Cashew Chicken – Spoon Fork Bacon

The best Cashew Chicken Recipe you’ll ever have! It tastes just like it came from your local takeout spot. Soft and tender garlic chicken thighs are cooked and coated in a mouthwatering hoisin based sauce and it’s all made in under 30 minutes!

Cashew chicken recipe in a skillet with rice on the side.

We have been creating a lot of quick and easy, Chinese-style takeout dishes to make at home lately and one of our favorites is this Cashew Chicken Recipe! It’s been really nice to be able to make simple, flavor packed dinners at home. We love being able to control the ingredients and amounts we use, making some of our favorite takeout dishes slightly healthier too.

Not only is the flavor of our cashew chicken off the charts good, but this entire dish comes together in under 30 minutes, which is out favorite type of weeknight dinner to make! Our recipe makes enough to feed a family of four, but we do recommend doubling the recipe.

Leftovers are even better the next day and our cashew chicken recipe reheats (and travels) incredibly well, making this a great grab and go lunch the next day!

What is Cashew Chicken?

Cashew chicken is a Chinese-American dish consisting of stir-fried chicken and cashews that are tossed and coated in a brown garlic sauce with a gravy consistency.

What is Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken?

Springfield Style Cashew Chicken is the deep-fried version, created by Chef David Leong in Springfield, Missouri. The bite-sized pieces of chicken are deep-fried before getting tossed together with the sauce.

How to Make Cashew Chicken

Sauce Ingredients

Cashew chicken sauce ingredients on a kitchen counter.

Process

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Cashew chicken sauce in a glass bowl mixed together.

Chicken Ingredients

Ingredients to make Cashew Chicken all laid out.

Process

  1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, cashews, sesame seeds, and green onion into a mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk together.
  1. Pour mixture over chicken and stir until evenly coated. Allow chicken to sit for 10 minutes.
Cashew chicken marinated in a bowl.
  1. Place a large pan or wok over high heat and add oil. Add half chicken and partially cook, stirring frequently.
  2. Transfer chicken to a plate and return pan to stove.
  1. Add remaining oil and chicken pieces to pan and partially cook.
  2. Stir plated chicken back to pan and cook.
  1. Stir sauce into pan and lower to medium-high heat. Simmer sauce and chicken together until sauce thickens enough to coat chicken.
  2. Stir cashews into chicken mixture until evenly combined.
  1. Remove from heat and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
Cashew chicken recipe in a skillet with plates and forks on the side.

Tools You Will Need

Make Ahead and Freeze Our Cashew Chicken Recipe

Make Ahead

Cook cashew chicken as per instructions, but leave the cashews out. Cool dish and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, transfer cashew chicken to a skillet and warm over medium-low to low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If the sauce begins to dry out, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Once the dish is hot, stir in cashews, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve.

Freezing

Cook cashew chicken as per instructions, but leave the cashews out. Cool dish and transfer to an airtight container. Place in freezer for up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, transfer container to refrigerator and thaw. Once thawed, pour cashew chicken into a skillet and warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If the sauce begins to dry out, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Once the dish is hot, stir in cashews, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve.

Cashew chicken with on two plates with forks and rice.

Tips and Tricks for Success

  • Don’t overcrowd the skillet when initially cooking the chicken. You’ll end up with excess liquid in the skillet, causing the chicken to steam instead of sear. Cooking the chicken in batches will give them the ever so slightly seared and crisp exterior.
  • Use unsalted (and roasted) cashews in this dish! Salted cashews will be too much and make this dish too salty. If salted cashews are all you can find, give them a quick rinse, pat dry and throw them in a skillet over low heat for a few minutes to gain their crunch back.

What to Serve with Cashew Chicken?

We love serving our cashew chicken recipe with steamed rice (brown or white!) or cauliflower rice and a side of steamed or roasted broccoli, but there are other serving options we love:

Cashew Chicken Variations

We kept our recipe pretty basic, although you’ll find other versions add chopped bell peppers and onions to this dish. Some other simple variations are below:

  • Add some steamed broccoli to this dish to include some green veggies!
  • Some sautéed mushrooms like shiitake or oyster would also make a really nice addition!
  • Make this recipe gluten-free by swapping the soy sauce out for tamari and using a gluten free hoisin sauce!
  • Use boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of dark meat.
  • Although the dish is called cashew chicken, you can always swap the chicken out for cubes of extra firm tofu for a vegetarian friendly version! Just place a baking sheet over a block of tofu and weigh it down (cans work great!) for at least an hour. This will release excess liquid in the tofu, allowing it to cook and crisp up a bit. After the tofu has been pressed, chop into bite-sized pieces, toss in a small amount of cornstarch, so cubes are just barely coated and fry in the skillet as you would the chicken.
  • Add some heat to the dish by stirring in some chili garlic sauce.
Cashew chicken on two plates with rice.

Check out our Cashew Chicken Google Web Story.

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Cashew chicken recipe in a skillet with rice on the side.

Cashew Chicken

PRINT RECIPE Pin Recipe

The best Cashew Chicken Recipe you’ll ever have! It tastes just like it came from your local takeout spot. Soft and tender garlic chicken thighs are cooked and coated in a mouthwatering hoisin based sauce and it’s all made in under 30 minutes!

Prep Time: 2 my s

Cook Time: 18 my s

marinating time: 10 my s

Total Time: 30 my s

Servings: 4

INSTRUCTIONS

chicken

  • Combine all ingredients, except chicken into a mixing bowl and whisk together.

  • Pour mixture over chicken and stir until evenly coated. Allow chicken to sit for 10 minutes.

assemble

  • Place a large pan or wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add half chicken and partially cook, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  • Transfer chicken to a plate and return pan to stove.

  • Add remaining oil and chicken to pan and partially cook, another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir plated chicken back to pan and cook for an additional minute.

  • Stir sauce into pan and lower heat to medium. Simmer sauce and chicken together until sauce thickens enough to coat chicken, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Stir cashews into chicken mixture until evenly combined.

  • Remove from heat and top with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve.

NOTES

Tips and Tricks for Cashew Chicken Success
  • Don’t overcrowd the skillet when initially cooking the chicken. You’ll end up with excess liquid in the skillet, causing the chicken to steam instead of sear. Cooking the chicken in batches will give them the ever so slightly seared and crisp exterior.
  • Use unsalted (and roasted) cashews in this dish! Salted cashews will be too much and make this dish too salty. If salted cashews are all you can find, give them a quick rinse, pat dry and throw them in a skillet over low heat for a few minutes to gain their crunch back.
Make Ahead Cook cashew chicken as per instructions, but leave the cashews out. Cool dish and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, transfer cashew chicken to a skillet and warm over medium-low to low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If the sauce begins to dry out, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Once the dish is hot, stir in cashews, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve. Freezing Cook cashew chicken as per instructions, but leave the cashews out. Cool dish and transfer to an airtight container. Place in freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, transfer container to refrigerator and thaw. Once thawed, pour cashew chicken into a skillet and warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If the sauce begins to dry out, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Once the dish is hot, stir in cashews, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve.

Calories: 505kcal Carbohydrates: 19g Protein: 40g Dish: 31g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 162mg Sodium: 772mg Potassium: 669mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 5g Vitamin A: 102IU Vitamin C: 2mg Calcium: 50mg Iron: 4mg

CUISINE: Chinese-American

KEYWORDS: cashew chicken, chicken dinner, Chinese takeout at home, quick and easy

COURSE: dinner, Main Course

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