Skip to Content

Ranch Cheddar Chicken Recipe

Combining the classic flavors of ranch dressing and the savory goodness of cheddar cheese, our recipe for Ranch Cheddar Chicken is sure to be a family favorite. This recipe will be popular with kids because it mimics the texture of nuggets, but it's sophisticated enough for an adult palate too!

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

What do plumbers, cowboys, and kitchen cooks have in common? Oddly enough, all of these roles are things that the inventor of ranch dressing did throughout his life! In 1948, Steve Henson moved to Alaska where he worked as a plumber. During this time, he created a new salad dressing that he shared with those with whom he worked. After several years, Henson moved to Santa Barbara, California and retired.

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

Ranch Cheddar Chicken Recipe

April Freeman
With a crunchy, cheesy outer layer and a juicy, savory interior, our recipe for Ranch Cheddar Chicken is a new and exciting twist on chicken strips or nuggets. This is the grown up version of the classic kid’s favorite, with the flavors of ranch dressing, the tang of mayonnaise, and the gooey deliciousness of cheese.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings


  • Oven or Air Fryer
  • Plastic Wrap
  • meat mallet or a rolling pin
  • 2 medium-sized, shallow bowl
  • Shallow Baking Pan
  • Meat thermometer


  • Cooking Spray
  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken breast or 6 to 8 chicken tenders
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp bottled ranch dressing or 2 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning mix
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar chees or another cheese of your choice
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumb (if you are gluten-free, choose a gluten-free version of bread crumbs)


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
    Ranch Cheddar Chicken Ingredients
  • If you are using boneless skinless chicken breasts, you will need to pound them, so they will cook evenly.
  • Place the chicken breasts in between two layers of plastic wrap
  • Using a meat mallet or a rolling pin, pound the chicken breasts until they are about a half inch thick.
  • Set them aside on a plate and prepare the rest of the recipe.
  • In a medium-sized, shallow bowl, stir together the ranch dressing, the mayonnaise, and the minced garlic until they are fully blended.
  • In another shallow bowl, stir together the cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese
  • Put the panko breadcrumbs into a third bowl.
  • Roll the chicken breasts into the mayonnaise mixture first.
  • Then, roll them lightly in the cheese mixture
  • Finally, roll the chicken in the panko breadcrumbs until they are coated fully in the crumbs. Repeat this with all the chicken breasts until they are all fully coated in crumbs.
  • Spray a shallow baking pan with cooking spray
  • Spray the chicken breasts with cooking spray and place them on the baking pan several inches apart
  • Bake the chicken pieces in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
  • You can test this by using an instant read meat thermometer. It should read 165 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and serve
    Ranch Cheddar Chicken With Salad

Air Fryer Instructions:

  • You can make this in an air fryer for a very crispy, quick meat for dinner. Preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees for about 5 minutes.
  • Prepare the chicken as directed above until you get to the baking part.
  • Put the chicken pieces, sprayed with cooking oil, into the air fryer in a single layer, spaced evenly apart.
  • Cook it for 9 minutes on one side and use tongs to flip the chicken.
  • Cook the other side for another 9 minutes. You may have to work in batches.
  • Remove the chicken pieces and serve.


However, retirement was not for Henson. Soon he purchased a ranch called the Sweetwater Ranch. Henson renamed his ranch The Hidden Valley Ranch. 
When Henson revamped the menu of The Hidden Valley Ranch, he included the salad dressing recipe that he had invented while he lived in Alaska. His guests enthused over the creamy tanginess of this dressing. Eventually, an owner of the Cold Spring Tavern, a local restaurant, discovered the dressing. Henson began selling the dressing to the restaurant. 
Eventually, Henson started a mail order business, creating and shipping packets of the dressing mix all over the United States from his home at the Hidden Valley Ranch. He sold a powdered mixture that cooks could use to create their own ranch dressing by mixing in buttermilk. This business grew so popular that Henson ended up building a factory to manufacture his ranch dressing mix and sell it to grocery stores everywhere. 
In October of 1972, the Clorox company purchased the Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing company for 8 million dollars, and Henson was able to retire once again. However, other food manufacturers had taken note of the popularity of ranch dressing and had their sights on copycat versions of the dressing mix. Kraft Foods Company and General Foods began marketing their own versions of this fabulous flavored dressing.
In 1983, a shelf stable bottled version of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing was created by the Clorox corporation. The era of bottled salad dressings began. Nowadays, we take it for granted that we can find hundreds of versions of salad dressing in the aisles of every grocery store. However, the story of Steve Henson's Hidden Valley Ranch dressing started it all. 
Ranch flavor is popular in all kinds of things besides just salad dressing. Cool Ranch Doritos, ranch flavored pretzels, and ranch flavored nuts are only a few of the offerings that come with this tasty flavor combination. Ranch is a universally loved flavor and our recipe for Ranch Cheddar Chicken will likely be just as popular with your family.
Keyword Ranch Cheddar Chicken Recipe, Ranch Chicken

All Recipes | Breakfast | Dinner (Mains) | Dessert | Side Dishes | Soups | Appetizers | Salads | Snacks | Beverages | Breads