Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders
We never want to live in a world without chicken tenders, which is why we’re determined to jazz them up every which way we can. Introducing the fruit of our labor, crispy coconut chicken tenders. They’re sweet, salty and sure to please adults and kids alike.
Sure, you could bake these strips in a 400°F oven until golden…but we’re partial to frying them. It’s not as much effort as you think, plus it ensures the coconut coating gets crunchy and brown all over (no soggy spots here, thank you very much).
Vegetable oil or peanut oil, as needed for frying
½ cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 large eggs
One 7-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 2½ cups)
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or chicken breasts, sliced into strips)
Barbecue sauce, ketchup or Thai sweet chili sauce, for serving (optional)
1. In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat about 3 inches of oil until it reaches 325°F (use an instant-read or deep-fry thermometer). Place a wire rack inside a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
2. Line a large plate with several layers of paper towels, and set out three shallow bowls. In the first bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper and cayenne. In the second, whisk the eggs together. In the third, add the coconut.
3. Working with one piece at a time, dip the chicken into the flour mixture, then the eggs, then the coconut. Continue until all the chicken is coated, carefully transferring each piece to the prepared rack.
4. Working in batches, carefully add the chicken to the oil. Fry, turning once or twice, until it’s golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate and season with kosher salt.
5. Serve the chicken tenders with your choice of dipping sauce, such as barbecue sauce, ketchup or Thai sweet chili sauce.