Pretzel crusted chicken tenders are cooked to incredibly crispy perfection in the air fryer and drizzled with an addictive hot honey glaze!
I’m telling you right here right now, you may never pick up a bag of frozen chicken tenders again.
To no one’s surprise, the crispiest pretzel-covered chicken tenders that get absolutely drenched in a sweet hot honey sauce make a pretty strong case.
Seriously, we’ve been absolutely crushing these chicken tenders the last few weeks and really, it doesn’t take a detective to see why. Someone needs to come physically stop us from this chicken tender madness.
We’re employing the almighty air fryer again today and gee whiz, does it make the most picture-perfect CRISP chicken tenders!
You can visibly hear the crunch, as gross-sounding as that is from an ASMR-hater like myself.
These Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders feature…
- A perfectly crispy pretzel-coated exterior
- A juicy chicken interior
- Sweet and spicy hot honey butter sauce
- Ready in less than an hour and made in the air fryer
Making the Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- All-purpose flour
- Crushed pretzels
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Unsalted butter
- Hot sauce
How To Crush Pretzels
We prefer using a food processor to easily crush the pretzels in seconds. Pulse a few cups of pretzels several times until pretzels are in coarse pieces. After the pretzels are crushed, measure out 2 cups of crumbs and you’re good to go!
If you don’t have a food processor, no worries! Place pretzels in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush pretzels, rolling back and forth until the pretzels are in coarse pieces.
Tips for Perfect Chicken Tenders
- Cut chicken tenders into uniform pieces – you want about 1-inch wide tenders. Try to get them as uniform as possible so they cook evenly!
- Use traditional breading method – this means coating the tenders in flour, beaten egg, and then rolling in the pretzel crumbs. This method will help your breading stick to the chicken.
- Preheat air fryer – you want the air fryer nice and hot when you go to add the chicken. Preheat for about 3 minutes.
- Use nonstick cooking spray in basket and on tenders – since we’re relying on convection to make the chicken crispy, this added little bit of fat is essential for browning and getting a nice crisp on the outside.
- Space chicken tenders while cooking – giving the tenders ample space in the air fryer is crucial for getting them to cook up crispy. If you overcrowd the basket, the tenders will steam and not brown properly.
- Flip tenders halfway through cooking – this helps both sides of the tenders crispy up evenly.
Don’t have an air fryer? You can still make this recipe using your oven. Be aware the chicken won’t be quite as crispy as the air fryer, but it will still be delicious!
To oven bake the chicken, grease a large sheet pan with 2 tablespoons melted butter and place chicken tenders in a single layer. Spray tenders well with pan spray and bake at 425F 15-20 minutes until chicken is crispy and registers 165F.
Adjusting Heat Level
Whether you want mild chicken tenders or extra-spicy, it’s very easy to dial the heat level up or down in this recipe!
- Mild chicken tenders: use 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce.
- Moderately spicy chicken tenders: follow recipe instructions.
- Extra spicy chicken tenders: increase hot sauce to 3-4 tablespoons or add a few shakes of cayenne pepper to taste.
The combination of the salty pretzel coating and the sweet + spicy honey butter sauce is just the THING that I’m convinced all chicken tenders must have now. Literally not even kidding when I say these life-changing.
And after a good dip in some ranch? Died and gone to chicken heaven.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More easy chicken dishes to try next!
Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders with Hot Honey
Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup 2% or skim milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups finely-crushed pretzels
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch wide tenders
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce
- Ranch dressing for dipping (optional)
Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders
- In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and milk together until smooth. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Combine crushed pretzels, garlic powder, and onion powder in a third shallow bowl.
- Dredge chicken tenders in flour, shaking off excess. Dip tenders in egg, then roll in pretzels until fully coated. Place on a plate.
- Preheat air fryer to 400F for 3 minutes. Spray basket well with cooking spray and working in batches, lay chicken tenders in a single layer in basket, being careful not to overcrowd basket. Spray chicken well with cooking spray.
- Air fry chicken at 400F 10-12 minutes until golden brown and chicken registers 165F, flipping tenders halfway through baking. Repeat cooking with remaining chicken.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter then whisk in honey and hot sauce and bring to a low simmer. Remove hot honey from heat.
- Drizzle hot honey butter over chicken tenders and serve immediately warm with ranch for dipping if desired. Enjoy!
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