Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheesy Beer Sauce

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheesy Beer Sauce is a quick and easy meal that plays on all your bar food favorites.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheesy Beer Sauce from

Having worked in retail since I was 16, there isn’t much human behavior that I find shocking anymore. While growing up and becoming more independent I was always nervous about what people in public might think of me. Is this a weird question to ask the sales person? Am I being too needy if I request salad dressing on the side? Will everyone stare at me if I wear sweats and no makeup out? Did anyone just hear me talk to myself?

These were the questions that ran through my head. After over 5 years of working in retail and serving the general public I no longer ask myself these questions. This is mostly because compared to many people I have interacted with, I am completely normal. You probably are too. However, there are a few complete nut jobs out there that behave utterly outrageously. My first job was at Target and I once had a woman pay for over $30 in merchandise ENTIRELY with coins. Even though there was a Coinstar machine across the street. And my 16-year-old self was too dumbfounded and afraid of trying to tell her “no.” Target once assigned me to the chaotic “back to school” department days before school resumed, even though I had no previous experience in that department whatsoever. A child was throwing a tantrum about wanting certain supplies and his mother proceeded to smack him across the face. The smack was so loud that everyone turned around and gasped. It was awful. At another retail job there was a customer irate that he wasn’t being helped fast enough. We apologized for his inconvenience and he literally said, “I DO NOT accept your apology” and stormed out of the store. I had never heard anyone say that before. The next day his wife brought him back to the store and made him apologize to us.

Don’t even get me started about the terrible things people do in public bathrooms. Half the time the only response I can muster to scenes of chaos and foul destruction is “How?!” I won’t go into too much detail about that because I want to leave you with an appetite to make this pretzel crusted chicken.

What has been the craziest thing you’ve ever dealt with at a job? Or witnessed out in public?

I can only imagine the craziness of working at a restaurant. Luckily, though, you don’t have to go to a restaurant or bar to get good food. You are going to die over how amazingly crispy and crunchy this chicken is. You can totally flip out about it in the privacy of your own dining room.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Chicken + pretzels + cheese + beer? Heaven. You can really alter the flavor profile, too, depending on what beer or cheese you use.
Texture: This is the absolute best part of this dish. The chicken’s pretzel crust is SO incredibly crunchy and wonderful and is perfectly balanced by the cheesy sauce.
Ease: Easy enough! There are a few dirty dishes though.
Appearance: Just look at that pretzel crust. Mmmm.
Pros: Tasty spin on classic bar food.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Oh yes.


Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheesy Beer Sauce

Yield: 4 servings


For the chicken:
3 cups pretzels
1/4 cup flour
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


For the chicken:
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pretzels until finely ground with a few larger pieces still remaining. In a shallow dish combine the pretzels and flour.

Sprinkle chicken with pepper to taste and coat evenly with the mustard. Dredge the chicken with the pretzel mixture, pressing to adhere.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned all over and 165°F internal temperature, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

For the sauce:
Prepare sauce while the chicken is cooking. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the beer, milk, mustard, and thyme and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until thickened. Add the cheddar cheese and heat until melted.

Divide the chicken between four plates and spoon sauce over chicken.

Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat

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17 Responses to “Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheesy Beer Sauce”

  1. #
    Kelly — August 7, 2013 at 6:33 am

    I have worked in both food service & retail and have witnessed so much craziness from the public. I was so surprised at how rude people can be. I’m so glad I work in an office now with people who are friendly :) And this chicken looks amazing. Pretzels, cheese and beer? Yes please!

  2. #
    Tieghan — August 7, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Alright, first I love this chicken! Pretzels on chicken or so good and I do it all the time, but the beer sauce is incredible! WOW!! Love that!!

    Ok, now seriously your retail stories are like horror stories! Oh my gosh, wow! Those are some crazy people!

  3. #
    Natalie || The Devil Wears Parsley — August 7, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Working in food service is always pretty special, isn’t it? HAHA The craziest thing I think I’ve ever witnessed was some drunk guy putting a heavy cast iron/wood park bench through one of our front windows, with PEOPLE sitting RIGHT THERE on the other side of the glass. That was a scary night, and a testament to where alcohol abuse can get you. There are tons of stories, but that one took the cake for craziest.

    This recipe though? Man, we’re in the midst of a pretzel craze, and I ‘aint mad at it! This looks and sounds fantastic. :-)

    • Tessa replied: — August 7th, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

      WHOA! Angry drunks are terrifying :/

  4. #
    Gerry @ foodness gracious — August 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Yeah I worked for WFM for 10 years and some customers were just plain rude or needy. But there were way more awesome customers which made up for it :)

    • Tessa replied: — August 7th, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

      Yes! For every 100 awesome customers is one crazy. Thank goodness for that.

  5. #
    Marysue — August 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve worked at a grocery store and in food service and and have seen my share of nuts, violence, and utter lack of morals. When I was 19 and working at the grocery store, one of my jobs was writing letters of intent to customers who had written bad checks. After two letters and no reply, I issued a warrant for their arrest. One of these customers who had written a check on an Account Closed (and it had been for several months) was the daughter of a mayor, and she came flying in the store with such force she cracked the glass on the door as it swung back and hit the bubble gum machine. She started screaming at the top of her lungs, “Do you KNOW WHO I AM?” over and over as she stormed to the office, where I was standing in disbelief. She knew who I was from previous interaction, so there was no point in trying to “make my escape”, and nowhere to go to avoid her. She grabbed the top of the glass door to the office (it was one of those where you could look over but not open) and began to shake it, all the while screaming at me to KNOW who she was. I looked at her and I said, “I know who you are; you’re a thief.” Her mouth dropped open (and she finally shut up) and she looked at me like NOone had EVER said such a thing to her before. (I guess that was due to who she THOUGHT she was). By that time, our security had come up front and escorted her out of the store.

    That was one of several instances there, and there were LOTS more at the phone company restaurant I worked at…all which opened my eyes to the truth: who and what you are doesn’t depend on what you’re wearing or what you have in your wallet, but rather, what you have in your heart and mind…your moral compass. It taught me how NOT to be, especially in public.

    Thanks for sharing your yummy chicken recipe!

    • Tessa replied: — August 7th, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

      Oh man… there is NOTHING worse than a customer with serious entitlement and ego issues. I wish everyone could work a few months in a service job because you really don’t realize how your actions as a customer affect the employees until you’re on the receiving end.

  6. #
    Ali — August 8, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I once worked at a bank where they had safe deposit boxes. A man came into the bank with his son and asked for access to his safe deposit box, which was in a separate back area of the bank. Just before heading back there he asked if the bank had a public restroom because his son had to go the bathroom. Unfortunately, the bank did not allow the public to use the bathroom, and I told him that. Well, he went in the back with his son and as per policy, I left them alone in there until they came back out again. I had just been in the safe deposit viewing room just before they came into the bank, and had left my almost-empty water bottle in there. When I went back IN to the room my water bottle was there, BUT it was FULL and the color of the liquid was NOT clear… (I know, EWWWW…. )

  7. #
    Nicole — August 9, 2013 at 7:36 am

    This sounds absolutely amazing. I’ll be making it for dinner next week for sure!

  8. #
    Megan — August 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I worked at Hot Topic for years. Scariest incident was when a young customer came in and was being followed around by an old smelly drunken bum of a “man”. She had been followed for 5-6 stores and NO ONE thought to call mall security. The “man” even went as far as to telling this young girl that he was going to marry her. I contacted security, while doing so the “man” attempted to short change me as well. Security got ahold of him and he had several warrants out for his arrest it turned out and was sent to jail!

  9. #
    Avida — August 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    This dish looks delicious, but I am not a fan of dijon mustard. Could I use anything in its place?

  10. #
    Rachel Cooks — August 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    This is awesome, Tessa! Putting it on the menu asap!

  11. #
    Kimberly — August 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Oh so good!!! I had a few friends over for game night, and this was a hit! Pure yumminess!

    I work in an ER, so I don’t want to spoil any appetites. However, those entitlement and ego issues carry over into medicine. We were in the middle of a code (CPR in progress) when some lady started screaming, “What about my toe? I have an ingrown toenail and it hurts NOW!” So sorry we were actually trying to save someone without a pulse or respirations. And yes, she knew the code was going on! People never cease to amaze me. However, I LOVE my job!

  12. #
    Manu — August 25, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    We just did this receipe with some friends and it was just amazing! Everybody were freaking out (in a good way of course!). So thank you!

    • Tessa replied: — August 26th, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

      I’m so excited to hear that!! Thanks for the comment :)

  13. #
    jenna — February 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    This recipe sounds sooooooo good!! I’m just not a mustard fan, any suggestions on a substitute for it?

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