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Now that we are entering the warmer months, I am craving all of the salads! The only way salad will fully satisfy me at mealtime though, is if my salad contains both raw AND cooked ingredients. Especially if the salad is the main dish! Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tender Salad combines fresh, crisp raw vegetables with savory, pan-fried chicken tenders. The crushed pretzel coating on the chicken tenders will eliminate the need to add a carb to this meal. The chicken tenders are topped off with a hearty drizzle of spicy buffalo sauce and the salad is is topped with cool, creamy blue cheese dressing.

Pinterest graphic that shows the three salad plates of buffalo chicken tender salad.

Ingredients needed:

For the pretzel crusted chicken tenders:

  • Chicken tenders
  • All purpose flour
  • 1 large bag of thin pretzels
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Olive oil

For the blue cheese dressing:

  • Crumbly blue cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice
  • Worcester sauce
  • Salt, pepper & garlic powder

For the salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red onion

Equipment needed:

  • Lodge Cast Iron Pan – If you don’t already own a cast iron pan, I highly suggest purchasing one! You can purchase directly from the Lodge website or from Amazon. You can also find them at a variety of retail stores. I purchased mine from the camping gear section at Gander Mountain. I recommend purchasing the larger 12 inch size. Lodge cast iron is made in the USA, pre-seasoned and they are so versatile! You can cook anything from breakfast to dessert in them and take them straight from the stove-top to a hot oven.

How to make Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tender Salad

Step 1:

The first thing you will need to do is turn your pretzels into pretzel crumbs (AKA bread crumbs). You will do this using either a food processor or a blender. Take about 4 large handfuls of pretzels and put them in your food processor or blender. Pulse the unit several times until your pretzels have turned into a mixture of fine and course crumbs.

Step 2:

Now you will need to set up your breading station. Your breading station is your all purpose flour on a plate, the eggs beaten in a large bowl and the pretzel crumbs on a large plate. You should also open up your package of chicken at this time and sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides of each chicken tender. I used about 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.

***After I posted the photo below I noticed that my kitchen helper, also known as my 3-year old daughter, pressed her handprint into my plate of flour! I didn’t notice as I was taking the photo because I was too focused on making my recipe. I hope you can have as good of a laugh after seeing this as I did!

Photo is showing two plates. The first plate contains the pretzel crumbs and the second plate contains the all purpose flour.
Plate 1: Pretzel crumbs | Plate 2: All purpose flour
Photo contains a small bowl with 2 eggs beaten in the bowl and a plate with the raw chicken tenders. The chicken tenders are sprinkled with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Bowl 1: Eggs | Plate 1: Chicken with salt, pepper & garlic powder

Step 3:

Now it’s time to start breading. If you think you can bread your chicken tenders quickly, then you can start heating your oil on the stove while you are breading your chicken. To heat your oil, evenly coat your cast iron pan with olive oil and place the pan over a burner on your stove. Turn the burner on to low/medium-low. The burner that I use runs hot and I have a propane stove which tend to burner hotter than electric stoves. For this reason, I keep my burner on low for this recipe. Adjust your temperature according to your stove.

To bread your chicken, dredge each chicken tender in the all purpose flour, followed by the eggs and then into the pretzel crumbs.

The photo shows all the chicken tenders after they have been breaded. they are now ready to start frying.
Breaded chicken tenders before frying.

Step 4:

After you have finished breading each chicken tender, you can start pan-frying the chicken tenders in the hot oil on your stove. Do not overcrowd the pan. You will most likely have to repeat this step 2-3 more times. Fry each chicken tender for 5 minutes, flip over and fry for an additional 5 minutes, cooking them for 10 minutes total.

This photo shows the pretzel crusted chicken tenders frying in a cast iron pan before they have been flipped over.
Chicken tenders frying in a pan.
Photo shows the pretzel crusted chicken tenders frying in a cast iron pan after they have been flipped once.
Pretzel crusted chicken tenders frying in a pan after they have been flipped once.

Step 5:

After you have finished frying all of your pretzel crusted chicken tenders, lay them out on a cooling rack or a large plate. Using a spoon, evenly drizzle each chicken tender with buffalo sauce.

Photo shows the pretzel crusted chicken tenders drizzled with buffalo sauce. They are on a metal cooling rack over parchment paper.
Pretzel crusted chicken tenders drizzled with buffalo sauce.

Now that you have completed the pretzel crusted chicken tenders with buffalo sauce, you can make the blue cheese dressing and the salad.

How to make Blue Cheese Dressing

Simply combine all ingredients for the blue cheese salad dressing in a medium-sized bowl. Using a large spoon, mix the ingredients together until well-combined. You can also use the back of your spoon to crush some of the chunks of blue cheese.

Assemble your salads:

Wash your salad greens and cherry tomatoes. Thinly slice your red onion. Chop your salad greens and halve the cherry tomatoes. Assemble your salad with your greens on the bottom, topped with the cherry tomatoes and the red onion. Top each salad with 2 chicken tenders and a few dollops of blue cheese dressing and some extra crumbly blue cheese. Enjoy!

Single plate of Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tender Salad.
Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tender Salad

Frequently asked questions:

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! Easily! The only step that will take longer is the pan-frying.

What else can I make with pretzel crusted buffalo chicken tenders?

You definitely don’t have to make these with a salad if you don’t want to! They are excellent on a sandwich or in a wrap. You could also chop them up and mix them into macaroni and cheese or use them as a topping on a pizza. They are also great on their own as a main dish or an appetizer.

Is this recipe gluten free?

No. My recipe is not written to be gluten free. However, you can make it gluten free by using gluten free all purpose flour and gluten free pretzels. Double check that all ingredients you are using to make your blue cheese dressing are also gluten free.

Check out some of my other popular recipes that feature chicken!

Please leave me a recipe comment below! Let me know if you plan on trying this recipe or leave me a review after you have tried it!

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Pretzel crusted buffalo chicken tender salad on a single plate

Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tender Salad


  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings/2 tenders each 1x

Description

This salad is the perfect combination of cool & creamy and hot & spicy!  Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tender Salad will make for an excellent lunch or dinner any time of year. 


Ingredients

Scale

For the Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tenders

  • 1 large bag of salted thin pretzels
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce

For the Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crumbly blue cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcester sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the Salad

  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce – washed & roughly chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes – halved
  • Red onion – thinly sliced

Instructions

Pretzel Crusted Buffalo Chicken Tenders

  1. Make the pretzel crumbs. Using either a food processor or a blender, pulse the pretzels until they are a combination of fine and course crumbs. You will need 1 cup of pretzel crumbs. 
  2. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides of the chicken tenders.
  3. Set up the breading station. Put the all purpose flour on a large plate.  Beat both eggs in a medium-sized shallow bowl. Put the 1 cup of pretzel crumbs on a large plate. 
  4. Bread all chicken tenders by first dredging the chicken tenders in the flour. Then dip them in the eggs. Lastly, press both sides of the chicken tenders into the pretzel crumbs. 
  5. Heat a large frying pan over low/medium-low heat coated in olive oil.  Add the chicken tenders to the frying pan. Do not over crowd the pan. You may need to repeat the frying process 2-3 times. Fry the chicken tenders for 5 minutes per side, 10 minutes total, or until done.  Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. After frying, drizzle the pretzel crusted chicken tenders with the 1/3 cup of buffalo sauce. 

Blue Cheese Dressing

  1. Mix all ingredients for the dressing together in a medium sized mixing bowl. 

Assemble the salad

  1. Mix the romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and red onion together in salad bowl. Top the salads with the buffalo chicken tenders and the blue cheese dressing.   Enjoy!

Notes

  • You can serve this “family style” in a large bowl or on individual salad plates. 
  • Add as many cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion to your salad as you prefer.
  • Make this recipe gluten free by substituting in gluten free all purpose flour and gluten free pretzels. Also make sure that all other ingredients used for the blue cheese dressing are gluten free. 
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: pan-frying
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pretzel crusted buffalo chicken tender salad