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Cashew Chicken

July 13, 2022

You may think you love cashew chicken, but you have no idea how delicious it can truly be until you’ve made this Chinese takeout favorite at home!


homemade cashew chicken recipe with bell pepper, garlic, ginger, green onions and soy sauce in a bowl with a spoon

Fall (Even More) In Love With Cashew Chicken

Takeout definitely has its moments but homemade is always better—if not quite as easy. Homemade cashew chicken is always going to be healthier than takeout, that goes without saying. But we also love that you can control how much oil and salt are in the cashew chicken recipe, or even up the veggies if you’re hoping to make it a little healthier still. Even without worrying about health, making cashew chicken from scratch is a great idea because it’s always, always going to be more fresh than takeout—straight from the skillet (no wok needed) into your bowl. YUM!

ingredients for cashew chicken laid out on a counter. Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, water chestnuts, red bell pepper, garlic
chicken pieces in a bowl with soy sauce, cornstarch and salt
raw unsalted cashews toasted in a skillet
sauce for cashew chicken in a small bowl

Cashew Chicken Sauce

Tender, succulent pieces of chicken in a lightly sweet hoisin sauce—while it may seem like this Chinese-American recipe is all about the combination of chicken and cashew nuts, we actually think that our love for it began with that savory sauce. There’s no real trick to making it, and nothing fussy—you’ll just need a few basic Asian condiments and cornstarch, which makes the sauce just a bit sticky and helps it cling to the chicken, veggies and cashews:

  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cornstarch
chicken marinated in cornstarch, salt and soy sauce, being cooked in a large black skillet
chicken marinated in cornstarch, salt and soy sauce, being cooked in a large black skillet with bell pepper
chicken being cooked in a large black skillet with red bell pepper, ginger, garlic and water chestnuts.
homemade cashew chicken recipe in a skillet with red bell peppers, green onions and water chestnuts.

Everything You’ll Need To Make Cashew Chicken at Home

OK, so you’ve got the cashew chicken sauce down! Now it’s time to gather everything you’ll need to make this easy stir-fry:

  • Chicken breast
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy sauce
  • Roasted cashews
  • Vegetable oil
  • Red bell pepper
  • Fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Canned water chestnuts (P.S. these are optional, but add a really nice additional layer of crunch that plays off the peppers and cashews really nicely!)
  • Green onions
chicken with cashew nuts in a saucepan with soy sauce and ginger and garlic.
cashew chicken recipe with cashew chicken sauce in a pan being stirred with a wooden spoon.

How To Make Cashew Chicken

  1. Toss the chicken pieces with soy sauce and cornstarch. This will give them a wonderful light outer crispness—not like a batter, but just a hint of a delicate outer layer that holds in all that juicy, moist chicken goodness.
  2. Toast the cashews in a dry skillet.
  3. Whisk together the cashew chicken sauce.
  4. Brown the chicken in a skillet, taking care not to crowd the pan. You want a good sear on each piece.
  5. Toss in the bell pepper once all the chicken pieces are browned. Stir-fry until the peppers soften (but still have crunch) and the chicken is all cooked, and add the garlic and ginger.
  6. Add green onions, water chestnuts and pour in that lovely hoisin-based sauce.
  7. Bring the whole pan to a gentle simmer, then stir in the cashews.
  8. When everything is coated with sauce and the sauce has reduced to your liking, serve!
Chinese cashew chicken recipe homemade in a serving bowl with a serving spoon

Tools You’ll Need

More Chinese Takeout Recipes to Try At Home

the best cashew chicken served in a bowl with green onions, water chestnuts, and bell peppers, with ginger and garlic
homemade cashew chicken recipe with bell pepper, garlic, ginger, green onions and soy sauce in a bowl with rice

This is a Pretty Easy Cashew Chicken Recipe, Right?

You might feel a little intimidated the first time you try to replicate a beloved restaurant dish at home, but once you conquer that fear, we’re betting you’ll be really surprised what you can accomplish! And how easy it can be. If you make this cashew chicken recipe, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Cashew Chicken

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 338


  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast cut into bite size pieces, about 1-inch in size
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 Tbsp canola, vegetable or another neutral oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic, about 2-3 cloves
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained, optional
  • 4 green onions cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Serve with cooked rice, optional


  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar


  1. Place the chicken, salt, cornstarch, and soy sauce in a large bowl and toss to coat.
  2. Heat a large dry skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Toast the cashews, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown, about, 4 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until fully combined. Add to the cornstarch slurry the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar, stir together until fully combined.
  4. Using the same skillet (or wok), over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil until shimmering. Add the marinated chicken. Using a wooden spoon, spread the chicken into a single layer cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes until browned on the bottom. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 1-2 minutes until browned on the bottom.
  5. Add bell pepper cook for 1-2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan until the chicken is cooked through and bell pepper is beginning to soften. Add the water chestnuts, garlic, ginger. Cook for 2 minutes longer.
  6. Add green onions and the sauce. Once the sauce comes to a simmer, add the toasted cashews and toss to combine. Cook until the sauce has reached your desired thickness, about 2-3 minutes longer.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories338
  • Protein55 g
  • Carbohydrates16 g
  • Total Fat10 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol99 mg
  • sodium1035 mg
  • Total Sugars10 g

Cashew Chicken

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Patty

    Can I use Liguria aminos instead of soy sauce?

    You can use coconut aminos or tamari. Hope you enjoy!

  • Jason

    I have a picky eater in my circle. I am trying to find a green onion substitute. She likes caramelized onions but anything less cooked is a deal-breaker. I was think blanching some asparagus and tossing it in at last minute, but I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

    You can just leave the green onions out. Hope you enjoy jason!

  • Audrey

    In the directions it says to marinade chicken in 2 tbl of soy sauce and a few other ingredients and than it also says to mix soy sauce with the other ingredients. Do I need more than 2T because in the directions it only says 2 T. Thank you for your help

    Hi Audrey, there are 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce listed in the ingredient list (it is split up in the 2 sections). Up top there lists 1 Tbsp which is what you put the chicken in then under the Sauce ingredients there is an additional 2 Tbsp. Hope you enjoy!

  • Ann

    Oh my gosh...the best Cashew Chicken I've ever had! The sauce is incredible and love the added crunch of the water chestnuts. For sure will be making this again!

    Thanks Ann, we are so happy you loved it!

  • A.

    Holy smokes! This is the best recipe I have made in a long time. I followed everything as written and it turned out perfectly and looked just like the picture. This will become a regular in our household. So flavorful! Thank you!

    Thanks A, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Lea

    Delicious and quick! My family loved it.

    Thanks Lea, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Bijal

    This was so simple to prepare and turned out amazing! I stirred in the juice of one clementine at the end for a little citrus.

    Thanks Bijal, glad you loved it!

  • Lisa

    This is a keeper!! Delicious and super easy to make!

    Thank you Lisa!!