This Thai Cashew Chicken recipe is an easy stir-fry recipe that is so flavorful! This Thai cashew chicken stir fry combines chicken, yellow onion, green onion, dried red chilies, garlic, and toasted cashews for a delicious meal that is ready in 20 minutes.
Thai Chicken with Cashews is my very, very, very favorite dish of all time.
Whenever someone asks me what my last meal would be, I don’t even hesitate. Thai Cashew Chicken, every single time. Add a cold glass of Thai Iced Tea and I’m in absolute heaven.
When I was going to university, a good friend kept telling me about this Thai restaurant he was going to and I kept turning my nose up at it. I’d never had Thai food, and I was not really that interested in trying it.
He finally convinced me to go one time when I was really, really hungry and would have eaten anything, and I’m SO glad he did. My life was forever changed!
Being a first-timer, my friend had me order Pad Thai (which I also adore), but my real love affair with Thai food happened during a visit home with another friend.
We went to this Thai restaurant and I ordered the Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts on a whim.
Suffice it to say that it is the single most delicious dish on the planet.
Sadly, that restaurant is now CLOSED. I know you can’t see me right now, but I’m making a really pathetic sad face.
And now I’m making a happy face because I remembered that I can make this deliciousness at home! Yay!
Just look at it! It’s glistening. It wants to be consumed.
Don’t be afraid of the dried red peppers – they just add a bit of heat to the sauce then serve as a garnish. I’ve taken an adventurous nibble of the peppers from time to time, but I’d caution you to just let them be pretty on your plate and not eat them.
The other kind of “strange” ingredients you need would be Fish Sauce and Sweet Dark Soy Sauce.
You can buy these in any Asian grocery mart, and I can sometimes find it in large supermarkets on the Asian foods aisle.
Here’s a link to the brand of Sweet Dark Soy Sauce I use and here’s the fish sauce I buy on the regular.
You might notice the fork and spoon shown in the pictures. The lovely Nicole over at The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie emailed me recently asking about my experiences in Thailand.
One of the things I shared with her was that Thais never eat directly off of a fork because it is considered “crude” (like eating steak directly off of a knife here in the States).
Instead, they hold the fork in their left hand and use it to scoop food onto the spoon held in the right hand, then eat directly off of the spoon.
I like to eat Thai food this way at home because it makes me feel special.
If you’re looking for something delicious to go with this stir-fry, I’d highly recommend a cool, refreshing Thai Cucumber & Cashew Salad. It goes so, so well with this one!
One last piece of advice before I hand this cashew nut chicken recipe over to you: when I say “Stir-Fry”, I mean “stir, THEN fry.”
The purpose of stir-frying is to let the ingredients fry and get a lovely brown color before you stir it to keep it from burning. Let the food fry for about 30 seconds at a time before stirring it, and make sure you are using medium-high heat.
If you stir it too much, or fry it over too low of a heat, this Thai cashew nut chicken recipe won’t turn out right. The chicken will poach from the steam and be white rather than brown.
Nobody likes white, poached chicken.
I use this wok whenever I cook stir-fry. If you don’t have a wok, just use the biggest sauté pan you have.
How to Make Thai Cashew Chicken
Here is the easy way to make this Thai Cashew Chicken recipe.
Assemble the ingredients. Please note that the exact amounts for each ingredient are listed in the recipe card at the end of this post.
First, we will make the sauce. Whisk all of 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 in all of the cashew nuts. Fry the cashews until they turn light brown, just a few minutes.
Remove them 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. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until you can start to smell the spicy aroma of the chilies.
Add in the chicken 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 to distribute around the pan.
Add the sauce to the wok and toss all of the ingredients to coat them well.
Turn off the heat and add in the chopped scallions.
Serve this Thai chicken cashew stir fry immediately with a side of jasmine rice.
Okay, you’ve paid your dues by reading through all of this so I will reward you with the Thai chicken stir fry recipe. Stay hungry, my friends.
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.
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Thai Cashew Chicken Recipe
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 chilies - 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
- Whisk all of 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 in all of the cashew nuts. Fry the cashews until they turn light brown, just a few minutes. Remove them 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. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until you can start to smell the spicy aroma of the chilies. Add in the chicken 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 to distribute around the pan.
- Add the sauce to the wok and toss all of the ingredients to coat them well. Turn off the heat and add in the chopped scallions. Serve immediately with a side of jasmine rice.
Just made it. Taste delicious. A keeper. Next time double a portion. Thank you.
Anna, thank you for your comments, so glad you loved it! – Linda
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.
It is the same sauce as in the recipe, I just made more and had a more shallow bowl in that first photo.
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
Glad you love it and thanks for the portions feedback.
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!
Thanks for sharing your changes and your way to keep from fighting over the leftovers! 🙂
Chicken added with cashew does gave me a great taste that I can’t still forget. Such a vital recipe for homemaker like me