Easy and delicious, cashew chicken is the perfect quick and healthy meal for busy weeknights! Skip the take-out line and make your own Asian-inspired dinner in just 20 minutes from the comfort of your own kitchen.
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20 Minute Cashew Chicken
Cashew chicken has to be one of my all time favorite take-out dishes. And last year, with so much more time spent at home with social distancing, I certainly ordered my fair share of take-out, like General Tso’s Chicken and Beef and Broccoli — great in my stomach but hard on the wallet! So I finally decided it was time to create my own version of the mouthwatering cashew chicken that was as delicious (if not better) than my favorite restaurants while also being super quick and easy.
Yes, I said QUICK and EASY! If you’ve ever wondered what cooking magic happens in the restaurant kitchen, I’m here to tell you that you, too, can be a magician. This tender juicy pan fried chicken, stir fried in a sticky, sweet and tangy sauce, takes only 20-minutes and is perfect for all chefs, novice to pro!
First, I coated the chicken in cornstarch, and then pan fried it over really high heat, which keeps the chicken really juicy and also helps to thicken up the sauce. Speaking of the sauce, I mixed together soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and hoisin sauce to create this mouthwatering glaze. I suggest using low-sodium soy sauce in this dish to control the salt level, but you can always add some water to help with the salt if you only have regular soy sauce.
- Chicken breast
- Olive or vegetable oil
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Light brown sugar
- Sesame oil
- Hoisin sauce
- Red bell pepper
- Unsalted, raw cashews
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds
How to make Cashew Chicken
- Coat the chicken: Add the chicken and cornstarch to a large Ziplock bag and toss to coat.
- Sauté cashews: Heat a large skillet or wok. Add in cashews and sauté until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Sauté chicken: Add olive or vegetable oil to the same pan. Add in chicken and sauté for 3-4 minutes to brown the chicken on the outside (the chicken will continue to cook in the sauce).
- Prepare sauce: While the chicken is cooking, add soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil and hoisin sauce to a medium bowl. Mix until fully combined.
- Add sauce to chicken: With the chicken still in the pan, add the sauce and stir frequently. The sauce will thicken up pretty quickly. Add in red bell pepper and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.
- Garnish and serve: Stir in cashews and serve immediately with green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired. You can even serve this as an appetizer over lettuce wraps!
What to serve with Cashew Chicken
- Rice: These delicious cashew chicken bites are the perfect protein for a simple rice bowl. You can use white rice, brown rice, or my personal favorite Chinese Fried Rice. Trying to keep things low carb? Try simple cauliflower rice or my 20-minute cauliflower fried rice.
- Veggies: Choose and chop you favorite vegetables and serve them steamed aside your cashew chicken or even mix it into your rice bowl! I sautéed my chicken with red pepper and green onions. You can always sneak in some extra veggies to this dish.
- Noodles: Noodles make everything better — always. Stay true to this Asian-inspired chicken dish and serve with delicious Chow Mein or Lo Mein noodles.
- Spring Rolls: I know this one may sound a little more intimidating, but spring rolls are actually VERY easy to make. Ready in just 20 minutes, my Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls would be a fresh, bright addition to your cashew chicken.
Here are more delicious chicken recipes to try!
- Easy Chicken Marsala
- The BEST Chicken Parmesan
- Easy Chicken Shawarma
- Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
- Easy One Pan Bourbon Chicken
- Easy Thai Chicken Satay
20 Minute Cashew Chicken
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized cubes
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup unsalted raw cashews
- green onions for garnish, if desired
- sesame seeds for garnish, if desired
- Add chicken and cornstarch to a large ziplock bag and toss to coat the chicken.
- Heat a large skillet or wok.
- Add in cashews and saute until golden brown. Remove from pan.
- Add oil to the same pan.
- Add in chicken and sauté for 3-4 minutes to brown the chicken on the outside (the chicken will continue to cook in the sauce).
- Add the sauce to the chicken and stir frequently. The sauce will thicken up pretty quickly. Add in red bell pepper and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.
- Stir in cashews and serve immediately with green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.