goes along with it? Looks Yay!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 3rd, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

      Hi Katie! The mustard pictured in the photo is the same store-bought Dijon I used in the recipe :)

  37. #
    Laurie — July 26, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I just made this recipe for myself tonight and marinated the chicken first in Ken’s light options honey mustard dressing and used that in place of the regular Dijon in the eggs because I didn’t have any Dijon on hand (Also used the dressing as a dipping sauce). This recipe was so easy and so delicious it turned out perfectly! Will definitely make again and I think the husband and kids are going to love it!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 3rd, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Laurie! Love your updates to the recipe.

  38. #
    LaLa — October 24, 2013 at 2:31 am

    I made this recipe tonight for the fam and everyone enjoyed it. I didn’t have the Dijon mustard so subbed with reg yellow mustard that I added a bit of honey and vinegar to. This is definitely a big hit with kids who love cheddar crackers. Served with a ranch barbecue sauce, honey mustard would have been better, which was needed as they are somewhat dry. Thanks for this “keeper” recipe :-)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 3rd, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

      Awesome! Great idea with the yellow mustard!

  39. #
    Nanine — November 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Cheez-it, oh, cheez-it.. why art thou not available in France?!!
    One day I will find the time to make a variation of this gorgeous recipe
    - so dangerous to have just eaten and be reading about food.. although I’m sure, like chewing gum, it boosts my metabolism on some level!
    thank you for your mouthwatering recipes.

  40. #
    Ramona Robuck — December 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Your site is impressive, especially chocolate chip cookie recipe!

  41. #
    West Indian Bella — January 4, 2014 at 7:34 am

    I would like to try these but my nephew has an egg allergy. Would the crackers still adhere well with only the Dijon mustard without eggs.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 4th, 2014 @ 10:24 am

      Hello! I’ve never tried it without the egg, but if you do, just make sure you use enough mustard so that the crackers will stick enough to the chicken. Enjoy!

  42. #
    Naomi — January 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    These were so amazing! This recipe will definitely be popping in my recipe box. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 11th, 2014 @ 1:26 am

      Awesome! So glad to hear it, Naomi!

  43. #
    Nicole — January 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I made these tonight and they were wonderful, thank you.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 30th, 2014 @ 11:48 am

      Awesome, so glad you enjoyed them, Nicole!

  44. #
    Michael Moldenhauer — March 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Yum! Gimme sum!

  45. #
    Uju @Babesabouttown — March 27, 2014 at 5:29 am

    We made this last night and what I loved is that it was simple enough for the kids to pretty much takeover the preparation. I did plan to blog it and took a couple of pictures but we forgot to snap the finished results — I’ll either just link directly to your photos or wait until we make it again (of course will credit you for the recipe)!

    It really was tasty, even their papa was impressed as he’s not a chicken breast fan typically. Great recipe, I will increase the mustard and the paprika next time as we like our spices :-)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 27th, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

      Awesome! Love that :) So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  46. #
    Michael — March 29, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I made this today. Its great! You know instead of the usual boring stuff which mom makes. -:)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 30th, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

      Haha! Thanks so much, Michael!


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