Cashew chicken is delicious bites of juicy chicken and crunchy cashews smothered in a rich savory sauce, it’s better than takeout!
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Why you’ll love this recipe!
📌 All the flavors of takeout without the price!
📌 Versatile! There are tons of options for sides to go along with cashew chicken.
📌 Quick and easy! This recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes.
Cashew Chicken Ingredients
- Oil – We used olive oil but you can also use vegetable or coconut oil.
- Chicken – Breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces.
- Salt & Pepper – For seasoning the chicken.
- Cornstarch – 100% pure cornstarch.
- Cashews – Unsalted.
- Water – Cold, filtered.
- Hoisin Sauce – Found in the Asian food aisle at most grocery stores.
- Soy Sauce – We like to use low-sodium soy sauce.
- Sugar – Brown sugar.
- Vinegar – Rice vinegar.
- Sesame Oil – Found in the spice and baking aisle of the grocery store or sometimes in the Asian section.
- Ginger – Fresh, grated.
- Garlic – Fresh cloves, minced.
How do you make cashew chicken? (step-by-step directions)
⭐ First, season the chicken with salt and pepper and toss to coat with the cornstarch. Set aside.
⭐ Next, whisk together the water, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Set aside.
⭐ Then, heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the chicken. Cook, stirring until fully cooked through.
⭐ Last, stir in the cashews and the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce has thickened.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
What kind of chicken should I use for cashew chicken?
Boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts are both great options. Use whatever you have on hand or prefer!
Why does the recipe call for unsalted cashews?
The sauce for the cashew chicken is already plenty salty and tangy from the soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Extra salt is not necessary.
What if I don’t have fresh ginger?
No problem, you can use ground ginger in place of the fresh grated ginger. Use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger instead.
Leftovers and storage
How long does cashew chicken last?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze cashew chicken?
Yes, allow the dish to cool then store in a freezer safe, air tight container for up to 3 months. The cashews may change consistency slightly in the freezing/thawing process, but it will still be safe to eat and delicious!
What’s the best way to reheat leftover cashew chicken?
To reheat leftover cashew chicken, it’s best to use a microwave or a skillet. Add a little water or chicken broth to maintain moisture, and reheat until it’s hot and the sauce regains its consistency.
Tips and tricks
✅ Cornstarch: Don’t skip coating the chicken with the cornstarch, this helps create a yummy coating on the chicken and helps to thicken the sauce.
✅ Marinate the chicken: For an even more flavorful dish, marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic and ginger for up to an hour before cooking.
✅ Spice it up: Add a touch of heat by including crushed red pepper flakes, sriracha sauce or some cayenne pepper to the sauce. Adjust the amount based on your spice tolerance.
✅ Garnishes: You can garnish cashew chicken with some sliced green onions and sesame seeds if desired!
Frequently asked questions
Can I make cashew chicken with other types of nuts?
While cashews are the traditional choice for this dish, you can certainly experiment with other nuts like almonds or peanuts if you prefer different flavors and textures.
Is hoisin sauce essential for cashew chicken, or can it be substituted?
Hoisin sauce adds a unique flavor to cashew chicken, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can try substituting it with oyster sauce or teriyaki sauce for a different but still delicious taste.
How can I adjust the sweetness of the cashew chicken sauce to my taste?
You can easily adjust the sweetness by adding more or less brown sugar to the sauce.
Can I use pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken for this recipe to save time?
Yes, using pre-cooked chicken can save you time. Simply cut the pre-cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and proceed with the recipe from the step where the chicken is added to the skillet.
How can I make the cashews in the dish even more crunchy?
For extra crunch, you can lightly toast the cashews in a dry skillet before adding them to the dish. This will enhance their nutty flavor and texture.
What to eat with homemade cashew chicken (serving suggestions)
Cashew chicken is so simple and quick and can be served with a number of different sides. We like to serve ours with fried rice, sesame noodles, and beef and broccoli for the perfect take-out inspired meal!
More delicious chicken recipes
- 40 clove garlic chicken
- Chicken gnocchi soup
- Marry me chicken
- 3 ingredient orange chicken
- Bourbon chicken
- Caprese chicken
- Check out all our easy chicken recipes!
Other awesome Asian inspired meals
- Mongolian beef
- Garlic noodles
- Crispy tofu
- Peanut butter ramen
- Sesame noodles
- Bang bang chicken
- See all our Asian inspired recipes!
Tools we love
- Enameled cast iron – Perfect for these delicious one-pot meals. From stove top to oven!
- Garlic peeler – This works wonders to help with all those pesky garlic peels!
- OXO Good Grips Garlic Press – Gone are the days of mincing your garlic by hand! This awesome garlic press can both mince and slice! We heart it.
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How to Make Cashew Chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 pound chicken (boneless, skinless) cut into bite size pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss to coat with the cornstarch. Set aside.
- Whisk together the water, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until fully cooked through, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the cashews and the sauce, bring to a boil and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
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