Hot Honey Pretzel Chicken Fingers
Hot honey pretzel chicken fingers are baked or made in the air fryer! Chicken tenders marinated in honey mustard dressing and coated in pretzel crumbs. The homemade hot honey is sweet with a little kick! Quick and easy to make!
Hot honey pretzel chicken fingers are on repeat over here!
We’re talking about crunchy, baked, or air-fried chicken tenders marinated in honey mustard dressing so they are full of flavor and then drizzled with homemade hot honey that tastes like magic!
I kid you not; the house-made hot honey is dynamite! I’m done paying close to ten bucks for the famous kind from the store. My homemade version doesn’t have a funny after-taste; am I the only one that felt the store-bought kind had that? But the best part — you get candied jalapeños out of the deal!
I’m not kidding; I’ve been putting them on 7-grain bread with a big smear of peanut butter and a drizzle of that honey. It makes the BEST SNACK.
What do you need to make hot honey pretzel chicken fingers?
- Chicken tenders: you’ll want to use anywhere from 1 ½ – 1 ¾ pound chicken for this recipe. The marinade is good for up to two pounds, but you may need a bit more of the crushed-up pretzels if you decide to make a larger batch. You can use tenders or thinly sliced chicken breasts.
- Honey mustard dressing: I sometimes cheat and use my favorite store-bought dressing here! You can also use my homemade honey mustard dressing recipe. It’s just simple ingredients and a quick shake-up in a jar!
- Pretzels: I’ve played a ton with this recipe, you can use twists, sticks, and pretty much any other shape you can find! Pro tip: sourdough pretzels make this even better!
- Seasonings: We’re using pantry staples like garlic powder, onion powder, and a shake of cayenne pepper. Feel free to omit the cayenne in the tenders if you’re making this for little ones.
- Honey: The honey is the base for our hot honey sauce. I like to use something that doesn’t have a strong floral taste so that the spice stands out a bit.
- Fresh Jalapeño: Thinly sliced jalapeños are what give the hot honey that delicious flavor. You can use less jalapeño if you’d like, but to be honest, I’m probably going to start doubling up on the jalapeño next time because I can’t stop eating them!
- Hot Sauce: a dash helps add a bit of acid to cut some of the sweetness and helps give the hot honey more depth.
How to make hot honey pretzel chicken fingers:
- Make the hot honey. It’s really simple! Just combine the honey, jalapeños, cayenne, and hot sauce in a bowl. Using 1 teaspoon of hot sauce will yield a fairly mild hot honey. You can use more cayenne or hot sauce for more heat.
- Prep and dredge: Marinate the chicken tenders in a bowl with the honey mustard dressing, an egg, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Preheat the oven while the tenders are marinating. Then, combine the pretzel crumbs, garlic powder, and the other seasonings in a bowl. Dredge the tenders one at a time through the crumbs and place them on a wire rack placed on top of a baking sheet.
- Bake or air fry: spray the tenders with oil spray and place them in the oven to bake. You’ll want to flip them halfway. Or, if your air frying, make sure to preheat the air fryer until it’s hot. Bake half the tenders at a time, so there is enough room for the air to circulate. And you’re ready to serve!
FAQs about hot honey pretzel chicken fingers:
- Can you make the hot honey in advance? Yes, you can make the hot honey up to a week in advance! You don’t have to make it the same day you make the chicken fingers.
- Do I have to strain the honey, or do I leave the jalapeños in there? Totally your call! I usually store the honey and jalapeños together. But if you didn’t want to eat the jalapeños, you can discard them and strain the honey through a small mesh strainer.
- How long does the hot honey last? I store mine with the jalapeños, so usually about 1 week. I keep it in an airtight glass container with a tight-fitting lid!
- Can you double or triple the hot honey recipe? Yes, absolutely!
- Are there any other dipping sauces you suggest with these tenders? Combine 2 tablespoons honey + 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce + ¼ cup mayonnaise + 1 tablespoon dijon mustard + ½ tablespoon sriracha sauce to a bowl and stir or whisk until smooth! Or you can buy these if you didn’t want to make your own!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Sticky Baked Chicken Bites with Honey Sriracha Sauce
- Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Jalapeño Poppers
- Crispy Chicken Salad with Sriracha BBQ Dressing
Other air fryer recipes:
- Crispy Coconut Shrimp (Baked + Air Fryer)
- Crispy Cacio E Pepe Brussels Sprouts
- Cheesy Chipotle Chicken Taquitos
- ½ cup honey mustard dressing (store-bought works too)
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or thinly sliced breasts)
- 1 ½ cups finely pulsed pretzel twists
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: onion powder AND cayenne pepper (use less for less heat)
- ½ cup honey
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 1-2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce
- HOT HONEY: Combine the honey, jalapeño slices, cayenne, and hot sauce in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, lower the heat to low, and let simmer for 4-5 minutes. You can strain the peppers and discard them or just pour it all into a jar and let cool a bit before serving. I usually leave the jalapeños and store leftover honey, covered with a tight lid, for about a week or so at room temperature!
- PREP: In a medium bowl, combine the honey mustard dressing, egg, and ¼ teaspoon of each kosher salt and black pepper. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 15 minutes and ideally, 3-4 hours in advance. If you’re making these in the oven, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire baking rack on top; set aside for now.
- DREDGE: Combine the crushed pretzels, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne in a bowl. Lift a tender, drip off excess, and dredge through the pretzel crumb, press gently so the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on the prepared wire rack and continue dredging the remaining tenders. Spray the chicken with oil spray (high heat oil works best.)
- BAKE: tenders for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway carefully with a pair of tongs.
- OR AIR FRY: Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF. Add the sprayed side of the tenders down in a single layer. Cook tenders in at least two batches. Spray the other side with oil. Bake tenders for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway or until they reach 165ºF on a meat thermometer.
- The candied jalapenos are great on sandwiches or to serve with the chicken!
- Homemade dressing: If you use my homemade honey mustard, don’t marinate the chicken for longer than 2 hours! It's much more potent than store-bought!