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
I hope you love this delicious and easy recipe – be sure to give it a review below! Also don’t forget to follow Belly Full on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!
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.
Reader Questions and Reviews
Great recipe. I like that it is simple but tasty, just as it is. I also like that people can put their families spin on it by adding the vege’s they like.
This is a great recipe.
It was very delicious.
Easy and delicious – kids gobbled it up, so winner in my book!
This is one of our favorite chicken stir fry recipes. I haven’t made it in awhile, so was very happy that it was as delicious as I remembered.,
Well u just put my local Thai restaurant out of business because I swear myself and my family were keeping them afloat due to our frequent visits for their chili cashew chicken! But as amazing as there’s is (was)…I won’t be going back because I made this tonight and it was amazing!! I doubled the sauce just to make sure there was enough, used 2 onions and 6 scallions and the rest I followed to the letter. Flavor bomb!!! Thank you super much!! Oops I dribbled a little sauce on this comment! Lol
Made this…easy AND delicious…definitely on my repeat list! I did add water chestnuts, because I love them. Highly recommend this recipe!
One of my favorites! This recipe is so easy and very good!! Satisfies my craving for Asian takeout!!
YUM! I am thinking this is a recipe that just about everyone will like!
I love this recipe! To make extra sauce do I use the same amounts of hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce, water and rice vinegar?
If you want extra sauce, simply double those ingredients.
Uh, wow. This doesn’t look as good as take out, I can tell you that. It looks a MILLION TIMES BETTER than takeout!! I seriously need to try this ASAP!
We tried this last night. It was phenomenal! We added a few pea pods when we put the hoisin sauce in. Our dinner guest is here from Taiwan – he LOVED it! We plan to make this one of our regular meals and to change it up with various vegetables. Thank you so much.
This was definitely yummy! I used chicken tenders instead of the thighs and cut them into small pieces, as well as I used some sweet onion and diced that up instead of using the green onions. Placed over brown rice. I will be making this again for sure! Thanks for the great recipe!
Would definitely recomend
I used this recipe last night and it is the very best, just like the Chinese restaurants ! I added broccoli, mushrooms & red peppers that I steamed crisp first & a little more Hobson sauce & water. The next time I will add water chestnuts also. I cut the vegetables small & they were added in the last couple of minutes . Thank you, this recipe is just GREAT & so very easy !
Sounds yummy and simple! If not a fan of scallions, what would be a good substitute? And when adding broccoli, would you cook it separately and then mix it in? I’m pretty new to home cooking. Ideally, I’d prefer broccoli to be the only veggie in this dish – is that at all possible?
Hi Kira – well, since scallions are part of the onion family, you could simply sub in a sweet onion, diced, but you’d need to add them earlier in the dish, so they cook and are soft. If adding broccoli, I would blanch first until tender, then toss it in the last 1-2 minutes to warm through and get coated with the sauce. Enjoy!
Loved this recipe! Kids did too. Will definitely be putting this one in the family recipe book. Will add broccoli and water chestnuts next time. Thank you.
The broccoli and chestnuts would be a great addition. So happy you all liked it! And the kids…small victories, right?
Tried this tonight and it was very yummy. We used chicken breasts and added some red onion, peppers, broccoli and red pepper flakes for spice. Really enjoyed it– thank you!
So glad you enjoyed it, Kim! I’ve added broccoli on occasion. Always good!
Excellent recipe. First time trying to prepare my own. This was a great help and my family loved it….yet not as as much as ME. I’ve been wanting to make my own cashew chicken for a long time. Finally found a way that appeared to be in my skill set. Lol. My only mistake was not buying boneless thighs w/o all the fat and prep required. Is there much difference in using chicken breast?
thighs tend to have more flavor and be less dry, so I prefer them. But it’s delicious with chicken breasts, as well.
I made this this using chicken breast and adding broccoli. Meant to add water chestnuts but forgot. Haha. It was terrific. I served it with fried rice using sesame oil. Sooooo yummy! Thanks for recipe.
I’ve made it with broccoli, too. Glad you liked it!
A very yummy dish. I made it tonight & we enjoyed it. My first time using rice vinegar & hoisin sauce. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it!!
Hi. I don’t have rice vinegar in the house and wanted to make it tonight. Is there anything I can substitute for rice vinegar?
The closest substitution would be to use 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar. It won’t be the exact flavor, but close.
How do u roast cashews . Can’t wait to make this receipe. Thank you. Chris
Hi Chris – I buy pre-roasted cashews, but if you want to roast your own, follow these instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of oil over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes, stir, then cook for another 3 minutes until they are just a few shades darker and smell nutty, stir, and then maybe cook for 3 minutes longer. About 10-12 minutes total. Make sure you stir so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a plate; let cool.
I am forever in your debt for suggesting equal parts ketchup and molasses for hoisin sauce substitute. I am salt free and usually just delete recipes using bottled sauces. I’ll use my salt-free ketchup with the molasses. THANK YOU!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Made this for dinner tonight. Simple and fantastic flavor. Love the fact that there are no veggies. We could actually taste the chicken and cashews. We got our Chinese food fix and it was so nice knowing exactly what went into it :)
I added some broccoli. Simple and tasty meal.
I am leaving the recipe and all ingredients with DH tomorrow. He should be able to handle it for tomorrow night’s dinner. I will be great to come home from work to a nice hot tasty meal!!
I couldn’t find hoisin sauce so I got tianmianjiang (tian mian sauce aka sweet bean sauce) will that mess up the flavor too much? I know it’ll make it sweeter.
Hi Lindsay. I do know that substituting Hoison with sweet bean sauce is not uncommon. I’ve also heard equal parts ketchup and molasses can be used. I’ve never tried either, so I don’t know for sure. It will definitely change the flavor, but not quite sure for the good or bad. Try it and let me know how it comes out!
Made this with chicken breast instead of thighs. We loved it!
We really enjoyed this. Great flavor and so easy! I added in some broccoli and mushrooms.
REALLY good! I’ve been wanting a recipe for cashew chicken that I could make at home. The take-out place by us puts pea pods and water chestnuts in theirs, so that’s what I did. Loved this recipe.
This was Friday night dinner (sans scallions, because of my wife’s aversion to onion-y things). We made it with chicken breast instead of thighs. Fantastic!
I’m so happy you guys liked it! I prefer thighs over breasts (insert joke here, ya ya) because they are more tender and flavorful, but I understand the reasons why so many others prefer breast meat. Glad to know this recipe can get away with them and not be compromised. Awesome!
The hoisin sauce is clutch. Good recipe!
I so love Asian food, and cooking it at home is always hit or miss for me. We’ve tried a few cashew chicken recipes that are good, but aren’t quite what you would find in an Asian restaurant – until this recipe. Nailed it!
Always wanted a good cashew chicken recipe that doesn’t require a thousand strange asian ingredients and this was PERFECT! Kids loved it, too. Thank you!
It’s been years since I’ve made cashew chicken! I need to change that asap.
Ohhh, love this! Cashew chicken would go over well in my house, something I need to try. :)
This looks so delicious! I know my husband would love it. I was wondering if you could tell me what brand of hoisin sauce you use. I am not very familiar with it. Thanks so much!
Hi Shari – the brand I use is Dynasty, but there are many other brands that are also good. I find it in the section of my market that carries all the other asian staples, like soy sauce.
My mom did that to us with ramen. I still can’t eat it, to this day!
We loved the taste and simplicity of this. Hoisin is my favorite Asian sauce ever!
Making this as soon as we return from vacation!
My husband and I loved this so much! Why get take-out when you can make it this good at home??!
I LOVE this cashew chicken!! Hit the spot. Will definitely make again and again.