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Appetizers/ Recipes/ Sides/ Snacks/ Vegetarian Recipes

Crispy Baked Coconut Onion Rings with Sweet Chili Sauce

Crispy Baked Coconut Onion Rings with Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

Crispy Baked Coconut Onion Rings with Sweet Chili SaucePhotos by Emily Caruso

If you’ve ever undertaken a long distance move, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the last minute rush to use up the stash of food you’ve accumulated in your refrigerator and pantry. There’s a whole lot of that happening in my house right now because we’re moving next week and there’s still so much food. So much food! How did we get this much food? Where did that wedge of brie come from? Why do we have a jar of bread and butter pickles in the pantry? And then you have brie and pickle sandwiches for dinner and lament what your life has become.

This recipe was also born out of the need to use things up, but luckily for you, it turned out a lot better than the brie and pickle sandwiches, which we shall never speak of again. I had a big bag of shredded coconut in the pantry, along with panko, honey, sriracha, and rice vinegar, so I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to make these Crispy Baked Coconut Onion Rings. I got the idea from a restaurant in Raleigh called The Cowfish, which has both sushi and burgers. (And pretty amazing veggie burgers, I might add.)

Crispy Baked Coconut Onion Rings with Sweet Chili Sauce
These onion rings are super crispy and just slightly coconutty–the shredded coconut adds a hint of toasted coconut flavor, but it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the sweet onion. It’s always a little bit of a pain to bread vegetables, but like childbirth, you forget about all the pain once you’ve got a big plate of onion rings to dig into. Or something.

No onion rings would be complete without a good dipping sauce and since these onion rings are Asian-inspired, they call for a good Asian sauce. You can use bottled sweet chili sauce, but Ashley’s honey-based sweet chili sauce is completely worth taking the time to whip up. Store-bought sweet chili sauce tends to be a little more mild than I like, but when you make it yourself, you can add more or less heat to customize it to your own tastes.

Crispy Baked Coconut Onion Rings with Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

Crispy Baked Coconut Onion Rings with Sweet Chili Sauce

Crispy baked onion rings with a sweet-and-spicy dipping sauce.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


Onion Rings

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups panko
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 extra-large sweet onion sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings
  • Oil mister filled with cooking oil I used grapeseed

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons sriracha to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar


Onion Rings

  • Preheat oven to 450ΒΊF. Place oven-safe wire racks on two baking sheets and spray them with oil.*
  • Whisk together the flour and paprika in a shallow bowl or dish. In another dish, whisk the milk and egg. In a third dish, combine the panko, coconut, and salt.
  • Break the onion slices into individual rings. Dredge each ring in the flour mixture, then dip it in the milk mixture, and then press it into the panko mixture, making sure to coat all sides. Place the breaded ring onto one of the wire racks, and repeat until all the rings are coated. (To save space, put the smaller rings inside the larger ones on the racks.)
  • Once all the rings are coated, spray them with oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating sheets after 10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.


*If you don't have oven-safe wire racks, you can make the onion rings directly on your baking sheets. Spray the baking sheets with oil and flip the onion rings over halfway through cooking time.
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  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I spent most of my life thinking that I hated onion rings. Then I tried one and I was hooked! I love this take on them; the coconut sounds like a brilliant addition.

  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    September 1, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Holy yum! I can’t wait to give these a go!

  • Reply
    Kare Raye
    September 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I am so. in. love. with this recipe. Onion rings without the guilt! You are my hero. And with coconut! The sauce though, that’s what really clinches it.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      I’ve made a lot of baked onion rings and I think panko is the way to go. And the coconut works well too because it also gets nice and crispy in the oven.

  • Reply
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors
    September 1, 2014 at 11:29 am

    YUMM! These look amazing. I love how the texture of the coconut makes these look especially decadent. Cowfish (in both Raleigh and Charlotte!) is awesome! Their menu is super creative and the sushi is delsih! Thank you for sharing this – it made me actually want an onion ring again!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      I know, I wish we had the chance to go there more often while we were here!

  • Reply
    Tina Muir
    September 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    This sounds wonderful! I love onion rings, I love coconut, and I love crunch….oh and sweet chili sauce too! Yummy! Now if only I could convince my other half to like onions πŸ˜›

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      I used to hate onions too! I’m still not a fan of them raw, but when they’re cooked, that changes everything. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Lori @ RecipeGirl
    September 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Adding these to my must-try soon list! So awesome!

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    September 2, 2014 at 2:23 am

    These sound amazing with the coconut – will have to try them out!

  • Reply
    Courtney @ The Fig Tree
    September 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Love that these are baked! I’m terrified of frying, so I very much appreciate that these onions rings are baked. The coconut coating sounds amazing! I cannot wait to try these. Great recipe!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      The one time I tried frying (well, other than pan frying in a tablespoon or two of oil), I burned myself and got oil everywhere. I’m not a fan!

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    September 3, 2014 at 2:46 am

    They look so crisp and delicious that it’s almost hard to believe that they are baked and not fried! Definitely need to try out the recipe.. love onion rings and these sound especially delicious.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      I like using panko because it tends to get really crispy in the oven. Sometimes regular breadcrumbs don’t!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Are you kidding me? Onion rings with coconut AND sweet/spicy dipping sauce? I’m in love, but admit I will be frying these because #1 I believe onion rings should be fried, and #2 I don’t have an oven.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Ha! Well, if you make them fried, let me know how they turn out. πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        Steve @coolcathotfood
        September 13, 2014 at 10:38 am

        Made ’em, posted about ’em. Made some mistakes and will have to make them again, but they still turned out pretty darn good.

        • Reply
          Kiersten Frase
          September 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

          They look amazing – I’m glad to hear they turn out well deep-fried too!

  • Reply
    Rachel @LittleChefBigAppetite
    September 3, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I don’t think I would be able to control myself from eating the entire batch!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      I probably could have eaten them all myself too. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    September 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Love the idea of baked onion rings. My husband loves coconut fried shrimp so I know he would love these!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    So far the only thing I have used up from my fridge/pantry is beer. And I’m moving on Friday. Better get on it!!

    I think I must have some coconut lurking around somewhere…and I am always in the mood for onion rings!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      We still have lots of beer! I guess we’re going to get crunk while packing boxes this weekend. I hope your move goes well!

  • Reply
    Umm Haneefah @ The Halal Gourmet
    September 3, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Oh my veggies indeed! These must be made.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    October 29, 2014 at 4:09 am

    How gorgeous are THESE! Just pinned them! Hope you’re doing well my sweet friend!! xox

  • Reply
    July 1, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I can’t wait to give these a go!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    4 stars
    These were pretty good, a little dry when baked on the rack but the ones we baked directly on the tray were much juicer. The sauce was the star!

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