Home Dinner Chicken Easy Cashew Chicken Recipe (Better Than Takeout)

Easy Cashew Chicken Recipe (Better Than Takeout)

Cashew chicken is a beloved takeout dish no one can resist. The unique blend of flavors in the sauce, nutty cashews, and melt-in-your-mouth chicken is to die for.

And with this easy homemade recipe, you don’t have to pick up the phone to enjoy it!

Savory and Flavorful Cashew Chicken in a Plate
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Whether you serve it with veggies, rice, or noodles, it’s guaranteed to win you over.

This restaurant-worthy recipe comes together in 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

Get ready to embark on a delightful flavor journey!

Cashew Chicken

Cashew chicken is a takeout favorite people have enjoyed for generations. It’s a wonderful mix of flavors and textures. 

With this easy recipe, you can whip it up at home in about half an hour. 

You won’t be disappointed if you’re already a fan of the dish. It tastes as good as anything from your favorite restaurant.

And you’re in for a real treat if you’ve never tried it. It combines tender chicken, crunchy roasted cashews, and a truly incredible sweet and savory sauce.

Savory Cashew Chicken with Green Onions


Here’s what you need for this recipe: 

  • Chicken Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the way to go for this recipe. Dice the chicken into small, uniformly sized pieces. 
  • Salt and pepper -Season the chicken and the sauce with salt and pepper before combining them. 
  • Cornstarch Coat all sides of the chicken in cornstarch to help it brown nicely. 
  • Sauce ingredients The sauce for cashew chicken consists of six components. They are hoisin sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Together, they give the chicken its rich, savory, umami-packed flavor. 
  • Vegetable oil – Canola oil will suffice if you don’t have vegetable oil. 
  • Garlic Freshly minced garlic is best. However, you can also purchase frozen minced garlic that you pop out of a pack and drop in the pan. It works surprisingly well, too. 
  • Roasted cashews – Select raw, unsalted cashews. If you can find them pre-toasted, you’re in luck. If not, roast them yourself for a few minutes before starting the recipe. 
  • Green onions – They add color, flavor, and even a slight crunch when you add them as a garnish. You can substitute dried chives from the spice rack for a similar taste.
Nutty Cashew Chicken Top View

How to Make Cashew Chicken 

Cashew chicken may look like a 5-star restaurant takeout meal, but making it is super simple. 

1. Do the prep work. Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Then, season it well with salt and pepper and toss it in cornstarch until it’s fully coated. Set it aside. 

Next, prepare the sauce. Combine the hoisin and soy sauces, chicken broth, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then set it aside. 

Thinly slice the green onions. Put them aside for garnishing later. 

2. Saute the garlic. Pour vegetable oil into a wok or large frying pan. Heat it over medium-high heat, then add the minced garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds until it’s fragrant. 

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3. Cook the chicken. Add the chicken to the pan with the garlic. Cook it for 2 to 3 minutes until it’s light brown. 

4. Add the sauce and cashews. Once the chicken is light brown, lower the heat to medium. Pour in the sauce, stirring constantly to coat the chicken thoroughly. 

Simmer it for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Then, add the cashews and cook it for another 2 minutes. 

5. Serve, garnish, and enjoy! Serve the chicken over your choice of noodles, rice, or veggies. Garnish the dish with thinly sliced green onions, and enjoy! 

Saucy Cashew Chicken in a White Plate

Tips for the Best Cashew Chicken 

This recipe is easy to follow, but here are a few tips to make it even simpler: 

  • Be generous. Ensure you coat every piece of chicken on all sides with cornstarch. It will help it sear and brown, so don’t be stingy.
  • Avoid salted cashews. You might think grabbing salted cashews wouldn’t make much of a difference. Trust me, it does! I made that mistake once, and the dish was so salty we had to trash it. Stick strictly to unsalted cashews. 
  • Dice the chicken evenly. The closer the pieces are in size, the more evenly they’ll cook. 
  • Don’t crowd the skillet. Give the chicken room to cook. If you pile in too much at once, moisture will form. That’ll cause the chicken to steam instead of sear, which you don’t want.
  • Give the cashews a good roast. You want roasted cashews for this recipe. Raw ones won’t provide the same flavor. If they aren’t pre-roasted, take the time to roast them before starting the recipe. 


Finally, here are a few variations you can try: 

  • Make it meatless. Substitute tofu and vegetable broth for a vegan-friendly option. 
  • Dial up the heat. Add a dash of cayenne pepper or some chili garlic sauce for a bit of spice. 
  • Keep it gluten-free. Select a gluten-free hoisin sauce. Also, swap out the soy sauce for tamari. Be sure whatever you serve it with (rice, noodles, etc.) is also gluten-free. 
  • Add more veggies. Broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onions, etc., are all good options. Adding more veggies is an excellent idea if you make a vegan-friendly version.
Flavorful Cashew Chicken with Onions

Serving Suggestions

The obvious pairing for cashew chicken is white or brown rice, either steamed or fried. You can even mix things up and serve it with Mexican rice instead.

Try one of these rice recipes:

If you don’t want to serve cashew chicken with rice, try noodles or roasted or steamed veggies instead.

How to Store 

Here’s how to get another meal or two out of your leftover cashew chicken.

To Store: Place your leftovers in an air-tight container. Then, pop them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To Freeze: Let the chicken cool first. Then, transfer individual portions to freezer-safe bags or containers. You can freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months. 

To Reheat: Let the chicken thaw in the fridge overnight when you want to serve it. Reheat the leftovers over medium heat on the stove or in the microwave on high power. 

Easy Cashew Chicken Recipe (Better Than Takeout)



Prep time


Cooking time





This cashew chicken recipe rivals any takeout order! It’s savory, nutty, satisfying, and delicious. The best part is, you can have it ready in 30 minutes.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 oz each)

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup unsalted roasted cashews

  • cooked rice or noodles, for serving

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish


  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, then season with salt and pepper. Toss in cornstarch until fully coated. Set it aside.
  • Whisk together the hoisin sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Season it with salt and pepper. Set it aside.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. (About 30 seconds.)
  • Add the chicken to the pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes or until it’s light brown. Lower the heat to medium and add the sauce, stirring well to coat the chicken. Simmer it for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the cashews and cook it for 2 more minutes.
  • Serve the cashew chicken over cooked rice or noodles. Garnish it with thinly sliced green onions, and enjoy!


  • For extra crunch, top with more toasted cashews before serving.
Cashew Chicken

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

5 thoughts on “Easy Cashew Chicken Recipe (Better Than Takeout)”

  1. Hi Kim, want to try your cashew chicken but can you tell me approximately how many pounds chicken. Breasts sometimes vary greatly in size. Thank you.

    • Hi Jan, you want to use 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are 6-8 oz. each. So about a pound of chicken breast or slightly less should do the trick!

    • Hi Marie!
      You can totally use lightly salted nuts in this. But you’ll want to do one of the following so it’s not too salty:

      1. Since your cashews already contain some salt, omit or reduce the amount of salt you add when seasoning the chicken. Taste the dish towards the end of cooking and adjust the salt level if needed.

      2. Soy sauce is a major contributor to the saltiness of the dish. You can use less soy sauce than the recipe calls for, or substitute with low-sodium soy sauce to help control the overall saltiness.

      If you opt to reduce the amount of regular soy sauce, you can replace the volume with additional chicken broth or water to maintain the liquid balance in the sauce, without making it too salty.

      3. As you cook, taste the sauce before adding the cashews. If it seems too salty, you can dilute it by adding a bit more chicken broth or a splash of water. Adjust the seasoning by adding a little more brown sugar or rice vinegar to balance out the salt.

      Hope this helps 🙂


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