Quinoa Sesame Brittle (芝麻糖)

Quinoa Sesame Brittle - Only 150 calories per serving, full of nutrition, and just 10 minutes active cooking time. | omnivorescookbook.com

This crispy, sweet, and nutty quinoa sesame brittle is addictive. Only 150 calories per serving, full of nutrition, and just 10 minutes of active cooking time. Isn’t it the perfect snack?

Chinese New Year is around the corner. Today I’m teaming up with 14 other amazing bloggers to throw this Chinese New Year Cookie Party and share 15 delicious Chinese cookie recipes with you to celebrate the holiday!

A few words about quinoa sesame brittle

Have you ever had sesame brittle? It’s a crunchy, nutty cookie that we love in China. Today I’m sharing a different version of sesame brittle adapted from the quinoa brittle by Minimalist Baker. It uses quinoa, caramelized candy, and mixed nuts to create an addictive crispy texture, just like that of potato chips. Compared to the traditional sesame brittle, this recipe is even healthier. It uses coconut oil and maple syrup to replace butter and sugar. Moreover, the total sugar content in this recipe is about half that of traditional brittle.


Quinoa Sesame Brittle - Only 150 calories per serving, full of nutrition, and just 10 minutes active cooking time. | omnivorescookbook.com

Cooking quinoa sesame brittle is a no-brainer. You just need to follow these three steps:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients
  2. Heat up and mix the liquid ingredients
  3. Mix everything together and put it in the oven

That’s it!

This brittle stores very well at room temperature for a week, so you can wrap it as gift, too.

This recipe is very forgiving, so you can twist it with whatever varieties of nuts and sugar you have on hand. The only problem you might come across is judging the doneness of the candy. I have included a very thorough paragraph in the footnotes of the recipe to help you troubleshoot this.

To cook this quinoa sesame brittle now, scroll down the page and you’ll find the recipe!

Want more cookie ideas? Keep reading!

Chinese New Year Cookie Party

Quinoa Sesame Brittle - Only 150 calories per serving, full of nutrition, and just 10 minutes active cooking time. | omnivorescookbook.com

In my last post, I shared 25 Chinese New Year recipes. The list is heavily focused on savory food based on my family traditions.

Today, I’m sharing these wonderful sweets as an addition to your Chinese New Year feast! Let’s grab some cookies and a cup of tea, and read how people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year with their own traditions.

Quinoa Sesame Brittle - Only 150 calories per serving, full of nutrition, and just 10 minutes active cooking time. | omnivorescookbook.com

If you try this recipe or any of the other cookie recipes mentioned in this post, let us know! Tag your picture with #omnivorescookbook and #ChineseNewYearCookieParty on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with!


Quinoa Sesame Brittle

  • Author: Maggie Zhu
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 10
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Chinese


Quinoa Sesame Brittle contains only 150 calories per serving, is full of nutrition, and requires just 10 minutes of active cooking time. It’s a very flexible and forgiving recipe, so you can adjust the ingredients according to your tastes. The only trouble you might come across is that the brittle is not quite crispy enough after it has cooled down. Read footnote 2 about troubleshooting this.


  • 1 cup mixed nuts, chopped (I used almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts)
  • 1/3 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds (I used a mixture of black and white)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used medium amber color)
  • 4 tablespoons palm sugar (*see footnote 1)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C (325 F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure you cover the entire surface and all the edges (to prevent spillover).
  2. Combine quinoa, mixed nuts, sesame seeds, and sea salt in a big bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
    Quinoa Sesame Brittle Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Quinoa Sesame Brittle Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  3. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and palm sugar in a small saucepan. Warm over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally until the oil and maple syrup are well combined. It’s OK that the palm sugar is not completely dissolved at this point.
    Quinoa Sesame Brittle Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Quinoa Sesame Brittle Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  4. Pour the syrup mixture onto the dry ingredients. Stir to combine and mix all the dry ingredients with the liquid.
    Quinoa Sesame Brittle Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  5. Pour everything onto the center of the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Try to get it as even as possible. The brittle sheet will expand into a thinner layer as it bakes.
    Quinoa Sesame Brittle Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan (180 degrees) once to ensure even browning. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully during the last 5 minutes to prevent burning. The brittle is done when it’s become deep golden brown in color. (*see footnote 2)
    Quinoa Sesame Brittle Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  7. Let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces with your fingers.
  8. Store leftovers in a sealed bag or container at room temperature for 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.


1. You can replace this with other type of sugar. Please read footnote 2 if using a different type or amount of sugar.

2. Troubleshooting:
If you don’t bake the brittle long enough, it will stay soft and sticky. You won’t able to break it apart, even after cooling.

If you come across this problem, simply return the brittle to the oven and continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, until it reaches a dark color.

One way to determine the baking time is by observing the baking process. You will notice the brittle starts to bubble furiously after 15 minutes. The bubbles will gradually die down in another 10 to 15 minutes. When there are only a few bubbles here and there, and the color of the sugar has gotten much darker than it was at the beginning, it’s done.

The baking time will vary based on the sugar content, sugar type, and thickness of the brittle. If you use a very large and flat baking sheet, the brittle will expand and become a very thin sheet.

In this case, the baking time might be as short as 25 minutes.

On the other hand, if your pan is not perfectly flat (my baking sheet sinks a bit in the middle), the brittle will not expand entirely unless you spread it out really evenly from the beginning. In this case, it will require more time to bake (35 minutes).

When the brittle has cooled down, if you can only break off part of the brittle and the rest of the brittle will only bend (not break), the brittle is not completely cooked. To solve the problem, break off as much of the cooked brittle as you can. Return the pan to the oven and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Repeat this process until all the brittle is cooked through.

The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 10 servings generated by this recipe.

Quinoa Sesame Brittle Nutrition Facts | omnivorescookbook.com

Quinoa Sesame Brittle - Only 150 calories per serving, full of nutrition, and just 10 minutes active cooking time. | omnivorescookbook.com


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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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22 thoughts on “Quinoa Sesame Brittle (芝麻糖)

  1. Bam's Kitchen

    This is so interesting with the quinoa, a little spin on one of my old favorite treats during the CNY. I bet your little treat will be hard having around the house as if was there I would be on a mission to finish it off. Xin Nian Kuai Le!

  2. Anita

    The brittles look so delicious Maggie. This reminds me of fah sung thong a lot, but those are usually thicker and comes in squares/oblongs. I think your way is much easier since I can be purposefully not having to do a “tidy” job of cutting them neatly 😉

  3. Rayan @ In Home Cooking

    Thanks Maggi for sharing such and easy to cook chinese cookie recipe, it’s just brilliant to make it via sesame brittle and using quinoa. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nancy | Plus Ate Six

    This is brilliant! Love the addition of sesame. So sorry I couldn’t join in this year but I had no wifi for a week as predicted!!! Not sure how I survived 🙂

      1. Carol Ruzicka

        Hi Maggie, I just made this wonderful brittle and my husband and I can’t stop eating it! Very nice!
        I’m wondering what would happen if I left out the coconut oil? I substituted butter instead but I don’t like the greasy film I get on my hands after eating it. I’m always trying to keep the fat out of treats. We may not need any fat at all in this? I’m going to try it and I’ll let you know. I’m also going to make it in a smaller pan so it doesn’t flatten out so much, therefore a slightly thicker brittle, 3/16″ instead of 1/8″
        Thank you so much! This is definitely xmas present material!

      2. Carol

        so, I made it again, this time leaving out the added fat and putting in only 2 Tbsp of raw sugar. Also made a “pan” out of tin foil so the mixture flattened out to 1/4″ when done. Came out great with no added fat calories and less sugar. Try it!

      3. Carol

        well I spoke too soon. Wrote the above before I took it out of the oven. It tastes wonderful, but it sticks to the tin foil and it’s not brittle.
        Gotta keep experimenting.

      4. Maggie Post author

        Hi Carol, thank you for sharing the result of your experiments! I think the recipe works if you add less fat. The reason of not brittle is probably because it requires longer time to cook because the added thickness (very different texture due to stages of candy making). When I was testing the recipe, there are times that mine didn’t turn out brittle. So I increased the baking time and the problem solved.
        I hope they turn out better next time!

  5. Theresa

    Just found your post. Quinoa is suppose to be washed/rinsed to remove the bitterness. Your recipe did not state this. Is your brittle bitter?

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Theresa, before developing this recipe I checked several recipes that uses quinoa in baking. They didn’t mention washing quinoa before cooking. My assumption is the baking process will get rid of the bitterness. My brittles turned out well and did not taste bitter.