I definitely love fried crispy chicken but I don’t love the process and the clean up. Maybe you are lucky enough to have space in your kitchen for an air fryer which would work great with this gluten-free crispy coconut chicken. But I prefer this easy baking process.
I love this crispy coconut chicken because it can be kid-friendly or adult appealing. For kids, cut the chicken into strips for chicken fingers (or use chicken tenders) and mix up the sauce on the sweet, mild side. Make it more adult appealing by leaving the chicken in larger pieces and by making the sauce a bit more spicy and savory.
Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs – I haven’t found any ready-made gluten-free panko bread crumbs that I like, so I use gluten-free crispy rice cereal as a substitute. They have just the right texture when ground up and stay crispy when baked. Nature’s Path Crispy Rice Cereal or Gluten-Free Rice Chex are good choices because they are not too sweet. Use the blender or food processor or put them in a plastic bag and crunch them up using a rolling pin.
Coconut aminos is included in the sauce. I like it as a milder, less salty substitute for soy sauce. It has become more available at markets recently but if you can’t find it, soy sauce will work too.
How to Cut Chicken Breast
Most chicken breasts these days are unusually thick and large. For this gluten-free crispy coconut chicken, thin pieces work best. Most chefs would tell you to pound the chicken to make it thin. But again this is a messy and time-consuming process and I’m just not that patient! So here’s how I do it:
Start with a sharp knife and a stable cutting board. Put a damp paper towel underneath the keep it from slipping.
If the chicken breast is very large, I like to cut it in half this way before cutting thin.
Place one hand on top of the chicken (fingers flat) and hold the knife parallel to the cutting board. Try to keep it as level as possible. With a long smooth stroke, cut a 1/4′ piece. For most chicken breasts this would be 3rds.
Then cut the remaining piece in half using the same technique.
How to Bread Chicken
The breading process can be a bit messy so I’ve provided step-by-step instructions to guide you through you and help you stay organized. The best way to keep the process from getting too messy is to designate the dry hand that only touches the flour and bread crumbs. The other hand will use a fork to dip the chicken in the egg and transfer it to the bread crumbs.
Gluten-Free Crispy Coconut Chicken
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c coconut flour
- 1/4 c brown rice flour
- 3 cups Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Crispy Rice Cereal OR 1 c gluten-free panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp salt
- oil spray
Apricot/Peach Dipping Sauce
- 3 Tbsp apricot or peach jam or orange marmalade
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 2 Tbsps vinegar
- 2 tsp coconut aminos or tamari
- pinch of dried chili flakes
- Make the dipping sauce
- Combine all the sauce ingredients. Depending on the jam you use you may want to add more vinegar. Taste it and season it up to your taste. If you like it more or less spicy, adjust the amount of chili flakes. To make it more savory and less sweet, add a bit more coconut aminos or tamari. Don’t be afraid to play with the flavors, that’s what good cooks do! Just be sure add ingredients in small amounts and continually taste as you go.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
- If you are making chicken fingers, cut the chicken into strips trying to keep the sizes as even as possible. Otherwise, butterfly each breast and then cut in half.
- Put the brown rice cereal in a food processor and process until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. These make a great substitute for panko bread crumbs. I like Nature’s Path cereal because it is not too sweet. Most of the other gluten-free brands are too sweet for this recipe.
- Clear some counter space. You will need 2 large plates, a wide bowl (not too big) and a sheet pan or cookie sheet fitted with an oven safe wire rack sprayed with canola oil spray.
- Beat the egg in the wide bowl with 2 tsp water. Leave the fork with the bowl.
- Put the coconut flour and brown rice flour on one of the plates, add 1/2 tsp of the salt and mix thoroughly. If you don’t have coconut flour, all brown rice is fine.
- Place the rice cereal crumbs, shredded coconut and 1/2 tsp salt on the other plate and mix well with your fingers.
- Use only your left hand (the ”wet” hand”) to handle the chicken and use only your right (the “dry” hand) to touch the flour and crumbs.
- Place the chicken on the flour plate and coat completely. Use your dry hand to sprinkle and press the flour into any crevices.
- Use your wet hand to transfer the chicken to the egg bowl. Coat with egg, flip with the fork. Then pick it up with the fork or your wet hand, let the excess egg drip off into the bowl.
- Lay it onto the rice crumbs plate. Use your wet hand to flip. Then use your dry hand to press the chicken down. This will help the crumbs to adhere. Flip and press again. If there are any uncoated spots use your dry hand to sprinkle and press the crumbs onto the chicken.
- Use your dry hand to transfer the coated breast to the wire rack. Repeat until all the chicken is coated.
- Bake for 10 minutes then flip. Bake another 15 minutes or so. Times will vary depending on the thickness and size of your chicken pieces.