Cheez-Its Are The Secret Ingredient You Need For Top-Notch Breaded Chicken

Pile of Cheez-Its
Pile of Cheez-Its - karen roach/Shutterstock

Cookbook author Alison Roman once tweeted that she would "Take a cheez-it, chew it up, spit it out and sandwich it between two regular cheez-its." Her singular and slightly graphic declaration goes to show that the bright orange snack is impeccable on its own. But When you consider that Cheez-Its were invented to taste like Welsh rarebit in cracker form, the idea of incorporating them into your dinner doesn't sound sacrilegious — or, shall we say, snackreligious — in the slightest.

Indeed, crushed-up Cheez-Its provide a perfectly crispy coating and a subtly cheesy flavor to all sorts of savory dishes, including roasted or pan-fried chicken. Think of them as an amped-up replacement for the breadcrumbs that a typical breaded chicken recipe might call for.

There are all sorts of ways to make Cheez-It-crusted chicken your own, whether you're working with cutlets, tenders, or even a whole bird. Here are a few ideas to help get those culinary juices flowing.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

First Comes Tang, Then Comes Cheese

Raw chicken in lemon brine
Raw chicken in lemon brine - Elenathewise/Getty Images

Chicken recipes breaded in cheesy crackers are more prolific than you might think. While they run the gamut of ingredients and methodologies, they all share a few things in common, including acid. From Eric Kim's New York Times recipe, which calls for Ritz crackers and cheddar cheese, to a Southern Living recipe for cheesy chicken fingers, cracker-coated chicken fans all seem to rely on acidic ingredients to tenderize the poultry before breading.

Kim turns to a mixture of sour cream, Dijon mustard, and egg white for his version, using it as the glue with which to hold the pulverized crackers and cheese. Others achieve tang by marinating their chicken in a brining liquid, such as pickle juice, kimchi juice, or evaporated milk and lemon juice, for a few hours before breading.

As for the crackers, the size of the crumbs depends on your desired texture. Pulse them in a food processor for a classic, restaurant-style cutlet vibe. For a craggier, more crackly result, crush them by hand.

Cheesy Snacks In Every Meal

Array of cheesy snacks
Array of cheesy snacks - DenisMArt/Shutterstock

After your first successful foray into cheese-cracker chicken, you might consider broadening your cheddar snack-food horizons even further — maybe even all the way to your dessert cravings.

Chef Jenny Dorsey has certainly taken on this challenge. On Food & Wine's "Chefs at Home" series, she demonstrated her recipe for banana-rum ice cream with cheesy cones made with crushed Goldfish crackers, billing the treat as a flavor-balanced hit among kids and adults alike. If that sounds too ambitious, try making little peanut butter Cheez-It sandwiches and dipping them in melted chocolate for a simple, sweet snack. They're like those Keebler sandwich cookies, only more chocolatey — which is to say, better.

And if you have your sights set on breakfast, you could always use crushed Cheez-Its as a crumbly topping for potatoes, eggs, or your go-to breakfast sandwich. The possibilities are as endless as the popularity of cheesy snacks.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.