Cashew Chicken - CJ Eats Recipes (2024)

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By Chris Joe

5 from 12 votes

Feb 14, 2023

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This Cashew Chicken tastes better than takeout, with the tender chicken, crunch from the toasted cashews, and that DELICIOUS sauce! You’re going to love making this at home and it’ll be ready in less time than it takes to place a delivery order. Cashew Chicken has been a high requested recipe, and this is a version that brings a restaurant quality dish to your home!

Watch the Cashew Chicken Recipe Video Below!

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My KEY tip for any “Tastier than Takeout” recipe is to prep your ingredients ahead of time! The dish comes together so quickly, and with the pan at high heat, having the next ingredient to be added to the pan is important since you need to work quickly so the ingredients already in the pan don’t overcook or worse, burn. This dish is relatively simple, but the most important steps are in the prep work!

Ingredients for Cashew Chicken

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for the best Cashew Chicken! This recipe serves 4, but use the scaling feature in the recipe card to increase the portions as needed!

Chicken

  • 1lbchicken thighcut into 1″ pieces
  • 1tbsplight soy sauce
  • 1tspdark soy sauce
  • 1/4tspwhite pepper
  • 1/2tspkosher salt
  • 1tbspshaoxing wine
  • 1tbspneutral oilI used avocado oil
  • 1/2tbspcornstarch

Cashew Chicken Sauce

  • 2tbsplight soy sauce
  • 1tspdark soy sauce
  • 1tbsphoisin sauce
  • 1tbsprice vinegar
  • 1tspsesame oil
  • 1/2tbspsugar
  • 1/4tspwhite pepper
  • 1/4tspmsgoptional
  • 1/2cupchicken stockhigh quality
  • 1/2tbspcornstarch

Cashews + Aromatics

  • 1/2tbspgingerminced
  • 5clovesgarlicminced
  • 4ozcashews
  • 6scallionschopped, whites and greens separated
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INGREDIENTS TIPS

CHICKEN
I used chicken thighs in this recipe, as I find them to be more juicy and flavorful – you can sub with chicken breast if that is what you prefer! Just make sure to adjust the cooking time, as chicken breast cooks more quickly than chicken thighs.

LIGHT vs. DARK SOY SAUCE
Yes, they’re different! Dark soy sauce is thicker, darker, and sweeter (as well as has a higher sodium content) than regular soy sauce. Because I use these two ingredients in both the chicken marinade and the sauce, I would highly recommend you use dark soy sauce. However, if you don’t have it on hand you can substitute with Oyster Sauce.

SHAOXING WINE
If you cannot or do not want to use wine, you can sub with sherry, mirin, or chicken stock!

CORNSTARCH

  • Cornstarch is a key ingredient in Chinese cooking because it is used for velveting the meat. Velveting is a Chinese technique where protein is marinated in cornstarch and cooked quickly in hot oil, resulting in the meat becoming tender and silky. You’ll see this technique in a lot of my recipes because it’s one of my favorite ways to guarantee moist, tender protein!
  • I also use cornstarch in the sauce as a thickening agent – this helps save you a step, as normally you would need to make a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water)!

MSG
As always, this is optional 🙂

Cashew Chicken: Recipe Instructions

Marinate the chicken and prep aromatics

Cut chicken thigh into 1″ pieces and marinate with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper, kosher salt, shaoxing wine, neutral oil, and cornstarch for 15 minutes. While the chicken marinates, prepare your aromatics and premix the sauce.

Because a dish like Cashew Chicken cooks so quickly, it’s important to have your ingredients prepped and ready to go so the cooking process goes smoothly!

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Toast the Cashews

In a large pan or wok, heat 1 tbsp of neutral oil over medium heat and add your cashews. Next, cook for about 1 minute or until toasted and fragrant. We want the cashews to be slightly toasted and golden brown. Keep the cashews moving to evenly toast them in the pan. Once they are golden brown, remove and set aside in a bowl.

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Cook the chicken pieces

In the same pan, heat 3 tbsp of neutral oil over high heat, then add your marinated chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Be sure to cook the chicken in batches if needed to get a good color on the chicken. If the oil is too cold due to overcrowding the pan, the chicken will not brown properly. Remove to a bowl once golden brown and cooked through!

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Fry Aromatics

In the residual oil, fry the minced garlic, ginger, and scallion whites for 30 seconds until fragrant. Next, be sure the chicken and premixed sauce is ready by the pan because this cooking process will go quickly.

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Add back Chicken and Sauce

Add back the cooked chicken and mix to combine. Finally, add the premixed sauce and continue stirring over high heat until the sauce has thickened (about 1-2 minutes).

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Garnish and finish the Cashew Chicken

After you’ve added the sauce, continue stirring for a minute or two until the sauce has thickened (thanks to our cornstarch thickening agent). Finally, add the scallion whites and give it a final mix. If you followed the steps and measurements correctly, the end result will look like this!

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RECIPE TIPS

SUCCESS IS IN THE PREP!
For a recipe that comes together extremely quickly, the key to pulling this recipe off successfully is having your ingredients prepped and in bowls right next to your wok or pan! Next, have your premixed sauce, garlic/ginger, scallions, chicken, and cashews in separate bowls so they are easily accessible during the cooking process.

CORNSTARCH IS KEY
Cornstarch is a key ingredient that I would not recommend omitting from this recipe. The starch helps protect the chicken during the cooking process (a technique known as “velveting”), as well as helps thicken the sauce to create that glossy texture. It is one of the keys to this recipe!

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If you liked this Cashew Chicken recipe, check out some of the most popular Chinese Take-Out recipes on the blog! Please consider giving a rating and commenting down below what you thought of the recipe! It really helps out the blog!

  • Chicken Lo Mein
  • Shrimp Fried Rice
  • Beef and Broccoli
  • Sesame Chicken
  • String Bean Chicken

5 from 12 votes

Cashew Chicken

By: Chris Joe

Servings: 4

Prep: 15 minutes mins

Cook: 15 minutes mins

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Cashew Chicken - CJ Eats Recipes (11)

This is my ultimate Cashew Chicken recipe! What makes cashew chicken so delicious? For me, it's the tender chicken and savory sauce! This recipe is so much better than takeout and you're going to LOVE IT!

Ingredients

Chicken

Sauce

Cashews + Aromatics

  • 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 oz cashews
  • 6 scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated

US CustomaryMetric

Instructions

  • Cut chicken thigh into 1" pieces and marinate with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper, kosher salt, shaoxing wine, neutral oil, and cornstarch for 15 minutes.

  • In a small bowl, mix together your sauce by combining light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper, msg, chicken stock, and cornstarch.

  • Chop your scallions, separating the whites from the greens, then mince garlic and ginger and set them aside along with your marinated chicken and sauce.

  • In a large pan or wok, heat 1 tbsp of neutral oil over medium heat and add your cashews. Cook for about 1 minute or until toasted and fragrant. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

  • In the same pan, heat 3 tbsp of neutral oil over high heat, then add your marinated chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

  • In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil over high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and scallion whites, and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add back the cooked chicken and mix to combine. Add the premixed sauce and continue stirring over high heat until the sauce has thickened (about 1-2 minutes).

  • Once the sauce has thickened, add back your toasted cashews and scallion greens. Mix to combine and serve with freshly steamed white rice!

Additional Info

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Chinese

Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

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About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

Read more about me

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Cashew Chicken - CJ Eats Recipes (2024)
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