Coconut Chicken Tenders

These coconut chicken tenders make for an amazing weeknight dinner that can’t be beat! With an almond flour coconut crust and a sticky apricot dipping sauce, they’re baked in the oven for a healthy meal. Gluten free and dairy free. 

Three Coconut Chicken Tenders on a white plate with dipping sauce.

These coconut chicken tenders were originally posted in April 2012. The post has been updated as of September 24, 2019 with new photos, text and a revamped recipe.

Are you ready for a quick and easy weeknight dinner idea? One that takes 30 minutes to make and couldn’t be simpler to whip up?

Well then allow me to introduce you to these baked coconut chicken tenders! 

Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, they make for one heck of a delicious meal.

We start with a crust made with some almond flour and plenty of unsweetened shredded coconut. Which crisps up just enough in the oven to make these bad boys taste like somethin’ special. 

And then, then we have an apricot dipping sauce. With just a handful of ingredients required, it’s well worth the two minutes it takes to mix together. Sweet, sticky and the perfect option for dunking our delectable crispy chicken.

So, ready to head into the kitchen and get dinner on the table? Let’s do this!

Three bowls with ingredients for Coconut Crusted Chicken and then uncooked tenders on a baking sheet.

How To Make Coconut Chicken Tenders

Prep the chicken. We’ll start by pounding our chicken breasts to an equal thickness and then slicing them into strips.

Coat the chicken. Next, we’ll dredge those strips in some almond flour, dunk them in an egg / milk mixture and then press into some shredded coconut tossed with a few seasonings.

Bake until golden. The tenders get placed on a prepared baking sheet and are then popped in the oven for about 15 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. 

Mix up the sauce. And finally, while the chicken cools down, we’ll quickly mix together some apricot preserves, dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar for dunking.

And then … I dip, we dip, you dip! <— Name that song. 

Several Coconut Chicken Strips on a baking sheet.

What To Serve With Coconut Chicken Strips

Now, while you can serve this chicken with just about anything, here are a few ideas to get you started:

How To Store

Fridge: Add the chicken (let it cool to room temp first) and sauce to separate airtight containers then place in the fridge. The chicken will keep for 4 days and the sauce will keep for even longer.

NOTE – the coconut crust on the chicken will soften in the fridge. So leftovers will NOT be crispy but the flavor is still delicious!

Freezer: While I haven’t tested it myself, these should freeze well. Place the coated but uncooked chicken tenders on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Then add to a baggie or airtight container. 

Bake them straight from the freezer when ready to enjoy, adding about 5 or so minutes to the cook time (just keep an eye on them the first time you do this). 

Three pieces of Baked Coconut Chicken on a white plate with dipping sauce.

Tips & Tricks For This Coconut Crusted Chicken

  1. As noted in the recipe, I highly encourage you to use a cooling rack set inside a baking sheet for cooking these in the oven. This allows the air to circulate around the chicken and helps them crisp up.
  2. HOWEVER. If you don’t have an oven-safe cooling rack, you can cook the chicken tenders on a parchment lined baking sheet. It will still be delicious. 
  3. This chicken is best served right away for maximum crispiness (but please make sure it’s not too hot for you to handle!).
  4. If you want extra crispy chicken, you can try broiling the tenders for the last minute or so of the cook time.
  5. An instant read thermometer is your best friend when cooking meat. I definitely recommend using one so that you can cook to temperature without the guesswork (and not over or under cook the meat). 
  6. And finally, while I haven’t tested it myself, I think these chicken tenders would work well in an air fryer.

Let’s Talk Substitutions

  • You can absolutely use any milk of choice instead of the almond milk.
  • You can also use a different type of flour – all purpose, whole wheat, oat flour – pretty much anything will do.
  • Pre-cut chicken tenders can be used instead of the whole chicken breasts. Just keep an eye on them while baking as they may cook quicker depending on their size. 

Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders on a plate with one dunked in sauce.

Additional Dinner Recipes You Might Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.

Coconut Chicken Tenders

Coconut Chicken Tenders

Yield: about 4 to 5 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

These coconut chicken tenders make for an amazing weeknight dinner that can’t be beat! With an almond flour coconut crust and a sticky apricot dipping sauce, they’re baked in the oven for a healthy meal. Gluten free and dairy free. 

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened plain almond milk 
  • 1 ¼ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper 
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the dipping sauce:

  • ¼ cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions

For the chicken:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Set an oven-safe cooling rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Mist with nonstick or olive oil spray, then set aside.
  2. Lightly pound the chicken breasts so that they are about ¾ inch in thickness, then slice each into 1-inch thick strips. 
  3. Add the almond flour to a small bowl. In another small bowl, beat together the egg and milk. In a shallow dish, mix together the coconut, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Working one or two strips at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, then dunk in the milk mixture and shake off the excess. Dredge / press in the coconut mixture, using your fingers to press the coating onto the chicken. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all the chicken strips, leaving room between each on the sheet. Once all the strips are on the baking sheet, mist the tops lightly with nonstick spray.
  5. Bake for about 13 to 16 minutes, flipping the chicken once halfway through, until the chicken is cooked through (to 165ºF) and the coating is browned.

For the dipping sauce:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl until combined. Serve with the chicken on the side for dipping!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412 Total Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 114mg Sodium: 389mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 9g Protein: 34g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.