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Sriracha quinoa bites

2012 December 17

Sriracha quinoa bites from leafandgrain.comWhat is it about appetizers that captures our hearts (and tummies) so? Is it their teeny, bite-sized nature? Or the fact that we consume them rarely, so they seem like decadent treats? Do we feel better about eating them because they’re small?

I don’t know for certain, but I do know that a holiday party isn’t a holiday party without them. (And sometimes, they’re the only redeeming value of certain holiday parties. You’ve been to those, I’m sure.)

But for the host, appetizers are a lot of work — often more work than preparing an entree: what an appetizer lacks in size has to be made up in quantity. And variety.

That’s what makes these sriracha quinoa bites extra wonderful: a party platter’s worth can be made in less than an hour — less than a half hour, if you keep cooked quinoa on hand — and with very little effort.

Sriracha quinoa bites from leafandgrain.comAnd of course, sriracha addicts will love the generous helping of this irresistible condiment that infuses every bite.

I’m a fairly recent convert to sriracha. For a long time, cayenne-type spices were extremely unappealing to me. All heat, discomfort, and burn; absolutely no flavor.

But, an obsession with kimchi (a story for another post), has — as best as I can tell — deadened my sensitivity to cayenne heat. Finally, I can sense the flavor of it, and know what others have been raving about all this time.

Sriracha quinoa bites from

Sriracha quinoa bites from

Sriracha quinoa bites from leafandgrain.comAnd quinoa, beautiful, healthy, protein-packed quinoa, is the perfect delivery vehicle for the wonderful flavors within. The quinoa will make these bites perhaps the healthiest appetizer on your holiday table (shh, it’ll be our little secret), while the sriracha guarantees they’ll be scarfed up in no time.

Better make a double batch.

Sriracha quinoa bites from

Sriracha quinoa bites

So quick and easy, and fairly healthy, if you don’t mind the cheese. These come together quickly, especially if you keep cooked quinoa on hand (it freezes beautifully). Sriracha addicts may want to up the sriracha to 2 tablespoons.


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (how to cook quinoa)
  • 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (whole wheat or white)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Oil the cups of two mini 12 count muffin pans. Set aside.
  3. Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. The mixture should be sticky and cling to a spoon. (Add more breadcrumbs if it’s too loose.)
  4. Spoon the mixture into one cup. Press down firmly with your fingers. Add more, if necessary, to fill even with the top. Press firmly again. Continue filling the cups in this manner. You should be able to fill 18 to 20 of the cups.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Keep an eye on the edges – if they brown, go ahead and remove the pans from the oven.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out on a cooling rack. Serve immediately.
Prep Time: 15 minutes       Cook time: 15 minutes       Yield: 18-20 sriracha quinoa bites


41 Responses
  1. Shannon permalink
    December 17, 2012

    These look delicious! Can they be made ahead and/or frozen and then reheated in oven or microwave? Even just a day ahead would be helpful. Can’t wait to try these.

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      December 17, 2012

      Yes! From this batch photographed above, I held some back for lunch the next day. They were just as good, reheated (and honestly, not half bad cold, either. :) )

      • Shannon permalink
        December 21, 2012

        Thanks so much! I’ll be making them for this weekend.

  2. December 18, 2012

    could I make these with out cheese? I cannot have dairy but these look amazing!

    • December 18, 2012

      I actually just made these with a 1/2 C nutritional yeast instead of cheese, GF breadcrumbs, and next time I’d like to make them vegan by subbing the two eggs with a 1/2 C of blended silken tofu. I used eggs and these are great! I topped mine with toasted sesame seeds + GF soy sauce. amazing. Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to make these for a party.

      • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
        December 19, 2012

        I figured these could be easily gluten-free’ized and veganized, but I thought I’d leave it to the experts. Thanks for sharing your adjustments here!

  3. December 21, 2012

    I cannot wait to make these! I love the crunch factor and the heat from the sriracha. These are definitely gonna be out on my holiday table! ….not sure how long they will last! Great site!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      December 21, 2012

      Thank you, that’s so sweet! So glad you stopped by to leave a comment, and I hope you and yours enjoy the bites.

  4. SarahK permalink
    January 1, 2013

    I can’t figure out how to get any app I try to not stick to my mini muffin tins. I loved the flavor of these bites but will not make them again because they were just sticky little bites stuck in mt mini muffin tins.

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 1, 2013

      Hi Sarah,
      I’m glad you brought this up, because I’m sure many have the same problem with muffin tins. I don’t have the ultimate answer, but here’s what works for me.

      I don’t bother with butter or Crisco or lard or oil. Sprays work better, hands down.

      I have a professional-grade spray that I purchased at that works great and doesn’t wreak havoc on your pans. But, for the batch that I photographed above, I was taking these into work, so I wanted them to come out of the pan in no-risk perfect shape. I used regular old Pam. And I sprayed the dickens out of the cups.

      The problem with Pam is that you have to give your pans – non-stick or not – a good and thorough scrubbing afterward, or the Pam-goo will remain forever and eventually ruin the surface. As you can see in the third photo from the bottom (bottoms up, flipped straight out of the pan), they popped right out, absolutely no sticking.

      Sprays aren’t optimal, but sometimes you have weigh the result against the consequences. For some, using sprays is never an option; for me, I’m okay with the sprays in certain applications.

      Here’s another option: roll the quinoa mixture very tightly into balls, or small patties, and bake them free-form on parchment paper (they’ll hold together – I’ve done this, too.)

      • Jeni permalink
        February 11, 2013

        I made these and had the same problem with them sticking in mini muffin pan. I picked up muffin liners (mini cupcake liners) for batch #2, and that worked great.

        Perhaps not as fancy if making for a cocktail party, but perfect for around the house and for breakfast/lunch.

        One of my co-workers suggested the silicone baking pans, but I havent tried that yet.

        This recipe is amazing, and quickly became a family favorite.

    • Alle L'Eveille permalink
      March 18, 2013

      I made them and sprayed the pans with spray olive oil. They popped right out. They are delicious! I used panko instead of regular breadcrumbs, cooked for 15 min, then put a tiny bit of grated gruyere on top and toasted them in the toaster oven.

  5. Debbie permalink
    January 10, 2013

    YUMMY! Just made these for my bunko ladies tonight. Couldn’t help myself when trying them, had 4!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 15, 2013

      That’s problem with appetizers – it’s hard to keep one’s own hands out of the batch when come fresh out of the oven. ;)

  6. January 11, 2013

    How sweet these are! My boyfriend loves sriracha. I think I love appetizers mostly because you don’t have to wait for them!

  7. January 11, 2013

    A most interesting combination of flavors, and a unique presentation. Thank you.

  8. MiA permalink
    January 12, 2013

    They sound WONDERFUL and I will try them soon.

  9. Nicole permalink
    January 12, 2013

    Just made these and as I pulled them out of the oven I realized that I had forgotten the bread crumb! Still very good, and I was especially excited to get rid of two cups of cooked quinoa that I had sitting in the fridge. I substituted red curry paste for srirachi because I didnt have any on hand, so I’m looking forward to trying the recipe as is written above. Thanks!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 15, 2013

      Oh, I bet the red curry paste was delish! I think I’ll try that for the Super Bowl.

  10. Susan permalink
    January 13, 2013

    These are delicious. Yum, yum, yum!.

  11. January 13, 2013

    These look awesome! Love the idea. Will have to give it a try soon!

    • Diane permalink
      January 14, 2013

      If you plan on trying these, do so sooner than later. They are amazing and you will wish you had started making these a lot sooner. ENJOY!!!

      • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
        January 15, 2013

        Thanks for the feedback – that’s so kind of you to return to say so!

  12. Danielle permalink
    January 16, 2013

    Any suggestions for substitutes for the eggs? I saw someone recommend silken tofu. Has anyone tried this? Or flax eggs or egg replacer? These look so great and I cant wait to try them vegan!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 16, 2013

      I’m not experienced enough with egg substitutes to accurately recommend one, but the eggs here are simply acting as a binder – not a leavener – if that helps identify the best replacement.

  13. Barb Njos permalink
    January 17, 2013

    These were delish! I’m vegan, so substituted gruyere for Daiya cheese, flax “eggs” for regular eggs & Agave nector for honey. I also added green onions, because I add them to almost everything. Will definitely make them again & again.

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 18, 2013

      Thanks for posting your vegan substitutes – love it!

  14. Alec permalink
    January 18, 2013

    Would the cooking time be the same for full size muffin tins? Or just fill them up halfway instead.

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 18, 2013

      I would guess they’d need about 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on them, though, and watch that the edges don’t burn.

  15. Megan permalink
    February 3, 2013

    These are awesome. I made two batches today so I can freeze some for lunches. I added some shredded sweet potato I needed to use up and the second batch I did bbq/blue cheese instead of the sriracha/gruyere. Delicious- thanks for the recipe!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      February 4, 2013

      That’s wonderful – so glad you liked it! (And the BBQ version sounds delish)

  16. Conny permalink
    February 17, 2013

    Recipe sounds great, but, alas, no recipe to be found on this page!


  17. Rebekah permalink
    February 21, 2013

    I tried this recipe today, but since it was for lunch, I formed larger amounts into pancake sized patties & pan-fried them. Two patties on a bed of romaine & cucumbers w/vinaigrette made a delicious salad. Found your recipe on Pinterest, by the way……so, thank you!!

  18. Stefanie permalink
    March 6, 2013

    I left Sriracha ( my kids and are don’t care for spicey foods) and the egg and added sweet oinion. I also added vaiety of vegetable purees (about a cup) such as cauliflower, butternut squash and kale. I have used several different cheeses as well. Usuaslly what ever is in the fridge My kids love them this way. I love them because they ar great for the lunch box!

  19. MARY permalink
    April 14, 2013

    Hi Karen,
    These look delicious! Any suggestions for a substitute for the breadcrumbs? We’re grain and gluten-free, but I’d love to make these!


  20. Mar permalink
    June 20, 2013

    Can we use a different cheese. I want to make today, but do not have gruyere HELP!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      June 20, 2013

      Absolutely! Use your favorite. a sharp cheese will produce the best flavor.

  21. Maureen permalink
    October 11, 2013

    This looks delicious. My husband and I love quinoa so I will have to make these very soon.

  22. Jordan permalink
    November 22, 2013

    I made these for a beer dinner we put together with our friends. We paired them with a pale ale. They were amazing!!! And several friends wanted the recipe :) Thanks!

  23. mayra permalink
    January 3, 2014

    Any suggestions for a substitute for the breadcrumbs?

  24. Katy permalink
    April 7, 2014

    Delicious! I actually used Bob’s Red Mill wheat bran instead of bread crumbs…healthy!

Comments are closed.