Cashew Chicken with juicy stir-fried chicken, bell peppers, and buttery cashews all coated in a sweet and savory garlic soy sauce. Skip takeout and make this easy and delicious 20-minute cashew chicken recipe at home.
Made with juicy, delicious chunks of stir-fried chicken and creamy toasted cashews in a perfectly balanced sweet and savory garlic soy sauce, this better-than-takeout cashew chicken is ready in just 30-minutes. Cashew Chicken was one of the very first chicken stir-fry recipes I ever attempted making at home. After several variations and improvements, I can finally say that this is my favorite.
Often served over rice, cashew chicken loves being served with extra vegetables and noodles, too!
How to Make Cashew Chicken
- Coat the chicken pieces in cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and cayenne powder (if using). Set aside.
- Whisk together the water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Then add the soy sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and oyster sauce.
- Dry roast the cashews until golden and fragrant.
- Stir-fry the chicken until golden and nearly (or just) cooked. Work in batches, if necessary, to prevent crowding. Remove to a clean plate and set aside.
- Stir-fry the green onions and red bell peppers for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove to a clean plate and set aside.
- In the same pan set over medium heat, add the prepared sauce. Cook, whisking continuously, until it just reaches a low boil and starts to thicken. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Return the chicken and vegetables back to the pan with the sauce. Toss to coat. Continue to cook until everything is cooked and heated through.
How to Serve
Rice (jasmine rice or brown rice) is my go-to whenever I make cashew chicken at home. You can also try tossing it with cooked ramen or soba noodles for a cashew chicken noodle fusion. For a low-carb option, try serving with cauliflower rice and extra veggies like roasted Brussels sprouts.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- I used boneless skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, but feel free to use chicken thighs if that’s what you prefer. Chicken thighs are typically more flavorful and are less likely to dry out from overcooking.
- Avoid overcooking the chicken pieces. Aim to stir-fry the chicken just until they reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Over cooking chicken will cause them to dry out.
- Remember to coat the chicken in cornstarch. The cornstarch helps crisp the chicken without deep-frying.
- If you’re sensitive to gluten, swap the soy sauce for gluten-free Tamari.
- Try adding other veggies like chopped broccoli or water chestnuts.
- Make sure you’re adding rice wine vinegar not rice vinegar (also known as Marin). They’re two different ingredients used in different ways.
- If you love extra sauce, simply double the amounts needed for the sauce. You’ll have plenty of yummy sauce for rice and noodles.
Leftover Cashew Chicken
This easy cashew chicken recipe is even better reheated the next day! Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Reheat in the microwave until warm.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped green onions or cashews and a little bit of fresh lime juice.
Looking for more delicious chicken recipes? Try these reader favorites:
Did you try this easy cashew chicken recipe?
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Cashew Chicken Recipe
FOR THE CHICKEN
FOR THE SAUCE
For the Stir-Fry
- 1 cup unsalted raw cashews
- 2 red bell peppers - seeded and diced
- 1 cup chopped green onions - plus more to garnish
- Sesame seeds - for serving
- Coat the chicken – Add the chicken, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt, pepper and cayenne powder (if desired) to a large ziplock bag. Toss to coat and set aside.
- Prepare the sauce – In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and oyster sauce) mixing well to combine. Set aside.
- Dry roast the cashews – Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the cashews and sauté, mixing often, until golden and fragrant (do not burn!). Remove cashews from the skillet and set aside.
- Cook the chicken – In the same skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes or until chicken just starts to brown on the outside (unless you are using a non-stick skillet, your chicken may stick to the bottom of the skillet- that's OK, just scrape the bits off the bottom after the chicken is fully cooked). Once the chicken is brown and cooked, remove to a clean plate. Set aside.
- Stir-fry the green onions and bell peppers – Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped bell pepper and green onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a clean plate. Set aside.
- Cook the sauce – Return skillet to medium heat. Pour sauce mixture into the skillet and cook, whisking continuously, until sauce just reaches a boil and thickens. Reduce heat as needed and add additional water to thin sauce if it gets too thick.
- Return chicken and vegetables – Return the cooked chicken and vegetables back to the skillet with the sauce. Toss to coat. Continue to cook for an additional minute before removing from heat.
- Serve – Serve immediately with rice, cauliflower rice, and garnished with additional green onion and sesame seeds.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)