This Cashew Chicken Stir Fry is an easy weeknight dinner that is ready in 30-minutes! It’s made with tender chicken and crispy veggies and coated in a delicious sauce!
Love Asian Recipes as much as we do? Try these Bang Bang Shrimp Bowls, this Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta and this Sushi Bowl too!
Table of contents
Easy Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
Cashew chicken stir fry is a quick and easy dinner idea I turn to regularly when we are craving chinese food. Not only is it fresh, healthy, and jam-packed with flavor, but it’s also something I can make in one skillet and it’s so quick.
Stir fries, like this Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry, are super flexible with the ingredients. This is one that I love but I’m sharing with you ways you can switch it up to make it your own!
This stir fry recipe is made with juicy chicken, crispy fresh veggies including carrots and snow peas, all coated in a sweet and salty sauce and then garnished with crunchy cashews! Serve it over rice noodles or white rice and you’ve got a complete Asian-inspired meal right from scratch!
Skip the Asian restaurant takeout and make a healthier homemade version that everyone will love!
For the Sauce
- Water: Helps to thin out the sauce so that it is easily pourable and able to coat everything evenly.
- Soy sauce: Delivers a savory umami flavor present in many Asian dishes and stir-fries. For a gluten-free alternative, you can opt to use tamari instead.
- Brown sugar: Adds the sweetness needed for the sweet and salty flavor of the sauce. Using brown sugar also adds a deeper richer color.
- Rice vinegar: Can be replaced with white wine vinegar if you prefer.
- Fish sauce: Don’t worry, once cooked it won’t smell fishy at all. It leaves behind an incredible depth of flavor that can’t be missed!
- Sriracha: Adjust the spice level to your liking.
For the Stir Fry
- Olive oil: For frying everything! A great oil to use for stir-fries as it has a high smoke point.
- Roasted cashews: There is plenty of salt in this recipe as is, so I recommend using unsalted raw cashews. Buy them raw first and then I’ll show you how to toast them quickly for a beautiful nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
- Chicken breasts: Thinly sliced chicken breast is what I use. If you prefer to use thigh for the darker meat and more flavor, go right ahead.
- Carrots, snow peas: Colorful fresh veggies that add texture and a ton of nutrients! Slice carrots however you like. If you prefer matchstick slivers, do that.
- Onion & Garlic: Delicious aromatics that impart their flavor into the entire dish.
- Green onions: A simple garnish to finish off this spectacular dish!
How to Make this Cashew Chicken Recipe
Stir fry moves quickly. It’s important to prep all your ingredients ahead of time so you’re not overcooking anything!
Step 1: Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Mix and set aside.
Step 2: Roast the cashews in a large nonstick skillet in a bit of oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes. I like to use a skillet but if you have a wok (and are familiar with how to use it) feel free. Remove the nuts and set those aside.
Step 3: Heat more oil and cook the chicken, onion, and carrots for 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
Step 4: Add the sauce back into the pan to heat through, then toss in the green onions and cook for a couple of minutes until the snow peas turn a darker green.
Serve over noodles or rice and garnish with sesame seeds, additional green onions, and toasted cashews. Enjoy!
1. Use sesame oil or avocado oil instead of olive oil.
2. For a low-carb version, swap out the rice noodles or rice for cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles.
3. Use Tamarind paste instead of rice vinegar. A yummy ingredient used in many Asian recipes!
4. For a spicy version, add red pepper flakes or more sriracha sauce.
5. Load it with veggies. Clean out your fridge and add in some thinly sliced red bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, or water chestnuts. Whatever you’ve got!
6: Different nuts. Peanuts are also a common nut used in Thai cooking, so if cashew nuts aren’t your thing, use peanuts instead.
7: Richer flavor: Stir in a tablespoon of hoisin sauce and fresh ginger for a richer flavor if desired.
- Be sure to cook rice or rice noodles before cooking the chicken and vegetables so you will be able to serve the meal immediately.
- You can add the rice or noodles to the stir fry at the end and toss it around in the sauce to coat.
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if desired.
- Use Tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free version.
Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To enjoy this dish all over again, add a bit of oil to a skillet and toss it around over medium heat until heated through. You can also use the microwave if you’re just heating a single serving.
Definitely! Leave out the chicken or use fried tofu cubes instead. You can also leave out the fish sauce and replace it with a bit more soy sauce or hoisin sauce.
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Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
For the Sauce
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon sriracha or more if desired
For the Stir Fry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ cup roasted cashews
- ½ pound chicken breast thinly sliced
- ½ cup onion thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup snow peas fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup green onion sliced
Making the Sauce
- In a small bowl, add all of the ingredients and stir well.
Making the Stir Fry
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. (or a wok) and heat for one minute
- Add the cashews and heat for 2-3 minutes until they turn golden brown. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet heat for an additional minute.
- Then add the sliced chicken, onion, and carrots and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender.
- Add the garlic in and cook an additional minute.
- Pour the sauce into the pan and heat for about a minute just enough to reheat the sauce.
- Then add the snow peas and green onion and for 2 minutes until the snow peas turn darker green.
- Serve over Thai rice noodles or white rice. You can also add in cooked noodles or rice and toss to coat in the sauce.
- Garnish cashews and/or sesame seeds, if desired.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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I love this recipe, I made if for my family and it was well received. I have posted about it and linked this on my blog.
I’m trying to be a little more adventurous in my cooking and this adventure was a big win! I’ll be making it again for sure.
I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you so much!
Would love to try it over the weekend. Thank you.