August 30, 2018



What's not to love about Coconut Chicken Tenders with Sweet and Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce? These tenders chicken are covered in a crunchy coconut and panko coating. They are easy to make and delicious to eat!

For a fun appetizer spread, serve with my Fried Hot Stuffed Cherry Peppers or Shrimp Wonton Chips!

Coconut Chicken Tenders With  Sweet and Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce
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Hi friends! It is a little sad to see summer slowly slip away. School just started for many children this week, and daylight hours have already dwindled little by little. I'm already missing those precious minutes of daylight.

One thing that I'm happy about is the approaching end of watering season. I love having flowers in the yard but the hours of standing around watering is wearing on me. There are other things I would rather be doing with those 60 minutes each day. I'll be happy to reclaim those hours!

Now, let me tell you about these chicken tenders. They are tender with a crispy coating of sweetened coconut flakes and panko crumbs. They are served with a dipping sauce made with mango nectar, honey, Sriracha, fish sauce, and thickened with a little cornstarch.Yum!

The chicken tenders are great as an appetizer, and they are perfect game day food. They make one heck of a good lunch or dinner too! Serve with a side of greens and pasta, potatoes, or fries, and you've got yourself a fine meal!

Recipe Highlights:

  • For baked chicken tenders, start by toasting coconut flakes in a 325° F oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside. No need to pre-bake the coconut flakes if frying.
  • Combine seasoning mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  • In a wide shallow bowl, beat eggs, milk, and 1/3 of the seasoning mixture.
  • Combine flour and the remaining seasoning mixture in a second shallow bowl.
  • Combine coconut and panko crumbs in a third shallow bowl.
  • Dip each chicken tender in flour mixture, then egg mixture, then coconut/panko mixture.

  • Allow to rest for 30 minutes for coating to adhere.
  • Fry in 360° F oil for 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Or bake at 400° F for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • For the dipping sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small pan. Bring to a boil until thicken, whisking frequently. 
  • See recipe card for detailed instructions.

Coconut Chicken Tenders With  Sweet and Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce

Why pre-toast the coconut if I'm baking the tenders?
For this recipe, I provided instructions for frying and baking. If you choose to bake, I highly suggest you toast the coconut prior to breading the chicken. This is a little trick I picked up from the talented Nagi from RecipeTin Eats. If the coconut is not pre-toasted, the coating will not have that nice golden color or the crispiness once baked. Pre-toasting is worth taking the extra few minutes.

How to pre-toast the coconut flakes?
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place the coconut in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, stirring halfway through. Keep a close eye on it at this point as the coconut can go from pale to too brown within seconds.



Coconut Chicken Tenders With  Sweet and Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce

2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
2 pounds chicken tenders
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup panko crumbs
Oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:
1 cup mango nectar (affiliate link)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon fish sauce (affiliate link)
2 teaspoons honey
red pepper flakes for garnishing, optional


If baking instead of frying chicken tenders, the coconut need to be toasted. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place coconut in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, stirring halfway. Keep a close eye on coconut after the halfway point as it goes from light to toasted within seconds. Remove and stir. Allow to cool. If frying, do not pre-toast coconut.

In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder. This is the seasoning mixture. Set aside.

Add eggs, milk, and 1/3 of the seasoning mixture into a wide shallow bowl. Beat eggs. Set aside.

Add flour and the remaining seasoning mixture into second wide shallow bowl. Mix to combine.

In a third wide shallow bowl combine coconut and panko crumbs.

To coat chicken: Dip chicken into the flour mixture to coat. Shake off excess. Dip into egg mixture. Allow excess to drip off. Dip into the coconut/panko mixture, patting coconut onto chicken. Place onto a baking sheet. Continue coating the remaining chicken. Allow tenders to rest about 30 minutes to allow time for the coating to stick.

Make sauce: a small saucepan, off heat, whisk mango nectar and cornstarch until there are no lumps. Whisk in the remaining dipping sauce ingredients. Place on medium high heat, whisking frequently. When sauce begins to bubble, whisk constantly until thicken. Remove from heat. Garnish with red pepper flakes just before serving, optional.

If frying, preheat 1 1/2 to 2 inch oil to 360 degrees F in a skillet. Working in batches, add chicken. Fry for 5-8 minutes or until cooked through, turning over halfway. Cooking time varies with size of tenders and fluctuating heat. Place on cooling rack.

If baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. 

Serve with dipping sauce. Makes about 14 chicken tenders.

Recipe Notes:
  • To help breading stick, shake off excess flour and egg wash while coating tenders.
  • To prevent coating from falling off during baking or frying, allow tenders to rest about 30 minutes after breading to give it time to stick prior to cooking.

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  1. That mango dipping sauce sounds awesome Thao! I love this recipe - the crispy coconut coated chicken is just droolworthy. I wish I had them right now.

    1. They are really good, Danielle! I wish I could give you some right now!!

  2. I've been meaning to make similar chicken tenders for ages, but I have to drive a long way to get the panko and I never seem to have the time for it... But it has to happen soon, your chicken tenders make me drool.

    1. I hope you'll get to stock up on it. Panko crumbs add such a nice crunch. I'm happy to hear I made you drool!!

  3. This does look like a perfect game day recipe! And I'm with you on missing the long days. Even though I love all the seasons, it feels like summer went too fast!

    1. These do make game days better! When it comes to the daylight hours, I'm not looking forward to the many months of extended darkness :(

  4. Hmmm. Should I admit that I don't water? I never think of it! It's probably why I suck at growing things. :) However I'm great at cooking and I can't wait to try your coconut chicken tenders. And the mango sauce too. Yum.

    1. Haahaa! There is no shame is not loving to water! I second the motion: you are awesome at cooking! Our next day neighbors are busy bees who are always working in their yard, so I think it gives me incentive to do a little bit of gardening. Watering is such a chore :(

  5. Delicious! I used the Outback copycat coconut shrimp sauce, orange marmalade, stone ground mustard, and horseradish! Great recipe, thanks so much!

    1. I'm so glad it you liked it! Your sauce sounds amazing!! I need to give it a try! :)

  6. Having a little trouble in following this recipe, which should be very easy? My question, where do the Panko crumbs come into the recipe, and where are "seasoning ingredients" mentioned???


    1. Thank you for pointing this out! It should be easy. The panko is mixed in with the coconut before dredging the chicken in it, and the seasoning ingredients are the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I made the changes in the instructions. Please let me know if you run into any more problems! 🙂