I have never been one of those who views one leftover ingredient as something that must be used up right away. While I avoid food waste as much as possible and save food as long as it is still good, the idea that I’m going to whip up an entire separate recipe simply because I have leftover egg yolks/anchovies/whatever has never made sense to me.

What I do try to make routine is considering what leftover items I already have on hand when planning my meals for the coming week. Generally I try to compose meals that use up multiple ingredients I already have on hand, and also use up any perishable ingredients in the most logical way possible. I was recently flipping through Now & Again by Julia Turshen (which is full of brilliant ways of using up and reusing ingredients) and I happened across this idea of using crushed leftover pretzels to coat chicken. It sounded reminiscent of chicken tenders, something I pretty much never make, and I just happened to have way overbought pretzels for a baking project.

The kids were really skeptical when I told them what I was making but let me tell you, they love this chicken even more than I do. They ask for it so often that now pretzels are regularly thrown into my shopping cart for this very purpose. I always make more than we need for dinner and use the leftovers in wraps and salads for their lunches later in the week. Try it yourself and see what you think – this might become a fast favorite in your home as well!

Side note: If you think the Brussels sprouts pictured here look good, THEY ARE and you should try them! Find the recipe for brussels sprouts with honey chile glaze here.

  • Prep 15 minutes
  • Cook 12-15 minutes
  • Yield 4 servings


For the chicken:

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. honey


  • 01

    Heat the oven to 425˚ F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly oil the foil. (Alternatively, place a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet and lightly oil the rack. This is my preferred method.) Butterfly the chicken breasts, cutting completely through so that they are thin halves. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the egg with the water and whisk until well combined. Place the pretzel crumbs in a shallow dish such as a salad plate or pie plate. Add in the melted butter and toss with a fork until evenly combined.

  • 02

    Dip a piece of the chicken in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off before transferring to the bowl with the pretzel crumbs. Spoon some of the crumbs over the exposed portion of the chicken, spreading the crumbs as necessary, and then press down gently to adhere the crumbs to the chicken. Transfer the coated piece of chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.

  • 03

    Transfer the baking sheet with the chicken to the oven and bake, about 6-8 minutes per side, turning the chicken pieces once halfway through the total baking time. Bake until the outside is golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 160˚ F. Set aside and let cool briefly.

  • 04

    To make the sauce, combine the Dijon, sour cream, and honey in a bowl and mix well until evenly blended. Season if desired with salt and pepper.