Keeping things fun and easy with these baked Spicy Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Fingers. They’re seasoned with homemade honey mustard, breaded in salty pretzel crumbs, oven baked, then dipped in a spicy-hot honey sauce, followed up with a cooling ranch. These are the “grown up” version of chicken fingers…that kids love too. And yes, they’re even healthier (these tenders are baked, not fried), and so much tastier. Serve with oven baked french fries and veggies for an easy dinner that’s different, sweet and spicy, and full of flavor.
So what do you do when life tells you to stay and home and work with what’s in your pantry? You make chicken fingers…breaded in pretzel crumbs…and you serve them with your favorite spicy honey sauce. At least that’s what I do. When you don’t have a lot to work with, you gotta try and make the best of what you got. And these chicken fingers are some of the best I’ve made.
Tangy from the honey mustard glaze, salty from the pretzel coating, and sweet from the spicy honey sauce, these flavors are hard to beat. Not only are these chicken fingers fun to eat, but they’re pretty easy too! Perfect for a quarantined Wild Wednesday night.
If you look back through past HBH recipes, you’ll see a handful of chicken finger and popcorn chicken recipes. There’s also my beloved (and popular) southern hot honey chicken as well. Yes, breaded chicken recipes are big favorites in my family. Personally, I love to bake the chicken fingers…and then add plenty of sauces for dipping. They’re so good, fun, and a nice switch up from the average weeknight dinner. You know?
But these chicken fingers are extra special, they’re a mash-up of a few oldie recipes I’ve shared in year’s past. For those of you who’ve been following along all the way back since the start of HBH (in 2012). You might remember that I once shared a pretzel crusted chicken salad with honey mustard. For whatever reason, as I was staring at the back of a pretzel bag I had in the pantry, I thought back to that chicken. And then, I knew I was making pretzel coated chicken fingers. I mean why not? I had frozen chicken tenders in the freezer. What else would I make with those two ingredients? It was a no brainer.
From there, I added the seasonings, plus the spicy honey sauce. In less than a few hours, I had these pretzel chicken fingers perfected. From there, I sent photos to my older brother Creighton, who loves chicken fingers more than anyone I know. Wishing he could have been here to enjoy them. Very much missing the rest of the family these days.
Creighton loved the photos and said to freeze some for his next trip out to Colorado.
To start, mix up the honey mustard and toss it with trimmed chicken tenders. The honey mustard is our flavor and our “glue” that helps adhere the pretzel crumbs onto the chicken tenders.
Next, finely crush the pretzels into crumbs to bread the chicken. The finely crushed pretzels are key. They flavor the chicken with the perfect amount of salt, which pairs wonderfully with the sweet and tangy honey mustard.
Tip? Pulse the pretzels in the food processor to really break them down into a fine crumb. If you don’t have a food processor, just add the pretzels to a ziplock bag, then step on the bag with your feet to finely crush them. Trust me, this works. You can even just use the actual pretzel bag and step on that. It’s what dad used to do when he’d make potato chip chicken when I was a kid. This trick is an oldie but a goodie.
Next, bake the chicken in the oven until it crisps all over. My secret is to gently dab/brush the chicken with olive oil before it bakes. This helps the coating to really crisp up nicely in the oven. You can’t skip this step, it’s crucial.
On to the sauce.
No chicken finger is complete without a dipping sauce…our two. In this family, you can never have enough sauce.
So first…the Spicy Honey Sauce. It’s inspired by the famous Nashville Hot Chicken and it’s the same sauce I use on my southern oven fried chicken. It’s spicy, but balanced with a touch of sweetness. The classic way to add sweetness to this spicy sauce is with brown sugar, but I prefer using honey for better flavor and texture.
In addition to the spicy honey sauce, I wanted to pair the fingers with something cooling…
Enter the cool ranch. I like to simply mix up a quick homemade ranch, but you can easily use your favorite store-bought ranch too. I like to use both sauces. Then you get a little buttery sweet and spicy sauce mixed in with a little creamy cooling ranch.
It is SO GOOD!
Once the chicken is done cooking, serve it up along with the sauces. I like to add these Tuscan style fries. If you’re going to do a chicken finger night, you might as well add the fries. Hey, this is quarantine life, we have to try to make some fun. Plus, just like the chicken, these fries are baked, not fried.
To sum things up, the chicken is a touch tangy and perfectly salted. The sauce is spicy, yet buttery. Put everything together and you’ll have tangy, salty, sweet, and spicy chicken fingers. So much (really) good flavor.
The best part about this recipe is that you’ll hopefully be able to find all of the ingredients in your pantry and your freezer. With such a large family, I always try to keep chicken tenders in the freezer at all times. They thaw much quicker than chicken breasts, and they make for a great last-minute protein source. The rest of the ingredients are all taken from the pantry shelves… honey, mustard, spices, and dried herbs.
Simple and easy!
Lastly, if you make these spicy honey mustard pretzel chicken fingers, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Baked Hot Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Fingers.
Calories Per Serving: 359 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt, sour cream, or olive oil mayo
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 pounds boneless chicken tenders
- 2 cups finely crushed salted pretzel twists
- 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- ranch dressing for serving (optional)
- 1. In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, yogurt, and honey. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. 2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.3. Add the pretzel crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and a pinch of pepper to a medium sized bowl. Stir to combine.4. Remove each piece of chicken from the honey mustard, and dredge through the crumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken has been used. Make sure not to crowd your pan, if necessary use two baking sheets. Lightly brush/drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.5. Meanwhile, make the spicy honey sauce. Melt together the honey, butter, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, and a pinch of salt. 6. Serve the chicken topped with flaky salt and spicy honey sauce for dipping. I'd add a side of ranch too. Enjoy!