Air Fryer Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders

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The whole family will love these oh-so-crispy coconut chicken tenders. They’re made in the air fryer in less than 20 minute total and you won’t even believe they aren’t fried!

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My toddler LOVED these! The flavor is great, and they’re so quick to make for easy weeknight dinners.– Carie

You’re going to absolutely love these ALWAYS crispy coconut chicken tenders that bake in 10-11 minutes in the air fryer. We’re using unsweetened shredded coconut and a short list of delicious spices and breadcrumbs for the ultimate coconut chicken tenders.

All of our kiddos DEVOURED these coconut chicken tenders. They loved how crunchy they came out and how yummy they were dipped in a sweet and sour sauce (except for Gus — he’s a ketchup man through and through 🥰🥰🥰). The crispy coating on these chicken fingers is simple — made with unsweetened coconut, breadcrumbs, and spices.

Why you’ll love these crispy coconut chicken tenders

  • High Protein: per serving these coconut chicken tenders have 43g protein and.
  • So Crispy: the whole goal with chicken tenders is to get them nice and crispy. The air fryer is by far the best way to do so.
  • Kid-Friendly: kids obsessed with chicken fingers? They won’t even know these weren’t from a restaurant or store-bought.

What You Need to Make Coconut Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: you’ll cut these into tenders, so feel free to use the same amount of boneless skinless chicken tenders.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: we would not recommend using sweetened coconut as it may burn in the air fryer.
  • Seasonings: We’re using a combination of garlic powder, breadcrumbs, chili powder and salt.  
  • Eggs: The eggs are used as an egg wash to ensure your coconut chicken tenders are completely covered in delicious shredded coconut and spices and crisped to perfection.

ninja air fryer on white background.

Chicken tenders in the air fryer.

Top Tips for Always Crispy Chicken Fingers

Cut chicken tenders into equal size strips: Cutting your tenders into the same size will ensure they will all take about the same amount of time to cook.

Check your shredded coconut bag: Triple check that your shredded coconut is unsweetened! A common mistake when making these chicken strips is accidentally using sweet coconut shreds. It will definitely change the taste of your chicken, and could burn in the air fryer.

Don’t skip the oil: I know it’s tempting to skimp on the oil, but don’t! Drizzling the oil in the air fryer and over the chicken is essential. The air fryer only crisps things up if it has oil to work with.

dipping sauces for coconut chicken tenders

Crispy coconut chicken tenders on a plate.

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FAQs

How do you make coconut chicken tenders crispy?

Make them in the air fryer! This recipe for coconut chicken tenders is made quickly and easily (and always crispy!) in the air fryer.

Can you put raw chicken in an air fryer?

Yes! And that’s exactly how you’ll cook these crispy coconut chicken tenders.

How long do chicken tenders take in the air fryer?

These coconut chicken tenders take 10-11 minutes in the air fryer when cooked at 380°F.

Cooked coconut chicken tenders in an air fryer basket.

Storage

Let the coconut chicken tenders cool completely. Then, transfer into an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

To reheat: Preheat air fryer to 380ºF and place chilled, homemade chicken tenders in the air fryer. Air fry for 3-5 minutes or until hot.

Can You Freeze Coconut Chicken Tenders?

To freeze these coconut chicken tenders, remove them from the air fryer and let them cool completely. Then, transfer them into a freezer-safe, airtight container. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Freeze for up to 3 months. This is a great option for making a large batch ahead of time.

Air fryer coconut chicken tenders on a plate with sweet chili sauce.

Instructions 

  • Preheat the air fryer to 380ºF and drizzle 2 teaspoons of coconut oil into the air fryer or spray with coconut oil cooking spray.

  • Slice the chicken breasts into 2-inch wide by 4-inch long strips. Set aside.

  • Add the coconut, garlic powder, breadcrumbs, chili powder, and salt to a medium bowl and mix until combined.

  • In a separate bowl add 2 large eggs to a bowl and whisk.

  • Dredge the chicken strips through the egg mixture and then dredge the chicken strips in the coconut mixture, making sure the strips are fully coated.

    A white plate with sesame seeds on it.
  • Place the chicken strips into the air fryer basket, making sure they are not overlapping or overcrowded. You will have to cook these chicken strips in two or three batches depending on the size of your air fryer.

    Fried chicken in an air fryer.
  • Drizzle the chicken with 1-2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil. Then, air fry the chicken strips for 6 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer and repeat until all the chicken strips are cooked.

    Fried chicken in an air fryer.
  • Serve with your favorite sauces

Tips & Notes

  • We do not recommend using sweetened coconut.
  • Everybody’s air fryer is different, so monitor your chicken while it is cooking to be sure it doesn’t overcook.
  • Oven directions: bake chicken tenders on a tin foil-lined baking sheet at 375ºF for around 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches around 165ºF.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 498kcal Carbohydrates: 17g Protein: 43g Fat: 29g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 3g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.



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