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Crunchy, crispy, juicy — all words you'll be uttering between delightful bites of coconut oil fried chicken. Plus, there's a Thai honey butter dip to go with it! This may be controversial, but this fried chicken recipe put others to shame – you gotta try it!
This coconut oil fried chicken is as if fried chicken had a hot and spicy fling in Bangkok, and this is its love child. It's crunchy, it's peanut-y, and it's crazy delicious. When you dip it in the sweet and spicy Thai honey butter, it becomes undeniably good.
If you have fried chicken often, it may be tempting to use your old standby recipe, but trust us, this version with coconut oil and Thai flavors is worthy of making it into your dinner rotation!
Why you should fry chicken in coconut oil
There are a couple of good reasons to fry your chicken in coconut oil:
- Flavor: Coconut oil has a neutral flavor and doesn't have a strong smell, so frying your chicken in it maintains the flavor of the chicken itself.
- Smoke point: Coconut oil has a high smoke point, meaning you can cook with it at a high temperature before it starts to smoke. You'll be cooking the chicken between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit, but it's good to know that you won't come close to smoking at this rate (unlike some other popular oil options).
Here's your coconut oil fried chicken shopping list:
For the fried chicken:
- Chicken drumsticks and bone-in chicken thighs: These cuts of chicken will produce the juiciest fried chicken. You can choose skin on or off, it's up to you!
- Coconut oil: This is what you'll use to fry your chicken in. If you can't find it with the other oils, try the health food section of your grocery store.
- Roasted peanuts: You'll crush the peanuts into small pieces and use them as part of the coating for the chicken — it's delish!
- Panko bread crumbs: You can use any kind of bread crumbs, however, Panko bread crumbs are super crunchy and make for an excellent coating for fried foods.
- Flour: This will help to dry the chicken before you douse it in the egg and crumb coating.
- Egg: You only need 1 egg to help keep the breading good and stuck to your chicken.
For the Thai honey butter sauce:
- Honey: Sticky and sweet, use ½ cup of honey as the base of your sauce.
- Butter: This adds a rich, smooth texture to the sauce.
- Soy sauce: Dash some soy sauce in there for a depth of flavor and some salty goodness.
- Red curry paste: Here comes a touch of heat! Add 2 teaspoons or start with one teaspoon and adjust as needed, depending on your preferred spice level.
- Fish sauce: This ingredient will give a savory, umami taste to the sauce.
- Ginger & garlic: A sharpness from the garlic and ginger will have your taste buds singing. Use fresh and finely mince or grate both.
How to fry chicken in coconut oil
- Heat the oil: Get your high-sided pan out and your thermometer and bring the coconut oil up to temperature.
- Prep the batter: You'll need 3 bowls. One for the peanuts and panko, another for the flour, and a third bowl for the egg.
- Coat your chicken: In this order, dip each piece of chicken in the flour, then the egg, and finally in the peanuts and panko. Make sure it's coated evenly.
- Fry it up: Working in batches, fry the chicken pieces in the coconut oil. Each piece should get golden and crispy.
- Bake: Once all the pieces have been lightly fried, pop them on a baking sheet and in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Make the Thai honey butter sauce: Add all the sauce ingredients to a pot and bring them to a gentle boil.
- Garnish & serve: Add the garnishes of your choice, like cilantro, peanuts, and sliced red chili peppers and serve the honey butter on the side.
Safety tips for frying chicken in coconut oil
It can be intimidating to fry food – that oil needs to be hot to get the right cook on the chicken.
To give you some confidence in the kitchen, here are a couple safety tips to follow when handling hot oil and fried food:
- Never leave a pot of oil unattended: The oil will start to smoke at 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit and will catch fire at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot to accurately judge the temperature of the oil, because you want to keep it at 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit for this fried chicken recipe.
- Anything that goes into hot oil must be dry: Any drop of water will cause the oil to splatter. Hot oil splattering is zero fun. This goes for whether you're using a deep fryer or frying pan.
- Make sure the pot you are using has high sides: When you add the chicken, the oil will bubble up, and you don't want it to boil over. This can be avoided by using a pot or pan with some depth. You can also drop the chicken in the oil using tongues so your hands and arms don't go anywhere near the hot oil.
- Clear the area around your stove: Before you begin deep-frying clear the area of anything combustible and make sure there are no kids or pets running around.
What to serve with coconut oil fried chicken
You'll have a bunch of smiling faces 'round the table if you're serving fried chicken tonight!
Here's what you can pair with it to make a full meal:
- Salads: Since fried chicken is rich and juicy, pair it with a tangy, crisp salad. Try your chicken with this Asian coleslaw or this Thai cucumber salad.
- Fries: So much crispy goodness is this pairing! Try serving your fried chicken with some pachos (like a french fry and nacho cross over) or some spicy sweet potato fries.
- Other veggies: Try some stir fried okra, chili lime grilled corn or even this loaded baked potato salad as sides to your fried chicken.
Can you fry chicken in coconut oil?
Absolutely! Coconut oil is a great option for fried chicken; it has a light taste and neutral odor, plus it has a high smoking point.
Can I make this coconut oil fried chicken with other cuts of chicken?
Using chicken thighs and drumsticks will stay juicy through frying and baking, whereas if you use chicken breasts, for example, you can end up with dry chicken. You can use other cuts, but we know from testing that thighs and drumsticks make for some delicious fried chicken!
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
To make this coconut oil fried chicken recipe gluten-free, sub the breadcrumbs for gluten-free breadcrumbs and the soy sauce in the Thai honey butter sauce with tamari.
- Coconut oil (for frying)
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 cup panko (gluten-free if needed)
- ½ cup flour (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 large egg
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs (skin on or off, your choice)
- Cilantro, peanuts, and sliced red chili peppers (for serving)
Thai Honey Butter
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic (finely minced)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 2 inches of coconut oil to a medium-sized, high-sided pot and attach a candy thermometer to the side. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower the heat to medium and let the oil rise to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.Coconut oil
- While the oil is heating, prepare the chicken. Pulse the peanuts in your food processor until they are coarsely chopped. There will be some that are finely ground and other pieces that are coarse. Add the chopped peanuts to a large bowl, add the panko and mix together. Add the flour to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the egg with a splash of water in another medium-sized bowl.1 cup roasted peanuts, 1 cup panko, ½ cup flour, 1 large egg
- Keeping one hand for the dry ingredients (flour and peanuts) and the other for the wet (egg), dip the chicken first in the flour, second in the egg, and third in the peanuts. Press the peanuts firmly into the chicken so that they stick. Once the chicken is coated, place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.4 chicken drumsticks, 4 bone-in chicken thighs
- Fry the chicken pieces in the hot oil a few pieces at a time, turning a few times, until they are brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Keep the oil as close to 350 degrees as possible. If the oil temperature lowers, make sure to let it heat up before you add the next batch. Place the fried chicken on the same baking sheet.
- Once all of the chicken has been fried in the coconut oil, place it in the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes to finish cooking.
- While the chicken is baking, prepare the sweet Thai butter. Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Be careful as honey will boil up a lot. Whisk the honey as it boils for 1 minute then remove it from the heat.½ cup honey, 1 tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons red curry paste, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger, 1 clove garlic
- Serve the coconut oil fried chicken sprinkled with cilantro, peanuts, and sliced red chili peppers and the honey butter on the side.Cilantro, peanuts, and sliced red chili peppers
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.