Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken with Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce

Sauces reign supreme at the Bennett Camp.  And why you might ask?

I blame it on culinary school.  Almost every entrée recipe I learned to prepare had some sort of brilliant sauce.  I loved practicing sauces.  I relished the challenge of tweaking them to my tastes and adding new and unusual flavors.

The Bennett Crew loved sampling my sauces.  In fact, my happy little family came to expect a sauce over every entrée I served.

Until one day… I prepared a Pork Milanese.  Milanese doesn’t have a sauce.  So I served it traditionally. Without a sauce.

Everyone sat quietly at the table, looking at their plates.  Not a peep.  I asked my sassy family why they weren’t eating their dinner and my handsome husband replied “where’s the sauce?”

Hmmm.   Never saw that one coming.  I told my family a Milanese doesn’t come with a sauce.  To which my youngest sassy gal replied “but I’d like to have a sauce Mom”.   Well, who could resist those sweet words coming from a  three year old.

Back into the kitchen I whipped up a little sauce for the Milanese.  Today, almost everything I serve the Bennett Crew comes with a sauce.  😉

Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken with Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce

I’ve paired one of my fave little sauces with this Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken dish.  You can also find this sauce paired with my Thai Shrimp Cakes and it’s just as lovely over grilled pork and chicken.

Serves 4


4 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs (boneless/skinless)

1 ½ cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup all purpose flour

2 eggs, whisked with a tablespoon of water

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Parchment lined baking sheet

Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce (recipe below)


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

In a food processor add the coconut and pecans and pulse until nicely ground together, like bread crumbs.  Set aside.  Per a lovely readers comments, a few tablespoons of panko can be added to the breading for a little extra texture and crunch.

Set out three bowls. One with flour, one with egg wash and the last one with the coconut pecan mixture.

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.

Lightly dust the chicken in the flour, then the egg wash and then press them into the coconut pecan mixture.  Place them on a platter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes.  This step can be done in the morning and then baked in the evening for dinner.

Transfer the chicken to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven for about 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness or until the chicken is done.  I cook my chicken until the internal temperature reaches about 160F. I highly recommend having a meat thermometer handy for cooking poultry and meat.

Once the chicken is done, take the chicken out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Ladle a bit of the sauce onto four plates.  Place a piece of chicken on the sauce and garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley.  Serve with coconut rice and fresh greens with a sesame dressing.

Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce

½ cup apricot preserves

1-2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce from Thai kitchen

¼ cup water, white wine, sherry or Saki

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients.  You can lightly warm the sauce in a small pan stove top or in the microwave.  Don’t over warm or the sauce will be too runny.  The sauce will thin once it’s paired with the warm chicken.



  1. I can’t wait to try this! Question: does the crust adhere well to the chicken? I’ve had problems with this in the past. Is there a way to making it stick better? Maybe add some panko? Not sure. Or flash frying it on stovetop rather than oven frying? I’d love to hear your thoughts…thanks!

    • Hi Liz, Thanks for the comment. The best way to keep ingredients adhered to chicken is to be sure to dust in flour and then dip in egg wash prior to rolling in the crust ingredients. Both the addition of a few tablespoons of panko and a little pan searing prior to baking also helps. I don’t use the panko in this recipe, but definitely it can be added as well as lends a little extra crunchy texture to the chicken. Delicious Wishes! Karista

  2. One of my favourite chicken dishes at this great Malaysian place (uses coconut) in its crust/batter. I’m thinking that this recipe is definitely into a good thing! I’ve yet to try it at home (and with pecans no less.) As for your sassy sauces (your family know that you are definitely into a good thing,) I’ve no doubt that there’s not a dish that gets by without that extra special touch (aka) sauce!

    • Hahaha! So true Alli. I always think about the topping/sauce/salsa or condiment to go with the main dish. I do love using coconut in recipes. Coconut milk, coconut, and I recently had this divine Thai Shrimp soup that had a hint of coconut but I could really taste the kaffir lime leaves. Yum! I think I’m going to have to find a recipe for that soup. Have one?

  3. Well this dish must really please your family…it sounds terrific.

    • Oh they do love this one Karen. Especially with the sauce 🙂 Sounds like you’re having a blast in Europe! Can’t wait to head on over and catch up on your delicious posts.

  4. Sweet and spicy = delicious! Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

  5. My first thought: I want to try some of that sauce right off of that plate in the picture :). This looks like a wonderful, fresh new take on chicken – delicious!

  6. I love the flavor combination and the photo is beautiful.

  7. A perfect sauce…spicy and apricot, yum! And then paired with pecans and coconut on chicken, it just sounds outstanding.You truly are the queen of sauces Karista! Another beautiful idea, recipe and dish.

    • Haha! Thanks Betsy! I love this particular sauce, mostly because I can top grilled chicken, a roasted pork tenderloin or even fish. Makes for a plate lickin’ dinner. 🙂 Have a super fabulous weekend!

  8. This looks so damn good! I need to break this one out perhaps for company 🙂 Love the way your site is looking these days!

    • Thanks Michael! Sometimes I use large Gulf shrimp instead of chicken and then sometimes I use this sauce with roast pork tenderloin or pan seared medallions. So many options! I think this blog is a constant labor of love and definitely more time and work than I anticipated. LOL! Hope you’re loving SF!!

  9. I’m a saucy girl too…love Michel Roux’s sauce book.
    In Dusseldorf yesterday getting a fische brötchen (herring and onion on a crusty white roll) and I asked for sauce… My favorite is a white creamy one with apple and onion. Had to ask like three times. Lady says “nobody puts sauce on a fish brötchen” and I’m like well,I do!

    • Oh Wow! Back in Germany? How fun. I can imagine the delicious food you can find there. Sounds divine!
      You made me howl with laughter this morning. You’re definitely a saucy gal too. 🙂 Have a wonderful time in Germany Wendy!

  10. I have coconut and pecans in the pantry. This is a must try!

    • Don’t you love it when you have all the ingredients in the pantry or frig and you don’t have to run to the market? LOL! Hope you like the recipe and thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. I would also want this sauce! Funny enough, last night I made an orange reduction with ginger and thyme for some pork chops – and it made a huge difference 🙂

  12. I love the image of them all sitting there, indignant and somewhat upset by the lack of sauce.

    I mean clearly…come on!

    The real question is, when are you going to have me over for a sauce making lesson?!

    • Hahaha!! Anytime my friend! Another gal asked me the same, I think I should my next post should be five simple pan sauces. 🙂

    • I forwarded an email to Janelle about Food Network open call next saturday. Thought you would be great! Let me know if you want me to forward you the email, but you may have already gotten it.

      • I got it…am contemplating in fact! 🙂 Crazy?!

      • You were the first person I thought of when I got the email. 🙂 Honestly, I did some tv/film many, many, many years ago and if I had a talent agency now, I’d hire you on the spot Miss! I have to teach a class that day, but I may swing by early just for the hell of it. It might be fun just to see it all in action or to meet a celeb chef!

      • Can I just take you everwhere with me for self-esteem boosts please? You are the sweetest!

        If I go, I’d go in the morning, so if you’re serious, let’s go together! That would be way more fun! 10a?!

      • Let’s do it! I have to teach a class at 3 that day and it’s about a 2 hour prep so I need to scoot no later than noon. I’ll get there around 9am and hold a spot for you. I have a feeling every foodie, chef and thier furry friends will be at this audition. My email is . Have a fabulous weekend!

  13. The pictures you take of your finished product are always so incredibly lovely. A good picture sells the deal, or at lest that’s how I feel. Even with books, if the cover is striking enough, but the content not my normal interest, I’ll still pick it up, passing over my traditional tastes. Anyway . . . a little blather, but I thought I would commend you on your photography. 😉

    Karista, I’m going to have to say I agree with the majority of the Bennet clan. I, too, MUST have a sauce to accompany my meal. Unless it’s soup, I want something to dip into. So glad you paired this with the apricot sauce — it looks phenomenal, as usual!

    ~ Cara

    • Thank you Cara!! The visual is so important and something as a chef I am always concerned about. But of course it has to taste good to. 🙂 I’m so glad you agree with my sassy family! I too love a sauce but not nearly as much as they do. Hahaha! Hope you’re doing well my friend! Hugs to ya, Karista

  14. peasepudding says:

    Our families don’t realize how spoilt they are, never regular old food hey!

    • hahaha! No they don’t! Nothing regular or ordinary right? Thanks for stopping by! I must get over to your blog to see what your up to. Always something delicious!

  15. OMG! This looks unbelievable. Yummmm

  16. Love the story…We have the opposite problem. Sauces so rarely appear, that they have occasionally been made, and not served….just forgotten on the stove until the Cleanup Person finds them. And sighs heavily, since he’s usually the guy who decided he wanted sauce that night!

  17. Really like your sauce.

  18. What a lovely picture you painted. I can almost hear your sassy little one asking for the sauce. And honestly, I don’t blame her. A good sauce makes everything a little better, ha. Thanks for another great recipe, Karista!

  19. Your photo took a moment to upload.. suddenly it appeared.. and I was smitten, lol! I haven’t seen a crusted chicken with such nice big pieces in the coating.. so much more texture going on. Your sauce story is so cute!! I rarely make sauces, but now you have me thinking.. xx

    • Thanks Smidge! You know, my sassy family loves chicken thighs. So instead of the usual coated chicken breast or breast cutlets I used organic chicken thighs and it did turn out moist, juicy and flavorful. I just have to cook them a bit longer in the oven. I love quick pan sauces and make them with most meals. I should do a post on five quick pan sauces. My basic go to is a fat (butter or whatever fat I used to pan sear fish/chicken/pork) some finely diced shallots, a few fresh chopped herbs, wine, reduce by half and then another pat of butter to gloss the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. That’s nice over a piece of fish. 🙂 The fussy sauces I save for Christmas and Thanksgiving LOL!

  20. Hello Little Sauce Guru… This sounds so perfect for the autumn season. Love the pecans and apricot sauce. I bet there was a few months of training just on sauces for culinary school, am I correct? After all the sauces are what brings this dish to a whole new level. Take care, BAM

    • Hahaha! Thanks Bam! It is a fun and festive dish and easily prepared on a weeknight which is what I love. I did have some training in sauces, mostly the basics and pan sauces, nothing too fancy. I don’t typically prepare slow simmered or reduction sauces unless I’m cooking for a special occasion, but a pan sauce is the ticket for grilled/roasted meats, poultry and fish. Have a fabulous day my friend!

  21. I love this sweet idea for a chicken coating!

  22. I started reading your headline and thought you were posting about a dessert, then BAM — it turns out to be chicken. You got me Karista, you’re good! Seriously, I love this dish for the blending of the savory and the sweet flavors/ingredients – this is another winner.

  23. That is really funny and that chicken looks amazing – I love that combo!

    • Thanks Alyssa! I’ve made this one for years but never got around to blogging it. I feel like such a procrastinator sometimes. So fabulous seeing you last night!

  24. Looks yummy as always! I definitely noticed your saucy fanaticism when I started following your blog 😉 It can definitely be a hole in the game of homecooks (like me!) but luckily you’re here to change all that!

  25. Looks yummy as always! I definitely noticed your saucy fanaticism when I started following your blog 😉 Definitely one of those fundamental skills that can be a hole in the untrained homecook’s game (like mine!) Luckily, you’re here to change all that!

  26. talkoftomatoes says:

    Sounds like I need to come over for dinner!!! 😉 miss you!

  27. sounds like I need to come over for dinner!

  28. Great looking sauce – it has just the right consistency! Lovely recipe too, of course 🙂


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