Gluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on October 29, 2010

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Gluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce Recipe

I love to take classic recipes and change them up a bit to make them a little more budget and family (not to mention allergy) friendly.  In this case I decided to do a new take on chicken fingers and make them ala Coconut Shrimp.

This is a quick recipe that is great for dinner or as appetizers. It is also pretty darn allergy friendly! Just in my family alone I have people who can’t eat gluten, dairy, shellfish and peanuts.  Sometimes thinking of what to make for dinner gets me spinning.  But this recipe is proof positive that eating well is completely possible despite food intolerances.

These gluten-free, dairy-free Coconut Chicken Tenders cook up crispy and crunchy and just cry out for an amazing, exotic tasting sauce. I whipped up a little Sunbutter dipping sauce that quite frankly, almost outshone the chicken. Seriously, this sauce is yum, yum, delicious. It is also great as a topping for a plain grilled piece of chicken, as a dip for fresh veggies or licked right off the fingers.  I am thinking it would also be pretty awesome tossed with some hot gluten-free rice noodles.  Ahh, the possibilities!

I started stocking Sunbutter as a nut-free alternative for peanut butter but soon found that its rich, roasted flavor makes for a terrific sauce base which is so much more flavorful than peanut butter.  If you haven’t tried peanut sauce made with Sunbutter yet, what are you waiting for?  This isn’t just an alternative for peanut butter – its better!  Trust me on this one.

As an entrée I like to cut the chicken breasts into wider strips – about 2 inches thick (8 pieces out of 1½ pounds of chicken breast) but for appetizers I cut them about ½ inch thick and cook for a few minutes less.

While the chicken is marinating and baking, make your sauce, steam up some rice and stir fry some veggies and you have one great dinner on the table in just about half an hour.

Simply Gluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce

Gluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce Recipe


1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
¾ cup coconut milk
3 teaspoons fish sauce – use divided
2 limes – use divided
½ cup panko style gluten-free bread crumbs
1½ cups flaked coconut
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup creamy Sunbutter
3 tablespoons honey
1 – 4 teaspoons Sambal OelekGluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce Recipe Image (or other chili paste), depending on the heat level you like – 3 teaspoons is perfect for us
1 small garlic clove, finely grated on a microplane graterGluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce Recipe Image or pressed through a garlic pressGluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce Recipe Image
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
½ teaspoon sesame oil
Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Brush a metal, non-stick baking sheet Gluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce Recipe Imagewith olive oil.  Set aside.

Cut the chicken breasts into 2 inch wide strips for serving as an entrée or ½ inch strips for appetizer sized portions.

Combine the coconut milk, 1 teaspoon fish sauce and the juice of 1 lime in a shallow baking dish.  Add the chicken, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In another baking dish or on a large plate, combine the bread crumbs, coconut, salt and pepper.  Mix well.

While the chicken is marinating make the sauce.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the Sunbutter, remaining 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, juice of the remaining lime, honey, chili paste, garlic, ginger and sesame oil.  Mix well.  If necessary, thin out by adding a little water, a few drops at a time.  Pour into a small serving dish and set aside.

Roll the marinated chicken in the coconut mixture, coating well.  Lay on the prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken. Bake for 12 – 16 minutes or until browned and the chicken is done (it should feel firm to the touch and have no pink inside but still be juicy).  Let cool slightly and serve with the sauce.


This Gluten Free Coconut Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce recipe serves 4 – 6

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn Farias October 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

This is quite the elegant take on chicken fingers. When my son was on a low carb diet to control his seizures, I would cut chicken breasts exactly in this way, roll them in shredded parmesan, and bake. We also used coconut flour as an alternative flour, too.

Hope you and your family are doing well, Carol!


Kristina @ spabettie October 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

these look great – I may have to try this! when I first saw the photo I THOUGHT of coconut shrimp… which I LOVE… and the sunbutter sauce sounds fabulous also…

thanks for sharing!



I Am Gluten Free October 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Oh so lovely, and delicious looking. And the sauce looks good enough to bathe in!!!


Tasty Eats At Home October 30, 2010 at 8:05 am

This looks really tasty! Yum.


GFree_Miel October 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm

These are probably the most beautiful chicken fingers I've ever seen! I really have to try some of that sunbutter! It looks really good. :D


Sophie October 31, 2010 at 3:02 am

Waw!! These gf chickne fingers look amazing & look so appetizing too!

Excellent pictures too!


The InTolerant Chef October 31, 2010 at 4:31 am

Love the asian flavours, my families favourites! Yumm…


fiOrdivanilla November 1, 2010 at 2:56 am

mi ispira tantissimo.. e quella salsa cremosa.. oh my god, dev'essere gustosa!


Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter November 1, 2010 at 9:12 am

Hi Carol,
Yet another fresh take. I tried your SunButter sauce with noodles and it got rave reviews from even the pickiest eaters around our home. Thanks for the recipe!


Aubree Cherie November 4, 2010 at 3:26 am

Hi Carol,

These look so perfect! What an amazing combination! Chicken and coconut PLUS a nutty sauce??! YUM :) Just wanted to let you know that I posted it in My Favorite Recipes from Last week post! Thanks :)

~Aubree Cherie


Michael October 25, 2011 at 8:45 pm

This came out great, though I did reduce the fish sauce and leave out the chili paste. Also, when you click on printable version, it changes the oven temp to 400 degrees.


Carol Kicinski October 28, 2011 at 8:49 am

Wow – ok. I am going to have to figure out how that hapened and how to fix it. Thanks for bringing to my attention.


Lacy April 23, 2013 at 6:50 am

I have a lot of health problems and so I’m on 4 different diets. Chicken is something I can eat and I do almost everyday, it gets old very fast. This looks great althoug I will have to change some stuff to fit into my diets but thanks for recipe. :)


Carol Kicinski April 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm

My pleasure Lacy and I know what you mean! It seems I ate chicken almost everyday for a year once. Feel free to adapt to your own dietery needs!


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