Thai Cashew Chicken

5 from 2 votes
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Thai cashew chicken is one of our favorite “fake-away” meals. It’s spicy, nutty and full of veggies. A simple weeknight meal you will be hooked on. Served over a bed of fluffy rice and toasted cashews in each bite.

Chicken and peppers on rice  on a white plate with a silver fork.
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Why Make This Thai Cashew Chicken

This meal is SO good. You won’t want to order takeout once you try this meal. It’s full of fresh veggies and flavors, the umami is on point in this recipe. The toasted cashews give it the perfect crunchy texture and buttery flavors. You can make this dish as mild or as spicy as you prefer, I like it hot! This dish is served over a simple bed of fluffy rice, it’s satisfying and it keeps SO well making it great for meal prep. Also try my Salt and Pepper Chicken.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients needed to make the recipe all on a counter on plates and small bowls.
  • Chicken Breasts. I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Trimmed and cut into small 1 inch pieces.
  • Cashews. Whole, raw cashews are best. We will be toasting them in a pan
  • Oil. Preferably sesame oil, but any neutral oil will be good. You can find sesame oil in the international aisle near the soy sauce.
  • Garlic. fresh cloves are best for aromatics.
  • Seasonings. Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.
  • Onion. I use yellow onion, it’s affordable and mild in flavor for aromatics.
  • Green Bell Pepper. To add color, crunch and a little veggie to this dish.
  • Fresno Pepper. These are medium-hot in spice depending on the time of year. You can find peppers are found in the produce aisle.
  • Spinach. Fresh spinach is best, it add color and nutrients to the dish.
  • Green Onions. You will use the white part and the green ends to add to the sauce in this dish.

Sauce Ingredients

  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce. You can use any soy sauce of choice.
  • Sugar. You can use white sugar or brown sugar, both work perfectly. This brings the flavors together perfectly in this sauce.
  • Fish Sauce. This is found in the international aisle. It is what it says, fishy in flavor it’s added to so many asian dishes for flavor.
  • Oyster Sauce. This is found in the international aisle as well. This is the brand I use. This is a thick syrupy sauce that has a strong fish odor to it, it’s used in authentic Chinese cuisine. Do not worry you will not taste the fishy flavors from either of these sauces. They blend together with the sugar and soy sauce creating a sweet/salty umami style sauce.

Steps To Make This Recipe

Cashews in a skillet and chopped veggies on a cutting board.

Step One. Heat oil over medium heat in a wok or large skillet. Add cashews and cook for 5 minutes until they become a dark golden color and crunchy, careful not to burn them, they brown quickly. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and place in a small bowl. Use the leftover oil to sauté your veggies. Start the rice now if making any, follow instructions on the packet, this usually takes about 20 minutes.

Step Two. Turn heat up to medium/high. Add garlic, peppers and yellow onion. Cook for 2 minutes until everything is sweating.

Step Three. Add in the chicken, make sure it isn’t over lapping at all. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked all the way through (165º internally). While chicken is cooking, make the sauce.

Chicken and veggies in a grey skillet, sauce and chopped onion on a cutting board.

Step Three. In a small sauce pan, add all the sauce ingredients together. Bring to a light simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thicken just a bit and starts to coat to a metal spoon. Chop the green onions, chop the white part into small slices and then make 1 inch cuts in the leafy greens.

Chicken and veggies in a grey skillet up close.

Step Four. When the chicken is close to being cooked through all the way, add in the sauce, green onions, including the green tops and spinach. Let everything simmer and wilt a bit.

Step Five. When rice is cooked, serve with saucy Thai cashew chicken over it, and enjoy.

Chicken and veggies over rice on a white plate with a silver fork.

FAQ’s & Recipe Tips

How spicy is Thai Cashew Chicken?

This Thai cashew chicken is medium – hot in spice depending on how hot and how many fresno peppers you use. They can vary in heat seasonally. You can just use a small amount if you need.

Do I need a wok for Thai Cashew Chicken recipe?

No, you do not need a wok for this recipe. Traditionally it is made in a wok, however I used a regular non-stick sauté pan.

Is this similar to a stir fry?

Yes! This recipe is similar to a stir fry, but a little spicer and with toasted cashews.

Recipe Variations For Thai Cashew Chicken

Chicken. Use chicken thighs in place of the breasts.

Peppers. You can skip the fresno peppers and use jalapeño or leave them out all together for a more mild flavor. You can use any bell pepper color of choice.

Soy Sauce. You can use amino acids or coconut aminos in place of the soy.

Rice. You can serve this dish over ramen noodles or over cauliflower rice as well. Quinoa would also be delicious.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

You can absolutely make this recipe ahead of time and reheat when you are ready to enjoy. This recipe gets better and better in the fridge. I will mention it does tend to get a little spicer as it sits in the fridge so keep that in mind when making it!

Store this recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Other Delicious Asian Inspired Meals

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Thai cashew chicken up close on a white plate.
5 from 2 votes

Thai Cashew Chicken

Thai cashew chicken is one of our favorite "fake-away" meals. It's spicy, nutty and full of veggies. A simple weeknight meal you will be hooked on. Served over a bed of fluffy rice and toasted cashews in each bite. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • 1 large skillet or fry pan
  • small sauce pan

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1-1½ lb chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • cup whole cashews, raw, *see notes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ tsp dried cayenne pepper, *use more if you want extra spice, omit if you want mild
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 red fresno peppers, *see notes

Sauce

  • 2 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp water

Instructions 

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a wok or large skillet. Add cashews and cook for 5 minutes until they become a dark golden color and crunchy, careful not to burn them, they brown quick. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and place in a small bowl. Use the leftover oil to sauté your veggies. Start the rice now if making any, follow instructions on the packet, this usually takes about 20 minutes.
  • Turn heat up to medium/high. Add garlic, peppers and yellow onion. Cook for 2 minutes until everything is sweating. 
  • Add in the chicken, make sure it isn't over lapping at all. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked all the way through (165º internally). While chicken is cooking, make the sauce. 
  • In a small sauce pan, add all the sauce ingredients together. Bring to a light simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thicken just a bit and starts to coat to a metal spoon. Chop the green onions, chop the white part into small slices and then make 1 inch cuts in the leafy greens.
  • When the chicken is close to being cooked through all the way, add in the sauce, green onions, including the green tops and spinach. Let everything simmer and wilt a bit.
  • Once rice is cooked, serve with saucy Thai cashew chicken over it. and enjoy.

Notes

*roasted cashews will also work, but you will need to keep an eye on them so you don’t over toast them.
*use less if you are sensitive to heat. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cup | Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1271mg | Potassium: 896mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 975IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

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

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4
Calories: 483
Keyword: 30 minute, Asian Inspired, Chicken
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