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Cashew chicken recipe in a skillet with rice on the side.

Cashew Chicken Recipe

Teri & Jenny
The best Cashew Chicken Recipe you'll ever have! It tastes just like it came from your local takeout spot. Soft and tender garlic chicken thighs are cooked and coated in a mouthwatering hoisin based sauce and it's all made in under 30 minutes!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
marinating time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese-American
Servings 4
Calories 505 kcal

Ingredients
  

sauce

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced

chicken

  • 1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1/2" pieces

rest of dish

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Instructions
 

sauce

  • Combine all sauce ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

chicken

  • Combine all ingredients, except chicken into a mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Pour mixture over chicken and stir until evenly coated. Allow chicken to sit for 10 minutes.

assemble

  • Place a large skillet or wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add half chicken and partially cook, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Transfer chicken to a plate and return skillet to stove.
  • Add remaining oil and chicken to skillet and partially cook, another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir plated chicken back to skillet and cook for an additional minute.
  • Stir sauce into skillet and lower heat to medium. Simmer sauce and chicken together until sauce thickens enough to coat chicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir cashews into chicken mixture until evenly combined.
  • Remove from heat and top with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve.

Video

Notes

Make Ahead

Cook cashew chicken as per instructions, but leave the cashews out. Cool dish and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
When ready to serve, transfer cashew chicken to a skillet and warm over medium-low to low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If sauce begins to dry out, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Once dish is hot stir in cashews, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve.

Freezing

Cook cashew chicken as per instructions, but leave the cashews out. Cool dish and transfer to an airtight container. Place in freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to serve, transfer container to refrigerator and thaw. Once thawed, pour cashew chicken into a skillet and warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If sauce begins to dry out, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Once dish is hot stir in cashews, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve.

Tips and Tricks for Cashew Chicken Success

  • Don't overcrowd the skillet when initially cooking the chicken. You'll end up with excess liquid in the skillet, causing the chicken to steam instead of sear. Cooking the chicken in batches will give them the ever so slight seared and crisp exterior.
  • Use unsalted (and roasted) cashews in this dish! Salted cashews will be too much and make this dish too salty. If salted cashews are all you can find, give them a quick rinse, pat dry and throw them in a skillet over low heat for a few minutes to gain their crunch back.

Cashew Chicken Variations

We kept our recipe pretty basic, although you'll find other versions add chopped bell peppers and onions to this dish. Some other simple variations are below:
  • Add some steamed broccoli to this dish to include some green veggies!
  • Some sautéed mushrooms like shiitake or oyster would also make a really nice addition!
  • Make this recipe gluten free by swapping the soy sauce out for tamari and using a gluten free hoisin sauce!
  • Although the dish is called cashew chicken, you can always swap the chicken out for cubes of extra firm tofu for a vegetarian friendly version! Just place a baking sheet over a block of tofu and weight it down (cans work great!) for at least an hour. This will release excess liquid in the tofu, allowing it to cook and crisp up a bit. After the tofu has been pressed, chop into bite sized pieces, toss in a small amount of cornstarch, so cubes are just barely coated and fry in the skillet as you would the chicken.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 505kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 40gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 162mgSodium: 772mgPotassium: 669mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 102IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 4mg
Keyword cashew chicken, chicken dinner, chinese takeout at home, quick and easy
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