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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!

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Cashew Chicken

4.85 from 44 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
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
Servings: 4 People



  • 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.



Calories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 38gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 1181mgPotassium: 702mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 52IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I started chopping at 3:30 with the veg I like to add then pounded out my chicken breast which I buy thin cut anyways and sliced and tossed it in the cornstarch. Then I made the sauce Started frying the chicken about 5:40. Don’t know why people say this is quick?! But I will say that it was a tasty recipe. I did add crushed red pepper and a bit of sweet chili to the sauce as we like spicy chicken cashew. Will make again but is easy a 2&1/2 to 3 hour recipie. Oh I also added a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger and sliced green onions and baby corn 😉

    1. It always takes me a long time to prep all the ingredients and cook the chicken in batches too! Every once in a while it’s worth all that effort to splurge on something this good!

      1. Ignore my comment. I just found the amount in the ingredients. I guess I had a moment of blindness,lol.

    2. 5 stars
      I tried this tonight and it was quick and delicious. I used chicken thighs instead of breasts because I think they don’t dry out too quickly when sauteed. I bought the thighs already skinned and de-boned—–HUGE time saver. Including making rice and a side of steamed broccoli, I had dinner on the table in less than an hour. I always make double the sauce listed on almost every recipe because we like things saucy!! Lol Thanks for sharing. I will be putting this in my meal rotation.

    3. Hi! I made this with frozen chicken- thawed for 30 min in hot water. Cooking took 15-20 from start to finish! I’m not sure how this could possibly take 2.5-3 hours unless just by choice!

  2. 5 stars
    My husband loved how this turned out, and he’s an American-born Chinese guy. He said it tastes like something you could get at the Chinese restaurant we used to like in college. He even said I should make it for his mom next time she visits us. That’s the ultimate compliment I think! Thanks for the delicious recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    So simple, but so tasty. Easy to make veg, too. Subbed tofu for chicken, and it tasted delicious. I do recommend using reduced-sodium soy sauce and broth.

  4. This was Fabulous!!! It’s the most authentic and delicious Cashew chicken ever. I did veggies on the side… then mixed them in at the end. Red, orange, green sliced bell peppers, baby corn, red and white onion.
    I sprinkled sesame seeds on the final product with a few cilantro leaves. Served on brown rice. I used chicken tenderloins.

  5. 5 stars
    I honestly will never get take out again! It was actually better than our local Chinese restaurant that we have great be to for over 25 years. I did add a half a cup of finally diced onion and celery and sautéed it just for a minute so it was still crunchy because the hubby likes it that way. It was amazing!!

  6. This was wonderful! The only thing I did differently was to add fresh broccoli when I added the sauce, covered it a s steamed the broccoli, then added the cashews. I will be making this again since it was so easy and delicious!