Spicy, full-flavoured Cajun Chicken Strips with Nectarine Salsa on the side is a light gluten-free meal that's fun to eat! These chicken fingers are baked, not fried!
Make these crispy, spicy Cajun Chicken Strips and serve with a refreshing peach or nectarine salsa on the side. Add a salad and/or these Grilled Lemon Garlic Potato Kabobs and you'll have a quick gluten-free meal with no complaints from anyone around the table!
These easy baked Cajun chicken strips are crisp on the outside and juicy inside! They're spiciness is balanced with a side of fresh fruity salsa, made with nectarines or peaches, your choice. I used gluten-free Panko crumbs but regular Panko will work equally well if you don't need to keep this recipe free of gluten.
This salsa! I've posted several fresh salsa recipes on this blog before, but oh my! This Nectarine Salsa is something else! Sweet and spicy, it may just be our new favourite. While chicken strips are usually served with a dip, having this cool salsa on the side tempered the heat of the Cajun spice and was a great alternative.
Here's what you'll need to make these crispy Cajun chicken strips:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts: sliced into strips
- an egg
- Cajun seasoning mix: homemade or store-bought
- Panko crumbs: gluten-free if necessary
- a nectarine or firm peach
- red bell pepper
- red onion
- jalapeño pepper
- cilantro leaves
Here's a quick overview of what you'll do. Complete instructions are in the recipe card below.
Dip chicken strips or tenders in a beaten egg, then in the Cajun-seasoned crumbs.
Bake in the oven until golden brown.
While they're baking, chop and combine the salsa ingredients, make a hearty salad or these Smoky Sweet Potato Wedges and dinner will be on the table as soon as the chicken is cooked!
How to make the crispiest golden Cajun chicken strips
If you want the coating on the chicken strips to be perfectly golden brown, here's the secret:
Toast the Panko crumbs in the oven first before combining with the Cajun seasoning mix.
Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully, as they'll burn quickly.
Bake on a rack set over a baking sheet. They won't stick to the pan!
You can skip this step if you're not particular about the coating, but it does make them look very appealing! The ones in the photo above were not pre-toasted, so you can see areas that browned more than others. Your choice!
Storage and reheating instructions
While chicken strips are best eaten fresh from the oven, you can reheat leftovers if you're careful not to over bake them.
You can reheat them in an air fryer or in the oven.
Air Fryer reheating instructions: preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Brush the basket surface with a teaspoon of oil. Lay the strips in a single layer and fry for 2 - 3 minutes. Pause, check and flip them over and continue cooking until heated through. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your strips and the type of air fryer you're using.
Oven reheating instructions: Preheat the oven to 375° F. While the oven is preheating, take the chicken strips out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the chicken fingers on the foil and transfer to the oven for about 10 minutes.
As an alternative, you can simply slice the leftover cold chicken and add it to a salad or a sandwich.
Cajun Chicken Strips with Fresh Nectarine Salsa
- 2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, sliced into strips
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 - 3 tbsp Cajun seasoning mix, homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup Panko crumbs, gluten-free, if necessary
Fresh Nectarine Salsa
- 1 large nectarine or peach finely diced, (1 cup)
- ½ red bell pepper finely diced (½ cup)
- ¼ cup red onion finely diced
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper, minced
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread Panko crumbs on a baking sheet and toast for 4-5 minutes for a golden brown coating on your chicken strips. (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a wire rack on top of a sheet pan.
- In a small bowl, beat egg. In another bowl, combine Cajun seasoning mix and Panko crumbs. Dip the chicken strips in beaten egg, then dredge in Cajun-seasoned Panko crumbs then place on the rack on top of the sheet pan.
- Bake at 400°F for 15 - 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and chicken is no longer pink inside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salsa. Chop the nectarine, red pepper, red onion, and cilantro leaves. Mince the jalapeño pepper. Combine all ingredients with the lime zest and juice in a small bowl.
- Serve the chicken strips with nectarine salsa on the side. Best served right away.
More Cajun recipes