Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

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This Cashew Chicken Stir Fry Recipe is an easy and delicious weeknight meal! It’s loaded with protein, vegetables and is even better than takeout!

Overhead view of Cashew Chicken Stir Fry Recipe in a blue bowl with chopsticks


What do you cook when you have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table and zero inspiration, but still want to make a healthy and hearty meal?

I have a few dishes like this up my sleeve, but my absolute favorite dinner-in-a-hurry is this cashew chicken stir-fry. It’s loaded with protein and vegetables and comes together in minutes. I love serving it with this homemade fried rice too!

If I’m being honest, stir fry is my favorite meal. I could eat it every night and never get tired of it. And this cashew chicken stir fry is my favorite recipe. I have made it more times than I can count.

Plus, it is always the meal I request when my husband offers to cook for me on special occasions (like my birthday and Mother’s Day)! Because he’d take me out to eat, however I usually prefer to dine at home since we have six young kids, who are wonderful,  but don’t make dining out very relaxing!

a bowl of cashew chicken with chopsticks

Cashew Chicken Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions

One of the great things about this recipe is that it’s customizable. Don’t like broccoli? No problem. Can’t do soy, easy. So here are a few possible ingredient substitutions.

the ingredients in this Cashew Chicken Stir Fry recipe
  • Soy Sauce. If you are allergic to soy, or follow the paleo diet, then substitute Coconut Aminos in both the marinade and sauce.
  • Mirin. I love Mirin . It’s a sweet/tangy wine and pantry staple I am never without. I purchase it at a local Asian food market, however it is available in most major grocery stores. If you cannot find it, rice vinegar works well as a substitute.
  • Peanut/Sesame oils. These are two more pantry staples I always have on hand and use in my Asian recipes. They impart a wonderful flavor to whatever dish they are in, and I highly recommend buying them. However, olive, canola or avocado oils also work in this recipe.
  • Powdered spices. You can substitute real minced garlic and fresh diced onion in this stir fry instead of the powders. Just cook them with the vegetables.
  • Cornstarch. tapioca flour/starch can be used in place of cornstarch for a paleo-friendly option.
  • Cashews. Peanuts work well in this recipe too, however cashews are my favorite!
  • Vegetables. Use your favorite vegetables. Options not included here that are great additions include baby corn, carrots, onions, sprouts, pineapple, etc.!
bowl of Cashew Chicken Stir Fry with chopsticks

How to make Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

Here are a few tips on making sure this recipe turns out fabulous every single time!

Brown the chicken

I am an advocate for browning meat because it creates a delicious taste and texture. That is why, whenever I make stir fry, I brown the chicken first.

I also like to cook the cashews with the chicken so they get nice and crispy. Then when it’s time to put everything together I add the browned mixture at the very end so that it doesn’t lose it’s crispiness in the sauce.

bowl of browned chicken to be used in this Cashew Chicken Stir Fry recipe

Cook

Use a large nonstick fry pan or wok to cook the vegetables. Be careful not to over-cook the broccoli. It will continue cooking (and becoming softer) after it’s removed from the heat.

Thicken the sauce.

Once all the ingredients are covered in the sauce and have had a chance to soak it in a little, thicken it with the cornstarch/water mixture.

Do this by creating a “hole” in the middle of your frying pan or wok, pouring the mixture in and then stirring it quickly so that it’s evenly distributed. The sauce will thicken fast so work quickly!

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry in a fry pan after it has been cooked

Serve

Serve this cashew chicken warm with rice or noodles. We like to serve it with fried rice!

I also love serving it after some delicious appetizers like fresh spring rolls and peanut sauce or asian chicken lettuce wraps.

Store

Leftovers of this recipe are my favorite. Store them in an airtight container with a lid for 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

bowl of Cashew Chicken Stir Fry with chopsticks

Recipe FAQS

What is cashew chicken sauce made of?

Cashew chicken sauce is a brown sauce made with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and other ingredients.

Can I stir fry cashews?

Yes, stir fry them with the chicken so they get nice and crispy.

Which vegetables take longer to stir fry?

Carrots, onion and peppers take longer to stir fry than the others (like broccoli, zucchini, etc.)

a bowl of Cashew Chicken Stir Fry with chopsticks

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Cashew Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

Laura
This Cashew Chicken Stir Fry Recipe is an easy and delicious weeknight meal! It’s loaded with protein, vegetables and is even better than takeout!
4.91 from 21 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine asian
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 350.8
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Marinating15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Chicken marinade:

Stir Fry Sauce:

Vegetables:

  • 2 cups broccoli florets chopped
  • 1 large green pepper julienned
  • 1 large red pepper julienned
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 TBS Peanut Oil
  • Garnishes: Green onions sesame seeds, etc.

Instructions 

Marinate chicken:

  • Mix together soy sauce, mirin, honey, hoisin sauce and sesame oil.
  • Put cut chicken and sauce together in a plastic back or glass Tupperware let sit for 15-30 minutes at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator.

Make the sauce:

  • In a small mixing bowl combine chicken broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, mirin, honey garlic powder, onion powder and ground ginger. Whisk to combine and set aside. (Do NOT add corn starch and water yet)!

Cook the Chicken & Cashews:

  • Pour marinated chicken into a colander to drain excess marinade.
  • Heat 1 TBS oil in a wok or fry pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add drained chicken pieces to the oil in the pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is well-browned on one side.
  • After the chicken is browned, use a spatula and flip it over.
  • Add the cashews and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken and cashews are nicely browned.
  • Transfer mixture from the pan to a medium bowl and set aside.

Putting it together:

  • In a large Wok or fry pan, heat 1 TBS peanut oil.
  • Add julienned peppers and cook over medium-high heat for 2-4 minutes or until they just start to become soft.
  • Add broccoli and edamame and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are slightly browned.
  • Add stir fry sauce and cashew/chicken mixture to the vegetables and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.
  • In the container you mixed your sauce, add 1 TBS corn starch and ½ TBS water and mix with a fork until combined.
  • Make a hole in the middle of your stir fry and pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan.
  • Stir quickly to evenly distribute the cornstarch in the sauce.
  • Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  • Serve immediately over rice, noodles, etc.!

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Soy Sauce. If you are allergic to soy, or follow the paleo diet, then substitute Coconut Aminos in both the marinade and sauce.
  • Mirin.  If you cannot find Mirin, rice vinegar works well as a substitute.
  • Peanut/Sesame oils. Olive, canola or avocado oils also work in this recipe.
  • Powdered spices. You can substitute real minced garlic and fresh diced onion in this stir fry instead of the powders. Just cook them with the vegetables.
  • Cornstarch. tapioca flour/starch can be used in place of cornstarch for a paleo-friendly option.
  • Cashews. Peanuts work well in this recipe too, however cashews are my favorite!
  • Vegetables. Use your favorite vegetables. Options not included here that are great additions include baby corn, carrots, onions, sprouts, pineapple, etc.!

Serve

Serve this cashew chicken warm with rice or noodles. We like to serve it with fried rice!

Store

Leftovers of this recipe are my favorite. Store them in an airtight container with a lid for 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 350.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 26.7g | Protein: 25.2g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7.7g | Cholesterol: 43.9mg | Sodium: 681.8mg | Potassium: 280.5mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15.1g | Vitamin A: 1935IU | Vitamin C: 126.2mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2.3mg

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

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

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Recipe Rating




29 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Responding to the question about whether this is spicy. My biggest complaint of cashew chicken is the LACK of flavor, I typically find it too bland. This recipe is full of flavor, yet it is not spicy.

  1. 5 stars
    My husband and I loved the amount of veggies in this dish – my children not so much. It’s SO good, I’ll make again with some accommodations (which I don’t normally do, but this is worthy of an exception). It’s asparagus for the kids and as is for mom and dad (yellow/red peppers, broccoli, asparagus). My chicken didn’t brown as beautifully as pictured – the culprit was previously frozen chicken breasts (drained off) that produced a bit of liquid during the stir fry. I preferred the taste of the marinade over the stir fry sauce (not a huge hoisin fan) so next time I’m going to boil the marinade and use it as the sauce (google says that safe so I’m going with it). I bought sweet chili sauce for the Asian Lettuce Wrap recipe on this site and my husband had the brilliant idea to drizzle it over the top of this – YUM! Served with quinoa and jasmine rice.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback Jennifer! I actually LOVE hoisin sauce…I put it in every Asian dish I make lol! So I couldn’t live without it but I am so glad you found a way to make this your own!

  2. 4 stars
    The cashews in with the chicken to brown is amazing…I need to perfect this recipe because most of the family enjoyed it! Which is a rare thing…picky 5 year old, teething 10 mos old, and a husband with lots of dietary preferences!!!

  3. 5 stars
    I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts because (IMHO) the meat is much juicier and tastier. Otherwise followed the recipe. I’m not sure the green peppers were needed: the red peppers add that flavor and the broccoli (which is a nice, not-very-common touch) adds beautiful touches of green; 2 cups sounds like a lot but don’t cut it down. The hoisin/soy marinade and sauce is the killer — totally makes the dish. Note that you can get hoisin and any of several varieties of mirin on (where else?) Amazon.

    If you’re daunted by the long list of ingredients, don’t be – it really comes together very nicely and is absolutely worth the effort. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    Very easy to make. I added onions and mushrooms. I didn’t make the stir fry sauce, I used the marinade from chicken. It was getting cooked anyway. I just added the granulated garlic and chicken broth.

  5. This was super easy to make! I really enjoy making stirfries. I added fresh mushrooms and onions. I also skipped making the stir fry sauce and used the marinade for the chicken. I did add the granulated garlic. I didn’t have Morin, so I used the vinegar and a little extra honey as joy food recommended. Everyone had seconds! On my make again list.

    1. Let’s say hypothetically that I have everything in my kitchen needed for this EXCEPT hoisin sauce. Is there something I could substitute to make it work?

  6. 5 stars
    Cornstarch TOTALLY thickens the sauce just right, and your stirfries looks just perfectly glazed. Also, can I say that i LOVE stirfries or anything that can go over rice too?

  7. I agree with you on stir-fries!! I love having this healthier and easy option to make at home!!