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Years ago in my early college days, I got coconut crusted chicken almost every day after my shift at the restaurant where I worked. It’s been two decades since then, but they were so good that I still think about them sometimes! So, I made this coconut chicken recipe to satisfy those cravings — and you’ll be craving it too once you try it. It tastes a lot like coconut shrimp, but with chicken instead.
Why You’ll Love This Coconut Chicken Recipe
- Crispy outside with subtle coconut flavor
- Juicy, tender chicken
- Combination of savory and lightly sweet
- Just 6 ingredients (plus salt and pepper)
- Ready in 30 minutes
- Naturally low carb, gluten-free, and just plain healthy
- Kid-friendly, adult approved dish
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for baked coconut chicken, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Chicken – I used boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into strips, but you can also make this coconut chicken recipe with whole chicken breasts or even boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Wholesome Yum Coconut Flour – It’s perfect for dredging (which helps the egg stick to the chicken), enhances the coconut flavor of this dish, and is naturally gluten free.
- Eggs – These help the breading stick. Use eggs straight from the refrigerator if you can, as cold eggs help create a better binding effect.
- Coconut Flakes – I prefer unsweetened coconut flakes which are still mildly sweet on their own, but if you want a sweeter flavor, you could use sweetened ones (if you don’t mind the added sugar) or mix them with a little sugar substitute of your choice if you like.
- Spices – Garlic powder, smoked paprika (or regular works), sea salt, and black pepper. Simple!
How To Make Coconut Chicken
This section shows how to make coconut crusted chicken, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep and season the chicken. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness, then cut into tenders. Pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides with sea salt and black pepper.
- Set up your dredging stations. Arrange three bowls – one with beaten eggs, one with coconut flour, and one with a mixture of coconut flakes, garlic powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Coat the chicken. Dredge each chicken strip in the coconut flour, dip in the egg (shake off any excess), and finally press/roll in the coconut flakes. Place on a nonstick wire rack over a lined baking sheet (here’s the set I use). It’s best to spray or brush the rack with oil to prevent sticking.
- Bake. Place the coconut chicken in the oven and bake, flipping halfway through, until cooked through and golden brown. For crispier chicken, broil for a couple of minutes on each side at the end.
Tips For The Best Coconut Chicken
Although this coconut chicken recipe is pretty easy, here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
- Pound the chicken to the same thickness. This will ensure that they cook at the same rate. If some are thicker than others, the timing will vary and the thinner ones will dry out by the time the thicker ones are done.
- Small coconut flakes stick better. If you have big flakes, pour the coconut flakes into a zip lock bag and seal. Pound the bag several times to break up the flakes into smaller pieces.
- Work in batches to prevent clumping. Instead of dipping the egg-dipped chicken directly into the coconut flakes mixture, add just some of it to an extra bowl and dip in that. Once you run out, add more. This prevents the breading mixture from getting too wet from the egg and starting to clump.
- Use two hands. Use one hand for the flour, switch hands for the egg dip, and return to the initial hand for rolling in coconut flakes. This reduces clumping and ensures a smooth coating process.
- Don’t skip the wire rack. It’s the difference between slightly crispy and super crispy coconut chicken!
- Store: Although best served fresh, you can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheat: You can warm up coconut chicken in the oven at 350 degrees F, or in the air fryer for even crispier results.
- Freeze: You can freeze coconut chicken before or after baking. To meal prep for later, assemble them (but don’t bake) and freeze in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a zip lock bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Bake from frozen when ready to eat (it will take longer). If you’re freezing leftovers, you can freeze them using the same method for up to 3 months, and just reheat.
What To Serve With Coconut Chicken
Coconut chicken goes with almost anything! Here are some ideas:
- Dipping Sauce – These tenders pair particularly well with honey mustard… try my 5-minute sugar-free honey mustard pictured above! But you could also go with classic ranch or BBQ sauce.
- Salad – The restaurant that inspired this coconut chicken recipe used to offer them over a salad with mandarin oranges and honey mustard dressing, but I also like them over a simple arugula salad.
- Fries – A side of garlic parmesan fries makes the perfect side, but if you want a faster method, try air fryer french fries. For lighter options try zucchini fries.
- Vegetables – The sweet and savory flavors pair perfectly with roasted delicata squash. For a classic healthy meal, serve coconut chicken with simple roasted cauliflower, sweet air fryer carrots, or mixed air fryer vegetables to use up anything you have on hand.
More Baked Chicken Recipes
Are you in the mood to try out some new baked chicken recipes? Try these next:
Coconut Chicken (6 Ingredients!)
This coconut chicken recipe needs just 6 ingredients! You'll love this easy, juicy chicken coated in a crispy, golden brown coconut crust.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Place a nonstick wire rack onto a lined baking sheet (here's the set I use). Spray or brush the rack with oil.
Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness, then cut into tenders (about 3 tenders per chicken breast). Season both sides with sea salt and black pepper.
Optional step if you have big flakes: Pour the coconut flakes into a ziploc bag and seal. Pound the bag several times to break up the flakes into smaller pieces.
Arrange three bowls – one with beaten eggs, one with coconut flour, and one with a mixture of coconut flakes, garlic powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
Dredge each chicken strip in the coconut flour, dip in the egg shaking off the excess), and finally press/roll in the coconut flakes. Place on the wire rack.
Bake coconut chicken for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until firm and cooked through.
Optional: Turn the oven to the broil setting. Broil on the top rack for about one minute, until one side is crispy. Flip the chicken over, then broil one minute on the other side.
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Serving size: 2 coconut chicken tenders
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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