This crispy coconut chicken is absolutely delicious. A simple beer batter tenderizes chicken breast strips, then they’re rolled in coconut and pan-fried to crispy perfection. Dipped in an orange marmalade-horseradish sauce that’s loaded with flavor, this is one of our all-time favorite recipes!
What Makes This Coconut Chicken So Good
- Beer-battered coconut chicken strips might just become your new favorite recipe. There’s so much flavor here, between the flaked coconut, the beer batter, and the tangy orange-horseradish sauce. Delish!
- These coconut chicken strips crisp up beautifully! The double “breading” of flour and coconut flakes gives the chicken strips a coating that gets deliciously crispy when you pan-fry it. The chicken stays tender and juicy inside, too.
- They’re so easy to make! It might look involved, but once you get into a rhythm, you’ll have breaded, fried, crispy chicken strips in no time.
- It’s a terrific freezer meal option! After you dredge the chicken in flour, batter, and coconut, set the battered strips out on a baking sheet and pop the baking sheet straight into the freezer. Let them chill (ha) for 1-2 hours, or until they’re completely frozen. After that you can transfer them to a freezer-safe sealable bag or airtight container. They’ll keep in the freezer for several months! You can also freeze the fully-cooked chicken strips. Just let them cool completely first, then use the same freezing method as above.
Key Ingredients for Coconut Chicken
Flaked Coconut – Sweetened or unsweetened coconut will work here. It just depends on what you prefer! You could also use shredded coconut if you prefer it.
Beer – The type of beer you use here is entirely up to you. An amber or a stout will give you pronounced flavors. Pilsners and lagers are typically the beer of choice for beer-battered chicken, thanks to their bubbles! They’ll keep the batter light. If you opt not to use beer in your batter at all, try replacing it with apple cider vinegar or club soda. The carbonation in the club soda will mimic the bubbles in the beer, keeping the batter light. Note that the flavor will be different depending on what you use!
Chicken Breasts – You can also use store-bought, pre-cut chicken tenders to make this recipe a little easier and faster. Just make sure they’re skinless and unbreaded. If you’re using frozen chicken you’ll need to thaw it completely first!
- If your coconut flakes seem pretty big, run them through a food processor or high speed blender first, just for a few seconds. They’ll stick better if they’re small, but you don’t want them to be too small. If they’re too small, you won’t get a good crisp.
- For the crispiest coconut chicken possible, you really need to do both steps – the pan-frying AND the baking. If you don’t want to fry the chicken, you can go straight to the oven with them. The breading won’t be as crispy, though!
- Make sure your oil is hot enough before adding the chicken. Too hot and the breading will burn; not hot enough, it’ll just soak up oil. The temperature should be somewhere from 350°-375° Fahrenheit. Use a deep frying thermometer to monitor the temp, or if you don’t have one, use a wooden spoon! Just dip the handle of the wooden spoon in the hot oil. If it bubbles steadily (not violently) around the spoon handle, you’re good to go!
- Cold beer will make the batter come out crispier than if you use room temperature beer. Also, if your batter seems too thick, you can add a little more beer. A thinner batter will give your coconut chicken strips a lighter coating. Don’t go too thin, though. You want the coconut to be able to stick!
Try These Other Delicious Recipes, Too!
- Beer Cheese Dip
- Perfectly Crispy Gluten Free Fried Chicken
- Texas Caviar (aka Cowboy Caviar)
- Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken
- Sous Vide Tri Tip with Easy Chimichurri Sauce
- Creamy Coconut Chicken with Lime
- Cheese Grits (Stone-Ground & Quick Grits Options)
- Buffalo Burger with an Easy Burger Sauce
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Beer-Battered Coconut Chicken with Orange-Horseradish Sauce
- Oven & stove
- Small bowl
- Medium bowls (3)
- Large skillet
- Baking sheet
For the Orange-Horseradish Sauce
- ¾ cup orange marmalade
- 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
- 1 ⅓ teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1 big pinch salt
For the Coconut Chicken Strips
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour divided, see Notes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup cold beer of choice
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 5-ounce bag flaked coconut about 2 ½ cups
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
- neutral oil for frying
For the Orange-Horseradish Sauce
- Add all sauce ingredients to small bowl and stir until combined. Chill at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
For the Coconut Chicken Strips
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- In one medium bowl, place ½ cup plain flour. In second medium bowl, combine egg, ½ cup flour, salt, beer, and baking powder. Place flaked coconut in third medium bowl.
- Dredge chicken strips first in plain flour. Shake off excess flour into bowl. Dipped floured chicken strips in beer batter. Hold strips over bowl to let excess batter drip off, then roll strips in coconut flakes. Set aside and repeat until all chicken strips have been battered.
- Heat layer of oil in large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken strips to skillet in batches, being careful not to overcrowd.
- Fry 2 minutes, then turn over and fry another 2 minutes, until crust is golden brown but chicken is not cooked through. Transfer pan-fried chicken to baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken strips have been pan-fried.
- Place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake at 375° Fahrenheit for 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve with orange-horseradish sauce.
- Beer: Use any type of beer you like best. For a beer-free batter, try replacing it with apple cider vinegar or club soda. The flavors will be different but you should still get a really nice batter.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use an equal amount gluten-free all-purpose flour instead of all-purpose flour, and use a gluten-free beer.
- Make it Paleo: Use an equal amount cassava flour instead of all-purpose flour. Replace the beer with apple cider vinegar or club soda. Use a compliant orange marmalade in the sauce if you’re able to find one, or use a different dipping sauce altogether.
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.