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I love cooking juicy chicken pieces in the air fryer.

This process prodigiously cuts down on the amount of oil used, and I can retain amazing flavor and crunch in the breading, all while maintaining the juicy moistness of the chicken.

I can cook up a great family serving of healthier, tastier air fried chicken pieces in less than an hour from start to finish, that keeps me from a trip to the nearest fast food outlet.

My favorite version so far is chilli, coconut, and sesame seed panko crumbed chicken. It offers a beautiful tropical flavor that marries gentle warmth from chilli flakes with lovely coconut aroma, and light but crunchy panko makes it perfectly mouth watering.

Served alongside ketchup, a herb aioli, or fiery hot sauce, these chicken pieces will satisfy the differing range of taste buds in your family.

Check out the recipe below. It’s quick, simple, and lots of fun to make!

Air fryer chilli sesame coconut chicken
Image: Jono Elderton, 12 Tomatoes

Air Fryer Chilli Coconut Chicken Recipe

Ingredients List
Image: Jono Elderton, 12 Tomatoes


  • 1.5- 2 pounds chicken (tenders or breast)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2 cups panko crumbs
  • 1-2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • ½ to 1 cup chilli flakes (according to personal taste)
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil spray


1. Lightly whisk eggs in a bowl and set aside.

2. Combine panko, coconut, flour, sesame seeds, and herbs together in a large container or mixing bowl and stir thoroughly to combine.

Panko Mix
Image: Jono Elderton, 12 Tomatoes

3. If using chicken breasts, cut into slightly larger than bite sized pieces. Tenders are the right size.

4. Coat your chicken in egg, then combine with panko mix and place on a chopping board. Repeat for each piece of chicken until completed.

5. To create a thicker breaded mixture, repeat the process of coating and breading the chicken. Note: You may not wish to do this but I found it helped create a great flavored crumb that assists keeping the chicken moist when air frying.

After Breading before Air Fryer
Image: Jono Elderton, 12 Tomatoes

6. Spray both sides of breaded chicken with olive oil spray (or oil spray of your choice)

7. Place chicken pieces into the air fryer tray, making sure they cover the bottom only (you may need to do 3-4 batches). Cook in the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit. Turn the chicken over in the tray basket, then repeat for 5-7 minutes or until browned.

8. Repeat for remaining chicken pieces. Note: Your chicken won’t be the same golden color as when deep fried, but it will darken and crisp deliciously.

9. Plate chicken and serve with dipping sauces.

Final Plate Air Fryer Chicken
Image: Jono Elderton, 12 Tomatoes
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
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