Oven Baked Chicken Tenders with Coconut and Pecans

You’ll go nuts over Oven Baked Chicken Tenders breaded in coconut, pecans and panko breadcrumbs.

Kids and adults alike loved this recipe at our Make Ahead Meal kitchen! And, for good reason.

Oven baked chicken tenders with coconut and pecan in a basket

 

Kids love the slightly sweet crunchy breading on the chicken tenders…and the orange dipping sauce.

Adults like it for the same reason plus:

  • This baked version is healthier than any fast-food nuggets you might pick up at a drive-through.
  • We added chia seeds to boost the nutritional benefits even more.
  • Using our perfected, no-mess breading process make preparation quick and easy.
  • Last but not least, it can be made ahead and frozen!

It’s popular at our house too! This coconut chicken tenders recipe and Paprika Parmesan Chicken Tenders, which uses the same streamlined prep process, are both part of our regular dinner rotation.

Oven Baked Chicken Tenders Tips

These are super easy to make and if you follow the tips and tricks below for no-fuss, no-muss preparation. The pictures show the process using 2 large plastic bags.

The process is the same using large containers with lids instead. See the process in action in the video for Parmesan Cauliflower Bites.

How to easily coat tenders in egg or egg-replacer

Place the chicken tenders in a plastic bag that seals or bowl with a lid. 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 instead of using egg, combine 1 Tablespoon of flax seed and 3 Tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes so it will gel.

Flaxseed Egg Replacer in a small bowl with spoon

How to easily bread pecan and coconut chicken tenders

Dump all of the breading ingredients – chopped pecans, shredded coconut, panko breadcrumbs and chia seeds –  into a clean plastic bag that seals and shake to combine.

(A second bowl is eliminated from clean-up and a mixing spoon too!)

Ingredients for Oven Baked Chicken Finger Breading in plastic bag

Transfer the chicken tenders 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. Do this in batches if necessary.

Chicken fingers coated with coconut, pecan, panko breading in plastic bag.

How to perfectly bake chicken tenders in the oven

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.

If you have excess breading, just press it on top of the chicken tenders before they go in the oven.

It takes about 25 minutes in an oven heated to 375 degrees F.

Pecan and Coconut Chicken Tenders on cooling rack on top of baking sheet

Orange Dipping Sauce for Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

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.

Or check out this Chick-Fil-A copycat sauce by Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

Oven baked chicken tender in orange dipping sauce

How to freeze coconut chicken tenders

Freeze chicken 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, carefully transfer breaded chicken tenders to a plastic bag once they are frozen through, if desired. Either way, if some breading comes off, fill in any open spots when you are ready to enjoy them.

Tasty chicken any time! You can even cook them frozen!

Oven Chicken Fingers with Coconut in basket

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5 from 3 votes
Oven baked chicken tenders with coconut and pecan in a basket
Oven Baked Chicken Tenders with Coconut and Pecans
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Oven baked chicken fingers are coated with pecans, coconut, panko breadcrumbs and chia seeds. Serve with zippy orange dipping sauce Tips for no-fuss preparation. Freezer-friendly too!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 253 kcal
Ingredients
Chicken Tenders
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1 egg lightly beaten or egg-replacer (1 Tablespoon flax seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons water; allow to sit for 5 minutes)
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup pecans finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
Optional Orange Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch red pepper flakes optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place chicken tenders and egg (or egg replacer) in gallon-size plastic bag, seal and turn to coat.
  3. Place the next four ingredients into a second gallon-sized plastic bag. Seal and shake to combine contents.
  4. 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.
  5. Place breaded chicken tenders on cookie cooling rack coated with non-stick cooking spray. Place the cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. 

  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
Optional Orange Dipping Sauce
  1. Thoroughly combine marmalade, vinegar, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes (if using) in a container.

Recipe Notes

To make ahead and freeze, prepare the chicken tenders, but don't cook them. Freeze in a single layer in a baking tin. Cover and store for up to 2 months for best results. These can be cooked from frozen, add about 5-7 minutes and check to be sure chicken is no longer pink.

Nutrition Facts
Oven Baked Chicken Tenders with Coconut and Pecans
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 253 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 93mg 31%
Sodium 178mg 7%
Potassium 506mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 1g
Protein 26g 52%
Vitamin A 1.3%
Vitamin C 1.8%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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Comments

  1. Love how healthy and easy and delicious these pieces of chicken look! great recipe 🙂

  2. ooh, these look delicious! I’m always keen to add Chia to more things, will give these a try.

  3. So I was skeptical of this as was my first time using chia seeds. It turned out incredibly delicious! I did the whole dredging stations thing to avoid using more plastic bags than I already do and I customized the sauce to what I had in my kitchen (homemade strawberry jam, hot pepper marmalade) and I cut the cook time by 10 minutes. I also ground up both the nuts and then the coconut to make em easier to bread. Anyway. .. the nuts tasted so decadent and the coconut added just the perfect sweetness. I will totally be making this again. Thank you!

  4. Nice recipe but I am very surprised to see all the suggested use of throw away plastic! This little recipe calls for two plastic bags that you throw out and plastic gloves. It’s not a big deal to wash bowls – 1 minute really.

  5. Thank you for the recipe, I’m going to try it this week. The printing option rocks!!

  6. The crispy coating is amazing! These, yummy, healthier chicken tenders will be on our menu a lot!

  7. Definitely want to add this to my meal plan – looks so yummy!

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