This cashew chicken is chunks of crispy chicken and roasted cashews tossed in a sweet and savory sauce. Serve over rice for the perfect easy dinner option!

I always order cashew chicken from my favorite take out spot, and I think this homemade version tastes even better than the restaurant recipe. Serve with veggie fried rice and Asian cucumber salad for a complete meal.

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A pan of cashew chicken topped with sliced green onions.

I always order cashew chicken from my local restaurant, but this homemade version is even better than the take out kind! It’s got plenty of breaded chicken with crunchy cashews and the most delicious (and easy) sauce.

How do you make cashew chicken?

The first step in this recipe is to cook your chicken. The chicken is coated in cornstarch and pan fried until crisp. After the chicken is done, it’s tossed in a 5 minute sauce that contains ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Crispy chicken pieces in a skillet.

I add the cashews at the very end of the cooking process because I like for them to retain their crunch. If you prefer softer cashews, you can simmer them in the sauce for a few minutes before you add the chicken back to the pan.

Crispy chicken pieces in a pan with sauce and roasted cashews.

What sauce is in cashew chicken?

Cashew chicken comes in a few different varieties, the most common types being Chinese cashew chicken and Thai cashew chicken. The Chinese version of cashew chicken tends to include sauteed chicken which is tossed with vegetables and cashews in a brown sauce. This version veers more towards the Thai end of the cashew chicken spectrum with the breaded chicken pieces and sweet and savory sauce.

Cashew chicken served over steamed rice.

The one ingredient you may not have on hand for this recipe is the Thai sweet chili sauce. This is a reddish colored condiment sold in a glass bottle in the ethnic foods aisle of most grocery stores. It’s not particularly spicy but does add a ton of flavor to this dish.

Slow cooker cashew chicken

This cashew chicken can be made in the slow cooker if you’d prefer to go that route. Simply bread and saute your chicken, then toss it with the sauce ingredients in the slow cook and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.

A pan of cashew chicken with crispy chicken in a sweet and savory sauce.

Is cashew chicken healthy?

Cashew chicken is not the healthiest choice, because the chicken is cooked in oil and cashews tend to be higher in calories, although they do contain some health benefits. If you’re looking for a healthier version of cashew chicken, skip the breading and simply saute the chicken in a bit of oil, and reduce the amount of cashews by half.

I typically serve cashew chicken over steamed rice, but it’s also great with noodles, quinoa or zucchini noodles. No need to order take out when you can make your favorite restaurant dishes in the comfort of your own home!

More Asian food favorites

Cashew Chicken Video

4.97 from 27 votes

Cashew Chicken

AuthorSara Welch
A pan of cashew chicken topped with sliced green onions.
This cashew chicken is chunks of crispy chicken and roasted cashews tossed in a sweet and savory sauce. Serve over rice for the perfect easy dinner option!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 4


  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons cornstarch divided use
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • 3 tablespoons sliced green onions


  • Place the chicken in a bowl with 1/4 cup cornstarch and salt and pepper. Toss to coat chicken evenly.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add half of the chicken in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining raw chicken pieces.
  • Remove all the chicken from the pan. Drain any excess oil, leaving 1 teaspoon of oil in the pan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, sweet chili sauce and brown sugar. Pour the sauce mixture into the pan.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer. Place the cornstarch in a bowl with 2 tablespoons cold water and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the cornstarch into the pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute or until sauce has just thickened.
  • Place the chicken and cashews in the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.


Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 720mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 2.1mg

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4.97 from 27 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Hi, Sara.
    Fantastic recipe! Thank you.
    I used about a third less chicken, and found the sauce to be in perfect balance when served on brown rice.
    I never expected to use cornstarch as a breading. It works great!
    A word of caution – it gets salty very easily.
    This is a keeper. We love it.
    Again, THANK YOU.

  2. We loved it. My boyfriend said he love the sauce. A slight kick to it. Not salty at all. Put it over pad Thai noodles and added broccoli. Could have double the sauce though

  3. 4 stars
    This was great. Taste and consistency were wonderful and we had nothing left.

    I added some ground pork since I did not have enough chicken. The pork was nice and crispy and the contrast was a nice addition.

    Doubled the ginger and left out the catsup to accommodate my faux Whole 30 attempt. Next time I’ll double the sauce as it simmered away.

  4. 5 stars
    Yum! Love cashews! This chicken looks so good with the cornstarch coating and paired with the sweet and savory sauce.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this cashew chicken for our lunch today. Well, I am rating it five stars. This homemade version is the best: my family asks for more. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    This cashew chicken was absolutely delicious. I really liked that the sauce included ingredients I usually buy anyway, and no fish sauce. Thanks for a terrific recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    YUM! I’m on a Chinese cooking binge, and this one will fit nicely into our rotation … looks so delicious and kid friendly … my boys will love it!