Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!}

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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!!

Cashew Chicken stir fry in serving bowl

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.

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!!

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.

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!!

Cashew Chicken Ingredients

To make the actual chicken cashew stir-fry, you’ll need: 

  • Cornstarch
  • Chicken breasts
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Broccoli florets
  • Bell pepper
  • Shelled frozen edamame 
  • Garlic
  • Roasted unsalted cashews 

And for the cashew chicken sauce, you’ll need: 

  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Asian chili garlic sauce
  • Ground ginger 

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!!

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: 

  1. Add the cornstarch, diced chicken, salt, and pepper to a large zip-top bag and squish the chicken around to coat it. 
  2. Add the chicken to an oiled skillet and cook until the chicken is about 90% done (it will finish cooking in the sauce). 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 

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!!

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. 

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!!

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

Yield: 5

Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken

Chicken with Cashew Nuts in Cashew Chicken Sauce

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!!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Stir-Fry:

  • 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)

Sauce:

  • 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

Instructions

  1. To a gallon-sized ziptop bag, add the cornstarch, salt, pepper, chicken, seal, and shake to coat chicken evenly.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. To a medium bowl add the soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  5. Add the cashews to the skillet and stir to combine.
  6. Add the sauce and stir to combine. Allow sauce to simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add the green onions, stir to combine, and serve immediately.

Notes

Storage: Chicken is best warm and fresh but extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 642mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 40g

More Asian Chicken Recipes:

Favorite CHICKEN RECIPES and all of my ASIAN-INSPIRED 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!

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!

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!

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!!

Kung Pao Chicken - An easy BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT recipe with juicy chicken and such a flavorful sauce!! Don't call for takeout when you can make this HEALTHIER version at home in 20 minutes! So AUTHENTIC tasting!!

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!

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.

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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Comments

  1. Great, but better if you also add chicken base or bonito seasoning for more meaty flavor depth! Also added additional fresh ginger & garlic plus mushrooms… wonderful day 2!

    Rating: 4
  2. Total yum!!!! Loved it. Only thing I did differently was eyeballed the ingredients loosely. Extra flavours including garlic and the sambal olek. Will def make again

    Rating: 5
    1. I would use a nonstick pan, add additional olive oil and/or spray with cooking spray. Any or all of those things should 100% eliminate the issue.

  3. My family devoured this meal! Best of all – it came together so fast which makes it a great choice for busy weeknights. Thanks – this recipe is a keeper!

    Rating: 5
  4. This was a hit! I doubled the recipe in order to feed 4 teenagers and 2 adults and it was mostly gone. It barely all fit in the wok, but it worked. I used thighs instead of breast, I didn’t have edamame so I subbed peas, and I reduced the chili garlic sauce by half for the kids. Other than that, I stayed true to the recipe and was extremely pleased with it. The recipe calls for roasted cashews, so if you’re using raw ones, make sure to cook them first.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that you customize this to work for your crew and then it was a big hit!

  5. Made this tonight! Easy to make AND delish! My husband loved it too! Any idea regarding calories per serving?

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you loved it! I am working on updating all my recipes to include nutrition info in the future.

  6. This was delicious! Next time I will double the sauce so there will be enough with the rice. Came to together easily and my family loved it. Didn’t have edamame so I used green peas and also added carrots. Yum!!!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was a hit with your family and that you’ll make it again!

  7. I’m always skeptical of recipes, but this one did not disappoint. As suggested, I lowered the chili sauce for my kids, but my husband added a little more to his. This will definitely make it into a consistent rotation. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  8. VERY GOOD! I sub water chestnuts for edamame.
    Next time I’ll not use use as much broccoli but I will add this recipe to my arsenal

  9. My husband just had a bypass surgery so am innovating tasty recipes without salt and soy sauce. This is very good! Roasted garlic first before sautéing the chicken. Used chicken thighs and was liberal on Mrs Dash and garlic and herbs seasoning. Put it on top of brown rice and it was a hit!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that my recipe came in handy after the bypass surgery and that Mrs Dash worked great here!

  10. I thought it was good but I dont think i needed to add salt. Also should’ve roasted the cashews before making it. Thanks for the great recipe.

  11. Averie.. I wish there were more than 5 stars! This is my favorite chicken recipe ever! Thanks for posting it!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that you wish you could give it even more – wonderful to hear!

  12. Averie,This was the BEST cashew chicken my husband and I have ever eaten! I loved the different textures in the dish and it had just the right amount of heat for us. I used thighs instead of breasts and substituted pea pods for the broccoli but otherwsie followed the recipe. My husband just ate the leftovers for breakfast!I can’t wait to try another one of your recipes this weekend…. perhaps a crockpot one as it is getting chilly.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad this is the best cashew chicken you both have ever eaten! And you know it’s good when you’re eating the leftovers for breakfast :)

  13. You aren’t kidding this is way better than Takeout! I’ve made this 3 times now (the 3rd time a friend ask me to make it for his Birthday). I did make a few changes, first I used boneless chicken thighs which have much more flavor and can tolerate being cooked for longer periods. The second thing I changed was I doubled the absolutely delicious sauce to get a better coating on the chicken and vegetables. Other than that I followed your recipe. I love your website and I have tried several of your recipes and I have never be disappointed. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that you agree it’s way better than takeout! I’m glad you have been enjoying my website and recipes!

  14. I’ve made this numerous times – it’s become a family favorite with my husband and three boys! Easy and quick too!

    Rating: 5
  15. I made this for tonight’s supper. We both loved it, so delicious!! I will definitely make this one again. Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5
  16. Made it without edamame and it was delicious! Most definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  17. I made this recipe last week and it was a HUGE hit with my husband (and me)! The only change I made was that I used dark meat chicken. This recipe was AMAZING. So glad I found the Averie Cooks website.

    Rating: 5
  18. OMG this was so good! I love Chinese food and Cashew Chicken is one of my favorites. but this is even better than takeout. my husband even gave it his stamp of approval!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this turned out even better than takeout for you! (hence the name) :)

  19. I have made this 3 times and It is excellent. Yes, I agree better than take out. I use Jasmine rice and used fresh ginger! I will try it with beef next time. No need to go to Asian restaurants anymore.

    Rating: 5
  20. This is as the subtitle says – SO MUCH BETTER THAN TAKEOUT! Oh. My. Gosh Averie, thank you so much. I used sweet chili sauce (like the one we would eat with mini spring rolls here in the Netherlands), which worked great. I’ve never had such juicy chicken in my life. I cooked the 4 serving recipe, plus rice, and froze the portions I didn’t eat (so all but one, haha). I like taking hot meals with me for lunch, and this microwaved beautifully for me at work!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad this came out so much better than takeout for you and that you were able to enjoy the leftovers at work :)

  21. This recipe turned out great! Next time I think I want to try marinating the chicken in the sauce instead of coating in cornstarch. This coating I don’t feel is necessary. The flavor in the recipe overall is great! I used a chili garlic sauce which added the perfect amount of heat!

    Rating: 4
  22. Made this recipe last night, it truly is better than carry out! The ingredients were easy to find (had most everything on hand), the recipe was easy to follow, and was quick to cook, we will definitely make this again. I substituted celery for the peppers and it was great. Thank you for sharing, Averie!

    Rating: 5
  23. This dish is amazing!!!!! The only thing I change is I put the cashews in at serving time, as, if there are left overs, they lose the crispness.

    Rating: 5
  24. I made this, this weekend. Very delicious! Chicken was so tender. I used apple juice in place of the rice wine vinegar since it was such a small amount needed. Made extra sauce for leftovers and thickened it with cornstarch. Husband is looking forward to it again today.Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  25. Oh my goodness I got so hungry 1:30 am looking at all these pics. and I love Chinese and foods the resemble Chinese ….all of these look so good, I hope to make them all….
    I have made so many recipes for Chinese food and not a one was really fit to eat….just had no flavor…I even purchased Chinese 5 spice , also purchased an oyster sauce….and nothing worked….. so looking forward to start making these….

    Thanks for posting….

    Will rate them as I make them….hope I don’t lose these recipes…..

  26. This was the bomb. Made it with red peppers and broccoli with a side of basmati rice with eggs and low sodium soy sauce. Delicious

    Rating: 5
  27. Averie, thanks for this recipe. I made this tonight. My husband ( a very picky eater) loved it and went back for seconds. Winner, winner. Next time I think I will cook the chicken in a hotter skillet to get it more crispy and double the sauce. I added orange pieces at the end and served over Jasmine rice.

    Rating: 5
  28. LOVE this receipe! So glad I was finally able to find a spicy cashew chicken recipe. The last one I tried came out very bland. This one had so much flavor! I think the garlic chili sauce did the trick. I used carrots instead of edamame and it turned out great! Next time I’ll double or triple the sauce. I’m actually excited to eat leftovers tomorrow! I’ll definitely be checking out some more of your recipes. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad this had the right amount of heat thanks to the chili garlic sauce!