Cashew Chicken

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This cashew chicken with tender stir-fried chicken and roasted cashews in garlic sauce tastes just like take-out, only better.

This dish of tender stir-fried chicken and roasted cashews in garlic sauce tastes just like take-out, only better. You don’t need a wok — just a large nonstick skillet — and, aside from the chicken, the only chopping involves some garlic and scallions. The rest comes out of bottles and jars.

The only way to mess it up is to overcook the chicken so have all your ingredients prepped before you start cooking and don’t cut the chicken pieces too small (they’ll cook too fast). You’ll be amazed how much better it feels to eat fresh, homemade Chinese food — and it won’t take you any longer to cook than it would to call it in and wait for it.

What You’ll Need To Make Cashew Chicken

cashew chicken ingredientsBe sure to use a high-quality hoisin sauce like Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee; it makes a big difference.

How To Make Cashew Chicken

To begin, place the cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer.

how to make cashew chicken

Toast in the oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. (They will crisp up as they cool.) Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: in a small bowl, whisk together the water, cornstarch, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.

sauce mixtureNext, season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat until very hot. Add half of the chicken to the skillet

how to make cashew chicken

Stir-fry until lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

how to make cashew chicken

Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet; then add remaining chicken, garlic and white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Return the first batch of chicken to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the rice vinegar; cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds.

how to make cashew chicken

Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.

how to make cashew chicken

Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallion greens, cashews and sesame oil.

how to make cashew chicken

Serve with rice.

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Cashew Chicken

This cashew chicken with tender stir-fried chicken and roasted cashews in garlic sauce tastes just like take-out, only better.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce, best quality such as Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 scallions (1 bunch), white and green parts separated, each cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside; they will crisp up as they cool.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: in a small bowl, whisk together the water, cornstarch, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce. Set aside.
  4. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
  5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat until very hot. Add half of the chicken to the skillet and stir-fry until lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  6. Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet; then add the remaining chicken, garlic and white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Return the first batch of chicken to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the rice vinegar; cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the sauce mixture to the chicken; cook, tossing, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is nicely thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallion greens, cashews and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Serving size: about 1 1/4 cups each
  • Calories: 464
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 45 g
  • Sodium: 855 mg
  • Cholesterol: 125 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Prepped the chicken, scallions and garlic beforehand. Followed the recipe as written, served over rice and had a delicious meal in under 20 minutes! May add broccoli next time. Love the flavor and simplicity. Another fabulous recipe, Jen!

    • — Andrea on January 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this with the addition of diced carrots and celery as the only alteration. It was not the best Cashew Chicken I’ve ever had, and I’ve eaten this dish in restaurants across the country. The sauce is too dark and pungent and overpowers the taste of the chicken. It is also unnecessarily complicated. IMHO there is no reason the vinegar and sesame oil can’t go in the sauce mix. I gave the recipe three stars because it is accurately written, but I won’t make it again.

    • — Rosanne Johnson on January 18, 2021
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  • I followed the recipe exactly and it was very average at best. My family asked me to never make it again. My husband said the only way this dish would be similar to take out cashew chicken is if next time you actually buy some good take out cashew chicken to pour over this one…ha ha ha.

    • — Tara on January 16, 2021
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  • This did not taste like any restaurant cashew chicken I’ve ever had. I was so disappointed because I was expecting a savory brown sauce that I’ve always gotten with cashew chicken not a really salty sweet stir fry sauce.

    • — Brianna Millner on December 31, 2020
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  • Fantastic. Better than my favorite take out place. I really wanted to take a picture, but it was to delicious to wait. Thank you!

    • — Marcela on December 21, 2020
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  • We enjoyed this very much. It’s a keeper!
    By the way, 4 tablespoons of hoisin sauce equals one fourth cup. It’s easier and faster to measure out one fourth cup.

    • — Ellen on December 15, 2020
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  • I scaled this down to dinner for two, using one chicken breast and half of the other ingredients. It turned out exactly as shown in the recipe. I’m not sure what the chicken breast weighed, but it would be much less than half the weight of the full recipe. So I wonder if more sauce would be required if making the full order.

    It’s easy to make and tasted good, though another time I might substitute another TBS of soy sauce for one of the Hoisin. I served a bit of Chinese hot sauce on the side, which perks it up a notch.

    • — Jim on December 14, 2020
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  • Delicious! I may have let the sauce go a little long as it was thick enough to be just a wee sparse, but this was the bast version of cashew chicken we’ve had..just like restaurant quality!

    • — Sandra S on December 2, 2020
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  • Amazing!!

    • — L Roberts on November 9, 2020
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  • I’ve never tried “restaurant” cashew chicken so can’t compare to that, but I can confirm that this recipe is delicious in its own right! It came together fast and everyone enjoyed it. Served it alongside simple basmati rice and streamed (microwaved) green beans. Cleanup was a breeze and leftovers were great for lunch the next day. Definitely a weeknight (or any night) winner! Thanks Jenn for another great recipe.

    • — S on November 6, 2020
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    • To serve 8 would I simply double the ingredients ?

      • — Amanda on January 1, 2021
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      • Yep – hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on January 2, 2021
        • Reply
  • Good stuff and so easy. We tried this tonight and it is a hit! My husband is not a big fan of Asian food and he even likes it. I wish I would have read the reviews first, because many people doubled the sauce and will be doing that next time.

    • — Nena on November 5, 2020
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  • This is excellent. Doubled the sauce for three large chicken breasts and it was plenty. Added sliced carrot and red bell pepper since we are trying to eat more veggies. My husband gave it high marks and so do I. Thank you for the terrific recipe!

    • — Staci on November 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve made the Martha Stewart one for years and this is so much better. Easy and simple weeknight dinner.

    • — nuffers on October 21, 2020
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  • Family loves it!

    • — Rick on October 18, 2020
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  • I am considered a very poor cook but today I decided to surprise my wife and on my day off I made this dish. It turned out great! When my wife returned home from work she right away said something smells really good! When she tasted it she was so impressed and said it was restaurant quality! I made it with steamed broccoli and carrots and it was a tasty meal! Thanks so much Jenn! -Randall

    • — Randall L on October 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this at least 3 times already and I think it’s even BETTER than take-out/restaurant Cashew Chicken!! I DO like to double-up the sauce tho. And that Hoisin Sauce is a MUST in this recipe! Sooooo if you DON’T have any, I’d suggest you go buy some beforehand….pronto! Another favorite of mine, THANKS JENN!! ❤️

    • — Gigi B. on September 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Funny enough, my kids put hoisin sauce on any meal they don’t like.
    No complaints from any of my picky eaters, it was so quiet around the dinner table as my family gobbled it down.

    • — Tan on September 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • I am a good cook, but I must say when it comes to Chinese, even when I go through all the prep work, the result is usually disappointing. I reluctantly tried the cashew chicken. Wow, it was EASY, but better yet, it was delicious. I will definitely make this again.

    • — Lorraine Young on September 20, 2020
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  • SO GOOD! Way better than takeaway and just as fast. We also added water chestnuts and edamame and it was lovely. Thanks for a lovely little weeknight winner!

    • — Nicola Lugosch on September 11, 2020
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  • What is hoisin sauce?

    • — Gaby M on September 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Gaby, Hoisin sauce is a thick dark sauce that has both sweet and savory flavors. It’s often used in Chinese cooking as an addition to stir fries, a glaze for meat or as dipping sauce. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 10, 2020
      • Reply
    • I made this recipe and it came out very tasty. I had a few issues but Google helped me out, store was out of rice wine, suggested Apple cider vingar. It worked great. I also could only find salted cashews, so I soaked them in water and toasted them and worked great. I made double the sauce for extra veggies and cooked them all together before it was done.

      • — Annette on September 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • Sorry to report….this was terrible! No stars. For one, that Hoisin sauce was WAY too strong…and..I cut it back to 3 Tblspns. I added 5 spice powder and finally pineapple. I would never make this again.

    • — nancy visconti on September 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • I would like to double the amount of sauce in this recipe. How would I do this and not lose the great flavor our family loves.

    • — Jean Alexander on September 4, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jean, I don’t really need to do anything other than simmering the sauce just a touch longer when you add it at the end (so it can thicken up a little). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this recipe recently. Loved it. Very flavourful and simple to make. Family loved it. Thank you!

    • — Mimi on August 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made this several times, added some vegetables, turns out great.

    • — Kelly B on August 20, 2020
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  • Hi! I love this recipe. It’s one of the few recipes my family of six devour and it’s easy to make.

    • — Heather Beatty on August 14, 2020
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  • I made the recipe I’m sorry but I really didnt like the flavour or taste. It was quick easy no stress no dramas to make but was not edible for my standards sorry.

    • — Gresham Cameron on August 7, 2020
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    • First time I’ve used your site. Great instructions, very easy to follow with all the pictures. My wife loved it, I liked it. So only 4 star. It’s a keeper.

      Next time I would combine cooking the chicken at once. I have a wok that allows moving the cooked pieces to side. Will also add broccoli and celery.

      • — Barry on September 26, 2020
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  • Absolutely fantastic. Better than any takeaway has to offer.

    Easy to do and tastes delicious.

    • — A on August 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • What a great way to use up some leftover cashews! I didn’t have hoisin sauce on hand, so found a separate recipe for it and made my own. I used rice wine instead of rice vinegar as it was what I had on hand. Absolutely delicious!

    • — Kelly on July 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Another successful dinner, thank you. Jenn, your recipes are easy to follow and never disappoint.

    • — katarina on July 29, 2020
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  • I’ve never eaten Cashew Chicken but I was drawn to this recipe! OMG!! So good but I can’t compare to take-out since I’ve never tried it. Easy and flavorful! I didn’t roast the cashews in the oven because it was a hot day. I roasted them on top of the stove instead. I used chicken tenders and cut into small pieces. Everything else followed to the “T” including the Hoisin sauce.

    Thanks for a delicious meal!!

    • — Wanda B. on July 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight, although I tweaked it a little. I forgot the onion(scallions) at the grocery store so I used onion powder instead. I had 2.5 lbs of boneless chicken thighs (cheaper) so I tripled the recipe. I added chili sauce with the garlic for a little zing, and broccoli and celery for veggies, and minced garlic instead of fresh. It turned out great. I saved it to Pinterest. It definitely will be made again.

    • — Victoria Ferrell on July 26, 2020
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  • Thank you for the recipe. It is delicious but I think there is something lacking but I am not sure what. My husband liked it and that’s the most important thing for me.

    I cooked this dish according to the recipe.

    • — Maria on July 23, 2020
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  • Made this recipe. I will be tweaking to add the garlic right before the chicken and double the sauce, which we loved. We made lo mein noodles instead of rice.

    • — Sandee on July 20, 2020
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  • Thanks Jenn! Really enjoyed this. Read other reviews and added celery, carrot and doubled the sauce. Tasted great!

    • — lj on July 12, 2020
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  • I made this tonight and we loved it! I did make quite a few changes though 🙂 It was too hot for the oven, so I toasted the cashews on the stovetop the same way I do walnuts. I didn’t have hoisin, so used stir-fry sauce and pad thai sauce (half/half). I added celery like some others mentioned for some crunch, and I only had 2 scallions so added some red onion along with the celery. I’ll have to get some hoisin and try it that way. Either way, my husband and I loved it! Thank you Jenn! It was my first recipe from your site 🙂

    • — JulieP on July 12, 2020
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  • “Made” this tonight and not what I expected?. Could it be because I used almonds instead of cashews and had no hoisin sauce? We’ll try it again in a couple of days when I have the right ingredients!!

    • — SHARRON HUISH on July 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • I added celery and carrots to make it more like the takeout version I usually get and I doubled the sauce ingredients to account for the added veg and it was delicious! I’ve made it twice now, daughter requested the second time! For the people commenting on lack of flavor—make sure you are putting enough hoisin and Not skipping over the rice wine vinegar or sesame oil part either!

    • — Jennifer on June 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • I would like to make this recipe for my family of six so would like to double it. Should I make it in two large skillets and cook a quarter of the chicken in each to begin with?

    • — Carolyn Homer on June 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • That’s probably a good idea, just so you’re not crowding the chicken. Hope everyone enjoys! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 6, 2020
      • Reply
    • I just used one skillet but cooked the chicken in batches. It would certainly be faster in two skillets tho!

      • — Jennifer on June 6, 2020
      • Reply
      • Either way, glad it worked out! 🙂

        • — Jenn on June 8, 2020
        • Reply
        • Absolutely DELICIOUS, and 100 times better than any take-out cashew chicken in New York City. Thanks for another winner!!

          • — Claudia on July 28, 2020
          • Reply
  • I made this tonight, it was Average, certainly not better than takeout. I felt the sauce definitely lacked flavour. Considering the effort it was disappointing. Won’t make again

    • — Dee on June 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • so delicious 😋

    • — Gabriela on June 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made this dish last night very yummy

    • — Michelle on May 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • This one turned out just “ok” for me. I ran into issues with the sauce, which looked nothing like the photo. Instead of the nice glossy sauce pictured, mine was cloudy and sticky. The meal tasted ok but it was dry because of the sauce issue. Good flavor but maybe something in my execution?

    • — Joanne on May 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Joanne, It sounds like maybe the sauce had too much cornstarch. Is there any chance you used 2 tablespoons instead of 2 teaspoons?

      • — Jenn on May 19, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Jen, thanks for your response —no I measured correctly. Love your site, anyway!

        • — Joanne on June 5, 2020
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      • Made this yesterday and it turned out perfectly! I will be making this over and over. The recipe was so simple and easy to follow and there weren’t so many ingredients that I could get overwhelmed with. My only concern, as a very very novice recipe follower, is that it did not tell me the temp to roast the cashews at. That’s all, otherwise it was perfect.

        • — Lesley on June 11, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Lesley, They cook at 350°F. Glad you enjoyed!

          • — Jenn on June 12, 2020
          • Reply
        • I don’t usually post reviews, so I’m not familiar with the inconsistent and improper use of quotation marks and capitalization seen by so many reviewers, but I will do my best to get my point across without those tactics.

          I made this tonight following the recipe exactly as written. This was much better than any take out cashew chicken I have had. It is more true to the authentic dish that you would find in Asia since they don’t generally add vegetables as fillers the way they do with Americanized Chinese food. Personally, I prefer my veg as a separate dish so that I can enjoy a variety of flavors.

          My sister has been looking for an Asian style sauce to go on chicken wings, and we think this might be it. We thought the dish could use a little heat, so we’re going to try it again with a Thai chili in the sauce.

          Thank you for posting this recipe. I stumbled upon it by accident, and we thought it was outstanding.

          • — Michael on July 13, 2020
          • Reply
          • So glad you enjoyed it!

            • — Jenn on July 13, 2020
      • What cornstarch? I don’t see cornstarch listed in this recipe. Should there be 2 tsp listed and at what step would you add it?

        • — Sharon S on October 9, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Sharon, Did you by chance print this recipe a while ago? I tweaked it a couple of years ago (I thought the sauce needed to be thicker so I added cornstarch.) If you view/print it again, you’ll see it. Sorry for any confusion!

          • — Jenn on October 9, 2020
          • Reply
  • This was a very tasty meal- a real keeper. Thank you

    • — Gloria Reiske on May 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Yet another delicious recipe. My entire family loved it! There wasn’t a drop left in the pan. The amount of sauce was perfect for us. I made it exactly as noted. Served with a big green salad. If I served it with broccoli as some suggested, I’d probably make 1.5 x the sauce. Thank you again Jen!

    • — Wendy B. on May 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Ooops I bought RAW unsalted cashews! Can this still work Jenn?

    • — Gigi B on April 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Gigi. I’d just roast them before incorporating them into the recipe. Check out some simple instructions here. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • Another great dinner! Thank you Jenn! Your recipes consistently prove to be excellent and full proof, my children and husband enjoyed greatly too! Doubled the sauce and added red pepper, served with brown rice and roasted broccoli.

    • — Jennifer T on April 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this Cashew Chicken tonight and it was a hit! Everyone loved it!
    Everything was perfectly proportioned and went together smoothly, making it very tasty and worthy of 2nd’s! Yummy!
    Thank you!

    • — Vicki on April 22, 2020
    • Reply

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