Crispy Coconut Chicken with Spicy Honey Orange Sauce

Crispy, flavorful, and simple coconut chicken using convenient pantry ingredients to make one memorable meal everyone will love!

coconut chicken on a white plate with dipping sauce

Here’s a simple dinner recipe that turned out to be even tastier than I planned. Sure, I had high hopes for this mid-week meal but I never expected it to be THIS GOOD. I think the chicken’s crispiness is what makes it.

And that spicy sweet orange sauce is like icing on the chicken cake. That sounds so weird but you know what I mean. I hope?

coconut chicken on a blue plate with dipping sauce

Here’s the deal. The chicken’s crust:

√ Has allllllll the coconut.

√ Is all sorts of tropical tasting. Hello perfect warm weather recipe.

√ Has Panko for added crunch and texture. Done and done.

√ Is flash-fried in a little coconut oil on the stove before going into the oven.

√ Is crispy and crusty and sweet and savory and flavorful.

The chicken is coated in the coconut crust in three steps. First, a coating of whole wheat (or regular) flour. The flour helps the egg to stick. Next, a dip into beaten eggs. Coating the chicken in beaten egg helps the coconut to stick. And finally? A generous dunk into coconut/Panko creadcrumbs. Here’s why Panko is preferred: Panko is made from crustless bread and is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes. Panko tends to stay crispier longer than regular breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease and liquid.

It’s important to chop up/pulse the shredded coconut before using it as a coating. Smaller pieces of coconut adhere to the chicken much easier.

2 images of coconut coating in a white bowl and chicken in bowl of coconut coating

About that “flash fry” step. It’s not crucial, but both Kevin and I liked the pieces of chicken that were briefly pan fried in coconut oil before being baked through. As an alternative, you can simply bake the chicken instead of adding the pan frying step. But that little pan fry in coconut oil adds another wonderful layer of flavor and gives the chicken the golden brown crispy crust we all love.

For the best taste and texture, I don’t recommend skipping this step. 

coconut chicken in a pan

Now, about that sauce. Talk about F-L-A-V-O-R! I remember having a spicy orange sauce with coconut shrimp at a restaurant before and I knew it would be equally as tasty on crispy coconut chicken. All you need is honey, orange marmalade/jam/preserves, dijon mustard, and red pepper flakes. If spicy isn’t your style, leave out the red pepper flakes. There is still so much lovely flavor in this sauce!

Double dipping is encouraged. Scratch that. It’s required.

orange sauce in a glass bowl

This chicken is finger-lickin’ good. I don’t like that term though. Maybe it’s the word “lick”? Or just the licking your fingers part? I don’t know, but it certainly describes this coconut chicken. Sticky and sweet, can’t be beat.

coconut chicken on a white plate with dipping sauce

This is truly such a simple dish that uses convenient pantry ingredients and boasts huge coconut flavor. All in such little prep time, too. Everyone will go COCO-nuts for this chicken! I’m a nerd.

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coconut chicken on a white plate with dipping sauce

Crispy Coconut Chicken with Spicy Honey Orange Sauce

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Crispy, flavorful, and simple coconut chicken using convenient pantry ingredients to make one memorable meal everyone will love.


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut*
  • 3/4 cup Panko*
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil*
  • optional for garnish: chopped cilantro or parsley

Spicy Honey Orange Sauce

  • 1/2 cup orange preserves (or marmalade)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste


  1. If using chicken breasts, pound down and cut into strips. If using boneless, skinless chicken tenders (chicken tenders are the lean strips of meat found attached to the underside of chicken breasts – they can also be purchased separately.) – cut in half lengthwise.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  3. Pulse the shredded coconut in a food processor or blender to break it down into smaller pieces. Alternatively, you can chop it up. Mix it with the Panko in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a second medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and pepper together. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs together.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Coat each chicken strip in flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the coconut mixture, shaking off any excess. Add more Panko to the dish if you are running low.
  6. Fry 4-6 chicken strips at a time in the coconut oil– only about 2 minutes per side until the crust is golden brown. Once each is done, place strips onto prepared baking pan.
  7. Bake for 6-10 minutes or until chicken is completely baked through.
  8. Make the sauce: Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together except for the salt. Taste. Add salt as needed.
  9. Serve chicken warm with the dipping sauce. Add an optional garnish like a little chopped cilantro or parsley. Store any leftover chicken in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 10 minutes or until warmed through.


  1. Freezing Instructions: After the chicken is coated in the coconut in step 5, place chicken on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen solid. Then transfer them to a large freezer-friendly bag. Freeze for up to 3-4 months. When ready to eat, place frozen chicken on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F (177°C)  for 30 minutes or until cooked through. You can also freeze the cooked chicken strips for up to 3-4 months. Thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator then reheat to your liking.
  2. Coconut: I prefer sweetened coconut for a slightly sweet crust. You can use unsweetened coconut if you’d prefer it, though we didn’t like the unsweetened crust as much compared to sweetened coconut. I also find that the sweetened coconut browns easier and was a little crispier.
  3. Panko: A Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for fried or baked foods. It’s available in major grocery stores near the stuffing. Panko is heavily preferred opposed to regular bread crumbs because they tend to stay crispier longer. You may buy seasoned or unseasoned and then add more/less seasonings to your breading if preferred. I use unseasoned.
  4. Non-Frying Option: Instead of flash frying in coconut oil in steps 4 and 6, you can simply bake the coconut chicken for around 20 minutes (flipping halfway through) and skip those two steps. However, we much preferred the taste of the chicken after being pan fried in coconut oil for that brief amount of time. It adds another layer of coconut flavor as well as ensures a crispy golden brown crust.
  5. Sauce adapted from All Recipes.

Keywords: crispy coconut chicken

We’re obsessed.

coconut chicken


  1. Jessica Flory says:

    Oh my goodness this was so sooooo good!!! Wow!! All the flavors!! I served it alongside coconut rice and green beans. Amazing! For the sauce I swapped the marmalade for the zest and juice of a clementine. It was perfect. I also used unsweetened coconut. Thanks, Sally, for another winner!

  2. Diana Cecala says:

    This sounds delicious but I wonder what the nutritional information was on this, specifically the calories. I didn’t see any such information available. What is the policy on publishing nutritional info with each of your excellent recipes?

    1. Hi, Diana! I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one:

    2. Sweet Baby Jeezus! My family is going crazy for this! Will be on the weeknight rotation! Never sautéed with coconut oil prior…. it is amazing. We really spiced up the marmalade, per the household vote. Also used “southern favored Planko”. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Can’t wait to try this recipe but the baking time of 6 – 10 minutes does not seem long enough.

    1. Hi Susan, cut into small enough strips and with the frying step first, that baking time is accurate. As always, it’s best to check for doneness first.

  4. Marcia Giampoli says:

    My hubbie of 40 years came home early today, Valentine’s Day, to make this for us! Yummy!!

  5. This was wonderful. My husband who hates mustard loved the dipping sauce.

  6. Do you think the sauce would work with apricot jam? Or do you think it would end up too sweet?

    Can’t wait to try this. I’ve had it saved in Pinterest for a loooong time.

    1. Hi Elise, you can substitute apricot jam for the orange in the sauce. I hope you enjoy it!

      1. Thanks so much. It turned out great! Loved it. It’ll definitely make it into dinner rotation.

  7. I made this recipe tonight for the first time, so delicious! The only challenge had was trying to figure out how many ounces of chicken I had as my package was in grams…obviously I weighed in ounces ;), loved this recipe the flavours and textures really are perfect! Thank you Sally for a great recipe and for coming back over to update your older recipes…look forward to some grams in this recipe once you get time if possible.

  8. Hello, can I use raw coconut oil or olive oil for the first step of pan cooking the chicken ?

  9. Worked well. Delicious.

  10. This was a smash hit! First time cooking with coconut oil. (I used liquid cooking oil from Fresh Thyme) Crisped them in the skillet at 2 minutes per side, put into our air fryer at 400 degrees for 4-5 minutes. They were perfect! Didn’t have honey for the sauce, but it was still just delicious. I did 3 lbs. of chicken so we will have plenty to go on top of our salad tomorrow night. Thanks for the recipe! We will be surely be making these again.

  11. Holy smithereens this freaking ROCKS!! I used the white flour since that’s what I had on hand. I also flash-fried the chicken first. (Great idea) As well as chopping the coconut to match the size of the panko was spot on! The sauce was tasty. I considered adding more red pepper flakes and will do so next time. The flavor and texture was amazing as was the flavor. Not crazy coconut but enough to know what you were eating. Freaking perfection. Thanks and I will be making this for a long time to come as well as looking at more of your recipes since this was our first from you.

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed this so much, Lisa! Can’t wait to hear what you try next 🙂

  12. Sally, this was sooooo good! Since I’m trying to watch my sugar intake, I used sugar-free peach preserves instead of orange marmalade (I haven’t been able to find SF orange marmalade anywhere in my area), and I was out of red pepper flakes, so I substituted cayenne. I do think I would season the chicken a bit more next time, but that’s just a personal preference. I ate them on top of a bed of butter lettuce, and it was incredible. Would definitely make again.

  13. I tried using my left-over chinese fast food mustard and duck sauce with the orange marmalade – worked great!

  14. Delicious Tip: To the sauce, I added 1 Tablespoon of Mae Ploy Sauce {sweet chili sauce).
    Fannnntaaaaassstttiiicccc! Making it again tonight. WOOHOO!

  15. I LOVE coconut shrimp but had never tried coconut chicken before. This recipe is the bomb! I would like to try it with shrimp as well. The sauce is suuuuper tasty but be aware it is very sweet. I didn’t think I would like it but it is very good with a little hot sauce or pepper flakes. I would like to taste it with more dijon and less honey. A great recipe and fairly simple!!!

  16. does anyone know how many calories this recipe has?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nichole, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful:

  17. I followed the recipe exactly and it was a hit with the entire family! So juicy and full of flavour. And that sauce is to die for! I served it with rice and salad. 10/10 recommend!!

  18. Absolutely fabulous. My favorite way to cook chicken. I am going to try it with shrimp as the pinko/ coconut mixture is so nice and crunchy. I too, used unsweetened coconut.

  19. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! We loved it!

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