Cashew Chicken

This cashew chicken is close to the real Cantonese deal. It calls for chicken thighs, ginger, and garlic to be stir-fried with sugar snaps and carrots in a simple, barely there sauce made with rice vinegar and soy sauce. Done in 30 minutes. And darn near keto.

Bowl of cashew chicken with chunks of stir-fried chicken, carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, cashews

One of the most beloved Chinese recipes in America, cashew chicken classically consists of dark meat chicken, sugar snap peas, carrots, and cashews in a light, silky sauce that barely clings to the chicken and that’s fragrant with ginger. Sadly, cashew chicken found stateside is often nothing at all like it was intended to be, consisting rather of greasy, deep-fried chicken in a goopy gravy. This simple stir-fry takes you squarely back to tradition.–Renee Schettler

Cashew Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 2 to 3
5/5 - 3 reviews
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In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the rice wine, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and sugar. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl combine the broth, the remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine, and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch.

Heat a 14-inch (36 cm) flat-bottomed wok or a 12-inch (30 cm) skillet over high heat until a bead of water added vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil, tilting the wok to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the ginger and, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until the ginger is fragrant, about 10 seconds.

Push the ginger to the sides of the wok, carefully add the chicken mixture, and spread it evenly in a single layer. Cook the chicken, undisturbed, for 1 minute. Then stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not quite cooked through, about 1 minute more.

Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add the sugar snaps, carrots, celery, and cashews, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry just until the sugar snaps are bright green, about 1 minute. Restir the broth mixture and swirl it into the wok, adding it along the sides rather than into the middle. Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 minute.

Serve the cashew chicken immediately. Originally published June 20, 2010.

Print RecipeBuy the Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Wonderful and easy. This recipe only has a handful of ingredients, prep time is next to nothing, and the outcome is fabulous. I actually made it twice, once using chicken thighs per the recipe and the other using chicken breast. Both versions were terrific.

For variety, you can add ingredients to your liking; I personally would’ve wanted a little tofu. Either way, I think it’s a winner. It’s light and healthy yet packed with flavor. Definitely a must-try!

In its simplicity, this recipe is full of greatness. You can just tell you’re doing something good for your body and soul as you cook and eat it.

I substituted vegetable stock for the chicken (I had run out of homemade chicken stock) and I used gluten-free soy sauce as I must now eat gluten-free. These two changes account for subtle differences in the flavor profile, but nothing too dramatic. The recipe delivers what it intends to by creating a fast stir-fry with a light sauce. (It’s so quick, it’s almost embarrassing.) It makes me want to try other recipes in Young’s book.


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  1. The weather was horrible and I didn’t feel like going food shopping, so this dish was just what I needed to prepare with ingredients on hand. Since I had 1-3/4 lbs boneless chicken thighs in the freezer and a cup of raw cashews in the pantry, I doubled the recipe (just two of us) and used a richly flavored mushroom soy sauce. Only other changes were to leave out the celery, using red bell pepper instead, adding a wee bit of heat with a tsp of Thai chili paste, and using Sake because that’s my go-to instead of Chinese rice wine. Once mise en place was set up, this took moments to go from wok to table, and needed only some jasmine rice to round out the plate. Of course there were leftovers – just like with Chinese take-out. Will make again.

  2. Typically, I’m not a stir-fry kind of eater, simply because I have never been able to find a recipe that I like. I decided to try this because the picture on your site is so appealing. I made the effort to get the recommended dark soy sauce and the Shao Hsing rice wine. This was a fabulous dish with many layers of flavors and a beautiful, silky sauce. My husband loved it. I followed the recipe exactly. This takes very little time to pull together and the results were wonderful. I made it a second time to use up the container of chicken stock and added some Sichuan peppercorns for some heat and fresh mushrooms. This is recipe is delicious as written and is easily adaptable for other vegetables.

  3. I’m a mother of 7 and have never tried a Chinese food recipe that tasted like it was from a restaurant until now. I’m from Canada and we grew up always going for Chinese food with friends. I’m so excited to have this go-to recipe for a quick family meal. It’s sooo yummy! Thanks for all your recipes.

    1. Daria, you are sooooooo welcome! Lovely to hear it! We really, really appreciate you taking the time to let us know. And we’d really, really love to hear which recipe from the site you try next…

  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Stir fry recipes can often be complex with numerous stages and endless lists of ingredients. Thanks for keeping it simple, but elegant with this classic!

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