My new favorite spicy chicken recipe bar none! Super juicy, sticky and insanely hot! Even…
Honey Mustard Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
There’s nothing more classic than a chicken tender. These honey mustard pretzel crusted tenders most certainly do the job of replacing battered and deep-fried chicken strips, with way less guilt. The best meal for the kiddos or even a late night adult snack that will satisfy without the grease.
I don’t know how else to claim fame except as a chicken tender connoisseur. The critic of the fried finger, the lover of the strip! I literally could write a romance novel on how magical I find chicken tenders. Fried chicken in general just cannot disappoint. If I’m being completely honest, a late night out with friends and a couple drinks usually ends with a basket of chicken tenders and all the sauces, 9 times out of 10.
Although it is a very simple concept, the art of mastering the cook of the tender is critical. That is not something I have attempted recently, fried chicken strips with that bubbly, crispy batter…that I leave to the experts. For me though, I crave chicken tenders more often than not and I needed a few different ways to make one of my favorite foods into a leaner indulgence.
The crunch of the crust is really where I wanted to focus my attention for this recipe. Although I have coated chicken in many different, creative “breadings”, this one was by far a success. The pretzels were sweet and salty, super thick and crunchy and broke down so well. Plus, pretzels are usually pretty low in fat and are super common in the pantry so it was a match made in heaven.
The other part of this recipe that also made sense was the added essence of the honey mustard. The minute you add mustard to the egg dredge layer, you immediately know it’s going to play its part in the overall flavor…and it’s wonderful! It allows for so much extra flavor since we are cutting down on the added frying fat. If you don’t have bottled honey mustard you can always make your own with two tablespoons of honey + 2 tablespoons of dijon/spicy mustard = honey mustard!
How else can you use these chicken tenders?
Just like all forms of fried chicken, this recipe works perfectly in so many different ways:
- On top of a salad is always my favorite option. I’ve never felt any guilt with eating chicken tenders over a bed of lettuce. Add some hearty greens, apples, nuts and a honey mustard dressing and it’ll truly make the best salad!
- Add inside a wrap or in a sandwich with some cheese or avocado and lettuce, tomato and onions and it’ll give you a crunchy little bite to your sandwich.
- Personally, I love making all the possible dipping sauces. Dip away and try tons of different combos.
- Toss onto of a flatbread pizza with a little buffalo or BBQ sauce drizzle and the pretzels will absorb the sauce for super flavorful bites.
And the burning question…Can you air fry these?
Absolutely! After coating the tenders to the point in which they are ready to cook, set your air fryer to 375° and carefully make one layer of chicken tenders in the basket (about one pound at a time). Cook for 7-8 minutes on one side and then remove and flip the tenders. Cook at the same temperature for another 7-8 minutes. Remove and serve!
However you decide to utilize this recipe, you’ll want to save this and try it soon! Never give up chicken tenders if you love them as much as I do! Enjoy the greasy ones late at night and these when you want to tap into the craving without guilt!
Honey Mustard Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
- 2 pounds raw chicken tenders or breasts
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup egg whites or fat free egg substitute
- ¼ cup honey mustard
- 8-10 ounces honey braided pretzel twists crushed
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Set up three separate baking dishes for the dredging station. In the first dish add flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
- In the second dish add eggs and honey mustard. In the last dish add crushed pretzels.
- Season both sides of the chicken with the other teaspoon of salt, garlic powder and the other 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Dip each tender in the flour mixture first and fully coat the tender. Move each tender into the egg mixture and coat the tender fully. Finally, move each tender into the crushed pretzels, coat and press the pretzels into the tender until they are fully coated. This process most likely will need to be done with 2-3 tenders at a time.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lay each tender out on a single layer allowing space between each tender.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes on one side, remove and flip and bake for another 8-10 minutes on the other side until lightly brown. Remove and lightly drizzle with honey if desired. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.