This week I decided to do some fried chicken thighs in the air fryer. I typically like to do a pickle juice brine when I do fried chicken in the air fryer so it is like a combo fried pickle and fried chicken. This time the fried chicken was kind of a last minute thought so I didn’t have time to do the pickle brine so I was going to do just a breaded chicken with Italian flavored bread crumbs, but when I reached into the pantry for the bread crumbs I had to move a box of Ritz crackers out of the way to get to the bread crumbs. There was only one sleeve of crackers left in the box and on a whim I changed my mind and decided to use the crackers instead of bread crumbs.
I purposely did not tell the wife what I was doing so I could get her honest opinion on the chicken. When she tasted it expecting regular bread crumbs she got wide eyed and said “Ritz crackers?” I simply smiled and nodded. “I like it!” she exclaimed and then dug into it.
What I like about Ritz crackers for this recipe is how easily the turn into crumbs. All I do is squeeze the crackers while still in the sleeve after slightly opening one end to release any air pressure so the sleeve doesn’t explode and send cracker crumbs everywhere.
Now the beginning of this recipe is the same as most other fried chicken. I like to salt and pepper the chicken lightly before I start the dredge for the breading. Setup your dredging station. One bowl for flour (seasoned with salt pepper and smoked paprika), one bowl for eggs, and one bowl for the smashed Ritz crackers.
Using the dry hand wet hand method (one hand for wet dredge and one hand for dry dredge) dip the chicken in the seasoned flour making sure to coat everything. Move the chicken to the egg again making sure everything is covered. Lastly move to the cracker crumbs then set aside on a plate.
Spray or brush the bottom of the fryer basket with a little but of vegetable oil. If you have an air fryer and don’t have one of these spray bottles I highly recommend EVO Oil Spray Bottle. Next get your air fryer up to temp. Now I get to cheat a bit here because my air fryer has a preset for fried chicken, but if yours does not have a preset button simply set the temp at 370 and let it preheat for 2-3 minutes. Once it has preheated place your chicken in the fryer making sure not to over crowd the basket so air can still circulate. Cook the chicken for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 10 minutes at 370. If you need to do multiple batches remove the first batch and set on a plate but do not cover. Repeat with the second batch. After cooking the second batch place the first batch back in the basket on top of the second and lower the temp to 340 and air fry for another 7 minutes. If only doing one batch simply flip the chicken a second time lower the temp to 340 and cook for 7 minutes.
Lastly plate and serve. Mashed potatoes and sweet corn are perfect sides for this fried chicken with the buttery cracker crumbs for breading.
- 4 bone in skin on chicken thighs
- 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers (crushed)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- vegetable oil in a spray bottle
- Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper
- whisk together flour, paprika, salt and pepper
- setup dredging station 1 bowl seasoned flour, 1 bowl eggs and 1 bowl crushed cracker crumbs
- coat chicken in flour
- coat chicken in egg
- coat chicken in cracker crumbs
- set aside and repeat with all chicken pieces
- spray or brush bottom of fryer basket with veg oil
- preheat fryer to 370
- place chicken in fryer cook for 10 minutes
- flip the chicken and cook for 10 more minutes
- flip one more time lower temp to 340 and cook for 7 minutes
- plate and serve