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Hot Honey Chicken Tenders

Hot honey chicken tenders are the perfect food for any mood! Whether you use your air fryer or oven, they’re going to come out crispy and ready to be coated in that delicious hot honey sauce. 

Hot honey chicken tenders in a basket with pickles

You know I love my air fryer like it’s my child, but these Hot Honey Chicken Tenders give us the crispiness we crave!

Whether they’re made in the beloved air fryer or the trusty old oven! The only thing that differs here is cook time, so you don’t need to change the recipe one bit!

These tenders are hot, sweet, and crispy, and they can be enjoyed in such a wide variety of ways. I can confidently say people of all ages will love them and they’ll probably become your go-to when meal prepping salads this summer.

Throw some chopped hot honey tenders on there and you’ll never go back to eating leafy greens without them.

Ingredients & Swaps

ingredient flatlay for chicken tenders

These chicken tenders don’t require many ingredients but they sure do pack a flavorful punch. One ingredient that always surprises people is the pickle juice – just trust me!

  • Chicken – Get skinless and boneless chicken breasts, then slice them in half lengthwise and then cube them. Along with the chicken you’ll need pickle juice and eggs. 
  • Powders – Flour, panko, paprika, baking powder, onion powder, and garlic powder are going to be the makings of your crispy coating.
  • Sauce – Melted butter is your base and then you’ll add in honey, paprika, and cayenne. 
  • Spray – This is a crucial step! Make you have olive oil spray on hand. 

How to Make Your Crispy Chicken Tenders

step by step directions for chicken tenders

We’ve all marinated meat before, right? Well this time your marinade is going to be pickle juice and I’m so excited for you all to see how much this step elevates the taste of your chicken. It’ll have you feeling like you got it from a restaurant instead of your own kitchen. 

Why use pickle juice as a chicken brine for more info!

With that said, you’re going to start by refrigerating your cut chicken in a bowl with pickle juice for 30 minutes. Be sure to cover it!

Afterwards you’ll dip your chicken in the egg wash, then in the dry mixture, and then right to your air fryer or baking sheet.

Spritz your chicken with olive oil and then cook! Halfway through your cook time you’ll want to flip them, spritzing again in the process. 

Let’s Get Saucy

hot honey sauce being drizzled on cooked crispy chicken tenders

While your chicken is finishing up in the oven you can mix together your pièce de résistance: the hot honey sauce!

All you need to do to start is melt your butter on low heat. Once it’s completely melted, you can add in the honey, cayenne pepper, paprika, and salt (to taste). Just keep stirring until it’s all combined and then remove it from the heat. 

How to Serve

chicken tender dipped in sauce and in half to show inside texture

There are so many ways to enjoy this dish! You can stick with the basics and eat them as chicken tenders with the hot honey sauce as a dip, or you can coat them all in the sauce evenly and eat them like boneless chicken wings on game day. 

  • One thing I’d recommend is to whip up a batch of this healthy ranch dip because no matter what way you’re eating them, this ranch will balance out the flavors on your palette perfectly. 
  • Imagine strips of this sauce coated hot honey chicken in a wrap with lettuce, avocado, and some ranch! (Or in a lettuce wrap – yum) 
  • You could even deconstruct that and eat it like I mentioned before – in a salad! Chop up the chicken over a bed of greens and throw on any other toppings you like before dressing it with either the healthy ranch or blue cheese dressing. 
  • You could get creative and chop up the chicken and put it on skewers with some toppings of your choice layered on the skewer as well. 
  • Or just serve it over a bed of rice! Alongside potatoes! With some french fries!

However you wind up eating this hot honey chicken, please let me know what you think. Comment below or tag me on Instagram (@mealplanaddict) so I can see how you made this dish your own!

chicken tenders on air fryer tray cooked, before sauce is added.

How to make it a freezer meal

To make these for your freezer so that you can grab a handful and air fry on a busy weeknight, prep them all the way to the cooking stage and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place the raw, uncooked chicken tenders into the freezer for a few hours. Then, transfer it to a freezer bag. 

To cook from frozen, decrease the temperature to 375F and increase cook time to about 10 minutes per side. Again, the total time will be dependent on how thick your tenders are. 

hot honey chicken tenders with sauce in a parchment lined basket

Honey Hot Chicken Tenders

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise, and then cubed
  • 3 eggs whisked
  • olive oil spray

Crispy Coating

  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter one stick
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Place the cut chicken in a bowl with the pickle juice. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the 3 eggs, set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, panko, onion powder, garlic powder, baking powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Drain the pickle juice brine from the chicken and transfer the chicken pieces to the bowl with the egg.
  • Remove the chicken pieces one by one from the egg mixture, letting excess egg drip off. Then, add the chicken to the flour mixture to coat each piece.
  • Transfer the chicken pieces to a sprayed air fryer tray. Do not pile them up – they must be in one layer. If your air fryer is small, you will have to work in batches.
  • Spritz the coated chicken with oil and transfer to your air fryer.
  • Air fry at 400°F for 5 minutes, flip the chicken pieces, spritz again and return to the air fryer.
  • If using an oven style air fryer with 2 layers of racks, swap the racks at this point too.
  • Air fry for 3-4 minutes. The final cook time will depend completely on how thick your chicken pieces are. Average cook time is 8-10 minutes.
  • While the chicken cooks, make the sauce by melting the butter on low heat. Once melted add the honey, cayenne pepper, paprika, and salt. Stir until all combined and remove from heat.
  • Once the chicken tenders are done, you can toss the sauce and tenders together or use the sauce as a dipping sauce, your choice!

Notes

To make these for your freezer so that you can grab a handful and air fry on a busy weeknight, prep them all the way to the cooking stage and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the raw, uncooked chicken tenders into the freezer for a few hours. Then, transfer it to a freezer bag. 
To cook from frozen, decrease the temperature to 375F and increase cook time to about 10 minutes per side. Again, the total time will be dependent on how thick your tenders are. 

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3 Comments

  1. I already have hot honey. Do you think it would be good with that and the butter for the sauce?

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