Photo by Amy Shutt.

Make these Cracker-Crusted Chicken Tenders with the kids this summer

Even the most finicky child likes chicken tenders. And seriously, what’s not to like? Tender, juicy tenders with a crunchy outer layer are hard to resist for kids and adults alike.

Making fried chicken tenders from scratch can be a bit of a hassle, not to mention an oily mess. But this oven-baked recipe only takes about 30 minutes and is an easy starting point for beginner cooks. Your young kitchen helpers will be able to crush the cracker crumbs and can dip the chicken tenders in the melted butter before rolling them in the crumbs to form the crunchy coating. Just be sure to wash their hands with warm soapy water after and have dry oven mitts at the ready for baking.

These tenders bake up light and crisp and make for a delicious meal when served with your family’s favorite sides. The tenders also can be turned into an easy chicken Parmesan when topped with your favorite red sauce and mozzarella.

Cracker Crusted Chicken Tenders

18 to 20 Ritz or butter crackers
1 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
1 stick melted butter
1/3 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
2 ½ to 3 pounds of clipped chicken tenders
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick foil.
Place the crackers into a 1-quart zipper plastic bag. Press the bag to release the air before sealing it.
Using a rolling pin, crush up the crackers into coarse crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a shallow baking dish. Add in the Panko and toss until well combined.
Place the butter into a separate microwave-safe shallow dish and heat until the butter is just melted. Remove from the microwave and add in the olive oil and Creole seasoning.
Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the melted butter mixture into the crumbs. Use a fork to mix up the crumbs until they are evenly moistened.
Rinse the chicken tenders under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Working in batches, place the tenders into the melted butter mixture and rotate to butter both sides. Roll the buttered chicken tenders into the cracker crumbs until each tender has been coated on all sides. Place the tenders on the lined baking sheets. Repeat the steps with the remaining tenders.
Bake the coated chicken tenders for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle and the outside is golden and crunchy. Remove the tenders from the oven. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.
Makes 6 servings.

This article originally appeared in 225 magazine’s 225 Daily newsletter.