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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

4.87 from 50 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!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 3 stars
    Tried the “Cashew Chicken”!
    2 Tablespoons of oil isn’t enough for two chicken breasts..added more
    Overall the recipe was good, but where is the thickening agent for the sauce.
    Without a thickener, the sauce was a thin gravy. I believe with a thickener this would have been a 5 star !!

  2. 5 stars
    So good! I subbed a little hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce for the hoisin and sautéed carrots, broccoli, and red bell pepper in the pan after the chicken. Then added chicken and cashews in, added the sauce, and served over rice. Will definitely make again!

  3. 5 stars
    Loved this- made with already roasted/salted cashews I had on hand and it turned out just fine! I would make more sauce next time. maybe 1 1/2 recipe of sauce to chicken recipe since I served with rice and some light veg.

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious, making it for a second time tonight. Added red and yellow peppers cut roughly the same size as the chicken breasts (actually I used tenders.)

    Not to nit-pick, but the photo shows sesame seeds, but they are not included in the instructions or ingredients. Might be worth including in the instructions?

  5. 5 stars
    Made this amazing cashew chicken for dinner tonight, and it was a hit. I did make a few changes, though. I used boneless chicken thighs instead of breast, roasted the raw cashews in the oven at 300 for about 20 minutes, stir fried some red onion and carrots and then added them to the cooked chicken before pouring over the sauce, and added a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper for a little spice! Next time I might even add more veggies! This is an easy, no fail recipe that can be tweeked a million ways. Thank you!!!

  6. This looks so delicious. I must have done something wrong because it was only ok. I do not fault the recipe at all. I will try again

  7. 5 stars
    This is delicious! Like many others, after taking out the chicken, I stir fried carrots coins, bell pepper, onion and broccoli florets, and the cashews. I also doubled the sauce. After cooking it all for awhile to let the sauce thicken, I decided I needed to add a cornstarch slurry (about 2 Tbsp cornstarch to 1/2 cut cold water.) That did the truck! Oh, and when making the sauce, I cut the brown sugar amount in half. This recipe is wonderful, as you can tweak it to suit your own taste. Next time I’ll use a bit more chicken and throw in a drained can of sliced water chestnuts. I just finished the last of the leftovers. Still yummy.

  8. 5 stars
    This was so easy. The prep and cooking time was far shorter than it takes to deliver. And the taste is outstanding. I served with stir fried vegetables and it was perfect.

  9. 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!!!