Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders: These crispy and slightly sweet chicken tenders are perfect for a snack or meal. I like mine with two dipping sauces: honey mustard and chili ketchup!
Easy Eats

Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders

This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. They make a huge range of quality products including the Unsweetened Shredded Coconut I used for this post. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter  for lots of fun recipe ideas. For a limited time, you can snag a $1 off coupon for their products!

I have a mixed relationship with chicken tenders. On the one hand, I pretty much grew up on the frozen variety of these guys and even today a frozen chicken tender tastes incredibly familiar to me.

But they are also boring, in my opinionand generally they are breaded and fried with all kinds of junk.

We can make them a little healthier by baking them instead of frying them and kids will love them no matter what. To change up the flavor profile a bit, I used unsweetened coconut flakes to completely coat the chicken tenders. The coconut toasts slightly as the tenders cook leaving you with a slightly sweet chicken tender that’s perfect for dipping!

Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders: These crispy and slightly sweet chicken tenders are perfect for a snack or meal. I like mine with two dipping sauces: honey mustard and chili ketchup!

Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders

Just a moment please...

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Baked coconut chicken tenders that are slightly sweet and pair perfectly with two dipping sauces: A chili ketchup and a classic honey mustard!

Ingredients

1 1/2 - 2 pounds chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

Chili Ketchup:

1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce

Honey Mustard:

1/3 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
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Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) Working with one chicken breast at a time, place it between some plastic wrap and pound it until it’s the same thickness, roughly 1/4 inch thick. Then slice the chicken into about 2-3 inch tenders. Repeat until all your tenders are ready.

3) In a shallow dish, pour in your unsweetened coconut. Whisk the eggs with a few tablespoons of water in a bowl. On a plate, spread out the flour and seasoning and stir together.

4) Working with a few tenders at a time, dust in the flour mixture, then transfer to the egg wash, and finally completely coat in unsweetened coconut flakes. Pack on the flakes so they are well-coated on the chicken. Transfer coated chicken tenders to a baking sheet.

5) When all chicken tenders are done, bake chicken for 18-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until chicken is cooked through and coconut is toasted and browned on top. Test a tender by cutting it in half and bake longer, if needed.

6) While chicken bakes, you can stir together the chili ketchup and/or honey mustard.

7) Serve tenders out of the oven with the dippings sauces!

Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders – Prep Time

There are few important notes here to make sure you chicken tenders come out as good as possible. First, you want to make sure that they are somewhat uniform. More important than length is thickness, so I recommend pounding out each chicken breast a bit before slicing it into strips.

You want to shoot for about 1/4-inch thick and there’s no need to whack the heck out of it. A light pounding will do the trick.

Chicken pounded thin

Pounded

You need a standard breading mix for this recipe. If you wanted to make these gluten-free, Bob’s Red Mill makes a bunch of gluten free flour options that you could easily use.

Whatever flour you choose, do season it well with salt, pepper, and some chili powder for a little kick.

Baked coconut chicken tenders flour mix

Flour mix.

Once your chicken strips are cut, just dust them lightly in the flour mixture. This dries off the chicken and also helps the other stuff stick to it.

Dusting baked coconut chicken tenders

Dust to dry.

Then dip the tenders in some egg wash (2 eggs whisked with 2-3 tablespoons water) and then straight into the coconut mixture.

Typically, you might use breadcrumbs here but I used 100% unsweetened coconut flakes. Those words are very important. Make sure your coconut is unsweetened or you’ll end up with tenders that are too sweet. Also, make sure you get the shredded flakes. If the coconut is too fine, it’ll have a weird texture and might just burn in the oven.

Baked coconut chicken tenders.

Pack on the flakes.

When you put the chicken in the coconut, really press on them. You want them very heavily coated in coconut.

Then transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper!

Baking the Chicken Tenders

You can line up a bunch of chicken tenders on one baking sheet but do leave a small bit of space between each tender.

Baked coconut chicken tenders on pan.

Ready to bake!

These will need to bake for 18-20 minutes at 375 degrees F. until they are browned nicely and cooked through. Slice into one to test it.

Also, flip the tenders halfway through cooking so they bake evenly.

These are just about perfect!

Baked coconut chicken tenders.

Oh Lawd.

I mixed up two sauces for my tenders: a chili ketchup sauce and a honey mustard sauce.

The chili ketchup was my personal favorite!

Dipped baked coconut chicken tenders.

A quick dip.

These would be a great meal with a side salad or something or you could make them as easy finger foods for a game day appetizer!

No need to bust out the fryer. These baked coconut chicken tenders are where it’s at!

Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders: These crispy and slightly sweet chicken tenders are perfect for a snack or meal. I like mine with two dipping sauces: honey mustard and chili ketchup!

11 comments on “Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders

  1. Sounds yummy! I do have to ask though, does deep frying really put that much fat into the food? Because when I use mine, the amount of oil in the fryer doesn’t seem to go down significantly (there’s a “line” on my fryer where it sits) even after cooking lots of batches of food (I use my [canola] oil until it starts leaving little specks on the food–usually that’s about 12 different meals), but if I sautee something, it soaks up every bit of the oil/butter. Yet, somehow, sautee-ing doesn’t have near the bad rap that deep frying does, even though deep frying cooks faster and WAY more evenly. Why is this? Is there a way to test how much oil is actually soaked into the food using a properly loaded and preheated deep fryer vs a properly loaded and preheated sautee pan? Because I would LOVE to see that post!

    Sorry for the super long comment!

    1. Well, I think it’s easy to say that baking like this (no oil added) is healthier than frying or pan sauteing. I’ve never really had an oil-phobia though and tend to agree with you that deep frying correctly (right temp, etc.) probably isn’t that much worse for you than sautéing. I’m not really sure how you would test this, but I’ll look into it. It would be a fun experiment!

  2. I’ve made something similar before & they are SO much better than anything from a box. Thanks for the reminder to try them again! :-) Coconut sure is popular at the moment!

    1. Hey Vivian! I baked them at 375 actually. It’s in the full printed instructions to the recipe if you click that link, but I’ll add it to the post also. Thanks!

      1. Thanks Nick. I appreciate that you actually answer questions or comment on replies. All set to try this now.

  3. I bet the coconut adds so much flavor to these chicken tenders! I have to try this soon – we are huge chicken nugget fans over here but also…I’m terrified of deep-frying so baking sounds right up my alley. It was so great to meet you at FBF, Nick! I hope you are all settled back at home with the little one!

    1. Thanks Sarah! Yep… we are settled over here. Baby is doing great and growing like a champ! I’m already saving up for his future Disney world Fast Passes… :)

  4. Can coconut flour be used? And if so…would it take the place of the flour or the coconut flakes?

    1. Hey Maria! You can definitely use coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour, but I would still use some flakes for the final coating just for texture. The flour would be too fine I think. Good luck!

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