Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce

Talk about addictive! Once you try one of these crispy Coconut Chicken strips dipped in tangy sweet chili sauce you’re going to want to make them on a weekly basis. Because the chicken is sliced nice and thin and then cooked quickly in hot oil, the chicken stays juicy and tender on the inside, while developing […]

The post Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Talk about addictive! Once you try one of these crispy Coconut Chicken strips dipped in tangy sweet chili sauce you’re going to want to make them on a weekly basis. Because the chicken is sliced nice and thin and then cooked quickly in hot oil, the chicken stays juicy and tender on the inside, while developing a perfectly golden brown and crispy exterior. Pair that with a bowl of cool, sweet, and tangy Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping and I’m in absolute heaven. So if you love chicken tenders, chicken strips, boneless wings, or anything along those lines, I think you’re going to love these Coconut Chicken Strips.

Originally posted 1-18-2010, updated 5-10-2021.

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut chicken strips with one being dipped into a bowl of sweet chili sauce

What Kind of Chicken to Use

I’ve tried this recipe with both chicken breast (boneless, skinless) and chicken tenders. Chicken tenders ended up being too large when used whole, so while they are an option you’ll probably still want to slice them into thinner pieces before breading and cooking. 

Another option would be to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks, so you’ll have something more along the lines of coconut chicken “bites” than strips. I think that would be awesome! The dark meat of chicken thighs will be extra tender and juicy.

Cooking Options

Frying – I chose to shallow fry my coconut chicken strips in a skillet because I don’t have a deep fryer and I don’t deep fry often enough to warrant using as much oil as deep-frying requires. Shallow frying will still get you that great super crispy exterior without allowing the inside to dry out.

Baking – While you can bake these, the results won’t be as awesome as frying. Baking takes longer and the hot air causes more evaporation, which results in drier chicken. You also won’t get as much browning as you will with frying. To help the browning issue, you can try adding a tablespoon or two of oil into the panko and coconut breading mixture, similar to the technique used in my Homemade Chicken Nuggets. I suggest using the baking temperature and technique used for the chicken nuggets as well, but increasing the bake time by a few minutes.

Air Frying – I do not own an air fryer, so unfortunately I can’t offer suggestions for cooking times and temperature, but I suspect these chicken strips would be a good candidate for air frying. Because this appliance uses hot air, similar to an oven, I would suggest either spritzing the strips with a little spray oil or mixing a tablespoon or two of oil into the panko and coconut mixture to help with browning.

What to Serve with Coconut Chicken Strips

Don’t skip that sweet chili sauce! You can find sweet chili sauce in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or you can try making your own with my Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce recipe. For side dishes, you can pair this with something like Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Sesame Dressing, Cucumber Mango Salad, or Savory Coconut Rice

What Oil is Good For Frying?

It’s really important to use the right kind of cooking oil for frying. Every type of cooking oil has a different “smoke point,” which is the temperature that the oil begins to smoke and burn. And obviously, we want to avoid that because burned oil does not taste good (and it’s a fire hazard!). So, you’ll want to choose an oil that can withstand the high temperature of frying and an oil that doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own. Some good oils to choose from are canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, refined coconut oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, refined olive oil, or refined avocado oil.

Close up of a coconut chicken strip being dipped into sweet chili sauce

A plate of coconut chicken strips with a bowl of sweet chili sauce in the center, a hand dipping one chicken strip into the sauce

Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce

These tender and crispy homemade Coconut Chicken Strips are perfect for dipping in a tangy and sweet chili sauce.
Total Cost $10.95 recipe / $2.73 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 4 strips each
Calories 873.13kcal

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts $7.70
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.01
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 large eggs $0.42
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk $0.25
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs $0.22
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut $0.56
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil, divided* $0.32
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce $1.43

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken breasts into ½-inch wide strips, slicing diagonally to maintain a more even length among the strips.
  • Sprinkle the salt and flour over top of the sliced chicken. Toss the chicken until they're evenly coated.
  • Whisk together the eggs and coconut milk in a bowl. In a separate wide shallow bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and flaked coconut.
  • To bread the chicken, dip each chicken strip into the egg wash, allow the excess to drip off, then dip it into the breadcrumb mixture until it's fully coated. Place the breaded chicken strips on a clean plate or tray until they're all breaded.
  • Once they're all breaded, it's time to fry. Heat ¼ cup cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. To test the heat of the oil, drop a breadcrumb into the oil. It should begin to sizzle immediately. If the oil begins to smoke at anytime, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the chicken strips, several at a time, leaving a little space between each one. Cook the chicken strips for about three minutes on on each side, or until they're deeply golden brown. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain, then repeat with another batch of chicken. Remove any burned pieces of coconut before beginning the next batch, and add more oil as needed, making sure to wait until it is hot before adding more chicken.
  • After frying all of the chicken, it's time to serve! Serve hot with a bowl of sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Notes

*Use a high heat cooking oil. Good options include: canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, refined coconut oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, refined olive oil, or refined avocado oil. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 873.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 82.7g | Protein: 39.45g | Fat: 42.1g | Sodium: 1313.3mg | Fiber: 3.15g

Close up of coconut chicken strips on a plate with a bowl of thai sweet chili sauce

How to Make Coconut Chicken Strips – Step by Step Photos

Sliced chicken breasts

Start with about 1.3 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast. Cut them into ½-inch wide strips. I like to do this sort of on a diagonal to keep them more even in length. If your chicken breasts are very large, you might want to cut the length of the strip in half as well. Cutting the chicken strips thin enough is important because this allows it to cook through quickly. 

Chicken strips coated in flour and salt

Sprinkle ¼ tsp salt and 2 Tbsp flour over the chicken strips, then toss until they’re evenly coated.

Egg and coconut milk mixed in a bowl

Whisk together two large eggs and ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk in a bowl. Make sure to use the type of coconut milk that is in a can, not the type in a carton that is meant to be a dairy milk substitute.

Coconut and panko breadcrumbs mixed together in a bowl

Combine 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes and 1 cup panko breadcrumbs in a wide, shallow bowl.

Breading station with chicken, egg wash, coconut and breadcrumbs

Set up your breading station with the bowl of coconut egg wash, the bowl with coconut and breadcrumbs, and a plate or tray for the breaded chicken. I’m using a parchment lined baking sheet to hold the breaded chicken just for easy cleanup. Dip each chicken strip first into the eggwash (let excess drip off), then into the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure the breadcrumbs and coconut fully coat all sides, then place the chicken strip on your holding tray.

Breaded chicken strips on a baking tray

Once all of the chicken strips are breaded, it’s time to start cooking. Add ¼ cup cooking oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Wait until the oil is very hot, but not smoking. If you drop one of the panko breadcrumbs into the hot oil, it should immediately begin sizzling. If it doesn’t sizzle right away, the oil is not hot enough. If at any point during the cooking process the oil begins to smoke, remove it from the heat immediately and wait for it to cool down. 

Browned chicken strips in the skillet

Once the oil is good and hot, add several of the chicken strips, leaving a little space between each. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they are deeply golden brown on each side. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Scoop out any loose pieces of coconut, add a little more oil if needed, wait for it to get hot again, and then cook a second batch of chicken strips. You should be able to cook them all in 2-3 batches. 

Finished Coconut Chicken Strips on a paper towel lined plate

Once they’re all cooked, it’s time to serve! 

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut chicken strips with a bowl of sweet chili sauce in the center

Pour about one cup of sweet chili sauce into a bowl and place that in the center of the coconut chicken strips. I sprinkled the chicken strips with a little cilantro for color, but that’s not needed for flavor. Sliced green onions are another optional garnish idea. Enjoy!

The post Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Coconut Shrimp

This coconut shrimp is baked to perfection: no one can resist that crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite! Serve as an appetizer or dinner. Who can resist a plate of coconut shrimp? (We certainly can’t.) Each crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite is so supremely satisfying, we want to devour the entire plate. This appetizer is popular at seafood restaurants and Tiki bars: and it has that nostalgic 1990’s chain restaurant vibe. Here we’ve decoded the secrets behind the flavor: and for a lighter twist we’ve made it baked, not fried! Serve it with sweet chili sauce for a tasty appetizer: or you can make it dinner by adding a few sides like rice or sauteed veggies. Ready to get started? Coconut shrimp that’s baked, not fried! Of course, we had to put our “A Couple Cooks” spin on this coconut shrimp recipe. We’re all about making pretty simple recipes with a healthy twist: and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Instead of deep frying, all you have to do is bake these babies in the oven until crisp. This approach not only makes it healthier…it’s much easier! You don’t have to deal with measuring temperatures or misting your kitchen with a light spray […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This coconut shrimp is baked to perfection: no one can resist that crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite! Serve as an appetizer or dinner.

Coconut shrimp

Who can resist a plate of coconut shrimp? (We certainly can’t.) Each crunchy, coconut-scented, juicy bite is so supremely satisfying, we want to devour the entire plate. This appetizer is popular at seafood restaurants and Tiki bars: and it has that nostalgic 1990’s chain restaurant vibe. Here we’ve decoded the secrets behind the flavor: and for a lighter twist we’ve made it baked, not fried! Serve it with sweet chili sauce for a tasty appetizer: or you can make it dinner by adding a few sides like rice or sauteed veggies. Ready to get started?

Coconut shrimp that’s baked, not fried!

Of course, we had to put our “A Couple Cooks” spin on this coconut shrimp recipe. We’re all about making pretty simple recipes with a healthy twist: and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Instead of deep frying, all you have to do is bake these babies in the oven until crisp.

This approach not only makes it healthier…it’s much easier! You don’t have to deal with measuring temperatures or misting your kitchen with a light spray of oil.

How to make coconut shrimp

What type of shrimp to use?

There’s lots of variation in the shrimp you’ll find at the store. Here are a few tips on what to look for when you’re making coconut shrimp:

  • Find large shrimp. It’s customary to use large shrimp to get the perfect bite; you can also use medium (and you’ll end up with more bites!).
  • Use tail on. Coconut shrimp is always made with the tail on: this makes for a lovely presentation. Of course, you pop off the tails when eating.
  • Fresh or frozen. You can use either here! Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance (see below).
  • Wild caught. If you can, look for wild caught: it’s the most sustainable!

How to make coconut shrimp: basic steps & tips!

You’ll have to make a little assembly line to make this healthy coconut shrimp. That is: there are three stations in the breading process: flour, eggs, and a coconut and panko mixture. Set these up in a line, then go at it! It takes a little time and your hands might get a little messy, but it’s fun! We like enlisting a friend or partner to help, but you can easily do it yourself. Here’s what to do:

  • Lightly coat the shrimp in flour. This helps the next ingredients to stick.
  • Dip the shrimp into eggs. A coating of egg is the glue that holds on the crunchy bits.
  • Coat the slices in coconut and panko. Then dip the shrimp right into the panko and coconut mix.
  • Wash your hands as needed. The egg with coconut and panko can get a little gummy and messy, so wash your hands as needed throughout the process. A tip: we like to keep a bowl of water next to our assembly line so we can quickly rinse off the goo.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees. You don’t even need to flip!
Coconut shrimp

Wait: what’s panko?

Ever worked with panko? Panko is a flaky bread crumb mixture used in Japanese cooking for fried foods. It’s also made its way into international cooking because it’s the perfect breading when frying…or this coconut shrimp! Panko is available in most grocery stores; if you can’t find it, look for coarse breadcrumbs instead. Some purchased breadcrumbs have very fine texture, which wouldn’t end up quite as crispy as panko.

How to thaw shrimp

Are you working with frozen shrimp? The nice thing about shrimp is that frozen tastes nearly as good as fresh (which is not true for all seafood and fish). The only thing is you’ll have to allow for time to defrost. Here are our tips on the best way to thaw shrimp:

  • Day before: If you think ahead, simply place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of: Place the frozen shrimp into a large bowl with very cold water. Stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps of shrimp that freeze together. The shrimp should be defrosted in about 15 minutes.
Coconut shrimp

Dipping sauces for coconut shrimp

Once you’ve made up your baked coconut shrimp, the sky’s the limit for how to serve it! At seafood restaurants and Tiki bars it’s often served with sweet chili sauce. But there are lots of other options! Here are a few dipping sauces we love:

  • Sweet chili sauce: This is the best way to serve coconut shrimp because it has that classic flavor you expect. You can find it near the Asian-style condiments at your grocery.
  • Cilantro sauce: This Cilantro Lime Ranch is a fun option, or try Creamy Cilantro Sauce.
  • Cocktail sauce: Why not? Try it as an alternative to the classic with our Famous Homemade Cocktail Sauce.

Or, make it dinner with a few sides!

Here’s the thing: if I’m going to spend all this time on healthy baked coconut shrimp…I want to make it into dinner! You can easily serve this as a meal if you add a few sides. Here are some ideas:

And that’s it! We hope you love this one: let us know in the comments below.

Shrimp appetizer recipe

This coconut shrimp recipe is…

Pescatarian and dairy free.

Print
Coconut shrimp

Easy Coconut Shrimp


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This crunchy coconut shrimp is baked to perfection! It’s easy to make, full of huge flavor, and works as an appetizer or dinner. 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp, deveined tail on
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt*
  • 1/2 cup flour (gluten-free flour as necessary)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish
  • Sweet chili sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. If frozen, thaw the shrimp.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry. Mix the shrimp in a bowl with the garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt
  4. Place the flour in an even layer on a plate. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl, and set it next to the plate. Place the panko and coconut on another plate, and set it next to the bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  5. Dredge each shrimp into the flour, then dip it into the eggs, then dredge it into the panko and coconut. Place each shrimp gently onto the baking sheet. Wash your hands off as necessary, since the coating can start to become gooey. 
  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until juicy and opaque, about 12 to 14 minutes.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Coconut shrimp

More easy shimp recipes

Shrimp is ultimate for deliciously healthy recipes! Here are a few more shrimp recipes to cook up this tasty shellfish:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes