This cashew chicken recipe comes together in about 10 minutes and is a healthier version of the classic Chinese takeout dish!
These tender bites of chicken are coated in a bold homemade sauce and mixed with roasted cashews. Serve it over a bed of rice with a side of steamed broccoli and dinner is on the table in no time!
Chinese Cashew Chicken Recipe
I have no idea why this is, but Christmas always makes me crave Japanese and Chinese food. Yup, not an Asian ancestor in me, but the holidays, a time when we reflect on family and make family favorite recipes, always makes me want Chinese food like our crispy honey chicken. I have never had cashew chicken at home until now, and I’m sure there are gobs and gobs of recipes out there, but this one is our personal favorite, especially because it’s quick and easy. For real.
I adore cooking, but there’s nothing I love more than a delicious dinner that took no time at all to clean up and then busting out our pajamas and relaxing. It’s my favorite time of day. I love sending everyone upstairs to hop into pajamas.
Especially during the winter because it means I can really get cozy and warm. I have the worst circulation and unless one of you know of some secret way to fix that I depend on layers all winter long. In fact, even during the summer you’ll always catch me in slippers or socks because my feet are freezing. I can’t be the only one, don’t any of you love getting into your pajamas and snuggling up?
Cashew Chicken Ingredients
For this chicken with cashews recipe, you’ll need only a handful of pantry staples and all the ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this restaurant quality recipe right at home. Here is what you will need…
- boneless skinless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- rice vinegar
- canola oil
- hoisin sauce
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- ground ginger
- dry roasted cashews
- sesame oil
This is meant to be an overview of the ingredients for this recipe. For the detailed measurements, scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to Make Cashew Chicken
In addition to keeping the ingredients list as simple as possible, we also decided to skip the deep-frying and opted to cook the cashew chicken in an oiled skillet instead. Here are the main steps for making this cashew chicken recipe:
- Toast the cashews to bring out that nutty flavor.
- Toss the diced chicken with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
- Cook the chicken in a well oiled skillet until it’s brown on all sides.
- While the chicken cooks, stir together the cashew chicken sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and let the mixture simmer until slightly thickened.
- Toss the cashews and a little sesame oil with the chicken and serve. Top with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
All of the detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
Can I Make Cashew Chicken with Chicken Thighs Instead?
Yes, I’m sure chicken thighs could be used instead of chicken breasts. Just note that you’ll want boneless skinless thighs for this Chinese chicken recipe.
Can I Add Veggies to My Cashew Chicken?
Definitely! Snap peas, broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, and baby corn would all be delicious additions to this homemade cashew chicken. You may want to sauté the vegetables before cooking the chicken and add them back to the skillet when you toss everything with the sauce. (You don’t want to overcook the vegetables!)
Can I Make This Gluten Free?
Yes, by using cornstarch rather than flour to dredge the chicken, it should be gluten free. You’ll want to double check that your soy sauce is gluten free (if it’s not, you can use tamari instead).
Tips for Making Cashew Chicken
Try to cut the chicken into even-sized pieces so that it all cooks at roughly the same rate. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but do your best.
If you prefer your cashew chicken on the spicier side, add some crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce. Be careful, a little goes a long way!
What to Eat with Cashew Chicken
If you serve this chicken with steamed rice and a side of broccoli as shown, you don’t need anymore more than that. But if you want to change things up or you’re feeding a crowd and want more options, try the following side dishes to go with it:
Storing and Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 5 days but I recommend eating in 2-3 days for maximum flavor.
And if you have leftover Chinese cashew chicken, I recommend reheating it in a skillet with a little oil over low heat. This will prevent the chicken and sauce from drying out and becoming rubbery.
The contrasting textures of the tender chicken with the crunchy cashews covered in a sweet and salty sticky sauce makes this cashew chicken totally irresistible! Forget the Chinese takeout and make this quick and simple recipe at home!
More Asian Recipes:
- Thai Peanut Chicken with Noodles
- Homemade Orange Chicken
- Korean Asian Braised Short Ribs
- Teriyaki Chicken Casserole
- Thai Peanut Steak Salad
- Asian Chicken Skewers with Honey Garlic Sauce
- Pork Dumplings
- Teriyaki Chicken Noodles
- Sweet and Spicy Orange Salmon
- Grilled Sweet and Sour Chicken
- …All of Our Asian Recipes!
Quick and Easy Cashew Chicken
For the Chicken
- 3 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, chopped into 1" cubes
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
For the Sauce
- 4 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 6 Green Onions, 1/2" pieces
- 1 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 3/4 Cup Cashews, dry roasted
- Green Onions, optional, chopped
- Sesame Seeds, optional
For the Cashews
- Heat the oven to 350 and place the nuts on a baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes then remove from the oven and set aside.3/4 Cup Cashews
For the Chicken
- Place the cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss with the chicken.1/4 Cup Cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon Salt, 1/4 teaspoon Pepper, 3 Chicken Breasts
- Shake off any excess.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, then add 1 tablespoon canola oil.2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- Add 1/2 the chicken and brown on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining oil, chicken and garlic.3 Chicken Breasts, 4 Cloves Garlic, 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- Add the first batch of chicken back into the pot as well as the vinegar and cook until the vinegar is completely incorporated.2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
For the Sauce
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger.4 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce, 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce, 1 1/2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, 1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- Pour over the chicken in the pan and turn the heat to medium low.
- Allow to simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until thick and the chicken is cooked through.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water together and add to the sauce to help with the thickening.1 Tablespoons Cornstarch, 1/4 Cup Water
- Toss the cashews and sesame oil in and serve over rice with broccoli if desired.1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
- Serve over rice with the green onions.6 Green Onions
Delicious flavor. I will double or triple sauce next time thou
This is now my Go-to recipe for Cashew Chicken!! So easy, so yummy!!! I’ve made this several times and like others usually double the sauce so to put over rice! It’s a keeper for sure!
Thank you so much Dea!!
This cashew chicken recipe sounds yummy. Could cornstarch be used instead of flour.
Nice and easy. I added about three cups of broccoli florets cut small and stir fried them for a few minutes before I added the sauce, which I doubled because of the extra veggies. Sprinkled sliced green onion on it before serving. It took less time to cook than the rice. We have a binder where we keep the print outs of the good internet recipes. This is definitely going in the book
Woop woop! We have a binder like that too! So proud to be making the binder! Glad you enjoyed it!
Wonderful recipe!! We loved the sauce, can’t wait to play with additions…broccoli, water chestnuts, carrots. Thanks so much, this will be one of my go-to recipes 🙂
Yesssss!! Go crazy with the add-ins! thank you for leaving a comment!
I made this tonight and it was amazing! I used boneless skinless chicken thighs. I made extra for leftovers and made 2 cups of sauce which was perfect! I added broccoli and used sticky rice from the freezer section. My fiancee loved it and this will be added to our favorites!
Thank you so much for the feedback and taking time to share your experience with us! So glad it was a hit!
I’d like to make this for my boyfriend as a make-ahead lunch for the week (i.e. it would be kept in the fridge a few days), should I omit the flour step or will it be OK?
Love the simplicity of this one. I had everything prepped in advance. When we got home I simply tossed the chicken in flour mixture & started cooking. I used coconut oil throughout. Added approx 2 tsp honey & doubled the Soy sauce. Also, some sliced green onion tops went in with the sauce. But the biggest addition was chicken broth, at least 1 cup. I found it was way too thick to mix with the rice. Hubby really loved it! Served it with a fresh asparagus. Think I’ll also try thighs next time. Thanks much.
Oh asparagus sounds like a great addition!
I made this tonight and it was delicious! I added canned mushrooms and sliced water chestnuts for extra crunch. Best of all though, I quadrupled the sauce to have plenty to put over our rice! Yummy! Everybody loved it but there’s no leftovers…. :(. Lol.
We loooove to make extra sauce as well.Thanks for the great review!
This was a quick and tasty dish. A bit of child gives it a bit of a kick.
sorry, meant to write CHILI
Haha! Well a child can give things a kick sometimes too. 😉 Seriously though, chili is a great addition. Thanks!
This was fantastic! I have made many Chinese take out recipes at home and none have turned out this delicious! I forgot to thaw my chicken so I baked them frozen, and breaded the cooked chicken with whole wheat flour, and doubled the sauce. I will certainly have to double or triple the recipe as a whole next time for leftovers. Just wonderful, thank you!!
Thank you so much!! What a sweet comment on this long Monday night. xoxo
This was amazingly good!!! I subbed coconut flour for white flour, honey for the sugar, coconut aminos for the soy sauce, added a few dashes of fish sauce, and some red pepper flakes. Also added carrots and broccoli and served over cauliflower rice to make it paleo friendly. Will definitely make again. So so so good!
Emma, I’m so glad you took the time to comment so we all could try it your way!
I just found your website and cant wait to start trying out some recipes on my family! I have printed off a few recipes, and your print option works wonderfully but would it be possible to insert a small image of the dish in the print? I love to see what it will look like when I am browsing my recipe file … Thanks!
Great idea, I’ll write our plugin company and see how to do that. I’ll be honest, our old one did it automatically so I had no idea it wasn’t printing. Thanks!
Made this for supper tonight. It was delicious!! I doubled the sauce and added snow peas, scallions and green pepper. I’ll be making this recipe again for sure! thank you!
Love the addition of snow peas and I always double the sauce as well. 😉
I made this dish last night, and it was soooooooo delicious! I doubled the recipe, and used 12 thighs (skinless and boneless).
I have the same problem as Jeff with slow loading. Although this one is not as bad as 2 other recipe blogs that I subscribe to and wait patiently for because the food is so good! Carrian, if you have a suggestion, please email me too.
The best suggestion I have is to use Chrome and make sure you keep your cookies cleared.
Is anyone as frustrated as I am with how slow this site loads because of all of the pop ups and ads? Anyone know how to speed the load up or how to shut down the pop up marketing stuff so we can keep using it?
Hi Jeff, I’ve emailed you. Thanks for your concern. I do hope we can help you.
I think I have saved dozens of your recipes, but never have enough time or the right ingredients on hand to actually try any. I made this cashew chicken dish tonight and it was a huge hit! The ingredients are all pretty much pantry staples and it took no time and very little effort for my 11yr old son and I to make. We have a huge family, and it’s rare to find a dish out of the norm for everyone to love. This one’s going down in the recipe book for sure.
I loved the flavor of the cashew chicken but would suggest doubling the sauce.
I’m always on board for more sauce. Thanks Dee!