Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

$6.91 recipe / $1.15 serving

I’ve been wanting to cook this coconut chicken for a LONG time and my anticipation was definitely justified by the end result. The shredded coconut mixed with panko bread crumbs gives a light, crunchy crust and adding a little bit of coconut milk to the egg wash ensures an even stronger coconut flavor. If you don’t have coconut milk on hand, it can be made without but it definitely makes a difference. You might be tempted to skip the sweet chili dipping sauce but it really brings a lot of flavor to the table so get some if you can! If you prefer a healthier version, I have seen recipes that bake the breaded chicken instead of frying it. I’ve never tried it but I bet it’s still tasty! If you bake yours instead of frying, let me know how it turns out (in the comments section so everyone can see)!

Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce

4.9 from 8 reviews
coconut chicken w/ sweet chili dipping sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $6.91
Cost Per Serving: $1.15
Serves: 6
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts $3.96
  • 2 large eggs $0.30
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (optional) $0.16
  • ½ cup all purpose flour $0.28
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs $0.43
  • 1 cup shredded coconut $0.50
  • ½ tsp salt $0.05
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, divided $0.29
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce $0.94
  1. Cut off any extra fat globules from your chicken breasts. Cut each breast into 6 strips, diagonally to prevent the end strips from being really short. See photos below.
  2. Prepare your breading station by gathering three bowls. In the first bowl combine the flour and salt. In the second bowl, combine the eggs and coconut milk. Whisk together until well combined. In the third bowl, stir together the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut.
  3. Place ¼ cup of vegetable oil in a large heavy duty skillet and heat over medium/high heat until it is just below smoking. You can test the heat by throwing in a little bit of flour. When it is hot enough, the flour will sizzle and create a lot of bubbles.
  4. While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken strips. First, coat each strip in the flour and salt mixture. Then dip each into the eggs/coconut milk and finally coat each in panko and shredded coconut. I find it easiest to coat all of them in the flour then go back and then do the egg wash and panko/coconut for each before moving onto the next.
  5. After breading the strips, the oil should be hot enough. Place about 6 strips in the pan at once. There should only be one layer in the pan and there should be about an inch between each strip. If you over crowd the pan it will get too cold and the strips will soak up a lot of oil instead of frying. Fry the strips for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy. Place them on a plate with paper towel to drain and move on to the next batch. After a couple of batches you may need more oil so you can add the second ¼ cup to the pan. Allow the oil to come up to temperature before frying the next batch (2-3 minutes). Because the strips are thin, they should be cooked through by the time both sides are browned. You can tell by the texture of the chicken; it should be stiff when pressed. If you cut your strips thicker, you will need to bake off the chicken after frying to make sure the insides are cooked through.
  6. When all of the strips are done frying, serve immediately with sweet chili sauce to dip in. I garnished mine with a little bit of chopped cilantro.

Step By Step Photos

I only made two breasts worth today…

sliced chicken breastCut each breast into six strips, diagonally.

dredging stationSet up your dredging station with three bowls: flour/salt, egg/coconut milk and panko/coconut.

coconut breaded chickenCoat each chicken strip in flour, egg then panko/coconut. When they’re coated they will look like this. Now they’re ready to fry!

frying coconut chickenFry each strip for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy.

fried coconut chickenDrain the coconut chicken on paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

NOTE: Make sure to buy your boneless, skinless chicken breast in value pack sized containers. Buying this way you can save $1 or more per pound! I bought these as part of a 10 lb. pack for $1.98 per pound. When I got home, I packaged the breasts two per bag and froze them. That way I can take out the quantity I need when I’m ready to cook.

One thing I wish I had done differently with this recipe is to put the coconut into a food processor prior to mixing with the panko crumbs. I feel like if they coconut had been in slightly smaller bits, it would have adhered and covered the chicken more completely. I would have just pulsed the coconut in the processor a couple of times to make the bits about half their size.

If you can’t find panko crumbs, you can use regular bread crumbs, although the breading will be much more dense. You can also try crushing some rice chex as they are a similar texture to panko (another helpful hint from the handsome fish monger!).

As I mentioned, the sweet chili sauce is a huge part of what makes this dish delicious. I have found sweet chili sauce at major grocery stores in the Asian section. Check around because it’s pretty popular. Once you open the bottle it should stay good in your refrigerator for quite some time and it’s good on A LOT of stuff so don’t worry about the rest of the bottle going to waste!


  1. Laura says:

    I -love- this recipe! I’ve made it several times and it’s always a hit. My fiance is actually cooking some right now while singing Titus songs from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit. The only thing I do differently is that I use macaroon coconut shavings instead of the large shreds. The macaroon coconut shavings are available bulk at my local health food chain, and I find that it helps add more crunch and coconut flavor since more sticks to the chicken. My stomach is growling and I can’t wait for dinner!

  2. I made this last week and my husband, two teenage kids and I all loved it. They fought over the leftovers and both kids have asked me to make it again soon. Thanks!

  3. If you have no chile sauce try shrimp cocktail sauce for these chrispy goodies….. If you make your own sauce it’s just ketsup and horseraddish………. if you like it hotter wasabee powder and a lil yogurt or mayo combo makes a wasabee sauce… These do bake in the oven as well up the temp to 400* use parchment paper and about 8 min then turn till second side is golden…

  4. Mike says:

    Sounds great but any chance you have a recipe or base for a homemade sweet chili sauce? Thanks!

    • Not yet! I only tried it once and it was just so-so. I will probably try again at some point, though! It’s a pretty simple sauce.

      • Jasmine Felder says:

        Are these chicken strips good by themselves? And are they sweet? I’m looking for recipes for college

        • I enjoyed them plain (but I also enjoy regular chicken strips plain). They’re not very sweet at all. The coconut milk is unsweetened and the shredded coconut only adds a hint of sweetness.

  5. Julie says:

    Try mixing the sweet chili sauce with peanut butter and enough water to thin to the appropriate ” dipping” consistency. A couple drops of coconut extract adds a tropical flair.

  6. If you have a “Fresh Market” near you they have boneless skinless chicken breasts (big healthy ones) on sale on Tuesdays for $2.99 a pound.

  7. Lucas DeWulf says:

    I made this tonight for my buddies. We’re all a bunch of college kids so we love happy hour type appetizers(wings, dips, fries, etc). They loved it. Actually made a homemade sauce from chili garlic sauce, mayonnaise, sriracha, and a bit of sugar. It’s called “dynamite” sauce they make it at sushi bars quite a bit actually. Was a hit. I will definitely make it again.

  8. Laura says:

    Just made these to take for dinner at work tonight! Couldn’t resist and had to eat some as they looked so yummy :-) Used coconut oil to fry as that’s my go-to these days. So easy and so delicious, what could be better? Love your website and am always on it looking for more recipes to try and I’ve recommended you to friends as well.

  9. VeritasRose says:

    This is my favorite recipe! Since I’m lazy and don’t like standing around the stove, I baked mine at 400˚ F for 25 min. I turned them about 15 min in.

    The Hubs loved it with sweet chili sauce, and since I’m a wimp, I whipped up a peanut sauce for myself. Went great with both!

    I did udon noodles with sauteéd veggies on the side.

  10. Caitlyn says:

    I made this last night but totally gluten free and it was AMAZING! Thanks Beth I love this site!!

  11. I made these a long time ago, but decided to revisit the recipe. They were a hit! I added more coconut, along with some ground ginger and chili flakes. I also baked the strips at 400F, flipping halfway through. For the dipping sauce, I combined various ingredients to create a creamy chili sauce which paired perfectly with the chicken! Thanks so much!

  12. Annette says:

    I’ve made this recipe but instead of frying I baked it. It was delicious. The sauce definitely makes this dish.

  13. mydaughter-in-laws-fan says:

    oops. yes, I made 16 chicken breasts, which made ALOT of baked yummy strips ! :)

    • Florence says:

      Hi there, I am looking forward to trying this recipe because I love anything with coconut! A trick to helping the coconut adhere better to the meat is after you’re finished preparing it and before you sautee it, put it in the fridge for about 1/2 hour to firm everything up, then sautee.

  14. mydaughter-in-laws-fan says:

    HI!!!! I baked these, at 375 degrees for 22 minutes then flipped and baked again for another 22 minutes. THEY ARE THE BEST!!! my daughter-in-law made these the other night for us when I was there, and SHE is the best little cook ever, have to say I made 16 chicken breasts tonight /all baked and ready to go in the freezer for quick meals, wow, sooooo good!!! TY JEN for letting me know about this site and sharing such a great recipe find !!!!

  15. Mary Lou Davidson says:

    Loved it! Found your recipe on Pintrest and it helped to broaden my pantry staples. Panko breadcrumbs and sweet chili sauce. Items i never have stocked previously. Thanks!
    Dish came out perfect and in the future, I will likely re-invent a baked version with tofu or fish.

  16. Brittany says:

    As you know, I’m a superfan. This is one of our favorites!

    Tonight, I wanted to try something a little different, so instead of chicken I used mahi mahi steaks from Costco. AWESOME replacement! The flavor was perfectly paired with the recipe.

    Unfortunately, the coconut milk I had on-hand had spoiled though. So, instead of driving all the way to the store just for coconut milk, I found a substitute that called for boiling 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup shredded coconut for 5 minutes then blending. Definitely using this instead of buying a can of coconut milk next time, it worked great!

    • I don’t want to be a name dropper but “Ma Ploy” sweet chili sauce is a very good brand. It can be found at Safeway and just about any Oriental food store on the planet. Also good mixed with brown sugar as a glaze on Salmon. The bottle is 25 fl. oz and costs less than $4, cheaper at Oriental food stores.

  17. Katie says:

    Do you think subbing coconut flower for all-purpose flour would be sufficient? Also thinking about skipping the panko and just using shredded unsweetened coconut? Gluten allergy in family.

    • Honestly I don’t know. I’ve never used coconut flour before so I don’t know how it works with things.

    • Hi! i’ve made completely gluten free using coconut flour and unsweetened coconut flakes. still totally delicious!

  18. Debbie says:

    Just wondering if I could substitute the chicken for shrimp

  19. Nicki says:

    I have made this quite a few times its soooo good. My boyfriend is obsessed. I have fried and baked it both turned out great! I use the franks sweet chili sauce it goes so well with the chicken. Making it again tonight!

  20. Not for nothing, but, where can you get 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $3.96?

    • Well, that was a few years ago so the prices were probably a bit less then. I probably got it at Walmart. These days I can get chicken for that price at my local (not a big national chain) grocery store when it’s on sale, which happens on a fairly regular basis. It pays to check out other stores to see what type of specials they run. You can always freeze the meat, too, if you don’t want to use it right when it’s on sale.

      • Hi….this looks delicious – but being English, I don’t know what panko breadcrumbs are. Guessing from the photos they might be fresh breadcrumbs. Glad to have found your site!

        • They’re a Japanese bread crumb, which is lighter and has larger pieces than a traditional bread crumb. I believe they’re made from bread that is a mix of wheat and rice flours, which is what makes them lighter in texture.

  21. Well expalined. Looks very tasty and yummy. I like chicken recipes.This would be great addition in my selection of recipes.

  22. Chicken with a combo of coconut… looks yummy

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