This flavorful Cashew Chicken recipe has tender pieces of chicken coated in a sweet sauce with crunchy cashews and sliced red bell peppers.
I shared a slow cooker cashew chicken back in 2016, but I wanted to also share how to make it in a skillet for those times when you need dinner to be ready quickly. My family loves this cashew chicken and always hopes there will be leftovers that can be warmed up later.
What You’ll Find In This Post About Making Cashew Chicken
Ingredients Needed and Substitutes
Cashew Chicken Ingredients
- Chicken: We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could also use chicken thighs.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is used to coat the chicken so that it will turn golden brown while cooking. It also helps the sauce stick to the chicken pieces.
- Oil: We browned the chicken in olive oil. You could also use vegetable or canola oil.
- Veggies: We added sliced red bell pepper as well as minced garlic and ginger for flavor. If you want it spicier, add some crushed red pepper flakes.
- Cashews: The toasted cashews add flavor and crunchiness.
- Garnish: We topped the chicken with sliced green onions for flavor and color.
Cashew Chicken Sauce Ingredients
- Liquids: We used equal amounts of soy sauce and water. The soy sauce adds flavor, and the water helps thin the sauce.
- Hoisin Sauce: The hoisin sauce adds flavor and sweetness. I’ve substituted it with a sweet barbecue sauce in a pinch, but the flavor of hoisin sauce is unique.
- Brown Sugar: We sweetened the sauce with brown sugar. You could also use granulated sugar or honey.
- Cornstarch: The cornstarch thickens the sauce.
- Vinegar: Rice vinegar adds flavor and balances out the sweetness in the sauce.
- Sesame Seed Oil: A little sesame seed oil adds a ton of flavor.
How To Make Cashew Chicken
My favorite thing about this recipe is that it is ready in about 20 minutes which is less time than driving to get takeout!
- Chicken: After coating the chicken with flour, brown it in the skillet on all sides.
- Veggies: Add the sliced peppers, minced garlic, and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Sauce: Add the prepared sauce and cook until the sauce is thickened.
- Serve: Stir in the toasted cashews and serve over rice.
How To Toast Cashews
Toasting the cashews beforehand brings out the flavor and makes them a little crunchier. Put the cashews in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch them carefully so that they don’t burn.
What Else Can Be Added
I love adding more vegetables to cashew chicken. It’s a great way to make the meal go further and gets everyone to eat more veggies! Depending on the vegetables you choose, you may want to precook them so that they are tender at the same time that the chicken is done cooking. Here are a few suggestions:
- broccoli florets
- carrot slices
- sliced green bell peppers
- chopped celery
- sliced snow peas
- diced water chestnuts
- chopped onions
Storage and Leftovers
Allow the chicken to cool and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw frozen cashew chicken in the refrigerator overnight. You can reheat it in a skillet or in the microwave.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cashew chicken can be served on white rice, coconut rice, brown rice, fried rice, cauliflower rice, or noodles. Or try serving it wrapped in lettuce as a fun alternative. As far as side dishes go, serve it with wontons, egg rolls, spring rolls, potstickers, edamame, Asian salad, or egg drop soup.
Yes, that would definitely work in this recipe. One of my favorite meal shortcuts is using pre-cooked chicken! Rotisserie chicken is a great option. It is even available in some grocery stores already shredded. You can also use leftover chicken. Next time you cook chicken, prepare extra and store it in the freezer for another meal.
It can be made with both white and dark chicken. We use chicken breasts in this recipe, but you can use chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
Teriyaki Chicken has bite-sized chicken pieces in a sweet sauce with stir-fried vegetables.
You’ve got to try making our General Tso Chicken recipe! It’s easy to make and full of flavor.
This Honey Garlic Chicken recipe is a family favorite! It’s made with chicken breasts and a four-ingredient honey garlic sauce.
Our easy Orange Chicken is a dinner recipe that your family will ask you to make again and again!
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 cup toasted cashews
- 2 tablespoon sliced green onions
- To prepare the cashew chicken sauce, whisk together the water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, rice vinegar, and sesame seed oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Put cubed chicken and all-purpose flour in a large zip-top bag. Shake to coat.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the coated chicken in a single layer. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes, until fully cooked, turning occasionally to brown all sides.
- Add the sliced red bell pepper, minced garlic, and minced ginger. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the cashew chicken sauce mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in the toasted cashews. Garnish with sliced green onions.