Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites

Looking for a fun way to serve up some chicken? Coat in crushed pretzels and bake to crisp perfection. Tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside. Everyone loved these!

pretzel crusted chicken bites on a white plate

Chicken fingers are a food everyone seems to love. And we eat them in many different ways – baked (my favorite!), fried, chopped up in salads, lunch, dinner, with ketchup, BBQ, honey mustard, all the condiments.

I recently got in touch with Safeway for a little collaboration. Safeway asked me to make a couple recipes using some of my favorite products from their grocery aisles. Surely you know how much I love pretzels by now, so a recipe combining my beloved chicken fingers and my favorite snack food was an easy choice.

And these awesome pretzel crusted chicken bites blew my mind.

pretzel crusted chicken bites on a white plate

I used the same recipe as my Honey BBQ Chicken Fingers. It’s definitely the crunchy factor that makes them a reader favorite. We make the recipe on the regular and there was no need to alter it here. I simply swapped crushed pretzels for the Panko.

If you want an ultra crunchy coating for your baked chicken fingers – go with crushed pretzels. The crust stays crispy, while the chicken inside stays moist and tender. The texture is the BEST part about the recipe. We ate the whole plate in about 15 seconds flat.

What I love most about this recipe, besides the texture, is that these chicken bites are baked not fried. We felt a little better eating these compared to pretzel coated chicken served at a restaurant. There’s just really no need for oil clogging the coating and taking away from the crunchy, salty pretzel taste.

2 images of a package of pretzel thins and crushed pretzel thins in a ziploc bag

2 images of chicken pieces in a bowl of flour and pretzel coated chicken pieces on a silpat baking mat on a baking sheet

Use your favorite pretzels, such as Rold Gold® Pretzel Thins. I was feeling a little jazzy in Safeway, so I bought the Three Cheese version. What a great flavor! Regular pretzels will be just fine, though. Save yourself a mess by crushing them up in a large ziplock bag. The less dishes crowding my sink, the better. You don’t want to see what my sink looked like when I was writing my cookbook last summer. So embarrassing. If I hired a dishwashing fairy, he/she would never get a break.

Coating the chicken is a simple 3 step process. My best tip for this is to do it in three separate bowls using two hands. 1 dry hand, 1 wet hand. In other words – use 1 hand to dip into the flour. Use the second hand to dip into the beaten egg. Use the first hand to coat in the crushed pretzels. This will save you from losing your mind/washing your hands between each chicken bite.

Why so many coatings? The flour allows the egg to stick, the egg allows the pretzels to stick, the pretzels give all the mouthwatering I-want-to-make-these-everyday flavor. Don’t leave any of these imperative ingredients/steps out!

Get it? Got it. Good.

pretzel crusted chicken bites on a silpat baking mat

I cut the chicken into bite sized pieces so there could be more pretzel coating on each piece of chicken. The second time I made them (in only two days. shocking.), I served them as a little appetizer on toothpicks. With plenty of honey mustard and spicy cheese sauce. I really just wanted another excuse to make the spicy cheese sauce. Try it yet?

If you want to make full size chicken fingers using this pretzel crust, that’s totally fine. Just follow the same recipe but cut your chicken into strips not bites. Duh.

These pretzel crusted chicken bites only take about 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to bake and 15 seconds to eat. All making this a recipe that is quick AND easy AND soooo dang tasty.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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pretzel crusted chicken bites on a white plate

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 3-4
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Looking for a fun way to serve up some chicken? Coat in crushed pretzels and bake to crisp perfection. Tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside. Everyone loved these!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely crushed pretzels (or more, as needed)
  • nonstick spray like PAM, olive oil spray, or coconut oil spray (found mine at Trader Joes)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or coat heavily with nonstick spray.
  2. If using chicken breasts, pound down and cut into little 1-1.5 inch pieces. If using boneless, skinless chicken tenders (chicken tenders are the lean strips of meat found attached to the underside of chicken breasts – they can also be purchased separately.) – simply cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces.
  3. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Beat eggs in another shallow dish. Pour pretzels into a third shallow dish. Coat each chicken piece in flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the pretzels, shaking off any excess. Add more crushed pretzels to the dish if you are running low. Place the chicken bites on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray each with nonstick spray to “seal” the breading, which will prevent the breading from staying raw and allows it to bake onto the chicken fingers.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the centers are cooked through, about 6-8 minutes more. Baking times may vary, just make sure yours are cooked through. If you like them more brown, bake longer. Serve chicken bites with toothpicks (if using as an appetizer), honey mustard, or this kicked-up cheese sauce. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I chopped them up and put on top of a salad. It was so good!

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Baked chicken bites freeze well up to 2-3 months. Bake frozen chicken in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
  2. Larger Batch: Recipe may easily be doubled or tripled.

Keywords: pretzel crusted chicken bites

29 Comments

  1. Marcella Maresca says:

    I admittedly am a terrible cook, but I’m working on it! When you say they can be frozen, do you mean cook them and then freeze? Or prepare them, then freeze them uncooked? Thanks!

    1. Bake and then freeze.

  2. Have you ever tried this coating on fish such as tilapia?

    1. I haven’t, Robin. But I’m sure it would be just fine.

  3. I made these for dinner tonight! My two year old loved them! We like a lot of flavor in our house, and we only had plain pretzels, so I added some honey, yellow mustard, thyme, and red pepper flakes to the egg bath. I wish I would have seasoned the flour a bit more. I think these would be GREAT with the flavored pretzels. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. I made these tonight. I did not get my pretzel crumbs small enough to look quite as nice as yours. But my family loved them. They were great and easy. Even my picky you gets son really liked them. Love how crunchy they are. Congratulations on your wedding too!

  5. Tried these tonight and they were great. I ended up doing larger strips, and I added dijon mustard with the egg to give a bit more flavor. Thanks for the great idea!

  6. Yum! And, totally adaptable for my little one with Celiac! When Daddy has a night meeting, the boys often get a “snack-y dinner” so last night it was this (with tater tots and green beans). It’s a KEEPER!

    For gluten-free flour, I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Brown Rice Flour, which I seasoned with some onion powder and garlic powder (I skipped the salt since the pretzels are so salty). I put a little pepper on the chicken, and tried to remember your “hands” trick, but wound up using a fork, instead. I used Gratify GF pretzels, which I could not get to look as nice as yours – in fact, the end result looked somewhat like a big, hairy spider. But, as I said, I have boys…so that’s a good thing!

    I searched GF recipes for pretzel chicken and none looked as complete as yours (the four/egg/pretzel steps, the baking spray), so yours is a clear winner! If I can get the pretzels into a finer crush without pulverizing them into powder, I will even use this as a snack/appetizer for friends/family!

    Thanks again, Sally!

  7. These are so yummy!!!! Perfectly crispy with just the right amount of saltiness! Thanks for sharing!

  8. i made these last night for my ultra picky boyfriend and i and they turned out SO AMAZING. the texture of the crust is perfection. i just used regular rold gold pretzel sticks (next time i make them i’m gonna add in some garlic powder and cayenne, couldn’t this time cos the boy doesn’t like those).

    and thank you so much for the coating tips! made it go so much faster.

  9. I made these tonight and my picky 5 yr old loved them! Can’t wait to try different flavored pretzels!!

  10. Oh my gosh! I just made these and am eating them right now! delish! I also made your cheese dip today, your crunchy chick peas AND your apple chips!! You are amazing ! thanks for sharing all of these amazing recipes!!
    -Colleen

  11. Made these last night for my boyfriend and I; we devoured them! I used the jalapeño jack pretzel thins, so yummy! Thank you for sharing! So easy and absolutely delicious.

  12. I thought these would have tasted better! I was disappointed. The pretzels weren’t a good substitute for bread crumbs. Unfortunately, I won’t be making these again 🙁

  13. Just made these tonight and my husband and two young daughters gobbled them right up!! We have celiac, so I used gluten free pretzels and dredged in brown rice flour. They were perfectly browned and crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside! Definitely making again! 

  14. Love these!! Almost as good as the ones at Cheesecake Factory!

  15. These were really good.  I used regular pretzels and pretzel sticks but will look for the thin pretzels next time – and there will be a next time!

  16. Heather M. Whipple says:

    can i use any brand of pretzels for this recipe? does it have to be rolled gold pretzel thins?
    and silpat baking mat? how about baking parchment paper ?

    1. Yes, any brand pretzels work! You can use parchment.

  17. Thank you for the Great Recipe, enjoyed every bit of it!

  18. I made these last night and they tasted great! However, I found that the pretzels actually got a bit soggy, they weren’t as crunch as I was hoping. Any tips on ensuring the crunch factor? I didn’t crumble them quite as much as what’s pictured, but pretty close. I want to make these again with different pretzel flavors and spices! Any suggestions on keeping them crunchy?

    1. Did you bake them long enough? They should keep quite crunchy if they’re baked long enough. Did you bake them right away as well? The pretzels may get soggy if they aren’t baked right away. And what brand pretzels did you use– because that could have to do with it.

  19. E. Krzeminski says:

    Thank you! My kids have 21 food allergies and I have struggled to make a “crunchy” chicken nugget, these were a perfect inspiration! I used our safe rice flour, rice milk instead of eggs, and our safe pretzels…FANTASTIC HIT the whole family enjoyed!!!!! Thank you again!

  20. I was excited to try this recipe- while prepping, I realized someone ate all my pretzels. Not wanting or having time to run to the store, I checked my pantry for a crunchy substitute. I ended up using crushed Nature Valley Crunchy Oats ‘n Honey granola bars. They turned out INCREDIBLE!!! Everyone loved them! They ate them as is with no ketchup or sauce. Nice crunch to them with a little sweetness.

  21. Elisabeth Bloomquist says:

    This was a great idea!! I bought my husband a special “mustard” bag of pretzels…he didn’t like them…not salty enough or something. I’m so glad I found this recipe!! So eady to make and SO crunchy and delicious! This is going to be a favorite of ours. Thank you!

  22. Making this for the 3rd time. Always a hit with my family. Delicious.

  23. What is your recommendation for doing these without eggs? They sound delicious and I’m sure the kids will also love them but there’s an egg allergy in our house. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Sharon, I haven’t tried it but you can try using milk or even melted butter.

  24. Made this tonight, except my husband is a vegetarian and on a diet and my daughter is allergic to eggs. So I made some with extra firm tofu, some with chicken, and all was dipped in 1% milk. Both the 2 and 4yr olds gobbled it up and my husband was already done and requesting I make it again before I was 3 bites in! So it was a hit, even with the alterations! Thanks for the recipe, Sally, and thanks to those who suggested melted butter or milk for an egg substitute! ❤️

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