Here’s a lighter way to enjoy your favorite chicken fingers! These baked coconut crusted chicken tenders are kid friendly and only 254 calories per serving!
I am over the moon with coconut. Head over heels, batting my eyelashes, can’t get enough, wish it would call me more often, think the sun rises and sets by…coconut.
So, as you might imagine, toasted coconut takes my love to the tenth power, multiplied by infinity. Alarming levels of love and dependency are reached. The normally tender, chewy flakes become a bit crunchy…crumbly even. The sweetness turns richer, nuttier.
Enter coconut crusted chicken tenders. And exit all sensibilities.
There’s loveliness about traditional chicken tenders, chicken fingers, whatever you fondly call moist strips of chicken fried ’til golden. In fact, they’re some of life’s simple pleasures. They feel indulgent, satisfying, fun in that pick-upable way. Tossing and toasting them with flakes of coconut just makes them that much better.
Baked Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders
I’m so pleased with how well these turned out. Because while I expected to like them purely based on ingredients used and the general enjoyment I get from making bar food healthier, I didn’t realize they’d have such a unique depth of flavor. I expected, well, simple coconut flavor. What I got was nuttier, more salty caramel flavor.
Fellow coconut lovers, you’re welcome.
First, I lightly fried them in a pan for 3 minutes on each side, just so they’d develop that golden crust, and then I finished cooking them in the oven. I love this fry-bake method because it uses less oil to get the tenders cooked through, but still produces that delicious crunchy coating. It’s the same way I make buffalo chicken tenders, which are equally as tasty.