Cashew Chicken (Way Better than Takeout!)

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This homemade Cashew Chicken is way better than takeout!  Tender chicken is stir-fried and tossed with a luscious garlic sauce and cashews.

Better than take out in the comfort of your own home is the best! Combine this dish with Egg Rolls, Fried Rice and some Wontons for a complete dinner.

Cashew chicken on bed of rice with broccoli

Homemade Cashew Chicken

Chinese take out is one of America’s favorites with good reason. It is a comfort food that is jam packed with flavor and diversity. The chicken is tender, the cashews are crunchy and the sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and zing. You have to try this tried and true recipe!

Coating the chicken in the cornstarch creates a nice crisp crust and will also thicken the sauce. The sauce has the perfect balance of sweetness with saltiness and  bit of zing from the garlic. If you want more kick you can add red pepper flakes to the sauce. The different combinations of textures will more than satisfy. The chicken is tender with a light crust. The cashews add a bit of crunch and the sauce is creamy smooth. We like to serve it with rice and vegetables.

Ingredients in Easy Chicken Cashew

Simple ingredients come together to make this tangy, with a hint of spicy cashew chicken. Everything is easy to find in your local grocery store. No need to go to a specialty store.

  • Chicken: Skinless boneless chicken breasts.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste
  • Cornstarch: This acts as a coating and thickener for the sauce.
  • Olive Oil: To stir fry the chicken in.
  • Soy Sauce: You can either use low sodium or regular.
  • Chicken Broth: For the sauce.
  • Garlic Cloves: Adds a bit of a kick and a ton of flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: Provides a bit of sweetness to the sauce.
  • Hoisin Sauce: Classic sauce used in many asian dishes.
  • Sesame Oil: Helps with the flavor and cooking.
  • Whole Cashews: Unsalted are best, you can use pieces if those are easier to find.

Making Better than Takeout Cashew Chicken

This better than take out is actually quite easy to make.  All it takes is a bit of time and you’ve got cashew chicken that will taste amazing.

  1. Cut: Dice your chicken breast into one inch pieces. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Mix: Toss the chicken with the cornstarch in a ziplock bag.
  3. Stir Fry: Add olive oil to wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil gets to the smoking point then add the chicken in a single layer in batches. Cook each side until golden brown.
  4. Sauce: In a small bowl whisk the soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, brown sugar, hoisin and sesame oil.
  5. Combine: Add to the pan with the cashews.Toss until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Serve: Serve over rice with vegetables if desired.

Cut up chicken, breading and sauteing the chicken for Cashew chicken.

Tips for The Best Cashew Chicken

This will come together fast so make sure you have everything ready to go. The extra time to prep everything before you start cooking will make all the difference.

  • Wok: If you don’t have a wok, no worries. You can use a large fry pan with the same success.
  • Chicken: Cut the chicken into the same sized pieces so they cook evenly. It is important that you do not overcook the chicken. It will turn rubbery instead of juicy and tender. Just brown each side and then begin adding the other ingredients. It will finish cooking in the sauce. You can also use chicken thighs cut up, use boneless skinless for easy preparation.
  • Roast the Cashews:  If you bought your cashews raw, you will want to roast them to bring out their flavor. Place them on a sheet pan and put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. They will crisp up as they cool.
  • Garnish: I like to cut up some green onions and add at the very end for a bit of flavor and color.
  • Serve: We love this over rice and some stir fried vegetables for a complete meal that is so scrumptious. You can also try cauliflower rice, quinoa or noodles to serve this cashew chicken over.
  • Vegetables: You can also stir fry bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli right in the wok after the chicken is done. Remove the chicken, stir fry the vegetables. When tender add the chicken back in and the sauce.

Cashew chicken in a wok with garnish.

Storing Chinese Cashew Chicken

While cashew chicken is amazing the leftovers can be a little soggy. Especially the cashews! The flavor, however, intensifies as it melds together overnight.

  • Store: Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days in a well sealed container.
  • Reheat: To reheat you can use the microwave or add back to a pan and flash fry in the pan on medium high till heated through. This will help crisp up the chicken and nuts a bit.

Picking up Cashew Chicken with chopsticks.

More Better Than Takeout Favorites to Try

It is always a culinary success when I can make my favorite takeout meals at home. More often than not, they also taste better than the restaurants too. Save money and know exactly what is going into your favorite dishes by making them at home. When you are looking for a favorite, you have to try these first. They are all so good! You may never go out again!

Cashew Chicken

4.89 from 26 votes
This homemade Cashew Chicken is way better than takeout!  Tender chicken is stir-fried and tossed with a luscious garlic sauce and cashews.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 4 People


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce low sodium if preferred
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Hoisen Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 cup whole unsalted cashews


  • Cut your chicken breast into one inch pieces. Salt and pepper.
  • Toss the chicken with the cornstarch in a ziplock bag.
  • Add olive oil to a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil gets to the smoking point then add the chicken in a single layer in batches. Cook each side until golden brown.
  • In a small bowl whisk the soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, brown sugar, hoisin and sesame oil. Add to the pan with the cashews. Toss until the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice and with veggies if desired.



Serves: 4

Calories329kcal (16%)Carbohydrates14g (5%)Protein38g (76%)Fat13g (20%)Saturated Fat2g (10%)Trans Fat1gCholesterol109mg (36%)Sodium1181mg (49%)Potassium702mg (20%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar4g (4%)Vitamin A52IU (1%)Vitamin C5mg (6%)Calcium21mg (2%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian American
Keyword Cashew Chicken
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 5 stars
    My wife and I love Chinese food and she said this is her favorite dish ever, including any restaurants! I used 2lbs of chicken breast and doubled the sauce recipe then added carrot coins, onion and snow peas to the pan with the cashews and sauce before adding the chicken back in. INCREDIBLE!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely easy and delicious! Only I addition that I do, is I add a half TB of Asian Chili Garlic Sauce when making this. Big hit with family too. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, very simple…and can be very healthy too!
    I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and used “Swerve” brown sugar substitute. I then added diced red bell pepper and broccoli! My family was very impressed!

    My only question is, why did my chicken stick to the pan even though I had all of that oil? I even switched pans and it did the same. I assumed it was because of the cornstarch. How can I avoid this next time? We can’t wait to make it again!

    Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    how many times can I say yum yum yum. So good so easy roasted garlic and peppers added celery all over rice. forgot the chick broth but was so good didn’t need it guesstimated everything

  5. 4 stars
    Doubled the sauce recipe and found it quite sweet.

    I added carrot, celery, white onion and green pepper.

    I even added some red chili flake but next time would only use a tsp of brown sugar.

    Over all very tasty over basmati rice.

  6. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe!
    I love cashew chicken and this was easy and tasted great. I was pretty shocked at how similar it was to my local establishments cashew chicken. Just a hell of a lot less salty than takeout that’s for sure. We served ours with jasmine rice. Not to mention my crazy picky four year old loved it too so that was a win! Saving this recipe for sure!

  7. Hi! It says to toss the chicken with the “cornstarch mixture”. What is the cornstarch mixed with? I feel like I am missing something. Thanks!

  8. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! We make this all the time and the whole family lives it. I use regular soy sauce because we bought a ginormous container of it. I think this recipe is packed with flavor, and the sauce has always thickened up nicely for me.

  9. 3 stars
    This recipe is good, but it’s sauce isn’t quiet right too me for a cashew chicke . If I wasn’t craving cashew chicken it’d be great for a stir fry. The soy sauce is a bit too overpowering, the umami isn’t strong enough, and their is some acidity missing. And it’s not quiet thick enough.

  10. 5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic!! I doubled the sauce part because we like a lot of sauce and I served it with rice and veggies. This also comes together really quick!!

  11. 5 stars
    This was so delicious. Used 2 1/2 # of chx. and 8 garlic cloves. Sautéed mush, carrots, broccoli,. Took 3 hours to cook. Tonight added great Northern beans, rice, cheddar cheese and topped it w/scallions. WOW!!

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