Spicy, full-flavoured gluten-free 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! Using a coating of gluten-free Panko crumbs makes these the best crispy chicken tenders! Discover the secret to make them golden brown.
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!
❤️Why you'll love this gluten-free Cajun chicken strips recipe
- These easy, baked Cajun chicken strips are crisp on the outside and juicy inside! Their 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 like this Fresh Strawberry Mango Salsa, but oh my! This Nectarine Salsa is something else! Sweet and spicy, it may just be my new favourite. Substitute peaches if you can't find nectarines.
- While chicken strips are usually served with a dip, having this refreshing salsa on the side tempers the heat of the Cajun spice and is a great alternative.
You'll find a complete list of ingredients in the recipe card below. Here are a few detailed notes about a few of the ingredients for these crispy Cajun chicken strips.
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts: sliced into strips
- Cajun seasoning mix: homemade or store-bought
- Panko crumbs: gluten-free if necessary
- a nectarine or firm peach: using ripe but firm fruit guarantees you'll have the sweetness you want in a fruit salsa and the firm texture, too.
- jalapeño pepper: if you like less heat, don't include the seeds
Here's a quick overview of what you'll do to make these Cajun chicken fingers perfectly. Complete instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Combine the Cajun seasoning mix with Panko crumbs for a flavourful crisp coating. Use my easy homemade recipe or a store-bought mix.
- 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 and dinner will be on the table as soon as the chicken is cooked!
👍🏼 Tip: How to get golden brown chicken fingers
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 the crumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully, as they'll burn quickly. Bake the chicken strips on a rack set over a baking sheet. They won't stick to the pan!
🍽 What to serve with crispy chicken fingers
What goes well with chicken tenders besides French fries? Try these healthy options!
- Crispy Lemon Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Grilled Lemon Garlic Potato Kabobs
- Cabbage Coleslaw with Sesame Miso Dressing
- Smoky Sweet Potato Wedges
- Potato Salad with Pickled Shallots
- Crispy Grilled Potatoes with Blue Cheese in Foil
⏰Storage and reheating instructions
While chicken fingers are best eaten fresh from the oven, you can reheat leftovers if you're careful not to overbake 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 along with a smear of Mayo-Free Avocado Green Goddess Dressing and Dip.
🗒 More Chicken Recipes
When you make these gluten-free Cajun chicken tenders, please leave a comment and a star rating below. Thanks in advance! Subscribe to my newsletter and have new recipes delivered straight to your inbox.
Cajun Chicken Strips with Fresh Nectarine Salsa
- 2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, sliced into strips
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 - 3 tablespoon 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 tablespoon cilantro leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 tablespoon 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.
We all loved these chicken fingers. We had them with store-bought fries and salad. It made an easy family dinner. Thanks!
Happy to hear that! Love quick and easy dinners like this one!