Recipe: Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders
I love chicken tenders! They always sound so good to me and remind me of my childhood when eating them. Now, as an adult, one of my problems with chicken tenders is that they just really aren’t that good for you. Breaded and deep-fried foods are something I really try to eat in moderation- and at this point, I won’t go anywhere near the frozen tenders from the grocery store.
This take on chicken tenders uses coconut to give it a sweet element and unique flavor, and also is baked in the oven to avoid frying in oil. It is a really fast dinner that can be ready in less than 20 minutes, but kids would also enjoy them! They are a bit more light than the chicken tenders that you may be used to, but they are still crispy and delicious.
A quick note on the dipping sauce- it is very delicious, but it is a salty sauce! Soy sauce is just a salty ingredient; if you would like to cut out some of the salt, use a low sodium soy sauce instead but even then, the sauce is intended to be used sparingly as a dip or a light drizzle rather than a topping.
Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders
Time: 20 minutes
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
¾ cup coconut flakes (or, if you have coconut flakes just chop it up fine)
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup + 1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
½ tsp orange zest
1 tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a bowl, mix panko breadcrumbs, coconut, salt, and pepper.
- In a second bowl, beat the two eggs together (as you would for scrambled eggs).
- Prepare the chicken: cut the chicken breasts into small tenders- for me, each boneless skinless breast was cut into pieces.
- Take a sheet pan and place a wire baking rack on top. (I actually didn’t have a wire baking rack, but instead used a grill basket turned upside down- it worked just fine!)
- Bread the chicken as follows: dip chicken tender into egg, then dip into the coconut/panko mixture. Make sure it is completely covered, then place on the wire baking rack.
- Once all the chicken pieces are breaded, put in the oven for 12-18 minutes, really depending on the size of your chicken pieces (the larger the pieces, the longer the time). I had mine in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- While chicken is in the oven, making the dipping sauce: in a small bowl, create a slurry by combining the 1 tbsp soy sauce and the cornstarch and set aside. In a small nonstick pot, combine the ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup brown sugar, cornstarch slurry, and orange juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from heat and stir in the orange zest (the mixture should be thick at this point).
- To serve, either drizzle a SMALL amount of sauce on the chicken or provide it as a dipping sauce!