This Cashew Chicken recipe is a super easy Chinese-American dish that tastes better than take out. It’s a simple and flavorful stir fry that gets dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Also great the next day, if you’re lucky enough to have any left over!
If you enjoy stir fry as much as we do, don’t miss our all-purpose stir fry sauce that goes with any protein or vegetables!
This super easy cashew chicken is a standard in our house and one of my favorite stir fry recipes. A while back I made it so often that everyone got tired of it. So I stopped. Then everyone complained that I didn’t make it enough. HA. It’s deliciousness just cannot be denied.
Tender bite-sized pieces of chicken and roasted cashews, along with sweet onion, are coated in a tangy garlic sauce, then served over hot cooked white rice for a simple, but filling meal that always satisfies. I also love it because it’s so incredibly easy.
Cashew Chicken Recipe Ingredients
- Chicken: We prefer chicken thighs for this recipe because it’s more tender and carries extra flavor, but chicken breast is fine, too.
- Cashews: Unsalted and roasted. You can use whole nuts or halves.
- Sweet onion: The onion can be diced or cut into bite-sized pieces. Sometimes I even add in an extra onion because that’s one of our favorite parts.
- Garlic: Use fresh for best flavor.
- Chili Garlic Sauce: Tangy and slightly spicy, with a punch of garlic.
- Hoisin sauce: Salty, a little sweet, and rich, sort of like American BBQ sauce, but not really. Truly a distinctive savory umami flavor all on its own.
- Rice Vinegar: This adds that characteristic tang that a lot of Chinese stir fry dishes have. It balances out the Hoisin really well.
- Scallions: These delicate onions have a subtle peppery flavor.
- Cornstarch and Water: To thicken the sauce.
- Vegetable oil: Used to sauté the chicken and vegetables.
- Salt and Pepper: Basic, but necessary seasoning.
- Cook white rice: For serving.
Chicken Cashew Stir Fry Variations and Additions
- Use sesame oil: Substitute the vegetable oil with sesame oil for even more depth of flavor.
- Add in extra veggies: I keep this dish simple with just onion and garlic, but feel free to toss in some cubed bell pepper, broccoli florets, or snap peas.
- Kick up the heat: For added heat, sprinkle in a little cracked red pepper flakes or pass some Sriracha at the table.
How to Make Cashew Chicken
This stir fry is one of my easiest yet! You don’t even need a wok – just a nonstick pan. Make sure your ingredients are uniform in size and have everything ready to go like an assembly line, because it comes together fast. Here’s a brief summary: (Scroll below for the complete printable recipe card.)
- Toss the chicken pieces with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
- Brown the chicken in an oiled nonstick pan. Add in the vegetables.
- Deglaze the pan with rice vinegar.
- Stir together the sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken.
- Allow the sauce to warm through and thicken.
- Remove from the heat and toss in the cashews and scallions.
- Serve right away over cooked white rice and enjoy!
Cashew Chicken Video
Other Favorite Stir Fry Recipes
Easy Cashew Chicken
- 3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs , cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small sweet onion , cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 6 scallions , diced
- 3/4 cup unsalted, roasted cashews
- cooked white rice , for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin, chili garlic sauce, and water. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch until the chicken is coated, season with a few grinds of salt and pepper.
- In a large nonstick pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken, tossing often, until browned and cooked, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the onion, cook for 3 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant. Add the rice vinegar and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits, about 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the hoisin mixture; cook, tossing to combine and warm through, about 1 more minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in the scallions and cashews. Taste, season with a little more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve over cooked, hot white rice.