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!
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Cashew Chicken Recipe
for the sauce:
- 80 ml 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)
- 2.5 cm (1 in.) ginger, finely grated
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
for the rice:
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 tsp butter
for the stir fry:
- 500 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 2-3 fat cloves of garlic
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 225 g can of sliced water chestnuts
- 150 g unsalted cashews
- small bunch of fresh basil
- small bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro
- MAKE SAUCE: In a medium bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- 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.
- PREP CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES: Dice the chicken and red pepper into bite-size chunks and roughly chop the garlic.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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