Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken — Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce!! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that’s easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier!!
Copycat Chinese Cashew Chicken Recipe
I’ve shared many peanut chicken recipes, but never one for chicken with cashew nuts. I don’t know what I was waiting for! This easy cashew chicken really does taste better than a restaurant. Not that I’m partial or anything.
Consider this dish like a cashew chicken stir fry. The chicken is sautéed with sesame oil for depth of flavor before adding broccoli, red bell peppers, edamame, and garlic.
The vegetables stay crisp-tender, which is exactly the way I like them. If you prefer green bell peppers or other vegetables, mix and match as you see fit.
The dish is finished with cashews, of course, and that wonderful cashew chicken sauce that’s made with soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and Asian chili garlic sauce. Asian chili garlic sauce is kept in the Asian section of my regular grocery store.
The heat from this sauce really makes the chicken come to life without being overly hot and spicy, but if you’re sensitive to heat and spices, scale back as you see fit.
The sauce helps keep the chicken moist and tender and clings to the veggies beautifully.
I loved how fast and easy dinner came together. Now, this cashew chicken recipe is going into our regular rotation. No need for takeout when homemade tastes so good.
Cashew Chicken Ingredients
To make the actual chicken cashew stir-fry, you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts
- Sesame oil
- Olive oil
- Broccoli florets
- Bell pepper
- Shelled frozen edamame
- Roasted unsalted cashews
And for the cashew chicken sauce, you’ll need:
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Asian chili garlic sauce
- Ground ginger
How to Make Cashew Chicken
This is a super simple recipe — the hardest part is chopping up some veggies! Here’s an overview of how to make chicken with cashew nuts:
- Add the cornstarch, diced chicken, salt, and pepper to a large zip-top bag and squish the chicken around to coat it.
- Add the chicken to an oiled skillet and cook until the chicken is about 90% done (it will finish cooking in the sauce).
- Add the broccoli, bell pepper, edamame, and garlic to the skillet and cook just for a few minutes. You want the veggies to remain crisp-tender.
- Add the sauce and roasted cashews to the skillet. Simmer for a minute or two, just to give the sauce time to heat up and thicken slightly.
Can I Use Different Vegetables?
Yes, feel free to mix and match the veggies to use up whatever’s in your produce drawer. Just note that different veggies will have different cook times.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs?
I’m sure you could use chicken thighs to make this easy cashew chicken recipe. Just make sure they’re boneless, and that you dice them into 1-inch chunks.
What Are the Best Cashews for Cashew Chicken?
You’ll want to use roasted and unsalted cashews to make this recipe. I do not recommend using salted cashews otherwise your Cashew nut chicken will be far too salty.
Can This Recipe Be Prepared in Advance?
Yes, you can make the entire recipe as written and eat leftovers throughout the week or you can prep the ingredients in advance of making the entire recipe.
For example, the veggies can be diced ahead of time, the sauce can be whisked together, and the chicken can be diced and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.
Tips for Making This Recipe
Do not omit the cornstarch in this recipe. It coats the chicken and helps it crisp up in the skillet without having to deep fry it. The cornstarch also thickens the cashew chicken sauce.
Note that this recipe calls for roasted unsalted cashews. I don’t like using salted cashews in this recipe, because between the salted cashews and soy sauce the dish winds up being way too salty.
Lastly, make sure to buy rice wine vinegar and not rice wine (also called mirin). They’re two different things!
Pin This Recipe
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- about 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 heaping cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup red bell peppers, diced small
- 1 cup shelled frozen edamame
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted whole cashews
- 3/4 to 1 cup green onions, sliced into thin rounds (from about 3 or 4 green onions)
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- To a gallon-sized ziptop bag, add the cornstarch, salt, pepper, chicken, seal, and shake to coat chicken evenly.
- To a large skillet, add the oils, chicken, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat, flipping and stirring so all sides cook evenly. Chicken should be about 80-90% cooked through.
- Add the broccoli, bell peppers, edamame (I add it straight from the freezer), garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is cooked through; stir intermittently. While vegetables cook, make the sauce.
- To a medium bowl add the soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, and whisk to combine; set aside.
- Add the cashews to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Add the sauce and stir to combine. Allow sauce to simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the green onions, stir to combine, and serve immediately.
Storage: Chicken is best warm and fresh but extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 642mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 40g
More Asian Chicken Recipes:
Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice – One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never want takeout again after tasting how good homemade is! Way more flavor, not greasy, and loads of juicy chicken!
Chicken Pad Thai — EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and BETTER than takeout!! Tender rice noodles, juicy chicken, with crisp-tender carrots, cabbage, and more for an IRRESISTIBLE and AUTHENTIC chicken pad Thai!!
Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!!
15-Minute Skillet Sesame Chicken with Broccoli – Healthier sesame chicken that isn’t breaded or fried! You won’t miss the fat or calories in this fast and easy version that’s loaded with Asian-inspired flavors! You can happily skip takeout now!
Healthier Orange Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!
15-Minute Chicken, Vegetable, and Ramen Noodle Stir Fry – Don’t call for takeout when you can make this EASY Asian stir fry in minutes!! HEALTHIER and faster than takeout and great for busy weeknights!
Kung Pao Chicken — An easy, BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT recipe with juicy chicken and such a flavorful sauce!!
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken – The easiest orange chicken ever because your slow cooker does all the work! Super juicy, tender, and coated with a sweet-yet-tangy orange glaze that’s irresistible!
Originally posted April 23, 2018. Reposted January 11, 2019 and June 11, 2021 with updated text.