Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders are moist and tender chicken, surrounded by a crispy sweet shell, and then dipped into a tangy sauce. They’re completely delicious, so easy to make, and freeze well for an easy future meal, too!
Coconut Baked Chicken Tenders Recipe
With a few simple seasonings, a sweet crunchy coating, and a tangy dipping sauce, these baked coconut chicken tenders are a delicious and easy way to cook chicken. The exterior has a subtle crunch, while the inside is tender and juicy. Since they’re made with tenders and not full chicken breasts, they also cook up fast for a quick, satisfying meal.
You only need a few simple pantry ingredients for these baked chicken tenders.
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions.)
- Chicken tenders – Make sure you purchase chicken tenders/chicken strips and not whole chicken breasts. Chicken tenders are smaller and thinner.
- Sweetened coconut flakes – Instead of traditional breadcrumbs, these chicken tenders have an outer coating of sweetened coconut flakes. So good!
- Seasonings – Garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
- All purpose flour – The chicken is dredged in flour and the seasonings, which helps seal in moisture.
- Egg & Milk – The chicken is dredged in combined beaten egg and a splash of milk, which acts as a “glue” to attach all of the coconut flakes.
- Unsalted butter – Melted and drizzled over the exterior before being baked so the coconut flakes get golden and crisp.
- Dipping sauce – A mixture of sweet apricot jam and tart Dijon mustard provide the best dipping sauce for these coconut chicken tenders.
How to Bake Chicken Tenders
- Trim and pat dry. If the chicken tenderloins have any excess fat, carefully trim it off. Pat dry.
- Dredge in flour and seasonings. Whisk together flour with the seasonings and dredge the chicken tenders in the mixture.
- Dip in egg and milk. Beat together the egg and milk, then dip the flour coated tenders in it, letting any excess drip off.
- Coat in coconut flakes. Finally, coat the chicken with the coconut, pressing down so the flakes adhere.
- Drizzle with butter. Transfer all chicken pieces to parchment lined baking sheets and drizzle the tops with melted butter.
- Bake. Bake the tenders until the chicken registers 165 degrees, flipping halfway through cooking time.
- Serve with dipping sauce. Combine apricot preserves with Dijon mustard and serve with the baked chicken.
How long to bake chicken tenders?
These oven baked chicken tenders cook at 400 degrees F for about 22 minutes, gently flipping halfway through. They’re done when an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached. The exact amount of time it takes to cook will depend on the thickness of the tenders as well as your oven.
Recipe Tips for the Best Chicken Tenders
- Pat dry. Make sure your chicken is dry before dredging in the flour or it will turn into a gloppy mess.
- Press. Gently press the tenders into the coconut flakes, so the coating adheres.
- Don’t overcrowd. To ensure even cooking, there needs to be proper air flow, which means the chicken pieces should not be overlapping or touching at all.
- Don’t overcook. Nobody wants dry chicken. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness, which is an internal temp of 165 degrees F.
- Tent with foil, if necessary. At the halfway point of baking, if you notice the coconut is browning too quickly, loosely tent with some foil.
What to Serve with Coconut Chicken Tenders
A tangy sauce of apricot jam and mustard pairs wonderfully with the sweet coconut! These are also delicious dipped in sweet chili sauce or chick-fil-a sauce. For lunch, they go great with French fries, onion rings, or air fryer pineapple on the side. For a filling dinner, consider serving them with a simple side salad, pineapple cucumber salad, and/or coconut rice.
Proper Storage and Reheating
- Refrigerator. Any cooked leftover chicken tenders should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep up to 3 days.
- Freezer. To freeze cooked chicken tenders, allow them to cool completely, then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and transfer to the freezer until solid, about 3 hours (this will prevent sticking together.) Then transfer them to a freezer-safe ziploc bag and freeze completely. They will keep for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheat. To crisp leftovers up again, have them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Or in your air fryer at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. You can also reheat them in the microwave, though they won’t have that crispy outer texture.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Baked Chicken Breast
- Crockpot BBQ Chicken
- Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing
- Salsa Verde Chicken
- Chicken Alfredo
Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large egg
- splash of milk
- 2 & 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 & 3/4 pounds chicken tenders , patted dry (see note)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter ,melted
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- In a second medium bowl, beat together the egg and milk.
- Put the coconut flakes in a third shallow bowl.
- Dredge each chicken tender in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg (letting any excess drip off), then coat with the coconut mixture, pressing down so the flakes stick. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat this process with all the chicken tenders.
- After all chicken pieces are coated and on the baking sheet, drizzle them with the melted butter.
- Bake for about 22 minutes (or until the chicken registers 165 degrees), flipping halfway through cooking time. (At the halfway point, if the coconut is browning too quickly, tent with foil.)
- While chicken cooks, prepare the apricot sauce by mixing the preserves with the mustard in a small bowl. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Serve chicken with the dipping sauce and enjoy!