icon-arrowicon-chevron-whiteicon-chevronicon-commenticon-facebookicon-hearticon-instagramicon-instant-poticon-listicon-lockicon-meal-prepicon-nexticon-pinteresticon-popularicon-quoteicon-searchicon-sugar-freeicon-twittericon-veganicon-videomenu-closemenu-open
Our recipes, your inbox. Sign up

Cashew Chicken

65 reviews / 4.7 average

Saucy, sticky, crispy, sweet and savory Cashew Chicken! Just like your favorite takeout, but made easy at home.

Oh my oh my oh my – saucy, sticky, sweet and savory cashew chicken is here, and it was my favorite recipe I made this month, and this just might be the recipe that will pull you (okay, fine, me) out of the winter slumps with texture, flavor, and a little extra jazziness. It’s just a really fun recipe.

My version of cashew chicken is actually based off of this Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe, which is lovely and reminds me that although haters like to hate, I should probably get back to the Cheesecake Factory for a feast ASAP. Great job, Sabrina.

I made it essentially the same as her cashew chicken recipe, but just a little easier, and with a shorter ingredient list.

And what resulted was glorious. We’re talking about bite-sized pieces of chicken, breaded and fried into a nice little crisp, tossed with a quick, sticky-sweet, soy-and-garlic sauce, all brought together with a handful of cashews. Ideally this would be served over a pile of hot, steaming rice with a side of something of the vegetable variety (steamed or roasted broccoli is a fave). But more practically, you won’t even get that far before you start popping bites of chicken straight out of the hot pan.

There is a 100% chance that anyone who is in a 10-mile radius will come running into your kitchen when they smell the garlic, ginger, and soy in the sauce as it hits the pan. It’s a good moment.

In This Post: All You Need For Cashew Chicken

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Click here to see the step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!

Cashew chicken in a pan with a spoon.

What You Need To Make Cashew Chicken

While this is somewhat of a clear-the-counters-and-put-on-your-apron kind of recipe, it doesn’t take as much effort or ingredients as you’d think.

Here’s what you need:

  • Chicken
  • Dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, the usual)
  • Batter (you’ll make this, but it’s easy! promise!)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Cashews
  • Sauce (soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, ginger, etc.)
  • Green onions to top it off

How To Make Cashew Chicken

First, you’ll have to put a little bit of prep work in – cube your chicken, get the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix the batter for frying, and maybe even whisk together your sauce now if you want to really make this seamless.

Then, you’re going to start making magic happen.

  1. Coat your chicken in the dry ingredients and get it in the batter to coat.
  2. Heat your oil in a large skillet to get it ready to fry. (You can test it by adding just a drip of batter to see if it sizzles, but if you want to be really exact, the oil should be about 350-375 degrees.)
  3. Fry it up! Add half your chicken, then repeat with the other half.
  4. Remove the oil and put the chicken back in the pan and add your sauce and cashews.
  5. Serve with rice. Way to go!

Deep-Fried Vs. Stir-Fried

Traditionally, there are two ways to make cashew chicken: stir-fried in a pan or wok, or deep-fried, the latter of which is happening here.

I love love love the crispy, delicious, deep-fried bits of chicken and how they cling to the sauce here, but if you want to eliminate the deep-frying of this recipe, that is an option.

What I’d do instead: skip the batter and just stir fry the chicken in a pan, and then add the sauce at the end. Easy.

HOWEVER if you are choosing to deep fry, I have a small tip for you to make it a littttttle easier: toss *all your chicken* together into the flour, then stir up *all the floured chicken* together into the batter. From there, I dump about half of it into the pan of hot oil – it’s going to stick together and feel very wrong, but you can work quickly and use two forks to break the pieces apart. And repeat with the other half batch.

Cashew Chicken: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of cashew chicken?

Cashew chicken is a Chinese-American dish that can be either stir-fried or deep-fried – the latter of which (what we’re making here), originated in Springfield, Missouri. It was created by a chef named David Leong who moved to the US from China and was looking to create a dish that appealed to the tastes of Americans, which is how it was born. Thank you, David!

Can I stir fry the chicken instead of frying it?

Absolutely! As I mentioned above, the other version of this dish is stir-fried instead of deep-fried. Just skip the coating and frying step and stir fry your chicken, then add the sauce.

Could I use tofu instead of chicken?

Yup! I’d maybe skip the batter and deep frying and employ one of the crispy tofu ideas in this post.

What type of pan is best for this recipe?

Non-stick is best for all the deep-frying fun happening here.

How does this hold up for leftovers?

There’s a little sogginess that happens for leftovers, but I still really enjoyed it. If you want to revive the crispiness, you can heat it in a pan on medium-high heat to get things crisped up again.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Cashew chicken in a pan with a spoon.

Cashew Chicken


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Description

Saucy, sticky, crispy, sweet and savory Cashew Chicken! Just like your favorite takeout, but made easy at home. Served with steamy rice and broccoli.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • about 1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cashew halves

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha (optional)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, grated
  • a small piece of fresh ginger, grated

Instructions

  1. Make Batter: Mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, and paprika. Set aside half of the flour mixture in a small bowl. Mix the other half of the flour mixture with 3/4 cup cold water to form a loose batter.
  2. Make Sauce: Whisk all sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  3. Fry Chicken: Heat oil over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles across the top. Dredge the chicken pieces in the dry flour mixture, then dip into the batter. Let excess batter drip off. Add battered chicken pieces to the oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel lined plate. Drain out any excess oil from the pan. (SEE NOTES FOR AN EASY SHORTCUT ON THIS STEP.)

  4. Finish: Put chicken back in the pan. Add sauce and cashews. Stir for about 1 minute, until coated and you can start to smell the garlic. Done! Serve with rice and maybe some roasted or steamed broccoli. SO GOOD! 

Notes

Chicken Shortcut: I find dredging, battering, and frying individual pieces of chicken to be kind of tedious. So I tossed *all my chicken* together into the flour, then stirred up *all the floured chicken* together into the batter. From there, I dumped about half of it into the pan of hot oil – it’s going to stick together and feel very wrong, but you can work quickly and use two forks to break the pieces apart. And repeat with the other half batch. Done!

Type of Pan: Personally I like to use a nonstick for this to avoid the chicken getting stuck to the bottom of the pan. 

Caramelization and Stickiness Level: If you like extra browning, caramelization, chewiness, and stickiness, let everything cook in the pan together for more like 5 minutes instead of 1 minute. Personally I like the texture of the sauce at 1 minute, but it does look really pretty with that caramelization.

Leftovers: They get a tad bit soggy but I still really enjoyed them. For best results, brown the chicken in a nonstick skillet for a few minutes to get some browning / crisping on the outside.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese-Inspired

Keywords: cashew chicken, takeout chicken, takeout at home, sticky chicken, chicken and rice

Recipe Card powered by Tasty Recipes logo

Other Necessary Takeout-Style Recipes


Time To Show You Off!

Instagram images of Cashew Chicken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

177 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    SB

    I just made this tonight and it was super delicious! I halved the sugar amount and it was still plenty sweet for me. I also added some green onion with the sauce at the end. Yummy!






  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jessica

    I made this last night and both the hubs and I couldn’t stop saying “omg this is so good.” We highly enjoyed this meal and so many from your blog. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Heather

    Cashew chicken is the BEST Chinese dinner I’ve ever had. Better than takeout. Seriously. It’s easy and delicious! Pinch of Yum is my favorite blog ❤️






  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Melissa

    This was really good. I didn’t fry my chicken but just sautéed it with a bunch of onion and then the sauce with cashews. I recommend it.






  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jenny

    I love all of Lindsay’s recipes. This one if my and husband and I’s new fav!! It’s soo good and simple. Defiantly loved doing the batter step.






  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nicole

    Made this the other night without the cashews because my girls don’t like them, but WITH soy curls. Delicious!! I didn’t do the flour/batter steps, just doubled the sauce and mixed the soy curls in once they were rehydrated. Oh, I did add a little cornstarch to the sauce and thickened it a bit on the stove before mixing in the curls. Served with rice and broccoli. Will definitely be making this again!






  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Heather

    I can’t even believe how good this was. I have never written a review for a recipe before, but I have to express how delicious this was. When I make it again, I will try the tip of frying the chicken in 2 batches to make it less tedious. Wow! Super good.






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jessica Leask

    YUM! Tried this last night. It was a crowd pleaser. My whole family enjoyed it (kids included) Started by dipping each piece separately and then ended up doing batches all at once to speed up the process and it was all equally delicious. Will definitely be making this on the regular!






  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Monica

    Great but way too sweet, chicken ought not to taste like dessert 🙂 Will use 2 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup next time I make it – which will be soon!






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Beverly Linkhart

    This was soooo yummy! Was trying to do half the amount since its just me. So I think I messed some things up – my batter was a little thicker and I didn’t shake off excess (read that after the fact). But definitely a keeper and will make again soon and follow the instructions!






  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I appreciate your comment about the chicken shortcut! I also do this because it keeps your hands cleaner and I feel like it doesn’t make as much of a mess in the kitchen!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sayrah

    Do you think it’s possible to spray the battered chicken with oil and then air fry it instead of pan frying?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      You could try, Sayrah, but the batter is really liquidy so it might be messy!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      For sure! A reader recently commented that they like to use tofu instead of chicken!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Jessica

        This is the only way I can kid my kids to eat tofu! I do use the batter and fry it in a skillet instead of the oven-baking method.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amanda

    Love this recipe! We substitute tofu and it works just as well! Just press the tofu to remove excess liquid – but everything else the same. So yummy – we just made it again this week!






  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Connie

    I tried your “short cut”. I did not work for me. The chicken did stick together, but I could not separate it fast enough. Sometimes the batter pulled off, sometimes pieces remained stuck together. It was a mess.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Connie

      In spite of it being a mess, my family asked to have it again. So I cut the chicken pieces bigger, into long strips, and dredged them individually. This worked better for me. I will keep doing it this way because my family loved it.






  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Resa

    Day after thanksgiving with the family this was perfect snow storm comfort veggie forward and flavorful…thank you






  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kali

    Would it be I if I used chicken thighs instead? That’s what’s I happen to have right now

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Connie

    This is great dish. We loved the sauce. Next time I make this I may oven fry the chicken to reduce mess. Has anyone tried that method?






  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lucas

    This is some of the best cashew chicken I’ve ever had. Seriously delicious, better than the cashew chicken we had from a local restaurant that we expected more from. This is going to be a repeat recipe for sure.






  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cathy

    Oh my goodness, made this tonight and WOW, so great!
    I used your tip for dredging and “battering “ the chicken pieces which was so much easier even though a bit messy…well worth the mess!
    Even though I didn’t have hoisin sauce or sriracha , the sauce was perfect for our tastes. I mixed some ramen noodles (without the broth packet) into the chicken and sauce. Excellent. I don’t print a recipe out until I try it but this one was printed before we even finished our dinner!






  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Amina

    Hi
    I’ve tried this recipe couple of times and it’s delicious!! Just wondering what I’m doing wrong since it doesn’t come out crispy. What can i do?
    Thanks
    Amina






  21. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Laura Korslund

    Made this last night – SO GOOD!!!
    Will definitely be making this again. Easy, and the batter method was delicious and not at all intimidating. Other takeout recipes don’t have that crunchy fried texture that you’re looking for – this one definitely did.