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Cashew Chicken

My quick Cashew Chicken recipe is so easy to make and miles better than any takeout. With tender chicken thighs, colourful peppers and crunchy cashews in a delicious sauce, this family-friendly recipe is a real crowd-pleaser.

My Easy Cashew Chicken recipe is packed with lean meat, fresh vegetables and crunchy cashews. With an incredibly tasty sauce, this is one of my favourite easy dinner recipes.

It’s on regular rotation in my household as it is such a crowd-pleaser. As a bonus, it’s all made in one pan so there’s less cleaning up! Winner winner chicken dinner!

Cashew Chicken Stir fry with bell peppers and basil.

Ingredients

To make Cashew Chicken at home you’ll need the following main ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs: For really juicy chicken use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in your stir-fries. They are inexpensive, full of flavour and nearly impossible to overcook. It’s possible to use boneless chicken breasts, but they can be a little dry. If you fancy deboning your own chicken thighs, check out my video here!
  • Cashew nuts: Expensive, but delicious, cashews are what give this recipe the delicious crunch. If you’re on a budget, swap them out for unsalted peanuts.
  • Bell Peppers: I like to use red bell pepper in this recipe, but any colour will do.
  • Soy sauce: The base of the delicious garlic sauce! As it is thickened and reduced, it is better to use a light soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce: This is an optional ingredient, but it adds a lovely depth of flavour.
  • Water chestnuts: For added crunch! If you can’t find them in your local grocery store, use diced radishes instead.
  • Basil and Coriander: Thai basil is soooo good with cashew chicken! If you can’t get Thai basil, the usual kind is delicious too. I love coriander (cilantro) but if you’re not a fan, just leave it out.

How to make cashew Chicken

This is such a quick meal and it comes together in a flash!

  • First, make the soy and garlic sauce by whisking all the ingredients together.
  • Next, get the rice cooking by combining 1 cup of basmati rice, 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of butter (the secret ingredient for perfect rice!) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered, then turn the heat right down to the minimum and cook for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  • While the rice is cooking, chop your chicken and vegetables into bite-sized chunks. Then heat a little oil in a large skillet or wok until very hot and brown the chicken well. This takes 7 or 8 minutes.
  • Next, add a little more oil to the pan, get it hot again and cook the vegetables until just tender. Return the chicken to the pan with the cashews and sauce and simmer for one minute until thickened.
  • Serve immediately with rice and plenty of fresh basil and coriander. Yum!

For the full ingredient list and detailed recipe, check the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Make it in advance!

Cashew chicken makes a great meal-prep lunch to take to work or school. Store for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

If making a double portion, fry the chicken in batches so that it browns properly.

Close up of Cashew Chicken Stir Fry in a pan.

Variations

  • More vegetables: Add whichever vegetables you have on hand! Snow peas, sliced green onions (spring onions) or broccoli are all good. Remember to start with the hardest vegetables first as they will take the longest to cook.
  • Pork: Diced pork tenderloin is DELICIOUS with this sauce!
  • More saucy: If you like your stir fry extra saucy (and this is an addictive sauce so I completely understand!) simply double all sauce ingredients except chilli flakes. It will take a minute longer to thicken because there is more of it.

What to serve with cashew chicken?

Cashew chicken is great for busy weeknights because it is a complete meal all by itself.

It is great with noodles or my perfect fluffy rice. If I want to up my vegetable intake I steam some bok choy or broccoli and serve it alongside.

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry.

Frequently Asked Questions

CAN I MAKE CASHEW CHICKEN WITHOUT A WOK?

Yes! A large skillet or frying pan works perfectly well for this dish. If you are using a wok over a gas flame, you may be able to reduce the cooking times slightly as they get very hot.

THERE IS SO MUCH HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME IN THIS DISH, HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?

Because this meal comes together so quickly, it’s best to have your rice well on the go, chicken diced and vegetables chopped before you even begin to heat the pan. As with all stir fry dishes, the most time-consuming part of the dish is chopping the vegetables.

I DON’T LIKE SPICE! DO I HAVE TO USE CHILLI FLAKES IN THIS RECIPE?

Rice is perhaps the only thing in the kitchen that I measure by cups, rather than weight. I find it works well and it was how I learnt to cook rice as a kid. I have, however, included both sets of measurements here.

Looking for more easy chicken recipes? Try my Garlic Miso Chicken Thighs! Got a whole chicken to roast? My French Pot Roast Chicken is guaranteed tender every time.

Cashew Chicken Stir fry with bell peppers and basil.

Cashew Chicken Recipe

Cashew Chicken Stir fry with bell peppers and basil.

Cashew Chicken

Yield: Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

My quick Cashew Chicken recipe is so easy to make and miles better than any takeout. With tender chicken thighs, colourful peppers and crunchy cashews in a delicious sauce, this family-friendly recipe is a real crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients

for the sauce:

  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (red pepper flakes)
  • 2.5cm (1 in.) ginger, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

for the rice:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 tsp butter

for the stir fry:

  • 500g (1 lb.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2-3 fat cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 225g (8 oz.) can of sliced water chestnuts
  • 150g (1 cup) unsalted cashews

to serve:

  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • small bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro

Instructions

  1. MAKE SAUCE: In a medium bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  2. COOK RICE: Stir rice, water and butter together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, then turn the heat right down as low as it can go, cover with a tightly fitting lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff the grains with a fork then cover tightly and keep warm until needed.
  3. PREP CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES: Dice the chicken and red pepper into bite-size chunks and roughly chop the garlic.
  4. COOK CHICKEN: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok until very hot. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally for 7 minutes, until cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  5. COOK VEGETABLES: Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot pan, then add the peppers. Cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  6. COMBINE INGREDIENTS: Pour the sauce into the pan, add the chicken pieces, water chestnuts and cashews and stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water or white wine to the pan.
  7. SERVE: Fluff up the rice with a fork, divide between plates, top with cashew chicken and serve immediately with fresh basil and coriander/cilantro leaves.

Notes

  • Some brands of soy sauce or oyster sauce can be high in sodium. If you are looking to reduce your salt intake, consider using a low-sodium soy sauce.
  • I use whichever bell peppers I can get my hands on in this recipe. If you can only get green or red peppers, use what you have. A green bell pepper is not as sweet as a red one, so consider adding a tiny bit more brown sugar or honey.
  • If you can find it, use Thai basil in this recipe, it adds a ton of flavour!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 950Total Fat: 139gSaturated Fat: 36gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 93gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 392gFiber: 3gSugar: 167gProtein: 262g

Nutrition is calculated automatically and may not always be accurate.

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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 293

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