Cheesy Coconut Spiced Chicken Tenders

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I have fallen in LOVE; in love with coconut milk. The love that coconut milk gives to a dish is simply rich – an unbelievably rich flavor. It makes a variety of dishes taste so much better. Although my childhood days was made up of a collage of uses for the much talked about coconut, I had not truly embraced its use and health benefits in my adult life. That is, until recently.

This light coconut milk marinade brings sexy to the plain and simple chicken tenderloin. The addition of freshly grated parmesan cheese, instead of breadcrumbs, makes for a true masterpiece. The spices, turmeric and paprika, and fresh garlic draws the coconut flavor deep into the chicken tenders. This easy to prepare dish pops a lot of flavor the longer the meat sits in the marinade. Cooking these cheese crusted babies at a 350-degree oven locks in the flavor and keeps the tenders moist. These sexy tenderloins are sure to delight your palate. Enjoy!


An additional benefit is having them as leftovers; the flavors are even more pronounced the day after. You can store them for up to two days in the refrigerator. Because these tenderloins are so moist they can be frozen – triple wrap them with plastic wrap, place in a zip lock bag, seal and freeze for up to a month (remember to put the date on the bag). Simply defrost them in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at the original bake temperature.

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Cheesy Coconut Spiced Chicken Tenders

Simple oven bake marinated chicken – juicy and delicious. Great for dinner or lunch.

Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Keyword Baked Chicken Tenders, Marinated Baked Chicken Tenders, Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinate 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 People
Calories 500 kcal
Author Yasmin Rasheed


  • 2-1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 20 tenders)
  • 4 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  • 13 to 16 ounces light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt



  1. Rinse the chicken tenders and pat dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, add the chicken the coconut milk and all the marinade ingredients. Use a spoon or your hands to thoroughly coat the chicken in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

    Note: You can do this in a zip lock bag.


  1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. Add the freshly grated parmesan cheese to a plate or bowl.  Season the cheese with the 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.

  3. Coat each piece of chicken tender (shake off excess marinade) in the cheese. Lay the chicken tenders in a single layer on the parchment lined sheet pan.

  4. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes – half way through the cooking process, use a thong to flip the tenders over. Chicken will be lightly browned when done and it will be very moist.

  5. Plate and serve with your favorite side. I served this with a whole wheat orzo with blue cheese salad.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can easily be used for a smaller batch.  Cut each ingredient in half. Freshly grated parmesan is a must. You can also use less cheese – this means there will be a lighter coating of the cheese. 

The recipe as is, based on a 6 to 8 servings, results in 370 to 500 calories.

Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Coconut Spiced Chicken Tenders
Amount Per Serving
Calories 500
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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