I’m a sucker for Chinese food. This homemade cashew chicken is made with chicken, cashews, and a savory sauce that makes for a tasty, quick, and effortless weeknight meal!
Chicken with Cashew Nuts
Cashew chicken is a takeout favorite, but it’s even tastier when made at home! This quick and simple recipe will give you the most flavorful chicken in no time.
Simply stir-fry your chicken pieces with a variety of vegetables, and then add roasted cashew nuts. Yum!
Why You’ll Love this Cashew Chicken Recipe:
- Flavorful: The chicken is cooked in a flavorful, easy-to-make sauce.
- Healthy: The dish is packed with healthy ingredients, including cashews, chicken, and vegetables.
- Quick and Easy: It can be made in under 30 minutes, making it a great option for busy weeknights.
How to Make Cashew Chicken
You can jump to the recipe card for full ingredients & instructions!
- In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.
- Next, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
- Add in the cashews and cook, stirring often for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the cashews from the pan and set aside.
- Next, add the oil. Once hot, add your chicken in a single layer and cook according to the instructions below (in the recipe card).
- Stir in the green onions, and cook until softened, about for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the sauce and cashews. Continue to cook until the chicken is glazed.
- Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds, and serve. Enjoy!
- Soy Sauce: For a gluten-free alternative, use tamari or coconut aminos instead.
- Chicken: You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts if you prefer.
- Cashews: If you don’t have time to toast the cashews, you can use already toasted cashews and skip that step.
- Add more veggies: Feel free to add diced veggies to this stir fry after you cook the chicken. I like bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, or zucchini.
- Oil: Feel free to use any neutral oil you like, such as canola or avocado oil.
- Rice vinegar: Make sure you are using rice wine VINEGAR, not rice wine (also called mirin). They are different ingredients with very different flavors! In a pinch, you can use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar in place of the rice vinegar.
- Make it spicier: To make your sauce spicier, stir 1-3 tablespoons of sriracha for sambal oelek into the sauce.
- Cut your chicken equally: Make sure to cut the chicken into equal-sized pieces so that it cooks evenly.
Cashew chicken is a Chinese-American dish consisting of bite-sized pieces of chicken and whole cashews stir-fried in a sweet and savory sauce.
Absolutely! I like to use breasts because they’re lower in fat, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a great alternative!
Hoisin sauce is a sweet and salty sauce made from soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers, and garlic. It is thick and adds a distinctive flavor and texture to this dish. You can find hoisin sauce in the International aisle of most grocery stores.
Cashews give this dish its distinctive flavor, so I don’t recommend replacing them unless there is a food allergy. Some common replacements are pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Keep in mind that this will change the overall flavor of the dish, though.
Cashew Chicken can be served over rice or combined with other Chinese dishes like fried rice, egg rolls, and crab rangoon. Choose what you and your family will like!
Make Ahead Instructions
The sauce can be whisked together up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
The cashews can be toasted up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.
Store leftover cashew chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Freeze cashew chicken whole or in individual portions in airtight containers or Ziplock bags for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts.
- You can use already toasted cashews and skip step 3.
- Feel free to add diced veggies to this stir fry after you cook the chicken. I like bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, or zucchini.
- Feel free to use any neutral oil you like, such as canola or avocado oil.
- For a gluten-free alternative, replace the soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos.
- In a pinch, you can use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar in place of the rice vinegar.
- For a spicier take, stir 1-3 tablespoons of sriracha or sambal oelek into the sauce.
Tips for the Best Cashew Chicken
- Make sure to cut the chicken into equal-sized pieces so that it cooks evenly.
- Do not omit the cornstarch; it helps the chicken crisp up without having to deep fry it, and it helps to thicken up the sauce.
- Don’t skip toasting the cashews. This helps them hold up better in the sauce and enhances their nutty flavor.
- Make sure you are using rice wine VINEGAR, not rice wine (also called mirin). They are different ingredients with very different flavors!
If you enjoy ordering take-out cashew chicken, you’ll love this homemade version even more. Don’t forget to let us know how your tasty chicken turned out in the comments below!
If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy! You can also jump to recipe.