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Crispy Coconut Chicken

*VIDEO* Crispy Coconut Chicken – This simple dish is gluten free and packed with flavor. Crispy coconut coated chicken nuggets, strips or breasts is a winner with all family members and will be requested again and again!

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If there is one dish that is ALWAYS raved about when I make it by my kids or company, it’s this Crispy Coconut Chicken.

I am sure by now, those of you who follow us, realize that we love coconut.



Take these Coconut Lime Macaroons or this Coconut Cream Pie Poke Cake or this Coconut Caramel Corn – Num, Num!

Believe it or not, we have a LOT more coconut recipes on this little website of ours which we think you’d love.

Just like this one.  Crispy Coconut Chicken.



Most battered chicken recipes include flour.

However this Crispy Coconut Chicken is gluten free and uses corn starch instead.

When it comes to this recipe it’s pretty simple.



I like chicken.  I like coconut.  And I love foods that are fried.  Of course, you could easily bake this for a healthier version.

I though, am a total sucker for fried foods.  {Guilty Pleasure.}



I’ve also had readers tell me it works perfectly in an Air Fryer too, so if you have one of those, don’t be shy in trying it out!

So really why wouldn’t I like this?

I was a bit skeptical at first but holy smokes was it off the hook good.



We all raved about it for days after making it that I had to make it again.

And then again…and again… and now it’s in our regular rotation.

So what makes this coconut chicken so darn tasty?



Well, really all fried foods are tasty, but honestly it’s the coconut.

This recipe is beyond simple and yet packed with so much flavor.

Coconut Chicken is officially on my favorite list and one I’ll be making again and again.



If you like chicken, coconut and fried {or baked} foods, give this coconut chicken a try.

It might just become a favorite of yours too!

Tip: This can be done as nuggets, strips or whole breasts.



Personally I really liked doing it large nugget style so I could maximize the coconut per bite ratio.

However doing nuggets does take longer.  So if you are making this for a large group I’d do strips.



Crispy Coconut Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings


  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper {optional}
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 - 4 cups of sweetened coconut flakes (Baker's Coconut)
  • 3 - 4 medium boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into strips or nuggets.


  1. In a medium pot, add 2 - 3 Inches of oil. Turn burner to medium and allow oil to get nice and hot. The perfect temperature should be 365*F
  2. In a bowl mix cornstarch, salt, pepper & cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a second bowl, add 3 eggs and lightly beat.
  4. In a third bowl add coconut flakes.
  5. Take chicken and douse in cornstarch mixture. Then dip into eggs and cover well. Then dip in coconut and set aside on a plate. Do this to all chicken.
  6. Once chicken is ready, check oil. Place the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If bubbles form around the spoon the oil is ready. If bubbles do not form around the spoon then the oil is not hot enough.
  7. Once oil is hot enough, GENTLY add chicken one piece at a time to oil, ensuring chicken does not touch and stick together upon initial contact into oil.
  8. Cook chicken for approximately 4 minutes then flip and allow the other side to cook. Cook second side for an additional approximate 4 minutes.
  9. Gently remove golden chicken and set on a paper towel lined plate. Cook chicken in batches if all does not fit into pan.
  10. Once all chicken is cooked, serve with your favorite sauce.
  11. We enjoyed this plain, with honey, with an orange sauce and with sweet & sour sauce. Choose your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!


Tips for frying with oil if you have never done it... frying with oil is a serious thing and not to be taken lightly - AT ALL. If you are nervous at all buy a fryer OR do our baked method!

Heat oil to 350* - 375*F. Use a digital or candy thermometer to determine how hot your oil is. If you don't have one, then place your oil over medium heat - maybe a little lower than medium just to be safe. Let oil heat for 10 minutes. To test to see if oil is ready or too hot, toss a few (FEW) flecks of coconut into the oil. If coconut turns a golden color within 2 minutes you are ready. If your coconut looks the same as it did after 2 minutes your oil isn't hot enough. If your coconut turns black your heat is WAY TOO HIGH and you should turn it down a notch or two and let it cool. Continue with the coconut test until you are confident the oil is ready for your chicken!


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!





Originally posted: May 18, 2015

Photos & Post Updated: October 22, 2017

95 thoughts on “Crispy Coconut Chicken

  1. these look great. I always get a little nervous about large quantities of hot oil (worry wart I know) so would probably try baking as suggested in your comment about. I think I have some baking coconut of sorts which might be a little sweeter – and still delicious I reckon. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brenda having a fear of large quantities of hot oil is a VERY rational fear! I was scared my first few times too. I don’t let my kids in the kitchen when I’m frying things as I don’t want any accidents or mishaps with it and I especially don’t want them near in case the oil decides to spit. However, the more you work with it the more comfortable you get. If frying them is something you want to try, but are scared of the amount of oil, pour less oil into a skillet (enough to cover the entire bottom but not deep enough to submerge, and pan fry them. Or try baking them. And Bakers coconut is what I use. I’ll update the recipe to reflect that as I didn’t even think about the other raw or natural coconut. I hope you do try them and enjoy them!! Thank you so much for your comment!

  2. My whole family loves this type of chicken. Your recipe is a little different then mine So I’m excited to try the difference. I don’t know why I never thought of doing these as bite size pieces rather then strips though, even better!!
    I suggest frying them in coconut oil for added flavor….. and a jalapeno jelly is amazing as a dip. We love “lime in de’coconut” jalapeno jelly for this dish.

    • Kendall thank you so much for visiting our site and checking out our recipe! Frying them in coconut oil is a GREAT idea. Especially for those like the reader in the comment above who was a bit hesitant with deep frying! Pan frying in coconut oil will not only add great flavor but is healthier too! I’ve never tried the Jalapeno Jelly with ours! I’ll have to find that and try it! Could you tell me what brand it is? My kids like to dip it in ranch and I enjoyed a Raspberry Jalapeno dressing/dip. Although I’ve tried several kinds of dips and have enjoyed them all! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Always makes our day!

    • Carlie, I did a quick google search as I don’t follow a Paleo diet and was not sure. I found there are MULTIPLE things you can use as a substitute. The main suggestion was Arrowroot. I hope this helps!

      • i am doing whole 30 and i did tapioca starch to mine and unsweetened coconut and i dont like fried so i did the baked option and we loved it my kids helped we took it one step more i had leftover stuff so i did an onion and baked it also but less time 8 min and flipped and set for 8 more min and enjoyed it was so good.

    • Tori that is an excellent question and one I should DEFINITELY add to the recipe! The oil should be at 365*F This should allow the chicken to cook evenly on the inside but not burn the coconut!

  3. Hi Janelle! I’m so excited to try your coconut chicken recipe. I’ve been looking for one to make. What would make a good side dish with the chicken?

  4. My family, including grand children love baked coconut shrimp, so I think it would be a safe bet they’d like baked coconut chicken. I’ll have to try it for them.

  5. I tried this last night with just shrimp. I’m gluten intolerant, so the coconut was a perfect “breading”! I had to reduce the heat though, and just cooked it until golden.
    Thank you for sharing! It was delicious! Definitely a keeper.

    • Emily, I’m so excited to hear you tried it! You are the second person to mention lowering the heat so I’ll adjust my recipe to reflect that. My stove is very old so I suspect it requires a higher heat than others. Thanks for making my day with a positive review!

  6. Emily, I too noticed that all these ingredients are naturally gluten-free! Pinned this recipe to a couple of my boards and will give it a try soon – Thanks Emily and Janelle

    • YEA!! I don’t eat gluten free generally but if all recipes tasted this good I would convert tomorrow! Thank you so much for pinning it! The best way to show your love is to share!!

    • Hi Yvonne! I’m excited you are going to be making this! I do not have any soft cake mix cookies on our website. However it sounds like I need to get one up here! For now, I’d search Pinterest for Soft Cake Mix Cookies. There are a lot of amazing bloggers out there who have great recipes!

  7. I deep fried these tonight. I fried 2 lbs of chicken tenders for my husband and myself… I got 2. I’d say these are a keeper!! Thank you so much for such a specific recipe. I’ll be making them again for sure so I get a few more!!

  8. Hi Janelle. Can I subtituted sweetened coconut flakes with a freshly shredered coconut one? Since in my country the fresh one were easier to find in local market.

    • Hi Nabila! I’ve never tried it with fresh shredded coconut but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I suspect it wont be as sweet, but would still give a great flavor! If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  9. I followed directions exactly and within 2 mins the coconut was black and burned, my burner was on medium like the recipe said to and somehow it turned out terrible…disappointing

    • Hi Rachel! I’m so glad you came and left a comment. I’m sorry that this didn’t turn out for you! Your stove must cook hot. Medium heat is a rough estimate however each stove and oven cooks differently so this is where you’ll need to know your stove. For your stove, if the coconut burned that quickly then your oil was too hot. If you do try this recipe again, turn your stove to a LOWER temperature so that it doesn’t burn your coconut. This may take a bit of trial and error with a piece or two (or even just the coconut) until your oil is the right temperature. Once you find the right temperature (medium low perhaps?) then cook the rest of your chicken. Should turn out great.

    • Hi Evanna! Could you tell me where you saw that this recipe was AIE protocol? I certainly don’t make any claims on the recipe and would love to know where you saw/heard this so I could follow up with them (if possible). Thanks!

  10. Hi! I Whole30-fied (that’s a word, right?) this recipe tonight as my husband and I started the Whole30 on Monday and he LOVED it! I used coconut oil to fry, coconut flour instead of corn starch and unsweetened coconut flakes instead of sweetened. We dipped them in marinara sauce and served with some cauliflower rice. This will definitely be made a couple more times before the month is done. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Ruth! Thank you so much for your suggestions on making this Whole 30 approved! I love your changes and am so glad you enjoyed this so much you’ll be making it again! I hope you’ll try a few of our other recipes too!

    • Sungani! I am so glad that you love this recipe!! I have yet to meet someone who didn’t love it. It is off the charts good and honestly I think I’ll have to make it this week again as I’m totally craving it! Thank you so much for your review!

    • Hi Madison! what kind of oil did you use? Perhaps the oil was too hot if it was irritating your eyes. I always use vegetable oil when frying or for special recipes I’ll whip out the peanut oil, but generally speaking vegetable oil shouldn’t affect your eyes. So sorry to hear that the oil you used wasn’t eye friendly. 🙁

  11. Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I just made it for my kids for dinner and they loved it. 😃😃 Which is always a plus…

    • Jamie, I’m so glad to hear it is KID approved. Anyone with kids knows that they are the most honest and critical of food reviewers so it’s bonus points to hear that even your kids liked it! Thank you so much for your review, it’s brought a smile to my face!

  12. I had this before with a Banana sauce! Have you ever had it this way and if so do you know how to make the Banana sauce ?

    • Banana Sauce?! Ohh sounds tasty! I’ve never made Banana Sauce but it sounds like it could be warmed up Monkey Butter. I’ve had Monkey Butter (like a banana jam) and if you warmed it up, should turn it into more of a sauce consistency. Pinterest will have several recipes for it! Great idea!

  13. I’ve made these so many times I can’t count. For an Asian flair we like Sweet Chili sauce for dipping. Gives it a little sweet zip!

    • Shelly I’m so glad to hear that you are a fan as well! And Sweet Chili Sauce sounds tasty! I was going to play around with possibly a sweet and spicy orange sauce to go with it. That sounds tasty in my mind. But I would also love the sweet chili! I’ll try that next time too!

    • Hi Kris! Yes you can use unsweetened! I’ve never tried it with unsweetened so I can’t guarantee the same results but let me know if you do try it and how it turns out!

  14. Thanks for this recipe, Janelle! I made them last night—the baked version, and they were DE-lish!!! It’ll be one of our staples from now on!

    • Pam I’m so glad to hear that your family loved it! It’s a happy gathering around our table when we whip this up too! Next time, give our Coconut Coconut Lime Chicken a try – similar but with a kick of coconut and lime!

  15. I love anything with coconut in it! And a recipe as easy as this is such a terrific find!I was looking for a substitute for shrimp, which is so expensive. This is it! I also remember the wonderful coconut shrimp at the Chinese buffet that features crispy, batter-dipped and fried shrimp in a sweet coconut sauce made with coconut cream. I bet that’ll be the way I make this next time.

    A comment about heating oil in an open pot: Remember this is a serious fire hazard so proceed with caution. Heat oil slowly. NEVER walk away from the stove while oil is heating. If oil overheats and bursts into flames, simply place a lid on the pot. Do not use water to put it out! I have a friend who left the pot on the stove and ended up burning down her entire kitchen.

    Be sure to use a good thermometer! Or use a thermostatically controlled fryer. I have one I bought at a Chinese grocery and it holds oil at exactly 350 degrees. It never overheats. Have had it for years and LOVE it!

    • Hi Connie! All EXCELLENT suggestions. For those who are not comfortable or used to cooking with oil, I HIGHLY suggest a fryer or to bake this instead of frying it. Thank you so much for you comment! We all need a reminder of these when cooking with hot oil!

  16. Hi! I’m new to frying in large quantities of oil. I tried it and the coconut instantly turned black and filled the kitchen with smoke. What am I doing wrong? I’m trying it in the oven now : )

    • Regan, I have NO IDEA what happened to my comment! I had replied to you right away and now it’s not there! Your coconut turned black because your oil was WAAY too hot. I’ve added a few notes to the recipe on a few tricks I use to test the heat of my oil without sacrificing one of my tasty coconut chicken pieces! I hope they help you and I REALLY hope the baked version worked for you too!

  17. The secret to Red Lobster coconut shrimp is Parrot Bay Coconut rum. This will enhance the coconut flavor here, too.

    • Hi Bill! Thanks for the tip! I however am sticking to my original recipe. It’s perfect just the way it is and packed with natural coconut flavor. However other readers may want to give your tip a try. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Alex, I have never used an air fryer so I don’t fully know how they compare in terms of fried/baked foods. If you try it in an air fryer, let us know how it turns out!

        • Sharlette that is great to hear! Thanks for letting us know! I’m sure other people have had or will have that same question and now thanks to you we all know it turns out great!

          • Hi! This recipe looks amazing! I am on a hunt for recipes to try in my new Air Fryer!! We are total foodies (I don’t have a blog – but I love trolling ones like this one!!) – anyway – do you have any instructions on how to cook this recipe using an air fryer? I’d love the help – I’m a great cook – but am very new to the Air Frying process! If not – no worries – figured it was worth the ask… thank you!

          • Another reader left a comment (bottom) that they tried it in an Air Fryer and it worked beautifully! Hope that helps! I’ve never used one myself so I can’t give any specifics.

  18. Hi Janelle! This is a unique chicken recipe and I am planning to copy this for our cook off in office. can you please tell me how you made the dips? thanks a bunch!

    • Hi Rhian! I’m so sorry I didn’t respond in time! December is a crazy busy month for me and I am just catching up on comments now! I just used sauce in my fridge. Nothing too fancy. Hope everyone loved it!

    • We just pull out everything we have in the fridge. Some people say it doesn’t need a dip, while I prefer a raspberry Chipotle sauce. I have one person who like an Orange Sauce, another who prefers mango sauce and another who is a die hard honey fan (which I think is just too sweet). So any of your favorites should work!

  19. This was wonderful. It worked exactly per your directions with testing the oil with coconut. I used avocado oil and DH and I had steamed broccoli and cauliflower as a side. Doing this again soon!

  20. I didn’t read every comment, although I read many. This is such an awesome yummy recipe!!! My daughter has many food allergies so the egg was out. I used coconut milk. It worked great!!! I added a bit of coconut oil to my vegetable oil. It was easy to work with. And about the deep frying, water is your enemy. It will cause oil to bubble over, which can cause a fire. I don’t see much of a risk with this recipe, just don’t put too many pieces in at once

    • Teresa, thank you for your comment! Great idea with the coconut milk!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a few words of wisdom and tips that worked great for your family!

  21. This recipe sounds delicious and I am going to try it once I purchase the ingredients. I don’t have issues with gluten so if I want to use flour instead of cornstarch, do I substitute the same amount of flour?

    Also, if I wanted to make it more like a fast food textured chicken nugget, what do you think about using ground chicken and coating it? Thanks.

  22. My children will absolutely love this, as will their parents. Wanted to come and Pin the recipe after seeing your note that it had been stolen from your website on Pinterest. Bloggers should always support each other. Absolutely delicious and I look forward to trying the pinned recipe.

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