Baked Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders

 

I am over the moon with coconut. Head over heels, batting my eyelashes, can’t get enough, wish it would call me more often, think the sun rises and sets by…coconut.

So, as you might imagine, toasted coconut takes my love to the tenth power, multiplied by infinity. Alarming levels of love and dependency are reached. The normally tender, chewy flakes become a bit crunchy…crumbly even. The sweetness turns richer, nuttier.

 

Enter coconut crusted chicken tenders. Exit all sensibilities.

There’s loveliness about traditional chicken tenders, chicken fingers, whatever you fondly call moist strips of chicken fried golden and crisp-crumbed. In fact, they’re some of life’s simple pleasures. They feel indulgent, satisfying, fun in that pick-upable way. Tossing and toasting them with flakes of coconut mingles their normally savory, salty flavor with sweetness.

I’m so pleased with how well these turned out. Because while I expected to like them purely based on ingredients used and the general enjoyment I get from making bar food healthier, I didn’t realize they’d have such a unique depth of flavor. I expected, well, simple coconut flavor. What I got was nuttier, more salty caramel flavor.

Fellow coconut lovers, you’re welcome.

Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders


I began with chicken breasts, and sliced them into long, one inch thick strips.

I let them relax in a bath filled with two lightly beaten eggs.

Then I tossed them in a pile of panko breadcrumbs mixed with sweetened, shredded coconut, a generous pinch of salt, and pepper.

First, I lightly fried them in a pan for 3 minutes on each side, just so they’d develop that golden crust, and then I finished cooking them in the oven. I love this fry-bake method because it uses less oil to get the tenders cooked through, but still produces that delicious crunchy coating. It’s the same way I make buffalo chicken tenders, which are equally as tasty.

 

Baked Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders

Yield: 4 Servings

Calories per serving: 254

Fat per serving: 10g

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Create an assembly line for easy coating of each tenderloin: Place all chicken strips on one plate. Next to that, place flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Lightly whisk eggs in another wide, shallow bowl. Combine panko, coconut, salt, and pepper in a fourth and final wide, shallow bowl. Now, take one chicken strip and toss it in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then, dredge the floured strip in the egg bath. Next, gently toss the chicken strip in the panko/coconut mixture, pressing to coat on each side. Place the coated strip on a plate or cookie sheet until you have finished coating all of the chicken.
  2. Next, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat on your stove top. Add one tablespoon oil, swirling to coat. Add half of the chicken strips in a single layer, leaving space between each one. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a foil lined baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add the remaining one tablespoon oil to the pan and then the second half of the chicken strips and cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove that second batch and place on the baking sheet. Set it in the oven for 10 minutes, so that the chicken tenders can cook through.

Notes

Nutrition Information: Calories 254, Fat 10g, Carb 12g, Fiber 1g, Sugars 5g, Protein 27g

http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/01/17/coconut-crusted-chicken-tenders/

Comments

    • laurie says

      Have made these and they are KIller Good,hot or cold…Did alter somewhat,cut down on the salt and added 2 tablespoons of orange zest,,,Fast and very easy to put together..will be a staple in my home..

  1. says

    Last night I made your lemon cordon bleu. My husband loved the fact that I was making something so new, so gourmet. Everyone loved it!

    Chicken tenders with coconut. Who wouldn’t share your love coconut, even if only in imaginations, after reading of your eloquent affection? The coconut is famous here in Bangkok, paired with chicken in something delicious called Tom Kha Gai. Do you ever cook Thai food?

  2. says

    That looks so good. Seriously, I want to eat them right now. It doesn’t help that I ate my lunch for breakfast. Could you please consider becoming a SW woman instead of a NW/NE one? I think TX needs your charm and elegance. I do. Truly. We have something called a Pig Sandwich here. Finesse is needed.

  3. says

    Food your bread yourself always tastes so much more amazing than anything you can buy in a restaurant or in the frozen section of the g-store.

    Btw – I just gave you a blogger award on my last post. :)

  4. danielle says

    easiest, tastiest dinner ever! posted to my fb page and got many notes of satisfied customers!! thanks andrea!

  5. AZ says

    So, I NEVER post on blogs – this is a first for me – but your awesome recipe here compels me to do so. After 6 years as a vegetarian, I’m just starting to wrap my head around cooking meat, and these chicken fingers are one of my few incontrovertible successes. I actually didn’t make it exactly to your recipe, to be honest, but your detailed directions provided a perfect framework. Since it is Passover for us Jews, I swapped out the panko and instead ran a slice of matzah through my food processor until it was a panko-like texture. And, I used matzah-meal flour instead of regular flour. Otherwise, I followed your recipe to a tee. Thanks for this great recipe!

  6. Online Sunshine says

    I made these last week….didn’t have panko so I just used plain break crumbs but they turned out really great! I wish I’d had some sweet chili sauce to dip them in…would’ve been even better!
    I think I will make them tonight with the panko and buy the sweet chili sauce!
    What do you think would make a great side dish with these?

  7. heather says

    these r on the menu for tomorrow night! chicken defrosting in fridge now:) now to find a coconut curry dipping sauce….

  8. says

    I have made some very similar to these before, and they are amazing! Instead of Panko I used the Shake and Bake Extra Crispy breading mixed with a dash of Cayenne Pepper and Paprika! They turned out amazing!

  9. dawn says

    I loved this idea, but I have to eat gluten and egg free, so I took the chicken and marinated it a mix of cream of coconut and coconut milk with a teaspoon of green curry. Then used coconut flour instead of regular flour, and tortilla (corn) crumbs instead of panko. Then I served it with with a pineapple salsa. It was AMAZING thanks!

  10. Ciao Baby! says

    I just have to tell you – this recipe is genius and my family absolutely loves it! We are coconuts for coconut and this was such a hit!
    I also want to give you major kudos for taking the time to include step-by-step pictures in all your recipes. I am a very visual person and this helps me each step of the way, knowing I am doing everything correctly. I wasn’t born with a baking gene, but a cooking gene and I love your recipes – thank you SO much! :o)

  11. Julie says

    I connected to your blog via pinterest. Your recipes look wonderful. I’m making this one tomorrow. My peeps will love it. Keep posting. You have a gift for this.

  12. Rebecca says

    I made these the other day and I have to tell you how wonderful it was!

    I am gluten free and refined sugar free, so I made a few adaptions. I used crispy gluten free bread crumbs blended in my food processor. I also used unsweetened shredded coconut, but mixed in a little agave to sweeten it up. I also dipped the chicken in a gluten free all purpose flour. These turned out so fabulous!! My daughter asked to have this chicken for her birthday dinner instead of going out to a restaurant as we normally do. I shared the left-overs (we made a double batch) with my sister, who does not like coconut and loves gluten. She LOVED these cold in her lunch the next day! She couldn’t believe the ingredients when she asked for the recipe! :) My family is so very happy you shared this recipe and it will be in our rotation often! Thank you!

  13. Rachel says

    I can’t wait to try these! I’m going to pan-fry them in virgin organic coconut oil, though. Healthier than canola (most canola is made from pesticide ridden GMO seed) and with the coconut already in the recipe, it can only add to it!! Love your blog!

  14. says

    I made these the other night and they were divine! Hope you don’t mind if I share them on my blog. I finally finished reading yours in its entirety this week – what a fun read. It was pure coincidence, but I finished on your second blog anniversary :) Keep up the good work!

  15. Becca! says

    I’ve been looking for a nice recipe for coconut chicken for sometime, and when I saw yours I knew that this was the one. I’m cooking them as we speak and so far so good.

    Eating one right now, and they’re amazing! Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  16. Corinne says

    Just finished dinner, this was amazing! Husband and son loved this and I will be adding this to my recipie file! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Ciao Baby! says

    What are the approximate calories for eating 1 chicken tender, 2 chicken tenders, 3 chicken tenders, etc.? I make these all the time and my family loves them, as we are coconut freaks as well. 😉 Thank you in advance for the reply and awesome recipe! xoxo

  18. Crewel2bKind says

    Made this last night and the whole family loved it! The recipe makes 4 servings from 1 pound of chicken. Nutrition information per serving: 410 calories, 21g fat, 26g carbs.

  19. Steve says

    Really late responding here, but I dreamed up the same idea after brainstorming a treat I could make for my coconut and pineapple-loving girlfriend, however I also add a pineapple sweet and sour sauce as a dip! I cheat on this part and just use a sweet and sour sauce from the store, but add chunked pineapple (a little of the juice doesn’t hurt as typical s+s sauce can live with some thinning) and a tablespoon and a half or so of barbecue sauce to kick in some extra sweetness. Toss in a pot over low heat for a few minutes so it mixes together and it’s nice and piping. The results are fantastic. Thanks for helping flesh this idea out :)

  20. Karen says

    I hate coconut, but my husband loves it. So I made these for dinner tonight, and they were absolutely amazing. Thank you!

  21. Katie says

    These are fantastic!! I made them tonight and put them on a spinach salad with pineapple and Mandarin oranges and topped it with poppy seed dressing…AMAZING!!

  22. Stephanie Sims says

    Found your website via pinterest and these are AMAZING! Seriously they smelled so good and tasted like nothing I have ever had and if that wasnt good enough all my kids enjoyed them too, even my very picky 5 year old!

  23. Jenna says

    Just tried making this. DO NOT be afraid to load up on the shredded coconut. I made the mistake of putting too little and it ended up not having as much of that particular flavor as I was looking for.
    Lessen up the salt, add a bit of sugar to the dry mix.

    I dipped mine in honey and it was wonderful!
    Thank you for the simple recipe:)

  24. Tami Brock says

    These are awesome! I have been making these for my family for several years. We can’t get enough when I make them. I make shrimp with this recipe also but of course you have to fry them yum, yum. Everyone should try this recipe!!

  25. Jeff says

    Awesome! I made this last night, and I added a couple of steps. After the strips went into the oven, I deglazed the skillet with about a half cup of decent Chardonnay, then added a tablespoon of butter an about three good dashes of Sriracha and a nice pat of butter and cooked it down by about a third. Strained it out and drizzled it onto the strips just before serving. Delicious! Thank you for the recipe; it has become one of our new faves.

    • Jeff says

      Oops! That original post should read “…tablespoon of PEANUT butter and about three good dashes of Sriracha…”

  26. Lorelle says

    I made my own version of these before but used cinnamon instead of salt and pepper and only used coconut (no breadcrumbs). They were a huge hit!

  27. Sharon Deutsch says

    I made your Coconut Chicken for dinner tonight, and my husband raved about it! It was absolutely delicious! This recipe is a definite saver!! Thank you!
    Sharon~

  28. Ali says

    I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! All three of my kids inhaled it, including my super picky 2 year old! This will definitely become a “regular” at our house!

  29. says

    I LOVE THESE!
    Ever since I first got some from the take-home section of Central Market I have been hooked. I make these all the time, and your recipe is pretty much exactly the same as mine, although I thought I’d mention some tips I’ve learned from making these
    – you don’t need breadcrumbs, just coconut
    – using coconut oil for the pan fry is delish
    – Adding Thai curry paste for seasoning rocks
    – They re-heat easily in a toaster oven

  30. Quynh says

    You’ll love Vietnamese coconut candy. They have thin rice paper wrap and they just melt in your mouth. The coconut flavor is not too intense either :]

  31. Lauren says

    Making these as I type. They smell soooo good! Can’t wait to pull them out of the oven. Thanks for the awesome recipe

  32. Danielle says

    This recipe is AMAZING! And it converts flawlessly to a gluten-free version if necessary. Thank you for this wonderful concoction!

  33. Sunny says

    I just made these are they are AMAZING!! I also have a love affair with coconut so I just may need to make these every day:) Question: any side dish recommendations to make it a meal?

    • admin says

      Thanks Sunny! I usually just pair it with brown rice that I’ve cooked in chicken broth and buttered lightly, and a green vegetable on the side.

      Andie

  34. Tiffany Dyck says

    Just wondering what the nutritional facts per serving these are…Calories, carbohydrates and such?? Please and thanks! Atkins/Low carb friendly?

  35. Lisa says

    Hi. I *love* your recipes! I just put the cranberry quinoa on the list for this week, in fact. My question is do you have a suggestion for substituting panko breadcrumbs for something gluten free?

    Thanks,
    Lisa

  36. Louise says

    I have just made these for me and my husband. Absolutely delicious, will certainly make them again and I will try with prawns as well.

  37. Colleen says

    Do you feel like something has been missing in your life and you just can’t seem to figure out what it is? Well I can tell you what you have been missing – these coconut crusted chicken tenders! You’re welcome for the new sense of fulfillment.
    Seriously though, these made my taste buds wake up and start doing the rumba. (Very interesting sensation by the way.) The sweet with the savory with a little crunch… … … I just had a flashback of when I first ate these and didn’t want to come back to finish this comment.
    That my friends is how delicious these things are. If you want I can give you a ticket so you too can board this yum train. Just let me know.

  38. Agnes says

    Can anybody help me with the inconsistency? Do you dredge them in flour or not? The pics show you don’t while the written recipe says you do. Any thoughts? Also, if you are getting them ready for a big dinner, would you prepare them the day before by frying and then putting them in the fridg overnight or would you just prep them and fry them the next day? Thanks.

    • Andie says

      Hi Agnes,

      Sorry for any confusion! Yes, you should dredge them in flour–as the recipe directs. If you’re getting them ready ahead of time (for a dinner party or something), I would recommend assembling the tenders (dipping in egg, dredging them in flour, and coating in the coconut) and storing them in the refrigerator overnight, then waiting to fry until just before serving. That way they’ll be nice and crisp at dinner.

      Hope this helps!

      Andie

  39. Kate says

    I love this recipe, made it four times now. I have it with peri peri mayonnaise (japanese mayonnaise mixed with a dash of peri peri hot sauce) to offset the sweetness – perfect. Also with any leftovers you can put in a wrap with salad and the peri peri mayo, great for lunch. Yum yum yum!

  40. ejane says

    Just tried this recipe…I put the stove heat on medium high, threw the chicken in, and within thirty seconds could smell something burning. The coconut had turned completely black and was smoking!
    I tried to turn it down to salvage the chicken, but to no avail :(
    Fortunately I had another half pack left, so I re-tried the recipe with heat on Medium heat. The chicken barely browned, even after leaving it on for a minute or so longer, and most of the coating fell off.
    I might try this again on a different stove…the one in my apartment is pretty finicky.

  41. hfactor says

    I’m having a party on Saturday and want to do all the cooking ahead of time. If I cook these on Friday, how long will it take to re-heat them without them becoming dry or overcooked or rubbery? Any suggestions on how to make this ahead of time and serve it perfectly the next day? Many Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

  42. Kristina says

    These chicken tenders are simple to prepare and delicious as well. I have to change up the stove temp because my stove is from before the Stone Age and browns incredibly unevenly but the recipe itself is a keeper.

  43. kirsten says

    These were SO GREAT. Wonder if you had any suggestions for a dipping sauce? My kids are big dippers and wanted ranch, but that wasn’t cutting it for me.

      • Virginia says

        I use this dipping sauce. I got it from the website Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice. 1/2 Cup Orange Marmalade, 2 Tablespoons of rice or white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, a dash or more of red pepper flakes. I make it a few hours ahead and refrigerate. she also has an awesome recipe for Coconut Shrimp. I have made this chicken many many times and love it, as does my husband.

  44. Kayla Marie says

    As a college student, I’m beginning to work with more complex recipes. This one is actually pretty simple and doesn’t take too long to do. I love that it has a unique taste. Add green beans and rice for an AMAZING meal!!!

  45. Jeanne says

    I feel the exact same way about coconut, I’m OBSESSED with it!!! I have been trying to find a recipe to recreate at home a coconut chicken dish I had at a restaurant while visiting my daughter. I can’t wait to try this tonight. Thanks again for sharing!!

  46. says

    Coconut crusted chicken; make sure you buy chicken already cut in strips or cut your bonless breasts into slender strips. Also make sure you have MORE than the recipe states of 1 Tbsp of oil at the frying stage, and lessen the cook time down from 3 min to 2 each side. I lost 4 tenders to burning because I followed the instructions precisously. The cooking level is not easy; do not get the heat up over medium at all at the frying stage or you will get burning.

    The person who devised the recipe should revise their instructions.

  47. Crystal says

    So. Freaking. GOOD! Made these last night and the kitchen still smells amazing.. The only thing I did differently was I used coconut oil instead of canola and I did not finish them in the oven but just fried them all the way. So crunchy and flavorful didn’t even need dipping sauce. Thanks!

  48. savvygal says

    Just had coconut chicken strips at a friend’s for Christmas dinner- served with a ‘hot’ mango chutney sauce! Couldn’t wait to explore recipes to find one- yours is the winning choice!! can’t wait to make these!! Yum!

  49. Abbey says

    I skip the frying all together and after the cooking time in the oven, I turn the broiler on and broil both sides for about 3 minutes per side.

  50. Shawna says

    these work great as a make ahead and freeze, too. I always do a big bunch, lay them flat on a parchment cookie sheet, and quick freeze to avoid a “coconut chicken brick” in the freezer. Even my “no meat” 3 year old will scarf these babies back!

  51. Heather Hirschman says

    These are delish. I didn’t dredge them in flour and I fried them in coconut oil. I made the strips really thin so they cooked very quickly. I served them on a bed of spicy mango and pineapple salsa. OH. MY. WORD!

  52. Stephanie Carson says

    This looks amazing! Can you please provide nutritional info for protein, carbs and fat and fiber? Thank you!

  53. says

    My bff turned me on to this recipe about a year ago, and also told me all about the awesome healthy recipes on your blog. Every so often I think hey, I should check out that blog and find something great to make for dinner.

    … or… I could just make coconut chicken again.

    and I do. I have used up two whole containers of panko making this recipe over and over… and over… thank you. thank you. omg, thank you.

  54. Carol Hansen says

    Hi Andie!

    You have been a busy girl! Congrats on your Dr. Oz spot…hope to get to see it!

    These tenders are sooooooooooo good! Awesome recipe and again, soooooooo easy! I love it! These will not only be a regular in my house but I will take these to a dinner party for sure!

    Tonight I am trying zoodles for the first time ever…making your Light and healthy peanut sauce and noodles which means a new kitchen gadget!!!! XOXOXOXO

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