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Coconut Lime Tilapia Instagram

Crispy Coconut Tilapia with Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce

Crispy coconut tilapia tastes like a mini beach vacation, with tropical coconut, Thai sweet chili sauce, and a kick of lime.
Course Seafood
Cuisine American
Keyword coconut tilapia, crispy tilapia, tilapia recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 385kcal
Author Marsha Maxwell


  • T-fal Deep Fryer with Basket, Stainless Steel, Deep Fryer
  • Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick 21 x 15-Inch Mega Baking Pan
  • Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls (Set of 6) Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set - Easy To Clean, Nesting Bowls for Space Saving Storage, Great for Cooking, Baking, Prepping
  • Wilton Industries Perfect Results Mega Cooling Rack
  • Oneida Raffia 11 1/2-Inch Stainless Steel Salad Tongs


For the sweet chili sauce:

  • 3/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce store bought or homemade
  • Juice of 1-2 limes about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 large or 2 small green onions thinly sliced

For the coconut tilapia:

  • 6 tilapia filets about 5 oz. each
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Zest of one lime or 2-3 teaspoons
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes crushed lightly
  • Canola oil for frying


  • Zest and juice a large lime or 2 medium limes. Reserve the zest for the tilapia filets and the juice for the sweet chili sauce.
  • Make the sweet chili sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Set aside for the flavors to blend.
  • Season the tilapia filets with salt and pepper, and set aside. Place the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a pie pan or shallow dish, and stir to combine. Place the egg in another pie pan or shallow dish and beat together with the water. In a third dish, combine the coconut, panko breadcrumbs, lime zest and red pepper flakes.
  • Dip each tilapia filet first in flour, then in egg mixture, then in coconut mixture, pressing to make sure the breadcrumbs and coconut stick to the surface of the tilapia.
  • Deep fryer cooking method: Heat oil in the deep fryer to 370 degrees. Fry tilapia filets, 2-3 at a time, for about 5 minutes until medium golden brown and cooked through. Remove to a paper towel-covered plate to cool and drain away any excess oil.
  • Stovetop cooking method: Cover the bottom of a large skillet with oil to a depth of about 1/3 inch, and heat over medium-high heat to 370 degrees. If you do not have a frying thermometer, you can test the temperature of by putting a 1-inch cube of bread in the oil. If it browns in about 50 seconds, the oil is the right temperature.
  • Fry the tilapia filets for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until medium brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towel covered plate.
  • Serve coconut lime tilapia with sweet chili sauce, lime wedges and steamed rice or rice noodles.


32g protein, 27g fat, 8g carbohydrate per filet without sauce. Sauce adds an additional 12 calories, 0g protein, 0g fat, 3g carbohydrate per tablespoon.