This cashew chicken recipe isn’t as good as takeout … it’s better! It’s light, fresh, and healthy, but bursting with your favorite Asian flavors. And it only takes 30 minutes to make!
Quick and Easy Homemade Chinese Chicken
I don’t know about you, but I adore Chinese takeout. It’s such a soothing and comforting food to order, and there’s so much flavor. One of my favorite things to order when I get Asian takeout is cashew chicken. And then I realized I could just start making it at home! This cashew chicken recipe has so much more flavor than what you get when you order takeout, and it’s substantially healthier too. It barely has any oil, and it’s loaded with lean chicken and tons of veggies.
And best of all? You need less than half an hour to make this recipe! It really takes substantially less time than going to your local Chinese restaurant for takeout. This recipe is easy enough that you can throw it together on a weekday when you get home from work. But it tastes so good that it works as a special occasion meal on the weekends, too. You’ve definitely got to give it a try.
What You’ll Need
Here are all of the ingredients that you’ll need for this fresh and flavorful Chinese cashew chicken recipe. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact amounts for each ingredient.
- Chicken breasts: You’ll need skinless and boneless breasts for this recipe.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Oyster sauce
- Soy sauce: You want to use low-sodium soy sauce for cashew chicken.
- Chicken broth: Be sure to use low-sodium chicken broth.
- Rice vinegar
- Green bell pepper
- Red bell pepper
- Onion: I use a yellow onion for this recipe, but a white or red onion will work, too.
- Cashews: You want to use unsalted roasted cashews for this chicken dish.
- Green onion
How to Make Cashew Chicken
Here’s how to make this better-than-takeout chicken dish in just 25 minutes.
- Season the chicken. Season the meat with salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
- Heat a wok. Preheat a wok over high heat, then add olive oil.
- Cook the chicken. Add the chicken to the wok and stir fry until it starts to brown and is cooked all the way through. This should take 7-8 minutes.
- Make the sauce. While the chicken cooks, add the chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and cornstarch to a bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the veggies. Put the bell peppers and onions in the wok and cook until the onions become soft and translucent. This should take about 3 minutes.
- Pour in the sauce. Add the sauce to the wok and cook until it begins to thicken, which should take about 3 minutes.
- Finish. Add the cashews and the green onions, and toss until the ingredients are well combined. Then remove from the heat and serve.
Tips for Success
Here are some tricks and tips that you can use when you try making this easy takeout chicken recipe.
- Brown the chicken. It’s so important that you really brown the chicken when you cook it. Browning the meat is how you get the most flavor. Cook the chicken in the wok until it has a really nice color on it. If the chicken isn’t browning very easily, increase the temperature.
- Make it gluten-free. This is a really easy recipe to make gluten-free. The soy sauce is the only ingredient in this dish that has gluten. You can easily replace the soy sauce with tamari, or with gluten-free soy sauce if you can find it.
- Cut consistently. Make sure to cut the veggies and the chicken pieces to consistent sizes. That way everything will cook at the same speed. If your vegetables are all cut to different sizes, then some will be undercooked and some will be overcooked. Similarly, if your chicken isn’t cut consistently, then you’ll dry out the small pieces while you finish cooking the larger pieces.
Here are a few questions that are commonly asked about this healthy cashew chicken.
Absolutely! A wok is the best tool for this recipe, but a large skillet will work just fine too.
While I prefer to make this recipe with chicken breasts, you can definitely use chicken thighs if you prefer. Just make sure to use boneless and skinless thighs.
This recipe has a few ingredients that vegetarians can’t eat, but you can easily replace them. If you want to make the dish vegetarian, replace the chicken with tofu (or your favorite chicken substitute), the chicken broth with vegetable broth, and the oyster sauce with hoisin.
I usually serve cashew chicken over white rice, but sometimes I use brown rice, quinoa, or noodles. I also love to serve this dish with some tasty Asian side dishes. Here are a few of my favorites that go exceptionally well with Chinese chicken:
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Leftover cashew chicken will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container. You can reheat the leftovers over medium heat for about 5 minutes or in a microwave in 20-second intervals until heated all the way through.
Can You Freeze This Recipe?
- You can definitely freeze this recipe for easy meals any night of the week. Store the cashew chicken in an airtight container and it will last in the freezer for 4 months. Be sure to fully thaw or defrost the chicken before you reheat it.
More Easy and Healthy Chicken Recipes
Chicken might be my favorite protein. It’s tasty, healthy, and usually pretty easy to cook. Here are a few more chicken recipes that are both healthy and easy to make.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup organic low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 onion, sliced
- ½ cup unsalted roasted cashews
- green onion, chopped
- cooked rice, quinoa, brown rice, or noodles, for serving
Season chicken with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
Preheat a wok over high heat.
Heat the olive oil in the preheated pan.
Add the chicken and stir-fry for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and starts to brown.
In the meantime, whisk together the sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, cornstarch, garlic and rice vinegar.
Add the bell peppers and onion to the wok and cook for 3 minutes, or until the onion softens and becomes translucent.
Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken.
Add the cashews and green onions and toss everything together.
Remove from heat.
Serve over rice or noodles immediately.
- Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts to keep it “skinny,” but if you want, you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Also, it is important that you brown the chicken when cooking it. Browning the meat is how you get the most flavor. Cook the chicken in the wok until it is golden brown.
Cut the veggies and the chicken pieces to equal sizes; that way, everything will cook at the same time. If your vegetables and chicken are all cut to different sizes, some pieces will be undercooked, and some will be overcooked.
- Replace the soy sauce with tamari to make a gluten-free version.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days or in the freezer for 4 months.
- Reheat over medium heat on the stove for 5 minutes or in a microwave in 20-second increments until heated through.
Serving: 1 g | Calories: 334 kcal | Carbohydrates: 15 g | Protein: 30 g | Fat: 17 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g | Trans Fat: 0.01 g | Cholesterol: 73 mg | Sodium: 963 mg | Potassium: 766 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 1113 IU | Vitamin C: 66 mg | Calcium: 36 mg | Iron: 2 mg | Net Carbs: 13 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.