Easy Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders are crispy and delicious! They come together easily and taste great dipped into a simple sriracha dipping sauce. Try them baked or cook them in the air fryer too.
Crispy chicken tenders are the perfect appetizer or dinner. They are crispy, crunchy and perfect for kids and adults. Adding coconut makes them even more crispy and flavorful. Even picky kids will love them.
You can bake or air fry these chicken tenders. It’s much healthier and easier than deep frying. Either way, they are delicious!
Ingredients You Need
You will need a few basic ingredients for the chicken. We love serving them with the simple honey sriracha sauce. The sauce is optional but highly recommended.
- Chicken tenders
- Wet ingredients – Buttermilk, sriracha, eggs. You can substitute the buttermilk with whole milk.
- Dry ingredients – Flour, garlic powder, paprika, bread crumbs, coconut, salt and pepper. You can use gluten free flour and breadcrumbs to make these gluten free.
- Ingredients for dipping sauce (optional) – Greek yogurt, sriracha and honey.
Steps to Make Coconut Chicken Tenders
These coconut chicken tenders come together in a few easy steps. For the most flavor, we recommend marinating the chicken overnight. If you’re looking to cut down on time, you can marinate them for 15 to 30 minutes before coating and baking.
- Make the marinade. Whisk together the buttermilk and sriracha in a large bowl.
- Marinate the chicken tenders. Submerge the chicken tenders in the marinade and then allow them to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can cut the marinating time down to 15 or 30 minutes, but a longer marinade time yields the best flavor.
- Coat the chicken tenders. To do this, prepare three separate shallow bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. In the second bowl whisk together the eggs. For the third bowl, combine the bread crumbs and coconut. Remove the tenders from the marinade and dip into each bowl – flour mixture, then eggs, then panko mixture – coating well and shaking off the excess.
- Bake until golden brown and crispy.
- Marinate. If you are short on time, you can cut the marinating time down to 15 or 30 minutes. However, it’s recommended to prep these the night before and let them marinate overnight for the best flavor.
- Clean hands: Use tongs to transfer the chicken from the marinade to the flour mixture to the egg mixture, etc. This helps keeps your hands clean.
- Serve them with dipping sauce. You can also purchase a store-bought sweet chili dipping sauce for serving. Honey mustard is another great option.
TIP TO AIR FRY: Instead of baking in the oven, place the tenders in an even layer in your air fryer. You may need to cook in multiple batches to fit all of them. Air fry at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Flip, then cook 8 minutes more until crispy.
You will see crispy golden brown coconut chicken tenders when you pull them out of the oven. These tenders are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside to yield a tasty appetizer or dinner.
Serve them with dipping sauce and a simple side dish to create a delicious meal.
What to Serve with Chicken Tenders
- Garden Salad
- Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
- Braised Red Potatoes
- Grilled Asparagus
- Carrot Fries
- Sweet Potato Fries
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Baked Coconut Chicken Tenders
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup sriracha
- 2 pounds chicken tenders
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
For the dipping sauce:
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sriracha sauce
- In a large bowl combine buttermilk and Sriracha. Add chicken tenders. Make sure tenders are fully submerged in buttermilk mixture. Allow to marinade in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a cooling rack.
- In a medium shallow dish combine all-purpose flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. In a second shallow dish whisk together eggs. In a third shallow dish combine panko bread crumbs and coconut.
- One at a time remove chicken tenders from buttermilk marinade. Shake or scrape off excess liquid. Dip each tender first into flour mixture, coating both sides. Shake off excess. Then dip in eggs. Shake off excess. Finally dip in panko mixture ensuring both sides are fully coated. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining tenders.
- Bake for 8 minutes, carefully flip each tender, then bake 8 to 10 minutes more until golden brown and cooked through. Serve immediately.
To make the dipping sauce (optional):
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are larger than standard breadcrumbs so they create a crispier coating. You can substitute with standard breadcrumbs or gluten free breadcrumbs, if needed.
- Sriracha: If you don’t like hot sauce, you can omit.
- Flour: You can substitute with gluten free flour to make them gluten free.
- Shredded coconut: You can substitute with unsweetened coconut flakes. The unsweetened coconut flakes will add crunch but will not sweeten the chicken.
TO COOK IN THE AIR FRYER: To air fry, follow steps 1-5. Place tenders in an even layer in your air fryer (you may need to cook in multiple batches) Air fry at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes, flip, then cook 8 minutes more until crispy.