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Coconut Lime Chicken

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This coconut lime chicken is loaded with so much flavor and crunch that it will quickly end up on your list of family favorite recipes.


main image for coconut lime chicken


If you are like me, you are always looking for new ways to cook chicken that will keep everyone happy.

Chicken is a great protein and can handle a lot of different flavors. And even if you aren’t the biggest fan of chicken, there are recipes out there that add enough extra flavor and texture to keep things different each time.

This easy coconut lime chicken recipe is one of them.

Marinated in full fat coconut milk and lime juices lets the chicken absorb these flavors before cooking. And then coating in crispy coconut surrounds each juicy chicken piece with a delicious strong-flavored coating.

This dish is a coconut lime lover’s dream dish.


lime zest, lime juice, coconut milk


What is coconut lime chicken?

Coconut lime chicken is perfectly tender chicken cooked in creamy coconut milk with hints of lime to give you a fantastic flavor of fried chicken that can be used in so many ways.

It came from my love for regular coconut chicken.

And the good news is since lime and coconut are a classic pairing, you still have the best results when you mix those flavors together with fried chicken.

It can be a great main dish, a fun appetizer, or even great as leftovers on a salad or wrap.


chicken breast tenders placed into coconut milk marinade.


What ingredients are in coconut lime chicken?

  • Limes: you will be using these for lime zest to give the marinade and coconut lime sauce extra flavors
  • Lime Juice: after zesting the limes, you can use the same ones to get fresh lime juice for the marinade
  • Coconut Milk: be sure to use full-fat coconut milk for the most flavor. It is different from the stuff you drink, but not the same as coconut cream which is thicker.
  • Chicken Breasts: slice these into strips slightly smaller than you want since the lime coconut chicken recipe coating will make them bigger
  • Vegetable Oil: this is what you will fry the chicken strips in
  • Corn Starch: this helps all the other parts stick to the chicken pieces
  • Eggs: using this after cornstarch will give you a crispier coating after cooking
  • Coconut Flakes: this is the star coating to give a great coconut flavor all around each piece of chicken
  • Water: this mixes with the cornstarch to make a thicker sauce without giving you clumps of starch


chicken has marinated and is now coated in corn starch


How to make coconut lime chicken:

  1. Mix coconut lime chicken marinade, place chicken strips in the marinade, and refrigerate.
  2. While oil is heating up in a large skillet over low-medium heat, pull out a small bowl for each of the coating ingredients.
  3. Coat the chicken by rolling first in cornstarch, then in egg, then in coconut, coating well each time.
  4. Cook chicken strips in oil until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Pour marinade into a saucepan and boil, stirring regularly to kill any bacteria.
  6. Thicken coconut sauce with cornstarch until it is at the sauce consistency you like, and use as a dip or pour over cooked chicken.
  7. Serve!

Pro Tip: If you want to bake instead of fry your lime coconut chicken strips, you can. Place the coated chicken strips in a single layer on a lined baking dish and bake in a 400*F oven for 25 minutes, turning halfway through baking, until the chicken has cooked through to a temperature of 165*F.


chicken coated in egg after corn starch


Can I make coconut lime chicken in advance?

Yes you can make coconut lime chicken in advance, but if you do not refresh the fried coating, it will not be crispy.

If you are planning to make this in advance, you can marinate the chicken and coat it with coconut up to 24 hours in advance. Then you just need to fry or bake it until cooked through before serving.

How to store leftover coconut lime chicken:

If you have leftover coconut lime chicken, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Since this is meat, you need to keep it in the refrigerator to keep the bacteria away and keep it safe to eat.


chicken coated in coconut after egg and corn starch


How to reheat coconut lime chicken:

The best way to reheat this coconut lime chicken is in an oven or air fryer. That will give you a crispy skin that will be almost as good as fresh made chicken strips.

Can you freeze coconut lime chicken?

Yes you can; coconut lime chicken freezes and reheats really well.

If you are planning to freeze some, I recommend cooking it for just a couple minutes. That will seal the coating, but then when you reheat either by frying or baking you will bring the chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165*F so it is safe to eat.


wooden platter full of cooked chicken with dipping sauce


What to serve with coconut lime chicken?

I will serve almost anything with coconut lime chicken, but here are some of our favorite things to go with it:

  • Rice: plain white rice, Coconut Milk Rice, Buttered Rice, Mexican Lime Rice, whatever your favorite is will work great
  • Sauce: if you don’t love the creamy sauce from the marinade, then use your own. We are a fan of Thai Chili sauce too!
  • Salad: this is a good use as a delicious topper to a fresh salad
  • Your favorite side of vegetables: simple ones like Brown Sugar Green Beans, Raw Zucchini Salad, and Sunshine Carrots
  • Appetizers: if you are tailgating or just having party food, this makes a great protein packed choice


hand holding up a piece of cooked chicken


More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love…

Whether you are looking for a perfect coconut lime chicken recipe or are just excited to make those at home, this recipe is loaded with coconut lime flavors that are perfect for anytime of day.


Yield: 6 Servings

Coconut Lime Chicken

hand holding up a piece of cooked chicken

This coconut lime chicken is loaded with so much flavor and crunch that it will quickly end up on your list of family favorite recipes.

Cook Time 30 minutes
Inactive Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • zest of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup corn starch + 1 Tablespoon
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups coconut flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon water


  1. In a small bowl mix together lime zest, lime juice, and coconut milk.
  2. Prick chicken strips several times with a fork then place into coconut milk mixture.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.
  4. Fill a heavy duty pot with 4 tablespoons oil and turn heat to low - medium heat (a 4 on my stove).
  5. Place corn starch in one bowl, eggs in another and coconut flakes in a third.
  6. Pull out one chicken strip from coconut milk and place into corn starch. Roll around cornstarch until well coated.
  7. Transfer chicken to egg and coat well.
  8. Transfer chicken to coconut and coat well. Place on a plate and continue the same process with remaining chicken.
  9. Once done, oil should be hot and ready.
  10. Place prepared chicken into oil a few pieces at a time. Cook until chicken is golden in color, flipping as needed. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165*F if tested with a digital food thermometer.
  11. While chicken is cooking, pour coconut lime marinade into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil stirring regularly. This is the same marinade the chicken was in so we want to kill off any bacteria. Allow to boil for 1 - 2 minutes. Then remove from heat.
  12. In a small bowl combine 1 Tablespoon corn starch & 1 Tablespoon water and mix until cornstarch is dissolved.
  13. Pour mixture into coconut lime marinade and whisk constantly until mixture thickens.
  14. Serve sauce as a dip or pour over cooked chicken.
  15. Serve Immediately.


If you'd rather BAKE instead of fry follow these directions: Preheat the oven to 400*F. Lay coconut breaded chicken on a baking dish lined with parchment paper, non stick foil or a baking mat. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn chicken over. Bake 10 more minutes (total 25) or until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 453Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 198mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gSugar: 16gProtein: 23g
Originally Posted: March 30, 2016

Photos & Text Updated: November 29, 2022

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Wednesday 4th of November 2020

Hi! What would you suggest as a side for this?!


Wednesday 16th of December 2020

Any salad or fruit would go well. We usually serve it with Esquites, Winter Fruit Salad, Brown Sugar and Bacon Green Beans.


Sunday 30th of October 2016

I am so crushed :( My coconut is all burnt before the chicken has had time to cook properly. I've followed all the directions :(


Saturday 5th of November 2016

Hi Bethany! That is so sad to hear. If your coconut turned black right away, that means your oil was too hot. I've adjusted the recipe to say Low - Medium as it's better to be low and cook a bit longer than too hot. This really is one of our favorite recipes! Hope you give it another try!


Wednesday 17th of August 2016

Did you use sweetened coconut? I can't have the sugar and wondered if it would taste as good with unsweetened coconut?


Saturday 20th of August 2016

Mae I used sweetened coconut. HOWEVER you can use unsweetened too. I've had several people use unsweetened with my Crispy Coconut Chicken with great results so go ahead and use the unsweetened! I hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday 19th of April 2016

Could you use shrimp in this recipe? Have you ever tried that?


Friday 22nd of April 2016

Hi SunshineGirl - I personally have never tried shrimp (not a seafood fan) but can't imagine why this wouldn't work with shrimp! If you do try it, let me know how it turns out!


Wednesday 30th of March 2016

Is the marinade that goes in the saucepan the same liquid that the chicken marinated in? If so, shouldn't it be boiled for safety purposes, not just simmered?? I thought the rule of thumb was "toss or boil well"?


Wednesday 30th of March 2016

Donna you are so right! Yes. And Boiled is what I meant as I did boil mine to ensure that any chicken juice was plenty killed off. I'll change my wording! Sometimes when I type up a recipe at midnight, my brain becomes foggy! Thank you so much for bringing this up! I depend so much on my fabulous readers to help catch my careless mistakes!

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