Cheese & Crack Chicken Sandwiches with Special Sauce


I got a member request for a fried chicken recipe and that’s what sparked this much less messy and healthier version. Chicken breasts get pounded out into very thin cutlets and then breaded in a combination of cheese and crackers for a crunchy, cheesy coating. Instead of pan-frying in lots of oil, we’re using the oven to crisp them up. There are many ways you could eat this chicken, but I love it in a classic “fried chicken sandwich” style.

Ingredient Highlight

Chicken! Chicken is a great way to get in high quality protein that’s packed with selenium, choline, niacin (Vitamin B3), and vitamin B6, and B12.

Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.25 lb boneless skinless chicken breast*
  • 1 cup finely crumbled plain crackers (ritz-style work best)**
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Pickled jalapenos***
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • 4 burger buns

For the slaw:****

  • 4 cups thinly sliced veggies (cabbage, fennel, carrot, etc…
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the special sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt or mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pickled jalapenos*
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • *If you have super thick breasts, cut them in half lengthwise before pounding them out.
  • **If your crackers don’t crumble very easily, add them to a blender to pulverize them. You want them very finely crumbled with just a few larger chunks.
  • ***You could also use pickles here!
  • ****Or just use plain shredded lettuce instead of the slaw!


  • Preheat the oven to 425F convection or 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil and use a pastry brush or your fingers to spread it around to coat the parchment.
  • Place the chicken between two pieces of parchment and use a meat pounder (or rolling pin) to pound the chicken until ¼-inch in thickness. Repeat with remaining chicken. If pieces are huge after pounding, cut them in half or into a size that would fit your buns best (you’ll likely want to stack them in your sandwich).!
  • Add crackers + cheese to a shallow bowl and toss to combine.
  • Add egg to another shallow bowl and whisk thoroughly. Dip the chicken in the egg (shake off any excess) and then into the cheese/crack coating. Use a spoon or your hands to cover the top of the chicken and press the coating in. Flip and repeat. Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken. Sprinkle any remaining cheese/crack on top of the chicken and press it in. Drizzle the tops with a bit of olive oil.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheesy coating is dark golden brown and crispy.
  • To make the slaw, add all ingredients to a medium bowl and toss to combine (or skip this and just use plain shredded lettuce).
  • To make the special sauce, add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine.
  • Toast your buns and assemble your chicken sandwiches starting with special sauce, then jalapenos, then slaw or lettuce, and chicken. Add some hot sauce on top of your chicken (if using). Serve with more special sauce on the side for dipping.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Pound out 1.25lb chicken breast into ¼-inch thickness
  • Finely crumble 1 cup plain crackers (ritz-style work best)
  • Grate ¾ cup cheddar or mozzarella
  • Chop ½ cup cilantro or parsley
  • Thinly slice 4 cups veg + make the slaw (or use shredded lettuce)
  • Make the special sauce


  • To make vegetarian, you could try it with slabs of tofu that are really well pressed/drained (you want as much moisture out as possible). Otherwise, make these Ultimate Black Bean Burgers instead.
  • See above for tofu + use a vegan cheese alternative in the coating. Use vegan mayonnaise for the sauce.
  • To make gluten-free use gluten-free crackers (like simple mills almond flour crackers). 


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge:
    • Crispy chicken: up to 4 days in the fridge
    • Special sauce: up to 7 days in the fridge
    • Slaw: up to 7 days in the fridge

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Warm up leftover chicken in a pan to reheat it and crisp it up a bit. Assemble sandwiches.
  • Use leftover chicken sliced on top of salads or bowls.
  • Serve it as a plate – crispy chicken, slaw, and some type of whole grain or starchy roasted veggie

This Content is for Cooking Club Members

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