Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders are amazing. There is nothing better than an easy recipe for Air Fryer Pretzel Breaded Chicken Tenders!

Nothing is better than juicy, perfectly seasoned, and breaded air fryer chicken strips. Today, I used crushed pretzels for the coating and served it with a honey mustard sauce.

If you have never had chicken strips covered with crushed pretzels, let me tell you they are life-changing! They are perfectly seasoned in every bite.

While I used some salted pretzels today, you can use any flavor of pretzels you want, and there are some great varieties out there.


Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

Nothing elevates the humble chicken tender like a crunchy, flavorful pretzel crust. And when you make these Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders, you’re getting a delicious twist on classic comfort food and a meal that’s healthier and easier to prepare. Cooking in the air fryer requires less oil than traditional deep-frying, resulting in a lighter but just as tasty dish.

These chicken tenders are crusted in crushed pretzels, adding a salty crunch that pairs perfectly with the tender, juicy chicken. Whether you’re looking for a fun weeknight dinner idea, a unique appetizer, or a new way to convince the kids to eat their protein, these Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders will impress!

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

Air frying is a popular cooking method that requires a quick prep time and can reduce your weekly meal prep time.

Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders are an easy-to-make recipe, full of flavor and crunchy texture, making them an excellent choice for a weeknight meal. With some pantry staples like pretzels, eggs, chicken tenders, and spices already on hand at home, this dish is so delicious you may find that it becomes one of your family’s favorite recipes! Keep reading to learn what ingredients to make air fryer pretzel-crusted chicken tenders for dinner tonight!

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.

  • Boneless Chicken Tenders: These are the dish’s star, providing lean and tender white meat perfect for coating and air frying. YOu can also use chicken breasts cut into chicken tenderloins. 
  • Mini Pretzels: Crushed mini pretzels act as the crispy, salty coating for the chicken tenders, adding a delightful crunch and savory flavor.
  • Flour: Flour is the first layer for coating the chicken tenders, helping the pretzel crumbs adhere to the meat.
  • Eggs: Beaten eggs create an adhesive surface on the chicken tenders, allowing the pretzel crumbs to stick during the breading process.
  • Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard adds tanginess and a subtle kick of flavor to the egg mixture, enhancing the overall taste of the chicken tenders.
  • Salt and Pepper: These seasonings are essential for enhancing the flavor of both the chicken and the pretzel crust.
  • Cooking Spray: A light cooking oil spray helps achieve a golden and crispy finish on the chicken tenders when air frying.
  • Optional Dipping Sauces: You can serve your Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders with various dipping sauces like honey mustard, ranch dressing, or barbecue sauce for added flavor and enjoyment.

How To Make Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips

With just a few ingredients, an air fryer, and some melted butter or oil, you can whip up these delectable treats in under 15 minutes.

Plus, there’s something special about the crunch of the pretzel crust combined with the juiciness of the chicken inside. Learn how to make your own air fryer pretzel-crusted chicken strips!

How To Make Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips

Step One: Prepare The Chicken

Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for 3-5 minutes. This ensures it’s hot and ready for cooking.

Season the chicken tenders with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. In a shallow dish, place the flour. In another shallow dish, mix the beaten eggs and Dijon mustard. Spread the crushed pretzels or pretzel pieces in the third shallow bowl.

How To Make Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips

Step Two: Coat The Chicken

Dip each chicken tender into the flour mixture, ensuring it’s lightly coated. Next, dip it into the egg and mustard mixture, allowing any excess to drip off. Finally, coat the chicken with the pretzel mixture.

How To Make Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips

Step Three: Air Fry Pretzel Coated Chicken

Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush with olive oil to prevent sticking. Place the coated chicken strips in a single layer in the basket, ensuring they are not touching to allow for even cooking.

Air fry the chicken at 375 degrees F (190°C) for a cook time of 10-12 minutes, flipping the strips halfway through the cooking time.

Cook until the chicken is golden brown and crispy; check the internal temperature of the chicken with an instant-read thermometer and remove it when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Step Four: Serving

Once the chicken strips are done, remove them from the air fryer basket. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serve the Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips with your favorite dipping sauces, such as honey mustard, cheddar-mustard, ranch, or barbecue sauce.

How To Make Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips

Pro Tips

To achieve the best results when making Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips, consider these pro tips:

  • Crushing Pretzels: For the pretzel coating, use a food processor or a rolling pin to crush the mini pretzels. Aim for a coarse texture, which provides a better crunch.
  • Chicken Tenders Size: Try to choose chicken tenders roughly the same size and thickness to ensure even cooking.
  • Season Generously: Season the chicken tenders well with salt and pepper before breading to enhance their flavor. Use garlic salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or onion powder to enhance the flavor. 
  • Pretzel Pressing: Press the pretzel crumbs onto the chicken firmly when coating the chicken with crushed pretzels. This ensures the coating adheres well and becomes extra crispy.
  • Use a Wire Rack: Placing the coated chicken tenders on a wire rack for a few minutes before air frying allows excess egg mixture to drip off, preventing sogginess and promoting even cooking.
  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating is crucial for achieving a crispy exterior. Allow the air fryer to heat up before adding the chicken.
  • Single Layer: Arrange the chicken strips in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Overcrowding can result in uneven cooking and a less crispy texture.
  • Flip Halfway: Flip the chicken tenders halfway through cooking to ensure both sides become crispy and golden brown.
  • Check Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s cooked safely.
  • Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of dipping sauces for added flavor. Homemade or store-bought sauces like honey mustard, ranch, or barbecue sauce can complement the chicken strips well.

By following these pro tips, you’ll create Air Fryer Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Strips that are not only delicious but also perfectly crispy and satisfying.

Pretzel Chicken Tenders In Air Fryer

What Kind Of Pretzels Should I Use For Pretzel Coated Chicken​

For pretzel-coated chicken, it’s best to use hard pretzels, such as traditional pretzel twists or rods, rather than soft pretzels. The hard pretzels provide a satisfying crunch and a savory, salty flavor that pairs well with the chicken. Here’s how to use hard pretzels for coating chicken:

  • Crush the Pretzels: Place the hard pretzels in a resealable plastic bag and crush them into small pieces with a rolling pin or a mallet. You want them to be finely crushed but not too powdery.
  • Season as Desired: You can season the crushed pretzels with additional spices or herbs if you’d like. Typical seasonings include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, or even a touch of cayenne for some heat. Mix the seasonings with the crushed pretzels in a shallow dish.

Homemade Honey Mustard Sauce Recipe

Honey mustard i one of the best recipes to serve with this pretzel-coated chicken. Below, I shared my homemade version of this recipe. 


What are Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders? Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders are boneless chicken strips coated in a crunchy layer of crushed pretzels and seasonings, then cooked to crispy perfection in an air fryer.

Can I use any type of pretzels for the crust? While mini pretzels are commonly used for this recipe, other pretzel varieties like traditional pretzel twists or rods, hard pretzels such as Honey Mustard Pretzels, or Dot’s Pretzels. Ensure they are crushed to a coarse texture for optimal crunch.

How do I prevent the pretzel coating from falling off during cooking? Press the crushed pretzels onto the chicken tenders firmly, ensuring they adhere well. Additionally, letting the coated chicken rest for a few minutes before air frying can help the coating set.

What dipping sauces go well with these chicken tenders? These tenders pair well with dipping sauces such as honey mustard, ranch dressing, spicy brown mustard, yellow mustard, barbecue sauce, or even a simple ketchup-mayo mixture.

How long should I air fry the chicken tenders, and at what temperature? Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes. Cook the chicken tenders for approximately 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Cook until they are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Can I make these chicken tenders ahead of time and reheat them? Yes, you can make these chicken tenders ahead of time and reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to regain their crispiness.

Are these chicken tenders a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken tenders? Air frying these chicken tenders with a pretzel crust typically results in a lower-fat dish than to deep frying. However, they can still be indulgent due to the crunchy coating.

What side dishes pair well with Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders? These versatile tenders go well with various sides, including french fries, coleslaw, a green salad, or roasted vegetables.

Can I freeze leftover chicken tenders? Yes, you can freeze leftover chicken tenders for later use. Store them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to two to three months.

 How do I reheat frozen chicken tenders? To reheat frozen chicken tenders, preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and cook them for about 8-10 minutes, flipping them halfway through until they are heated and crispy.

pretzel chicken tenders

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Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

4.41 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders are amazing. There is nothing better than an easy recipe for Air Fryer Chicken Tenders!


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breast, Cut into strips (approximately 1 inch thick)
  • 3 1/2 cups salted pretzels, crushed to almost fine
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, light or regular
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste


  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F, air fryer setting.
  • Place pretzels in a Ziplock bag and crush with a flat mallet or rolling pin.  Pour into a shallow bowl.  In a separate shallow bowl, combine egg, flour, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, and whisk until well combined.
  • First, place chicken strips into egg batter, coating well on all sides.  Then coat with pretzels by pressing chicken strips into the mixture to help them stick.  Continue with all chicken strips and place them on parchment paper or a plate.
  • Grease air fryer rack with oil.  Place strips into the basket in a single layer leaving room in between.  Coat with a small amount of oil.  Cook 3 minutes.  Flip and coat with a small amount of oil and cook additional 2-3 minutes.  Continue with the remaining strips. 


  • Air Fryer
  • Cooking Spray, or olive oil spray, or nonstick cooking spray
  • Parchment Paper, optional


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 223kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 16gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 592mgPotassium: 299mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 52IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 2mg

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