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Easy Cashew Chicken

Love the flavors of takeout Cashew Chicken, but hate the prices of takeout? Us too! This Easy Cashew Chicken uses minimal ingredients and just one skillet making cleanup as quick as making the dish itself. Salty, crunchy, and full of protein – this is a dish the whole family can get behind!

overhead image of cashew chicken in a cast iron skillet


Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

We don’t do takeout often due to the costs of feeding such a large family and the not knowing what’s truly in a recipe. But when we do order takeout, it’s usually an Asian dish or pizza from the local country store.

Much like Mexican cuisine, Asian is one of those cuisines that is hard to truly master unless you have an ethnic background or heritage in that culture. We have neither. We’re as backwoods, country as they come. But that doesn’t mean we won’t give it the college try and adapt traditional recipes to a standard that’s a bit more about ease vs. authenticity.

So by no means am I saying that this recipe is authentic cashew chicken – if there really is such a thing. But I am saying that this chicken with cashew nuts is both delicious and easy! The flavors used in this dish are authentic to Asian culture, easy to find at your local grocer, and will certainly satisfy that craving for Chinese takeout, keeping you on budget and knowing what’s in your food. Plus, it’s a great recipe for using those cashew nuts hiding in your cupboard.

Overhead image of chicken with cashew nuts on a plate sprinkled with green onion

What does it taste like?

Cashew chicken recipes vary across the board. This cashew chicken is heavy on the tangy and salty front due to the amount of soy sauce or coconut aminos used. The chicken is tenderly cooked along side fresh vegetables and notes of garlic and ginger shine through. The crunch of the cashews are my favorite part of the whole dish and add amazing texture. While many other recipes you’ll find out there use hoisin sauce in the recipe, we’re keeping it simple with typical ingredients you’ll likely have in your pantry already.

The Secret of Cashews

Cashews are a powerhouse of a food. Full of protein, these tree nuts are also responsible for reducing heart disease, increasing red blood cells, and giving a boost of tryptophan which elevates your mood! This is a recipe you can get happy about eating! Cashews are a great addition to nearly any recipe that needs an extra crunch or a dairy-free taste of cheese!

ingredients for homemade copycat cashew chicken

Basic Ingredients for Chicken Cashew Stir Fry

Feel free to add vegetables or other Asian inspired flavors to your skillet. These are my very basic, kid-friendly, must-have ingredients.

  • Chicken – breasts or thighs
  • Vegetables – bell peppers and/or onions
  • Seasonings – coconut aminos (or soy sauce), garlic, rice wine vinegar, ginger
  • Cornstarch – for thickening
  • Cashews

Best Vegetables to Use

Feel free to use any of these vegetables, or combination of them. Stir fry recipes like this are the perfect way to use up vegetables in your refrigerator that are about to go bad.

  • Bell Peppers
  • Onions
  • Broccoli or Broccolini
  • Bok Choy
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Snap Peas
  • Snow Peas
  • Carrots
Easy One Skillet Cashew Chicken Dinner

How to make Cashew Chicken (with video!)

Start by chopping the vegetables you’re using. Most nights I keep it simple and use only a mixture of bell peppers. I use one green and one red just for visual interest. You could use two of the same color if that’s what you have.

Add avocado oil to a large 12-inch skillet or wok over medium high heat and start to sauté the vegetables, giving them about a 3 minute head start.

overhead image of sauteing bell peppers in a cast iron skillet.

Now dice the chicken into about 1 inch cubes. Add the chicken to the skillet with the vegetables and sprinkle on about 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Toss everything to coat the chicken.

chicken and bell peppers being cooked in a cast iron skillet for cashew chicken

Once the chicken has cooked so that there is color on all sides add in the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sugar, coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and stir to coat. Allow this mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes before adding 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken. If you have it on hand, add a teaspoon of sesame oil for extra flavor. But if you don’t have it, don’t go out of your way to get it.

close up of chicken with cashew nuts being cooked in a large skillet

Mix it all together and continue to simmer. Lastly add in the cashews, again stirring to coat. Allow everything to warm and the chicken to cook through. Use an instant read thermometer to ensure the internal temperature is 165F. Once finished, top with sesame seeds, scallions, or even basil for a pop of freshness. Serve as is or over a bed of rice or cauliflower rice. The end result should be a thick, sticky sauce you’d expect to find in your favorite takeout dish.

Make Ahead and Storage

You can easily make this recipe ahead of time and enjoy throughout the week. Simply store in an air tight container within the refrigerator. Feel free to also use the sauce as a marinade for the chicken and marinate the night before.

cashew chicken being eaten with chopsticks

Common Questions About Cashew Chicken

Absolutely! The cooking time may be slightly different but chicken thighs are typically very moist, full of flavor, and interchangeable with chicken breasts.

While you can likely, and easily, find a cast iron wok at your local Target, this recipe can be made in a 12 inch or even 8 inch skillet.

Serve this dish with rice, naan bread, or cauliflower rice if on the keto diet.

While similar in ingredients, they are not the same. Kung Pao chicken has more heat and more of a chili front than you’ll find in cashew chicken.

Easy Cashew Chicken Skillet Recipe

Fresh vegetables and chicken breast sauteed in a thick sauce with crunchy cashews is a delicious way to enjoy Chinese takeout at home! Made in just 20 minutes in one skillet, this is easy to enjoy and easier to cleanup!
Print Recipe
Easy One Skillet Cashew Chicken Dinner
Prep Time:5 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
Total Time:20 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 bell peppers chopped, 1-inch
  • 2 pounds chicken breast chopped, 1-inch
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger grated
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce coconut aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  • Saute the peppers in avocado oil in the skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Bell peppers will start to become tender and blacken.
  • Add the chopped chicken breasts. Stir and cook until all sides have color but are not yet cooked through.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, coconut aminos (soy sauce) and stir to coat.
  • Add cornstarch and stir, allowing sauce to thicken before adding the cashews.
  • Reduce about 5 minutes. Top with scallions.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 1257mg | Potassium: 694mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1287IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 244kcal
Author: Katie Chase

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