Easy Cashew Chicken

Skip the Chinese takeout and make this Cashew Chicken at home! Marinate the chicken in peanut oil, chili powder, honey, and tamari, and then cook with onions and mushrooms.

Cashew chicken
Elise Bauer

This cashew chicken recipe is one of my favorites on the site, and not just because it hails from my friend Marc.

Marc loves sharing stories of his famous cashew chicken, his trademark dish, tested and perfected over decades of crashing at the homes of old and new friends in exchange for his cooking.

What Is Cashew Chicken?

Cashew Chicken is a takeout standby that you can easily make at home. The chicken is marinated in a sauce with peanut oil, tamari (or soy sauce, if you can't find tamari), honey, and chili powder. It's cooked with mushrooms, onions, and, of course, cashews.

How to Make Cashew Chicken

The chicken marinates for at least a half hour while you toast cashews in a skillet. Then, the cashews cool and you cook the chicken, remove it from the pan, and then cook the onions and mushrooms together. Then, everything gets combined in the pan. It's great served with rice.

Ways to Adapt This Cashew Chicken

One of the things I like so much about this cashew chicken is that it is a good base recipe from which one can easily expand. Several people suggested the addition of some ginger and onion greens, which I agree works well and I've added in this updated version as an option.

I've also enjoyed it with some fresh chopped pineapple thrown in, giving it some sweetness. Others have added vegetables such as broccoli or snow peas.

Note that the amounts specified in the recipe are all approximate. But with these ingredients, in approximately the right proportions, it's hard to go wrong.

Steps to Make This Cashew Chicken Ahead

You can marinate the chicken the night before you are going to make it if you would like, or at least a few hours ahead of time. The minimum it needs is a half an hour.

More Takeout Faves to Make at Home!

Easy Cashew Chicken

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Marinating 30 mins
Total Time 75 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

You can whip this up pretty quickly if you first start with the marinade, then chop the vegetables and cook the cashews while the chicken is marinating.


For the chicken:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds total), cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 3/4 cup peanut oil or other vegetable oil

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce; use wheat-free tamari or soy sauce if you need to cook gluten free)

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 2 cups raw cashews

  • 3 cups onions (about 2 medium large onions), roughly chopped

  • 3 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped

For garnish, optional:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

  • 1/4 cup scallions or green onions, green parts only, chopped


  1. Marinate the chicken:

    Place the cubed chicken in a medium bowl. Add the oil. Add the tamari until the marinade turns dark brown (about 2 tablespoons per breast). Sprinkle the chili powder over the chicken pieces while stirring, so that each piece of chicken gets well coated with the chili powder and marinade.

    Stir in the honey, about 2 tablespoons for each breast. Add chopped ginger if using. Marinate for 1/2 hour to several hours, the longer the better.

    Cashew chicken Marinating chicken breast
    Elise Bauer
  2. Toast the cashews:

    Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Spread the cashews in a single layer over the bottom of the pan. Stir until lightly browned, remove from heat.

  3. Sauté the chicken:

    Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Working in batches if needed so you don't crowd the pan, use tongs to remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place them in the pan, reserving the extra marinade.

    Sauté the chicken pieces until just cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.

    Place any extra marinade back in the pan and simmer for several minutes (to kill any bacteria). Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the marinade into a separate bowl and reserve.

    Cashew chicken recipe saute the chicken
    Elise Bauer
    Chicken with Cashew Nuts simmer the sauce
    Elise Bauer
  4. Sauté onions and mushrooms:

    In the same pan, sauté the onions on medium high to high heat for several minutes.

    Add mushrooms and continue to sauté until onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked, several minutes more. Add some reserved marinade to the pan if necessary.

    Cashew Chicken Stir Fry brown the onions
    Elise Bauer
  5. Combine all the ingredients:

    Add the chicken and cashews back to the pan with the mushrooms and onions. Stir to combine.

    Cashew Chicken recipe add cashews to skillet
    Elise Bauer
  6. Serve:

    Stir in onion greens (if using) right before serving. Serve over rice. This will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator, covered.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
848 Calories
51g Fat
55g Carbs
49g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 848
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 51g 66%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 1551mg 67%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Total Sugars 34g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 9mg 47%
Calcium 82mg 6%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 1185mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.