Kids in the Sink

Coconut Chicken

on April 23, 2012

You know what I did recently?

I went on a date with my husband. We only have a small window of time before we have to be home to nurse my daughter, so we didn’t do anything to extravagant. And we hadn’t been on a date in a long time so anything pretty much qualified as extravagant.

On this date, we went to dinner and a movie. And I finally saw The Hunger Games.

Now I can understand all the jokes I see on Pinterest and when I hear it on the television I’ll know that when they talk about Peetah, they aren’t talking about the animal rights group.

Anyway, one of my husband’s favorite places to eat is the Chinese buffet. He has always really liked the coconut chicken and I have tried several times to recreate it, but it wasn’t until I became a little bit more of a foodie that I was able to get the flavors and textures right.

My husband is very picky and he likes what he likes and hates what he hates. But, he approved of my version of Chinese buffet coconut chicken. It was super easy to make and tasted great. Who needs 3 hour old, heat lamp chicken when you can make it fresh and delicious at home? No one, I say. Rent The Hunger Games and make this chicken and enjoy a night in with your love.


Coconut Chicken


For the chicken:
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

For the sauce:
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cider vinegar


  1. For the chicken: Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and preheat oven to 325˚. While oil is heating, season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Dip chicken in egg, then cornstarch, and fry in the oil until lightly golden brown, but not cooked through. I had to fry in a couple of batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and place on paper towel-lined plate briefly, then place in a single layer in a baking dish.
  4. For the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and vinegar. Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover with foil and bake for about an hour, stirring the chicken every 15 minutes. Once cooked through, let stand for at least 5 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Serve immediately over rice.

*Note: This dish is SWEET. The restaurant this dish was inspired by makes this dish so sweet, and my husband loves it, so that is what I was going for. Please, feel free to cut back on the amount of sugar if you would like it to be more like chicken and less like dessert 🙂

Source: inspired by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


56 responses to “Coconut Chicken

  1. Jamie says:

    This looks good but 1 hour in the oven for pieces of chicken this small?? Won’t it be a bit too soft, or too dry?

    • I thought the same thing, but I have used this method several times with the recipe it was inspired by and the chicken always comes out moist on the inside. I think frying it a little to get it a little crisp on the outside keeps the inside from cooking too much and keeps it moist. I have always had great success and I hope you do to! If you give the recipe a try, please let me know how it turns out! I’d love some feedback to know whether it works for everyone else as well!

  2. jabbok3kids says:

    This is in my stove cooking right now. My mouth is watering for this deliciousness! 🙂

  3. Sharon Seaman says:

    love it; love it; love it! Puts my local buffet to shame. Going to try shrimp next time.

  4. Deb says:

    How many caloreis are in this coconut Chicken?? I really love coconut chicken . Yeah Baby!! lol

    • We’re not sure about nutritious facts because we don’t keep up with it ourselves. I’m sure there are some websites online that you can plug in information and find that out? We just try to eat naturally and subscribe to the school of “all things in moderation”. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help, but if you love coconut chicken you should definitely give this a try!

  5. Tannie from Jersey says:

    I have been searching for this recipe ( like the one at the buffet ) for months! I’ve made this tonight and did exactly how you did it. OMG!! It is DIVINE! At first when I mixed the milk and sugar, I tasted it and thought to myself, it didn’t taste like the chinese buffet one…I’m impatient. Then I realized I forgot to add the cider vinegar. Low and behold, it made a world of difference, so I would advise anyone, do not omit this ingredient! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It’s exactly like I love 🙂 It’s going into my actual book of favorites 🙂

  6. Naomi Hill says:

    Me and my mom are making this tonight and I couldn’t be more excited!!! Every time I go to the buffet this is the first thing I grab… it’s THAT good 🙂 I tried making it one other time with a different recipe and it just wasn’t good at all, so I’m counting on you this time for perfection! Haha

    I will let you know how it turns out!

    • That’s a lot of pressure! Please let us know how you like it! My husband is picky about his buffet food, but this passed his test 🙂

      • Naomi Hill says:

        It’s good. A lot better than my last attempt! It’s just a little sweeter than I expected… maybe next time I could add a little less sugar? But I’m very happy that I tried it 🙂

      • Yeah, you could definitely decrease the sugar to suit your tastes. The buffet we went to was always sweet, so that’s how I remembered it, but I know everywhere the variations are a little different. Glad you liked it though!

  7. Jenn says:

    Yum! Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve tried several recipes that weren’t even close. Coconut chicken became a family favorite and then our local restaurant stopped making it and replaced it with coconut shrimp. 😦 I think next time I’ll use a little less sugar. Can’t wait to make this for my parents!

  8. Ashley says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and, I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed. The sauce was too thick to really be considered sauce. Overall it was very bland. Maybe I got the wrong kind of coconut milk. I could only find the box carton of 32oz.

    • We’re sorry that you didn’t enjoy your dinner. You’re right, it was the wrong kind of coconut milk. You should have use the canned coconut milk, as the recipe states because it’s much creamier and more fatty to make it great in recipes like this one. At our grocery store, the canned coconut is near the hispanic or asian section. Hope you can find it next time and give it another shot!

      • Shawn says:

        I making this right now, and cant wait for this last 1/2 hr to finish in the oven, ive seen other recipies adding mayonaise to it, didnt sound right to me, or should i say didnt seem like it would taste right.

      • Heather says:

        I’m definitely not sure how mayonnaise would work either! At least, not for the copycat recipe I was going for. This one was very specific for my husband 🙂 I hope you liked it!!

    • Mike in KY says:

      I’m a little late to the party but had to comment. Since having coconut chicken for the first time recently at a local Asian restaurant, and loving it, I started looking online for a recipe that seemed like it might match. This was a winner.

      Oh. My. Gosh. When it came out of the oven I stood at the stove and nearly ate the whole thing right out of the casserole dish. I was nearly sick but, man, was it good. I definitely plan on making this again, maybe for some friends this time so I don’t eat the whole thing.

  9. Mary Ann says:

    Bought all the ingredients last night. I will be making this tomorrow! Can’t wait!

  10. kristenboutwell says:

    I just made this and this recipe is EXCELLENT. It tastes just like the coconut chicken at my favorite Chinese buffet. It was tender, sweet and delicious with rice. I’m SO excited to have found this!!!! I will definitely be making this again.

  11. I always look forward to eating this when I go to a buffet..and they never seem to have it! only the shrimp version..which I don’t I can make this at home! awesome

  12. Sheena says:

    For the cider vinegar. Is it white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Those are the only two kinds I can find. Thanks

  13. Brieanna says:

    this is so divine I crave it daily

  14. I have to say.. this was absolutely delicious! Super easy. I was surprised at how amazing it was. I did cheat and add pineapple because my brain really wanted pineapple with it. LOL. I am going to make it again exactly as you wrote it but omg… so good!

    I have to laugh because mine came out soooo ugly. I posted about my ugly chicken lol. I blame it on the pineapple but I hope it’s okay that I used your photo (with credit to your blog and a few links directly to your page) to show how it’s SUPPOSED to look and how MINE came out LOL. If you want me to remove it, I totally understand. I am like “THIS Is beautiful… now here’s mine…lol”

  15. […] Recipe and photo by Kids in the Sink. […]

  16. Kayli says:

    I made this for the second time, sooo good!

  17. MainerChick says:

    I didn’t bread it but just fried it with a little olive oil in a pan and added the the sauce. Wish it was a little thicker but it was very good.

  18. Amazing! I’m going to add walnut bits to the mom says they do that sometimes at the buffet..I don’t really know about that, but it sounds good! 🙂 I hope…

  19. Kristen Smith says:

    Now is there a difference btw apple cider vinegar and cider vinegar? Sorry if it sounds like a stupid question lol

  20. Kitty says:

    For once my meal looked pretty much like the picture! Chicken was unbelievably tender – my husband loved it! Reduced the sugar and it still had a lovely sweetness. Served it with basmati rice and stir-fried veggies – delicious!

  21. […] found this recipe on Pinterest for Coconut Chicken last night.  Easy.  Simple.  It was […]

  22. I’ve made the coconut chicken and it was delicious like you said! But we watched back to the future while eating dinner!

  23. Adrianna says:

    Is it sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk?

  24. Annie says:

    Can I use honey? It’s really different in consistancy from granular sugar so not sure. And how many servings does this make? Thanks 🙂

    • Heather says:

      I’m not sure how the honey would work, but I say give it a shot! And it makes about 4-6 servings, unless you love it as much as my husband in which case it makes about 1 😉

  25. lyndy sorensen says:

    Just a minor suggestion! Use a mini deep fat fryer with the canola oil. It makes the chicken crisper. Other then that, it’s a wonderful recipe!

  26. Kim says:

    Bake this uncovered? I’m making this today and was wondering, thanks!

  27. Dina says:

    Before I put the chicken into the oven do I have to cover it with foil?

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