Nutty Baked Chicken Tenders and Orange Dipping Sauce

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.

Nutty Baked Chicken Tenders
Aren’t they gorgeous! And, they’re pretty healthy too!

Easy Baked Chicken Fingers

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!

Flaxseed Egg Replacer

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.

Ingredients for Nutty Chicken Finger Breading

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.

Easy Method to Bread Chicken Tenders

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.

Baking 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.

Orange Dipping Sauce

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.

Nutty Chicken Tenders with Orange Dipping Sauce
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.

5 from 1 vote
Nutty Baked Chicken Tenders and Orange Dipping Sauce
Nutty Baked Chicken Tenders and Orange Dipping Sauce
Nutty baked chicken fingers are coated with pecans, coconut, panko breadcrumbs and chia seeds. Serve with zippy orange dipping suace Tips for no-fuss preparation. Freezer-friendly too!
Servings: 8
Calories: 304 kcal
Nutty 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 sweetened
  • 2/3 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup pecans finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
Orange Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch red pepper flakes optional
  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 that has been placed on top of a baking sheet. Coat the cookie rack with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  7. Thoroughly combine the marmalade, vinegar, Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes (if using) in a container.
  8. Serve chicken tenders with dipping sauce on the side.
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
Nutty Baked Chicken Tenders and Orange Dipping Sauce
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 304 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 93mg 31%
Sodium 197mg 8%
Potassium 514mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 13g
Protein 26g 52%
Vitamin A 1.5%
Vitamin C 2.9%
Calcium 4.1%
Iron 7.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Coconut Pecan Baked Chicken Fingers Recipe






  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!!

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