Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (2024)

Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken — 🙌🏻😋🌶️🥦 Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce!! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that’s easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier than the restaurant version!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (1)

Copycat Chinese Cashew Chicken Recipe

I’ve shared manypeanut chicken recipes, but never one for chicken with cashew nuts. I don’t know what I was waiting for! This easy cashew chicken really does taste better than a restaurant. Not that I’m partial or anything.

Consider this dish like a cashew chicken stir fry. The chicken is sautéed with sesame oil for depth of flavor before adding broccoli, red bell peppers, edamame, and garlic.

The vegetables stay crisp-tender, which is exactly the way I like them. If you prefer green bell peppers or other vegetables, mix and match as you see fit.

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (2)

The dish is finished with cashews, of course, and that wonderful cashew chicken sauce that’s made with soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and Asian chili garlicsauce. Asian chili garlic sauce is kept in the Asian section of my regular grocery store.

The heat from this sauce really makes the chicken come to life without being overly hot and spicy, but if you’re sensitive to heat and spices, scale back as you see fit.

The sauce helps keep thechicken moist and tender and clings to the veggies beautifully.

I loved how fast and easy dinner came together. Now, this cashew chicken recipe is going into our regular rotation. No need for takeout when homemade tastes so good.

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (3)

Cashew Chicken Ingredients

To make the actual chicken cashew stir-fry, you’ll need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Chicken breasts
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Broccoli florets
  • Bell pepper
  • Shelled frozen edamame
  • Garlic
  • Roasted unsalted cashews

And for the cashew chicken sauce, you’ll need:

  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Asian chili garlic sauce
  • Ground ginger
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How to Make Cashew Chicken

This is a super simple recipe — the hardest part is chopping up some veggies!Here’s an overview of how to make chicken with cashew nuts:

  1. Add the cornstarch, diced chicken, salt, and pepper to a large zip-top bag and squish the chicken around to coat it.
  2. Add the chicken to an oiled skillet and cook until the chicken is about 90% done (it will finish cooking in the sauce).
  3. Add the broccoli, bell pepper, edamame, and garlic to the skillet and cook just for a few minutes. You want the veggies to remain crisp-tender.
  4. Add the sauce and roasted cashews to the skillet. Simmer for a minute or two, just to give the sauce time to heat up and thicken slightly.
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Can I Use Different Vegetables?

Yes, feel free to mix and match the veggies to use up whatever’s in your produce drawer. Just note that different veggies will have different cook times.

Can I Use Chicken Thighs?

I’m sure you could use chicken thighs to make this easy cashew chicken recipe. Just make sure they’re boneless, and that you dice them into 1-inch chunks.

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What Are the Best Cashews for Cashew Chicken?

You’ll want to use roasted and unsalted cashews to make this recipe. I do not recommend using salted cashews otherwise your Cashew nut chicken will be far too salty.

Can This Recipe Be Prepared in Advance?

Yes, you can make the entire recipe as written and eat leftovers throughout the week or you can prep the ingredients in advance of making the entire recipe.

For example, the veggies can be diced ahead of time, the sauce can be whisked together, and the chicken can be diced and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.

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Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (8)

Tips for Making This Recipe

Do not omit the cornstarch in this recipe. It coats the chicken and helps it crisp up in the skillet without having to deep fry it. The cornstarch also thickens the cashew chicken sauce.

Note that this recipe calls for roasted unsalted cashews. I don’t like using salted cashews in this recipe, because between the salted cashews and soy sauce the dish winds up being way too salty.

Lastly, make sure to buy rice wine vinegar and not rice wine (also called mirin). They’re two different things!

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Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (9)

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4.52 from 753 votes

Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken

By Averie Sunshine

Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce!! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that's easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier!!

Prep Time: 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes minutes

Servings: 5



  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • about 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 heaping cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, diced small
  • 1 cup shelled frozen edamame
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted whole cashews
  • ¾ to 1 cup green onions, sliced into thin rounds (from about 3 or 4 green onions)


  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger


  • To a gallon-sized ziptop bag, add the cornstarch, salt, pepper, chicken, seal, and shake to coat chicken evenly.

  • To a large skillet, add the oils,chicken, and cook for about 4 to 5minutes over medium-high heat, flipping and stirring so all sides cook evenly. Chicken should be about 80-90%cooked through.

  • Add the broccoli, bell peppers, edamame (I add it straight from the freezer), garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is cooked through; stir intermittently. While vegetables cook, make the sauce.

  • To a medium bowl add the soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, and whisk to combine; set aside.

  • Add the cashews to the skillet and stir to combine.

  • Add the sauce and stir to combine. Allow sauce to simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Add the green onions, stir to combine,and serve immediately.



Storage: Chicken is best warm and fresh but extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Serving: 1, Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 642mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g

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

© Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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More Asian Chicken Recipes:


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Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (10)

Chicken Pad Thai — EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and BETTER than takeout!! Tender rice noodles, juicy chicken, with crisp-tender carrots, cabbage, and more for an IRRESISTIBLE and AUTHENTIC chicken pad Thai!!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (11)

Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (12)

15-Minute Skillet Sesame Chicken with Broccoli– Healthier sesame chicken that isn’t breaded or fried! You won’t miss the fat or calories in this fast and easy version that’s loaded with Asian-inspired flavors! You can happily skip takeout now!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (13)

Healthier Orange Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (14)

15-Minute Chicken, Vegetable, and Ramen Noodle Stir Fry – Don’t call for takeout when you can make this EASY Asian stir fry in minutes!! HEALTHIER and faster than takeout and great for busy weeknights!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (15)

Kung Pao Chicken— An easy, BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT recipe with juicy chicken and such a flavorful sauce!!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (16)

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken–The easiest orange chicken ever because your slow cooker does all the work! Super juicy, tender, and coated with a sweet-yet-tangy orange glaze that’s irresistible!

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (17)

Originally posted April 23, 2018. Reposted January 11, 2019 and June 11, 2021 with updated text.

Cashew Chicken {Better than Takeout!} (2024)


Why is Springfield known for cashew chicken? ›

Leong served the first plate of cashew chicken in 1963, in an effort to create a Chinese dish that Springfielders would take an instant liking to. They did, and in the following decades, Springfield-style cashew chicken has become the unofficial dish of the city.

How many calories are in cashew chicken takeout? ›

Calories in Chinese, Chicken with Cashew Nuts
DescriptionServing SizeskCal
Calories in Chinese, Chicken with Cashew Nuts100g145
1/2 Typical Plastic Container384

What does cashew chicken taste like? ›

Cashew chicken is simply a stir fry of chicken and cashews with a sauce that's got a salty-sweet flavour profile.

What is cashew chicken sauce made of? ›

Here's how I make Cashew Chicken! First make the yummy sauce, which will eventually cook in the pan with all the ingredients. Mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. A grand, sweet, sour combo!

Did Springfield, MO invent cashew chicken? ›

After the war, Leong moved to Springfield with his wife and three children when they opened Leong's Tea House and eventually invented Springfield Cashew Chicken as a way to entice Americans who didn't have any experience eating traditional Chinese cuisine.

What makes springfield cashew chicken different? ›

Ladled onto plates, Springfield-style cashew chicken almost looks like chicken-fried steak – except instead of a thick slab of breaded beef that's been doused with peppery white gravy, bite-sized morsels of juicy chicken are fried and smothered in a rich brown sauce.

What is the healthiest Chinese food to order? ›

We asked nutrition experts for some of their healthiest Chinese food dishes, plus their best menu hacks for sneaking in even more nutrients.
  • Moo Goo Gai Pan. ...
  • Szechuan Tofu. ...
  • Shrimp with Broccoli in Garlic Sauce. ...
  • Beef and Broccoli. ...
  • Spring Rolls. ...
  • Cucumber Salad. ...
  • Lo Mein of Chow Fun with Veggies or Protein. ...
  • White or Brown Rice.
Apr 29, 2024

Is cashew chicken high in carbs? ›

Cashew chicken (1 cup) contains 12.3g total carbs, 10.7g net carbs, 18.5g fat, 25.2g protein, and 312 calories.

Is cashew chicken high in sodium? ›

The high fat content of the dish is due largely to the good fats, or monounsaturated fatty acids, in the cashews. Monounsaturated fats help protect your heart and decease the risk of heart disease. Additionally, 1 cup contains 1,050 milligrams of sodium.

What ethnicity is cashew chicken? ›

Cashew chicken (Chinese: 腰果雞丁) is a Chinese-American dish that combines chicken (usually stir-fried but occasionally deep-fried, depending on the variation), with cashew nuts and either a light brown garlic sauce or a thick sauce made from chicken stock, soy sauce and oyster sauce.

What restaurant invented cashew chicken? ›

Nutty, saucy and unbelievably satisfying, Springfield-style cashew chicken is the most well-known dish to come out of Springfield, Missouri. David Leong, founder of Leong's Asian Diner, created the recipe to draw more customers into the restaurant – which was called Leong's Tea House at the time.

Who invented cashew chicken? ›

Chef David Leong invented Springfield-style cashew chicken in Springfield in the 1960s. David Leong — the Chinese American chef who invented Springfield cashew chicken — never intended to be an innovator. In the beginning, cooking was a form of survival.

What is the difference between kung pao chicken and cashew chicken? ›

Unlike another nutty stir-fry favorite, Kung Pao Chicken (which is cooked with chillies and roasted peanuts), cashew chicken (also called chicken with cashew nuts) has a mild, lightly sweet brown sauce, the perfect complement to roasted cashews.

What to use instead of hoisin sauce? ›

Ready-made hoisin sauce alternatives
  • soy sauce.
  • tamari, which is suitable for gluten-free diets.
  • oyster sauce.
  • chili sauce.
  • barbecue sauce.
  • sweet and sour sauce.
  • teriyaki sauce.
Feb 2, 2022

Is cashew chicken a Missouri thing? ›

This is cashew chicken in the style first served in Springfield, Missouri in the 1960's. It involves deep-frying the chicken pieces in peanut oil. Serve this "Show-Me State" cashew chicken with soy sauce over a bed of fried rice if desired.

Where does the cashew chicken come from? ›

Chef David Leong invented Springfield-style cashew chicken in Springfield in the 1960s. David Leong — the Chinese American chef who invented Springfield cashew chicken — never intended to be an innovator. In the beginning, cooking was a form of survival.

Which states is the biggest producer of cashew nut? ›

Maharashtra is India's largest cashew nut producing state.

What is the cashew capital of the world? ›

Kollam or Quilon is known as the Cashew Capital of the World. Kollam is the largest processed cashew exporter in the world.

What state produces the most cashews? ›

The production and productivity of cashew is highest in the state of Maharashtra.

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