Thai Cashew Chicken

Transform your kitchen into a Thai haven in just 20 minutes! Our quick and delicious Thai Cashew Chicken is made from juicy chicken, fresh onions, zesty chilies, and crunchy cashews. Definitely, an unforgettable stir-fry.

Thai cashew chicken in a bowl with chopsticks, served on a table.

Craving a quick and tasty dinner fix? This Thai Cashew Chicken brings together succulent chicken, aromatic garlic, and a generous handful of toasted cashews. It’s a flavor-packed adventure that hits all the right notes – a bit of heat, a touch of sweetness, and that satisfying crunch of cashews in every bite.

My true love affair with Thai food blossomed after going to a Thai restaurant, and I impulsively ordered the Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts. Suffice it to say, it is the single most delicious dish on the planet. But now, I’m excited to recreate this delectable meal in my kitchen! I’ll be pairing it with a cool Thai Iced Tea for a perfect homemade Thai dining experience.

Thai cashew chicken in a bowl served on a table.

Reasons to Love This Chicken

  • This Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry offers a unique blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors, captivating your taste buds.
  • Ready in 20 minutes, this dish is perfect for busy days when you crave a delicious homemade meal.
  • This meal is great for leftovers as it tastes even better the next day as flavors meld.
  • It brings the essence of Thai cuisine to your home.

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry.
  • Chicken Breast: The primary protein of the dish and provides the base for all other flavors.
  • Roasted Cashew Nuts: A key ingredient that adds crunch and a nutty flavor.
  • Garlic: Essential for its aromatic qualities that add depth and a savory kick.
  • Yellow Onion: Offers sweetness and texture.
  • Dried Red Chilies: Contribute a spicy element crucial for the dish’s signature heat and flavor.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Green Bell Pepper for Green Onion: Adds crunch and a mild, sweet flavor while maintaining the dish’s color and vibrancy.
  • Tofu for Chicken: For a vegetarian twist, firm tofu can replace chicken, absorbing the flavors well.
  • Lighter Sauce: For a twist on the traditional recipe, try using oyster sauce for a lighter yet umami-rich sauce. Its savory depth complements the chicken and cashews.
  • Maple Syrup for Brown Sugar: Maple syrup provides a unique, sweet flavor as an alternative to brown sugar.

How to Make Thai Cashew Chicken

Step #1: Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisking the Thai Cashew Chicken sauce in a white bowl.

Step #2: Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough to produce a sizzle when a drop of water hits it, add all the cashew nuts. Fry the cashews until they turn light brown, just a few minutes.

Frying cashews in a pan.

Step #3: Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel to rest.

Fried cashews resting on a paper towel.

Step #4: Add the garlic, onion, and dried red chilies to the oil. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until you can start to smell the spicy aroma of the chilies.

Garlic, onion, dried red chilies frying in a pan.

Step #5: Add the chicken and continue to stir-fry until the chicken turns opaque and is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

Cooking chicken, onions, garlic, and dried chilies in a pan.

Step #6: Return the cashews to the pan and toss them around the pan to distribute them.

Cashews added into the pan with chicken, onion, garlic and dried red chilies.

Step #7: Add the sauce to the wok and toss all the ingredients to coat them well.

Adding the sauce into the pan, cooking the Thai Cashew Chicken.

Step #8: Turn off the heat and add the chopped scallions.

Green onions added to the chicken cashew nut cooking in a pan.

Step #9: Lastly, serve immediately with a side of jasmine rice.

Thai chicken cashew stir-fry in a white bowl with chopsticks across the bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Lime Lift: Squeeze fresh lime juice just before serving to brighten the flavors, adding a citrusy zing that elevates your Thai Chicken Cashew to culinary perfection.
  • Chicken Preparation: Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces for uniform cooking and flavor absorption.
  • Use a Wok: If available, use a wok for authentic stir-fry cooking and better heat distribution.
Two servings of Thai Chicken Cashew with rice served on a table.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chicken thighs instead of breast for my Thai Chicken Cashew Stir Fry?

Absolutely! Chicken thighs are a flavorful alternative to breast meat. They are juicier and richer in taste, though slightly higher in fat. You can use it in the same quantity as breast meat.

How can I ensure the chicken is fully cooked?

Chicken pieces should be cooked until they’re no longer pink inside and the juices run clear. Use a meat thermometer to check; the internal temperature should reach 165°F (75°C).

How can I thicken the sauce for our Thai Chicken Stir Fry recipe?

For a thicker sauce, mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water and stir it into the sauce. Heat until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.

Is it okay to use raw cashew nuts for this dish?

Yes. Raw cashews work best.

How can I make the chicken more tender?

For a tender chicken, marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce and cornstarch for about 15 minutes before cooking. It can help tenderize the meat and enhance its flavor.

Storage info

To store Thai Chicken Cashew, place it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. While freezing is possible, it may affect the texture of the vegetables and nuts. For reheating, gently warm it in a microwave or on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of water if it seems dry.

If you love Thai food and Thai cooking as much as I do, then check out my post on 10 Kitchen Essentials for Thai Home Cooking.

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Thai cashew chicken served in a bowl.

Thai Cashew Chicken Recipe

Transform your kitchen into a Thai haven in just 20 minutes! Our quick and delicious Thai Cashew Chicken is made from juicy chicken, fresh onions, zesty chilies, and crunchy cashews. Definitely, an unforgettable stir-fry.
4.5 from 160 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Diet: Dairy Free
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 553kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Stir-Fry

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic - peeled and minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion - quartered
  • 4 finger-length dried red chillies - such as chile de arbol, seeded and cut into halves
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts
  • 8 ounces boneless - skinless chicken breast, cut into thin pieces (about one large chicken breast – hold your knife at an angle and slice against the grain to get the thinnest pieces possible)
  • 1 green onion - cut into 1” lengths

Instructions

  • Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough to produce a sizzle when a drop of water hits it, add all the cashew nuts. Fry the cashews until they turn light brown, just a few minutes.
  • Remove the cashews from the oil with a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel to rest.
  • Add the garlic, onion, and dried red chilies to the oil in the wok. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until you can start to smell the spicy aroma of the chilies.
  • Add the chicken into the wok and continue to stir-fry until the chicken turns opaque and is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Return the cashews to the pan and toss them around the pan to distribute them.
  • Add the sauce to the wok and toss all the ingredients to coat them well.
  • Turn off the heat and add the chopped scallions.
  • Serve immediately with a side of jasmine rice.

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
To store Thai Chicken Cashew, place it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. While freezing is possible, it may affect the texture of the vegetables and nuts. For reheating, gently warm it in a microwave or on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of water if it seems dry.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 1451mg | Potassium: 1036mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 919IU | Vitamin C: 133mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 4mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

    1. Anna, thank you for your comments, so glad you loved it! I have changed it from 4 servings to 2, since I have gotten a couple of comments on the portion size. Thanks!

  1. Hello,

    I have a question. Why is there a runny red sauce pictured around the cashew chicken in the header photo, but it’s not pictured in the photo at the end of the step-by-step?
    I’m trying to find out what the delicious runny sauce that our local Thai restaurant includes with their stir fries but all the recipes I’m finding online do not feature it.

    Thanks!

    1. It is the same sauce as in the recipe, I just made more and had a more shallow bowl in that first photo.

      – Linda

  2. We made this the other day. It tastes great, but the portions are teeny tiny. Your recipe says yields 4, so we doubled it for our family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids ages 11, 9, 4, and 1) and it was barley enough to feed everyone. We’ll definitely be making it again but we’ll quadruple it this time

    1. Hi Joy,

      Glad you love it and thanks for the portions feedback. I have updated it to say it serves 2 instead of 4.

      – Linda

  3. This was AMAZING! I’ve already made it twice this month. I had to buy the dried chilies from Amazon, but it was well worth it! What great flavor. I subbed coconut aminos for the dark soy and agave nectar for the brown sugar (that’s what I had on hand)…and my whole family loved it!
    The first time I made it I doubled the recipe and the second time I quadrupled the recipe so we wouldn’t have to fight over the leftovers. 😀
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Angela,

      Thanks for sharing your changes and your way to keep from fighting over the leftovers! 🙂

      – Linda

  4. Chicken added with cashew does gave me a great taste that I can’t still forget. Such a vital recipe for homemaker like me