These coconut chicken tenders are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and take under 30 minutes from start to finish! Pair it with a pina colada dipping sauce for the best coconut chicken recipe you'll ever try.
Add the condensed coconut milk and fresh pineapple to a blender and blend until smooth, about 3-4 minutes.
Put the sauce in a dipping bowl and store in the fridge until ready to eat the chicken. This will help the sauce thicken up if the pineapple was especially juicy.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the coconut flakes, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne powder in a food processor and pulse 5 times to combine.
Place the breading mixture in a shallow dish or bowl. Add the eggs into another shallow dish. Add the flour into another shallow dish. Line up the three dishes in a row.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place at the end of the row of dishes.
Season each side of the chicken tenders with kosher salt.
Working with one tender at a time, first dip it into the flour until fully coated, second dip it in the egg until completely covered in egg, third roll it into the breading mixture until completely covered, and finally place the breaded chicken on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all tenders are coated.
Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and allow to get hot. Once oil is hot, fry the breaded chicken in the oil for 2 minutes per side and then return to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Work in 2-3 batches if necessary.
Once you have fried each side of the chicken, finish cooking them in the preheated oven for 6-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
Serve immediately with pina colada dipping sauce.
Pulse the coconut mixture just a couple of times before checking it to keep the coconut flakes a bit longer for added crunch and flavor. If it's too thick, pulse one or two more times but don't just let the food processor run or you'll end up with a breading with no texture. Put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil before frying to see if it's hot enough. If there are white bubbles when the spoon touches the oil, the oil is ready to go. If there aren't bubbles, wait another minutes or so and test again. Make sure to really coat the chicken thoroughly in the coconut mixture. To get the best coating, press it down lightly into the mixture then press it on lightly with your hand. You can thicken the dipping sauce by putting it into the fridge to chill for a bit. If it's too thin, try letting it sit in the fridge for a bit before adding anything else. Use one hand to dip, move, and coat the coconut chicken tenders so you have a hand that's not covered in chicken juices to do things like salt the chicken, move the baking sheet, turn on the water for washing your hands, etc. If you're cutting chicken breasts, try to cut them all to the same size and thickness so they cook at the same speed. Thin pieces will cook in the oven for about six minutes while thicker pieces can take longer.