Have you ever fallen into the trap of making one meal for the little ones at the table and another entrée for the adults? You won’t need to do that when you serve these Baked Chicken Tenders with a nutty breading. Kids will love the slightly sweet crunchy breading on the chicken tenders. Adults will enjoy the sophisticated combination of panko breadcrumbs, pecans and coconut shreds. Shhh…there’s no need to tell anyone that you’ve cleverly mixed in some chia seeds to boost the nutritional benefits.
How do I know this will be a family favorite? The customers at our meal assembly store frequently told us so! They are popular at our house too.
Aren’t they gorgeous! And, they’re pretty healthy too!
As for the orange dipping sauce. Everyone will like this sweet zippy concoction that you can make in minutes.
These are super easy to make and if you follow the tips and tricks below for no-fuss, no-muss preparation, you’ll never want to buy them at the drive-through again!
Nutty Baked Chicken Tenders Step-by-Step
Place the chicken tenders in a plastic bag that seals and add the egg or egg-replacer mixture (see below) to the bag, seal and turn to coat. No messy bowl to clean!
To make a sticky flaxseed coating (which makes these baked chicken tenders even healthier) combine 1 Tablespoon of flaxseed and 3 Tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes so it will gel.
Dump all of the breading ingredients – chopped pecans, shredded coconut, panko breadcrumbs and chia seeds – into another plastic bag that seals and shake to combine. (A second bowl is eliminated from clean-up and a mixing spoon too!)
Where do you find chia seeds? We use Nature’s Earthly Choice chia seeds and flaxseed which can be found in health food stores and some grocery stores.
Transfer the chicken tenders (using disposable plastic gloves if you have them) to the breading bag, seal and shake. You know you want to say it…Shake and Bake!
This is a quick and easy process to coat the tenders with breading. If you use gloves, you’ll never even have to touch the raw chicken. If you have excess breading, just press it on top of the chicken tenders.
Bake the chicken tenders on a cookie cooling rack coated with cooking spray that is placed on top of a baking sheet. Thank Rachel Ray for this tip. It really does keep the bottom of the chicken tenders from getting soggy.
It takes about 25 minutes in an oven heated to 375 degrees F.
A dipping sauce is always a good idea. This quick combination of orange marmalade, seasoned rice vinegar, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes is a perfect complement to the nutty baked chicken tenders.
You can freeze tenders that have been breaded, but not cooked, in a single layer in a baking tin. Cover and store for up to 2 months for best results. Or, transfer the breaded chicken to a plastic bag once they are frozen through, if desired. Tasty chicken any time! You can even cook them frozen.
- 2 pounds chicken tenders
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten or egg-replacer (1 Tablespoon flax seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons water; allow to sit for 5 minutes)
- ⅔ cup coconut flakes, sweetened
- ⅔ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ cup orange marmalade
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place chicken tenders and egg (or egg replacer) in gallon-size plastic bag, seal and turn to coat.
- Place the next four ingredients into a second gallon-sized plastic bag. Seal and shake to combine contents.
- Lift the chicken tenders into the bag with the breading ingredients. Seal tightly and shake to coat tenders with the breading mixture. You can do this in batches or all at once.
- Place breaded chicken tenders on cookie cooling rack that has been placed on top of a baking sheet. Coat the cookie rack with cooking spray.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
- Thoroughly combine the marmalade, vinegar, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes (if using) in a container.
- Serve chicken tenders with dipping sauce on the side.