Pretzel Chicken is crispy, juicy, and packed full of delicious flavors. We all know that chicken tenders are an all-time favorite, whether you’re a kid or an adult, but adding a crunchy pretzel coating makes them even better!
This nine-ingredient pretzel chicken tender with an easy homemade honey mustard recipe will become your new go-to meal.
Pretzel Chicken Tenders Recipe
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can toss your chicken tenders in your air fryer, and in less than 20 minutes then, they’re ready to devour.
With a short list of ingredients, you won’t have to leave the house for Burger King’s Pretzel Chicken Fries. You can easily make something equally delicious at home!
Pretzel Chicken Ingredients
Dijon mustard: the key for this honey mustard sauce recipe is to use excellent dijon mustard, I like to use Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. Dijon mustard also works as a meat tenderizer, so it not only adds a decadent flavor to this recipe but also is very functional.
Honey: you can’t make honey mustard without honey! Honey is a great addition because it adds a balance of sweetness to your savory dish. I like to get unfiltered honey because it tends to be less processed.
Mayonnaise: I use regular mayo for this recipe. This is one of the main ingredients in the honey mustard sauce, as it’s what makes it creamy. I haven’t tried making the sauce with light mayo, but I’m sure it will turn out just fine.
Lemon juice: this recipe calls for freshly squeezed lemon juice. You can also use 100% lemon juice that you can find in your produce department if you can’t find whole fresh lemons.
The lemon juice is added to your honey mustard sauce to help cut some of the heaviness of the sauce and add a fresh zing.
Cayenne pepper: cayenne pepper adds the perfect touch of spice to your honey mustard sauce. This is based on personal preference; if you’d like it to be a bit spicier, add more cayenne pepper. If not, only add a pinch to your sauce.
Buttermilk: instead of using an egg mixture in this recipe, I like to use buttermilk. Buttermilk breaks down the protein in the chicken to make it more tender. The buttermilk combined with the pretzel bits makes for the perfect crust.
Chicken breast tenders: I like to get chicken breast tenders, but if your store only has chicken breast or chicken cutlets, be sure to slice them into smaller pieces so they will cook evenly. You can even cut chicken breasts into chicken nuggets if you want!
Honey mustard pretzel pieces: for this easy recipe, I used honey mustard pretzel pieces, but if you’d like, you can use plain pretzels and then dip your cooked chicken tenders into your honey mustard sauce.
If you decide to use plain pretzels, I recommend adding a sprinkle of garlic powder and onion powder to the honey mustard for extra flavor.
How to Make Pretzel-Crusted Chicken in an Air Fryer:
1. Preheat the air fryer to 375° F.
2. Make the honey mustard. In a medium-sized / small bowl, combine the dijon mustard, honey, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Divide the honey-mustard mixture in half to save for dipping later.
3. Marinate the chicken. Add the buttermilk to the honey mustard mixture in the mixing bowl, then place the chicken in the bowl and toss to coat (you can transfer this to a second shallow dish if needed). Set aside to marinate while you prepare everything else.
4. Make the pretzel crumbs. Pulse the pretzels in a food processor until they create a fine, crumb-like consistency. Alternatively, put the hard pretzels in a large sealable bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs. Transfer the pretzel crumbs to a shallow bowl.
5. Bread the chicken. Coat each piece of chicken, one at a time, in the honey mustard sauce and then the crushed pretzels. Make sure the raw chicken is well coated. Place the prepared chicken on a baking sheet and set aside.
6. Cook the chicken. Air fry the chicken tenders for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.
Note: you can spritz the chicken with olive oil if it looks dry while cooking.
How to Make Honey Mustard
Homemade honey mustard is one of my favorite condiments, and it’s so easy to make. You can make it with only a handful of ingredients, and you can use it on salads, for chicken tenders and fries, or as a dip for veggies.
This honey mustard marinade is super simple. You combine dijon mustard, honey, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and salt in a bowl. And it keeps in your fridge for about two weeks.
Pro tip: if you don’t have lemon juice, you can use white distilled vinegar. You can also add spicy or yellow mustard for a different flavor.
What kind of pretzels should I use?
I like to use honey mustard pretzels for this recipe because it adds so much flavor to make the perfect pretzel chicken! If you prefer, you can use regular salted pretzels.
Pretzel Chicken Recipe Tips and Tricks
- If you’re using chicken breasts, make sure you cut the fat off your chicken and pound it to be about 1 inch thick. Try your best to cut into similar-sized tenders.
- For the crispiest chicken, I like to pat my chicken tenders dry with paper towels before tossing it in the marinade.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of your chicken once it is finished air frying. You want to make sure that the temperature in the thickest part of your chicken tender is at least 165 degrees F.
- I love to drizzle hot honey over my pretzel crusted chicken before serving it for a nice sweet and spicy flavor combination.
Can I use pretzels instead of breadcrumbs in other recipes?
Absolutely. I like to use pretzels in many recipes because it gives a particular crunch you don’t always get with bread crumbs.
They’re a great salty substitute, and you can get creative within your recipes if you plan on using pretzels because there are so many different kinds and flavors to choose from.
How do you reheat pretzel chicken?
While air fryer pretzel chicken can be reheated, it’s best served as soon as it comes out of the air fryer because that’s when it’s the crispiest.
However, any leftover chicken tenders can be stored in an airtight container or bag for two to three days in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze any leftover pretzel chicken that you may have. This makes a super quick and easy lunch or dinner. Just toss your leftovers into a freezer-safe bag, and then you can keep them in the freezer for about three months.
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Air Fryer Pretzel Chicken Tenders
- Preheat the air fryer to 375° F.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the djion mustard, honey, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Divide the mixture in half to save for dipping later.
- Add the buttermilk to the mixture in the mixing bowl, then place the chicken tenders in the bowl and toss to coat. Sit aside to marinate while you prepare everything else.
- Using a food processor, pulse the pretzels until they create a fine crumb like consistency. Alternatively, put the pretzels in a large sealable bag and use a rolling pin to crush into crumbs. Transfer the pretzel crumbs to a shallow dish.
- Coat each chicken tender, one at a time, in the honey mustard sauce and then the ground pretzels. Make sure the chicken is well coated. Place the prepared chicken on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Air fry the chicken tenders for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 165° F.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 165° F.
- You can make this recipe with regular pretzels if you prefer.
- White distilled vinegar can substitute lemon juice.
- The honey mustard is on the sweeter side, if you want to make it less sweet, add half the honey and give it a taste. Add more if needed.