Pretzel Chicken

Pretzel Chicken: An Instant Family Classic

I’m the first person to argue that grilled octopus is a perfectly acceptable family meal. (Hey, I’m Greek—I grew up eating tentacles!) I also know what foods bring a smile to every kid’s face. Octopus: not so much. Pretzel chicken: every time.

This recipe is pure weeknight dinner genius. It’s quick, easy and, made with sourdough pretzels and a creamy mustard dressing, oddly sophisticated. Everyone—from your littlest eater to Grandpa—will love this. And the name? Just saying, “Come and get your pretzel chicken!” will have the kids running to the dinner table.

I’ve experimented with a couple of pretzel chicken recipes with the assumption that, as usual, I’d end up developing my own. Then I found this recipe, created by Chef Ilene Rosen of New York City’s legendary City Bakery (a must visit if you’re ever in Manhattan), on fab family food blog Dinner a Love Story.

Let’s just say that the experimentation and recipe development stopped here. This is it. THE pretzel chicken. I’m mean, just look:


Pretzel Chicken

According to Ilene, it’s essential to use thick, hard pretzels to get a perfect crispy coating. She also notes that the baked chicken and dressing can be kept a room temperature for up to 2 hours.  That means you can make this ahead!

Serve pretzel chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and a salad or your favorite green veggie and watch your family fall in love. One taste for all and you’ll be making this once a week!

Pretzel Chicken

Recipe from Food & Wine


  • 1/2 pound hard pretzels, coarsely crushed (4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground; you should have coarse chunks and fine crumbs. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl.

2. Wipe out the food processor. Add the oil, whole-grain and Dijon mustards, water and vinegar and process until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

3. Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl, add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Dredge the chicken in the pretzel crumbs and transfer to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining mustard dressing.

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