Skip the regular breadcrumbs and grab the cheese crackers for a family favorite recipe for Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders.

Crispy Baked Cheddar-Dijon Chicken Tenders on a white plate next to a small ramekin with ranch

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.

Hand holding rolling pin over plastic bag with crushed cheddar crackers

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.

Bowl with chicken fingers and flour next to bowl containing cheddar crackers next to a dish with eggs

I believe there is no such thing as having too many quick, easy chicken dishes in your recipe repertoire, especially when two-fifths of our household is under age 5 (!). And these Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders deliver on the quick and easy promise while also paying homage to a favorite childhood snack.

Cheddar chicken tenders on baking sheet lined with foil

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. (Pro Tip: Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing is a guaranteed winner!)

30-Minute Baked Cheddar-Dijon Chicken Tenders on dinner plate next to small ramekin with ranch

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Appetizer

Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders

Skip the regular breadcrumbs and grab the cheese crackers for a family favorite recipe for Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders.
5 from 4 votes
Crispy Baked Cheddar-Dijon Chicken Tenders on a white plate next to a small ramekin with ranch
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients 

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

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


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Nutrition

Calories: 534kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 213mg, Sodium: 505mg, Potassium: 639mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 282IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 4mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these last night. So good! those cheese crackers and the mustard gave such a delicious flavor. Thanks for another great recipe. I’m looking forward to your cookbook.

    1. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Diane! And stay tuned for pre-ordering info for the cookbook coming soon! :)

    1. Hi Bethany – I’ve never tried freezing them so I’m not sure if the breading would stick well enough to then bake them afterword. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  2. If you want to make your own chicken strips basket at home, and want them baked not fried, this is the way to go. These suckers were devoured by my family. They were really yummy and crunchy. I chose to dip mine in honey mustard, hubby chose ranch dressing, and the kids chose BBQ sauce. Either way, YUM! They’re quite easy to put together too. Just coat, coat and coat again, bake. I threw in some fries with it and a salad and SHAZAM! Dinner was on the table. Easy peasy!

  3. 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 :-)

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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 :-)

  7. 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!

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

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

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

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

  22. 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!