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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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!
Please rate this recipe and tag @DinnerMom or #DinnerMom on social media. We love to see what you are cooking up!
Oven Baked Chicken Tenders with Coconut and Pecans
- 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
- 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 coated with non-stick cooking spray. Place the cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
Optional Orange Dipping Sauce
- Thoroughly combine marmalade, vinegar, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes (if using) in a container.