Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Ease the heat of these Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers by serving them with some Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce.

Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers by The Baking Beauties


Ever feel like you’re preparing the same 4 or 5 meals for your family? Over, and over, and over. Although they fulfill the dietary requirements, they just don’t excite anyone anymore. When you start hearing responses like “Again?” when you answer your child’s inquiry about dinner, you know it’s time to burst out of the rut and liven things up a little bit. That’s the inspiration behind these Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers. My kids love chicken fingers – what kid doesn’t – but my kids also love spicy foods. Not hot enough to make your brow bead up with sweat, but enough heat that you know you’ve got some great flavours going on.

When I received an email earlier this week from Closet Cooking showcasing 35 quinoa recipes, I was immediately intrigued by the Quinoa Crusted Chicken Parmesan that Kevin featured. I’ve  always cooked up quinoa and used it as a side dish, but I’d never even thought to use it as a “breading”. Using cooked quinoa as the “breading” for these Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers worked brilliantly. It adheres to the chicken well, browns beautifully, and holds up to being dunked in the Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce well too.

Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers
Since this recipe uses cooked, cooled quinoa, it would also be a great use for leftover quinoa. You will need about 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa for this recipe.
Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers
  • 600 grams (1.3 lbs) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" strips
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (for a little heat, stick to the 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce
  • 2 small avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (no stems)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water and quinoa to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and transfer to a bowl to refrigerate until chilled. Once cooled, add the chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet that has sides with parchment paper.
  3. In a resealable bag, combine the rice flour, cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon salt. Seal the bag and shake it until evenly mixed. Open the bag and roll down the sides so that you can easily access the flour mixture. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and lime juice.
  5. Line up the strips of chicken, flour/cornstarch mixture, egg mixture, and quinoa mixture, beside your prepared baking pan.
  6. Working one at a time, coat the chicken strips in the flour mixture, then dip into the egg mixture. Using other hand (keeping one hand for dry ingredients and the other for wet), coat the chicken with the egg mixture, and then coat with the quinoa mixture.
  7. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the chicken strips have been coated.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Serve hot with the Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce.
Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce
  1. While the Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers are baking, place all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce into a food processor.
  2. Process until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.
Leftover Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers would be perfect on a salad or wrap as well. Plan ahead, and prepare enough for lunch the next day!


This post is linked to Whole Food Fridays and Thank your Body Thursday.

Looking for more information on Quinoa? Be sure to check out our FOOD FACTS article discussing Quinoa.

, ,

27 Responses to Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers

  1. Teri January 22, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Sounds yummy. And a nice change. Going to give it a try. The quinoa needs to be well rinsed prior to cooking right? I don’t use it much but have always been told to give it a good rinse first to get rid of the bitter coating.

    • Jeanine Friesen January 22, 2014 at 8:34 am #

      Hi Teri, the quinoa I buy says “Pre-rinsed” right on the package, so I never bother rinsing. If it doesn’t say that though,then I’d suggest a very fine mesh strainer, and leave the water running until it doesn’t foam (apparently the coating that is bitter foams in water) – about 2 minutes.

  2. Teri January 22, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    I wasn’t aware that it could be purchased pre-rinsed. I will definitely be looking for that. Thanks!

  3. Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts January 22, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    I have several favorite recipes for chicken fingers, but these look awesome, Jeanine! I’ve also made sauces with avocado to balance heat before. They always work well and make for delicious combos. :-) Off to share …


  4. Robyn January 22, 2014 at 10:02 am #


  5. Chloe January 22, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

    Hi there! I’d love to try this recipe but my child is allergic to eggs. Can you suggest another ingredient? thanks a lot.

    • Jeanine Friesen January 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      The egg is used to help the quinoa adhere to the chicken, I’m really not sure what you could replace it with, since I don’t have an egg allergy, sorry. Maybe even just dipping in milk after the flour?

  6. Alma January 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Jeanine, I made these for my husband and myself a couple of nights ago. I used the light side of the cayenne pepper. It was just spicy enough for us. Excellent recipe. I can’t wait to share this recipe with my daughter in law, she is trying to get more quinoa in her family, the boys are 7, 5 and 2, so you know they love chicken tenders. The baby is allergic to eggs, could milk be used as a substitute?

    Thanks for all of the great recipes.

    • Jeanine Friesen January 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      So glad that you liked it, Alma! I’m not sure about the eggs, but I’d suggest milk as a substitute as well. Worth a try!

  7. Lorna January 29, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    This looks and sounds great! I like the look of crunchy and crispy, but I need to substitute the corn as my son and I are allergic. What would you suggest as a good replacement for the corn? Thanks for the help and sharing your talent for recipes that are gf, but minus other ingredients as well. Again, thank you as you help me, I’m not a big risk taker with gf cooking and baking. Cheers!

    • Jeanine Friesen January 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      Hi Lorna, If you can’t have the corn, I’d either substitute it with arrowroot, or even use all rice flour instead. Hope this helps! :)

  8. Amy January 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Help! I’m out of cornstarch. What else can I use? Tapioca flour??

    • Jeanine Friesen January 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

      Yeah, you could use tapioca in it’s place – I think straight rice flour might even work.

  9. Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts March 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Hey Jeanine!–I made these for dinner! Delish! We just dipped them in our bees’ honey. :-) Mr. GFE NEVER chooses quinoa, but he didn’t know any different. 😉

    Thanks so much, dear!

    • Jeanine Friesen March 7, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      So glad to hear that you, AND Mr GFE liked them! 😀

  10. sirlansa March 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Not too familiiar with quinoa, except in premade noodles (spaghetti, rotini, etc.)
    Will the 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa really expand to the 1-1/2 cups uncooked?

    • Jeanine Friesen March 7, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      Hi sirlansa! Ye quinoa cooks up very similarly to rice, so the volume really does increase that much when you cook it. :)

  11. Chris March 11, 2014 at 12:03 am #

    Killer dish Jeanine, the grandkids loved it. You are more than just great cinnamon buns!

  12. Nathan March 29, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    Would this recipe work if you replaced the chicken with halloumi?

  13. check this site out now May 29, 2014 at 12:29 am #

    I have several favorite recipes for chicken fingers, but these look awesome!

  14. Citygal June 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    So excited to find this recipe but I’m out of white rice flour, I do have mochiko (sweet rice flour) coconut flour and quinoa flour which would be my best substitute?? Thanks!!


  1. 50 Creative Recipes to Eat More Quinoa | RealFoodies - August 27, 2014

    […] 13. Spicy Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Fingers with Creamy Avocado Dipping Sauce  Think chicken fingers are just for the kid’s menu? Think again! Three standout ingredients—cumin, chili powder, and quinoa—in the crust give this childhood favorite a serious upgrade. And don’t even dare to dip these guys in ketchup; this avocado dipping sauce is what dreams are made of. […]

  2. More quinoa, more benefits – 7+ Creative recipes to boost your quinoa intake - ✌ VIIVA.COM - August 28, 2014

    […] BONUS Recipe: Quinoa Crispy Fingers […]

  3. How To Cook Quinoa | North & South NomadsNorth & South Nomads - November 4, 2014

    […] Jeanine from The Baking Beauties uses quinoa as a crispy coating on her Spicy Quinoa Crusted Chicken Fingers. […]

Leave a Reply