Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

February 4, 2018 by Nicole Collins

I know I told you I'd be off the grid for a few days while I'm on vacation, but I just couldn't stay away!

Since it's Super Bowl Sunday, I just had to make sure I set you guys up for success.

Truth be told, we're not even planning on watching the game tonight. And honestly, even if I was “watching the game”, I still wouldn't be watching the game. But, that doesn't mean that we don't have a ridiculously large spread of food on the agenda for today!

Super Bowl for me is about food and the commercials. That's it. Unless the Ravens are playing. Then, I might tune in to at least the last quarter.

There are certain responsibilities that come along with being Baltimore born and bred, and watching the Ravens play is one of them!

When I was in college, I had a Marketing teacher that use to make us watch the Super Bowl commercials as a homework assignment. I took 5 classes with this particular teacher over the course of my 4 years there, and the assignment never changed. So, I have a special appreciation for the Super Bowl commercials.

But really, Super Bowl is just another excuse to make wayyyyyyyyy too much food, stuff my face for 4 hours straight, and drink lots of beer.

And, I'm not even mad about it.

Today, I'm giving you a treat that's the PERFECT addition to your game day spread. But, it's not just a game day eat. There are no restrictions on when or how to enjoy these cute little babies.

I've already set you on the path to a pretty delicious (and impressive) snack table for today. I've given you Crabby Devils AND Crabby Poppers! But, I realize there are lots of people out there in the world who can't eat crab. My heart hurts for them, but it's the reality of the situation sometimes.

So, in the spirit of a diverse table, I've got another super fun game day treat for us today!

Today, we're making Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets!

Ok, so real talk for a second. This recipe kind of played out backwards in my brain.

You see, my mom is a big fan of honey mustard sauce, but she's very particular about the taste. So, I was shopping at my local grocery store and found a store brand honey mustard that looked just right in coloring. We don't like it too mustardy...we like it on the sweeter side.

I bought it with the intention of taste testing it before I gave it to her. And, I needed something to dip in it other than my finger to get a real feel of the taste.

And, that's how these Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets were born!

We start with chicken tenderloins. Cut them in to bite size pieces, and get them ready for the breading station. You could also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in to 1 inch pieces, but I prefer the tenderloins from a “having to determine the right size to cut it” standpoint.

Next, we've got 3 bowls to prep for our breading station: whole wheat flour mixed with seasoned salt, very very well beaten eggs, and crushed pretzels. You know I love crushing things in a freezer bag and a hammer, but I went with the food processor on this one. We need the crumbs to be fine enough to adhere to the chicken, but we still want to be able to identify little bits of the pretzel pieces. The chicken pieces take a roll through each of our three bowls, and then they get ready to bake!

Now, here's the trick to keeping these pretzel bites nice and crunchy. We've got to create an environment where the hot air can circulate around the entire nugget. So, we do this by setting a well greased baking rack on top of our baking sheet, to create some air space between the chicken and the pan. We also give our coated chicken a good spritz of coking spray before we pop it in the oven to help mimic the effects of frying in a MUCH healthier way.

After they come out of the oven, they're ready to devour. And don't forget the honey mustard! The honey mustard sauce pairs so perfectly with these chicken bites, it'd be a sin not to serve it with any. But, if you're not a honey mustard fan, use your favorite chicken nugget dipping sauce. It'll still be fantastic!

P.S. The honey mustard that I bought for my mom never made it to her. It was sooooooooo good!

P.S.S. Like I said before, these nuggets are delicious even when it's not game day. What a fun treat for the kiddos (of all ages including 30 something year old kiddos)!

Ok, back to vacation I go. I can't believe it's back to reality in just 2 short days! I'll be the one rolling off of the plane thanks to all of he incredible things I've eaten so far!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday. Go Eagles! And, let's eat!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Serves: 4 (meal) or 24-26 pieces (appetizer)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or breasts), chopped in to 1-1 ½ inch pieces

  • 3 cups pretzels

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour

  • 2 tsp seasoned salt

  • 2 eggs

  • cooking spray (I use canola cooking spray)

  • honey mustard or your favorite sauce, for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray a baking rack generously with cooking spray, and place on top of the baking sheet. Set aside.

  2. Prepare your breading station: In a food processor, pulse pretzels until they have a coarse crumb texture. You still want to be able to identify the pretzels, but they need to be ground enough to adhere to the chicken. Place pretzel crumbs in to one small bowl. In a second bowl, add eggs and beat generously with a fork. Make sure there are no clumps of egg white that haven't broken down. In a third bowl, combine flour and seasoned salt.

  3. Coat the chicken: Using tongs, take chicken, one piece at a time, and coat in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour. Next, coat the chicken in the egg and let any excess drip off. Finally, Coat chicken in pretzel crumbs, gently pressing to adhere. Place on prepared baking rack. Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated. Space chicken pieces on the baking rack so they do not touch. Lightly spray chicken with cooking spray to coat.

  4. Bake for 20-25 mins until chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve with honey mustard or your favorite chicken nugget sauce!

Recipe notes:

*You can make these ahead, store the baked nuggets wrapped in foil in the fridge, and reheat them at 400 degrees in the oven for about 10 minutes to enjoy more than just the first day.

*I usually campaign that your hands are your best kitchen tool, but it is so much easier to control the breading process on these with tongs. You can shake off the extra flour and egg easily, coat the chicken with pretzel crumbs, and transfer them to the baking tray without having to worry about clumpy hulk fingers.

*The baking rack on the baking sheet is a necessary step to the process. It helps the warm air of the oven circulate around the whole nugget so it gets nice and crispy on both sides! And, we don't have to stop and flip them and risk losing some of our pretzel breading!! Don't forget to spray the rack with cooking spray though, or it will stick.

*You can serve these as an appetizer, for lunch or dinner, or even throw them in a salad. They're so versatile!

*The aluminum foil on the baking sheet is just for easy cleanup up.

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