Chicken pieces are coated in a mixture of coconut and breadcrumbs for the ultimate crunchy chicken tender. Serve these crispy coconut chicken tenders with my 3-ingredient dipping sauce for a fun and tasty meal!
Is anyone else in complete disbelief that Thanksgiving is next week? Seriously, wasn’t it just Labor Day? I have a few fun Thanksgiving recipes coming up this week, but first I just had to share these crispy coconut crusted chicken tenders!
Thanksgiving is such a busy time – planning a menu, multiple grocery store trips, and plenty of time spent in the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I forget that I have to eat during all of that!
Not only are these chicken tenders easy to make, but you can make a few batches and freeze them. That means you’ll always have a meal at the ready when things get hectic.
When Kyle heard that we were having coconut crusted chicken tenders for dinner the other night he was not enthused. He figured they wouldn’t be very good because of the coconut. I filled up his plate and he said “I’ll never eat all of those!”.
We sat down to eat and as I’m thoroughly enjoying my chicken tenders and chatting away, Kyle is shoveling them into his mouth! We each had around 5 or 6 pieces – he ate his whole plate in the time it took me to eat 2. So much for not being able to eat them all ?.
The process of making these tenders is easy. Simply bread the chicken pieces by dipping in flour (I used tapioca), then egg, and then a mixture of gluten-free breadcrumbs and finely shredded coconut. I use unsweetened coconut – I’m sure you can use sweetened coconut, but be careful when you’re browning the tenders. The sugar content in sweetened coconut will burn very easily if the heat is too high.
Once you have all of the chicken pieces breaded, fry them in a little bit of coconut oil until golden brown. Then, transfer them to a baking sheet that’s topped with a cooling rack – this helps keep them crispy while they finish cooking in the oven.
If you’d like to freeze some, let the chicken cool completely after the browning step and then lay them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Place the pan into your freezer and once they are frozen solid you can pop the chicken tenders in freezer bags.
It’s SO easy to make and goes perfectly with the coconut chicken tenders! It’s only 3 ingredients: crushed pineapple, orange juice, and chili paste. You can make it as mild or as spicy as you like – I used a teaspoon of the chili paste and we found it to be the perfect amount of heat. If you like things mild, cut the chili paste in half and then taste it – you can always add more. If you’re serving these to kids you can leave the chili paste out all together for just a sweet sauce, or use whatever their favorite dipping sauce is.
I highly recommend making a few batches of these. I promise you, they will disappear right before your eyes!
- 1 (8 oz.) Can Crushed Pineapple
- 1 Orange, juiced
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Paste, or less if you want it mild
- ¾ Cup Tapioca Flour*
- 2 Eggs, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons of water
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Cup Finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
- 1 Cup Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs*
- 2 Chicken Breasts, cut into thin strips
- Coconut Oil, for frying
- Combine the crushed pineapple, orange juice, and chili paste in the bowl of a mini food processor. Give it a few pulses until the mixture is mostly smooth. Transfer the sauce to a small pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
- Preheat the oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a cooling rack on top. Set aside.
- Lay out 3 shallow dishes on a work surface. Place the tapioca flour in one, the eggs in another, and the coconut/breadcrumbs in another. Season each one generously with salt and pepper. Make sure the coconut and breadcrumbs are mixed well.
- Take a chicken strip and coat in the tapioca flour and shake off any excess. Then, dip it into the egg making sure it’s fully coated and allowing any excess to drip off before placing it into the coconut/breadcrumb mixture. Pack on the breading, shake off any excess and then transfer the chicken onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
- Heat about 2 tablespoons in a large skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in a few chicken strips making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer the browned chicken pieces to the rack on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the chicken, adding more oil to the pan if needed.
- Bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce.
- *I like to use tapioca flour, but you can use your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour. If you don't need gluten-free you can use regular flour.
- *If you're not guten-free, you can use regular breadcrumbs or panko.