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Cashew Chicken

Cashew chicken is a very simple stir-fry, with a bare-bones, minimalist sauce in order to let the cashews take the spotlight while preventing the dish from being too dry. It’s a good template for using strong-flavored ingredients and saucing them sparingly.

Serves 4. Time to prepare: about 60 minutes.


  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or thighs


  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar


  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Stir fry:

  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil such as canola or peanut
  • 6 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 large stick celery, sliced cross-wise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts (whole or pieces), preferably toasted

Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Mix together the marinade ingredients: soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and sugar, in a medium bowl; add the chicken and stir to coat. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Drain the marinade from the bowl with the chicken. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and spread it into a single layer. Allow to cook undisturbed until the underside is browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown the other side, another 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet, leaving any remaining oil.

Add the mushrooms, celery and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium. Stir the sauce mix one more time, then pour it into the skillet, and stir until it comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add back in the chicken and vegetables, and stir to coat them with the sauce. Stir in the cashews and cook for about one minute.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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