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Change up a family favorite with these delicious and simple Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders. Flavor boosted with peanut butter too, they’re pan fried, making them extra crispy and are ready in under 30 minutes!
What Makes This Recipe Special
My family loves chicken tenders and I love that they’re also so easy to make. I can make these Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders in under thirty minutes which makes them perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.
I like to experiment with different flavor combinations and that’s when I came up with this variation.
Since our family loves all different kinds of food, I was inspired to try this combination with coconut milk and creamy peanut butter, which is often featured in Asian cuisine, especially Thai.
My husband is not a big fan of shredded coconut but does like the flavor, so making this chicken with coconut milk to this recipe boosts the flavor just enough to make these a hit.
Coconut milk and peanut butter chicken is a unique and delicious flavor flair!
What Ingredients Are Needed for This Recipe?
I love that these crispy coconut chicken tenders only have a few simple ingredients and are much better tasting and better for you than the store-bought frozen variety! They’re all found in the regular grocery store but a few may be new to you.
Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko is different from other breadcrumbs in that it is a flaky breadcrumb made from white bread (vs. whole wheat). It is often used in Asian recipes but it can easily be found in your grocery store near the other breadcrumbs.
Light Coconut Milk: You can find this in the Asian food section of most large grocery stores or in specialty Asian markets if you have one near you.
Chicken Breast Tenders: Did you know chicken tenders are actually a separate part of the chicken that is next to the chicken breast? I didn’t know this for the longest time and thought I could just substitute boneless chicken breasts that I cut up instead of using tenders.
But sometimes if you cut the chicken breasts without being mindful of the grain, the chicken can come out tough when you cook it. Chicken tenders are just that–a more tender part of the chicken.
Preparation Pro Tips
I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to make preparing chicken strips even easier.
I like to use a pie plate or flat bowl to make dipping the chicken tenders in flat bowls. Pie plates work great! This makes it simple to dip from one to the other.
In a flat bowl or pie plate, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, egg white and water (1) and whisk together until blended (2).
Sometimes I like to whisk everything in a small bowl first because the ingredients just seem to blend together more easily.
I combine the Panko breadcrumbs and salt in another dish.
I also use a small whisk (affiliate link). I use this small one ALL THE TIME! It’s a must have in my kitchen for sure. I feel like I have more control and things blend together more quickly.
Next, dip a chicken tender in the liquid mixture, coating all sides and then in the breadcrumb mixture (3).
Drizzle some olive oil into a saute pan and heat over medium heat, about 2-3 minutes. You don’t want the olive oil to burn.
I like these non-stick pans (affiliate link) that I got at Costco few years ago. They really are so versatile and perfect for using with this recipe.
Add the coated chicken tenders to the saute pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes one side (4). Then flip the tender to the other side so that it can get crispy on both sides (5). About 5-6 minutes or until temperature reaches 165°F in center part of chicken tender.
Pan frying the coated strips only takes a few minutes on each side–so easy! I like to pair them with some roasted broccoli for a delicious dinner.
Make Ahead Tips
Prep Ingredients The Day Before
There are a few ways to prep these coconut crusted chicken tenders ahead to save you time come dinnertime.
First combine the panko breadcrumbs and salt and store in an airtight food storage container or bag. Then combine the liquid/wet ingredients (minus the chicken) in a separate container or bag.
You can do this up to a day ahead of time and store the wet ingredients in the refrigerator.
Then when it’s time to prepare the recipe, empty dry ingredients into one dish and the wet ingredients into another dish. Then all you need to do is dip the chicken tenders in each and pan fry according to the instructions.
Freezer Friendly Tips
Follow the instructions above to prep the dry and wet ingredients separately and store in a labeled freezer safe container or bag.
Add the plain chicken tenders to a separate bag and then store all the smaller bags in a large bag to make a “meal kit”.
Be sure to label and date the bags before putting them in the freezer. Your meal kit can stay in the freezer up to three months.
I’ve recently started using reusable storage bags (affiliate link) and I love them! They are dishwasher safe so easy to clean and reuse. I’ve also been using reusable freezer labels (affiliate link) for years. They are just the best! They stay on food storage containers really well and can be erased and used over and over again.
When you’re ready to make these chicken tenders, pull out the meal kit the day before and thaw it in the refrigerator (best for safe food prep). Then proceed as per the instructions. Easy!
What to Serve With The Chicken Tenders
Depending on our mood, I change up our sides to go along with these coconut crusted chicken tenders. Sometimes, I’ll just add a side like Simple Stovetop Wild Rice Pilaf and an easy, healthy vegetable side dish, and we’re good to go.
In keeping with the Asian inspired theme, this Jicama Avocado Salad is delicious paired together. If you like, you can leave out the crab to keep it simple.
Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders
- 1 ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ C light coconut milk
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ½ pounds chicken tenders
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or use your favorite type of cooking oil
- In shallow dish, combine Panko and salt and set aside.
- In small bowl, combine coconut milk and peanut butter. Whisk together until blended and smooth.
- Add egg whites and water and whisk into peanut butter & coconut milk mixture. Pour into another shallow bowl (I use a pie dish).
- Dip each tender first in peanut butter mixture then roll in Panko mixture. You may need to press the breadcrumbs into the chicken to make sure they stick.
- Heat olive or coconut oil in a medium sized non-stick saute pan.
- Place each tender in heated oil and pan fry until golden and crispy, about 5-6 minutes on each side.