This paper investigates the onset of motion, and the subsequent finite-amplitude convection, in a shallow porous cavity filled with a non-Newtonian fluid. A power-law model is used to characterize the non-Newtonian fluid behavior of the saturating fluid. Constant fluxes of heat are imposed on the horizontal walls of the layer. The governing parameters of the problem under study are the Rayleigh number $R$, the power-law index n, and the aspect ratio of the cavity A. An analytical solution, valid for shallow enclosures (A ≫ 1), is derived on the basis of the parallel flow approximation. In the range of the governing parameters considered in this study, a good agreement is found between the analytical predictions and the numerical results obtained by solving the full governing equations. For dilatant fluids (n > 1), it is found that the onset of motion is linearly unstable, i.e., always occurs provided that the supercritical Rayleigh number $RCsup\u22650$. For pseudoplastic fluids (n < 1), the supercritical Rayleigh number for the onset of motion is $RCsup=\u221e$. However, it is demonstrated, on the basis of the nonlinear parallel flow theory, that the onset of motion occurs above a subcritical Rayleigh number $RCsub$ which depends upon the power-law index n. For finite-amplitude convection, the heat and flow characteristics predicted by the analytical model are found to agree well with a numerical study of the full governing equations.