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Crispy Coconut Chicken

Crispy coconut chicken is a tasty weeknight dinner or party appetizer! This recipe is simple to make with loads of crunch and flavor. All it takes is a few pantry ingredients and 30 minutes.

If you love coconut shrimp, you’ll love this crispy chicken version. Don’t forget to try my pecan crusted chicken tenders, too!

Why You’ll Love This Crispy Coconut Chicken Recipe

Coconut chicken is super juicy and wrapped in irresistible coconut crunch. It takes only a few easy pantry ingredients and about 30 minutes to make this classic appetizer in your own kitchen! Here’s why you’ll love it: 

  • Coconut crunch. This recipe switches up the coating on your usual crispy chicken tenders from breadcrumbs to shredded coconut. Once fried, the sweet-spicy coconut breading gets golden and crispy while the chicken stays juicy and tender. It’s seriously the BEST!
  • Spicy. Sriracha chili sauce and a touch of cayenne pepper play up the sweet and spicy flavors in this recipe (like my spicy chicken nuggets). It’s totally irresistible, and you can adapt the amount of heat to taste.
  • Fried, or not. Deep frying is quick and easy, and nothing gets chicken crispier. That being said, you can make this recipe in the oven if you’d prefer baked coconut chicken instead. I include baking instructions, too!
  • Versatile. Whether you need something delicious to serve on game day, or if you’re looking for a family-friendly weeknight dinner, coconut chicken has you covered. Even my coconut-averse kiddos loved this recipe. Miracles never cease!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Below are some helpful notes and tips on the ingredients you’ll need. Scroll to the recipe card for a printable list with amounts.

  • Eggs and Milk – To make an egg wash that helps the breading adhere to the chicken. 
  • Hot Sauce – I spice up the egg wash with a spoonful of Sriracha hot sauce. You can use your favorite alternative, or leave out the hot sauce if spice isn’t your thing.
  • Shredded Coconut – Flaked or shredded coconut. I like to use the sweetened kind, but unsweetened coconut works, too.
  • Panko Crumbs – Regular breadcrumbs are fine, but Panko crumbs are larger and crispier.
  • Seasoning – Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to season the breading. Like the Sriracha, cayenne is optional if you prefer milder crispy chicken.
  • Chicken Strips – I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips. You can also ask the meat counter at your local grocery store to do this for you.
  • Oil – For frying. The best oil for deep frying is vegetable oil, or another oil with a high smoke point, like sunflower oil or canola oil.
  • Dipping Sauce – Sweet chili sauce, or your favorite chicken dipping sauce for serving. I include more ideas further down in the post.

How to Make Crispy Coconut Chicken

Making restaurant-worthy crispy coconut chicken at home is so much easier than you’d think. Check out the quick steps below. Scroll down to the recipe card for printable recipe instructions.

  • Prepare a breading station. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and hot sauce in one bowl. In a second shallow dish, mix the coconut, panko, and seasonings.
  • Dip the chicken. One strip at a time, dip the chicken into the egg wash and then dredge the chicken in the coconut coating. Place the coated chicken strips onto a plate for now.
  • Fry. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan on the stovetop, heat about ⅓” of vegetable oil to 375ºF. Fry the chicken in batches for 3-4 minutes per side until the coconut is browned all over.
  • Keep warm. Transfer the fried chicken strips to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place the chicken in the oven on the lowest setting (160ºF) to keep warm while you finish frying the remaining pieces.
  • Serve! Serve your crispy coconut chicken right away paired with your choice of dipping sauce. We love dipping these in sweet chili sauce (we use the brand Thai Kitchen) just to make them extra yummy.

Can I Bake Coconut Chicken In the Oven Instead?

Yes, you can absolutely bake this coconut chicken if you prefer. Baking won’t get this chicken quite as crispy as pan-frying. But the flavor will still be amazing! Bake at 400ºF for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken is 165ºF using an instant-read thermometer.

Tips for Success

These are my top tips for perfectly crispy coconut chicken:

  • Cook in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan while frying, and cook the chicken in batches if needed. This is key for crispy fried chicken! Likewise, if you’re baking these coconut chicken tenders, make sure to space them out on the baking sheet.
  • Adapt the heat levels. To make this recipe kid-friendly, you can divide the egg wash and breading and leave some without the hot sauce and cayenne pepper.
  • Scale the recipe. Feel free to double or even triple the recipe if you’re making crispy coconut chicken for a crowd. I usually double this recipe for my family of 6.
Crispy coconut chicken strips dipped into a Polynesian sauce

Dipping Sauce Ideas

This coconut chicken is utterly mouthwatering on its own, but it’s especially tasty served as an appetizer with a side of dipping sauce! As mentioned, sweet chili sauce is one of our favorites. We also love this copycat Chick Fil-A sauce, creamy Ranch dressing, or sweet and smoky homemade BBQ sauce.

What to Serve With Crispy Coconut Chicken

Pair this crispy chicken with more party snacks like hot corn dip, pigs in a blanket, and crackers with pimento cheese. You can easily make this crispy coconut chicken into a weeknight family meal, too! Enjoy your chicken with a side of baked cheesy mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfort food dinner. For a lighter option, serve with a side of air fryer asparagus or roasted carrots and fluffy sweet potato biscuits.

Crispy coconut chicken dipped in sauce

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

  • Refrigerate. Coconut chicken is best enjoyed right away, as the breading will lose its crispiness with time. However, any leftovers can be stored airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat. To get this chicken crispy again, I recommend reheating it in a 350ºF oven for 10 minutes, or until hot throughout. You can also warm the chicken in an air fryer if you have one.
  • Freeze. Freeze leftover chicken airtight for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge before reheating.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

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Crispy Coconut Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 9 reviews
  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Description

You’re going to love crispy coconut chicken! Made with only a handful of pantry ingredients, this chicken recipe is packed with sweet and spicy flavor.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cups panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • Sweet Red Chili Sauce for dipping (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and sriracha sauce. Set aside.
  2. In a medium, shallow dish combine the coconut, panko, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  3. Dip the chicken strips in the egg mixture to coat, and then into the coconut mixture, coating completely. Transfer the chicken strips onto a plate and repeat the process with all the strips.
  4. Turn the oven on to the lowest (or warm) setting, this is usually 160°F. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
  5. In 10- inch frying pan fill the pan 1/3- inch deep with vegetable oil. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 375°, or until small bubbles form when the back of a wooden spoon is placed in the oil. In batches place the chicken in the pan, careful not to crowd the pan. Fry 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  6. When the chicken is done, transfer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to stay warm. Repeat with all the chicken.
  7. Serve warm with dipping sauce, if desired.

Notes

I usually double this recipe for my family of 6.

Option to Bake: Bake chicken at 400°F for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 509
  • Sugar: 4.1 g
  • Sodium: 927.2 mg
  • Fat: 26.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.5 g
  • Protein: 46.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 217.4 mg

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40 comments on “Crispy Coconut Chicken”

  1. We just made these, and they are delicious! I didn’t use the sriracha or cayenne, since my mom can’t eat spicy foods. I used sweet and sour sauce in the egg mixture and added ground ginger to the coconut mixture. (Fresh grated ginger might be good- will try that next time) We baked them in the air fryer, and they came out perfect! Thank you very much for sharing your awesome recipe! So good as is, and so adaptable for other tastes!






  2. This is an outstanding recipe! It works great with shrimp and pork strips or bites.

    It’s one of my family’s favorite meals.

    Thank you!






  3. I made these last night (without the spicy ingredients) and they were delicious! My kitchen smelt amazing!! My plan was to bake my first attempt and try the fried version another day. However, I had a small batch left over for frying, but oh my goodness, I have to say the fried version was SO much better! My young boys ate both versions, but asked me to make the fried version again :). Btw, I thought it would be “fun” to make nuggets instead of strips for my kids, but I’ll stick to the strips next time as it was WAY too time-consuming to dip/coat and even place small chunks on the baking sheet or pan! Thanks for the recipe; it’s going on my dinner plan!

  4. I have made this repeatedly, and absolutely love it. I pan fry using very little oil, but results are the same. You have to have the sauce! Thank you so much.

  5. What a great recipe!! I pinned it a few weeks ago and just got around to making it tonight, so yummy!! I cut my chicken into chunks/nuggets instead of strips, and I baked it for 30 min instead of bothering with the oil (too messy/smelly/fussy). I put the nuggets over a bed of brown rice and drizzled orange sauce over top. Also, I omitted all of the spicy stuff so my toddler could eat it. Still very flavorful! I will be making this again!!

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