Spicy Garlic Cashew Chicken

Zesty and spicy chicken, marinated with a cashew, garlic and jalapeño sauce. Grilled or broiled to a crisp golden brown and served with lime wedges.

Spicy Garlic Cashew Chicken
Elise Bauer

My father first found this Melissa Clark recipe in the New York Times in 2007. We thought the combination of cashews, garlic, cilantro and jalapeños intriguing and worth a try.

When my 9-year old visiting nephew proclaimed, "Hey, this chicken is good!," we knew we had a keeper!

Spicy Garlic Cashew Chicken
Elise Bauer

I've since made this recipe several times, with great results. Note the reader comments. People have subbed almonds and walnuts for the cashews, and parsley for the cilantro. Great for a summer cookout!

Spicy Garlic Cashew Chicken

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 4 servings

Taste the jalapeños first, before using. Jalapeños vary in heat and sometimes you need more, sometimes less to get the desired heat level. If you want to take it up a notch in heat, leave in more of the seeds.

Use gloves when handling jalapeños (or a plastic sandwich bag), or coat your hands with a little oil first, before cutting the peppers, and then wash hands with warm soap and water after.


  • 1 cup roasted (salted or unsalted) cashew nuts

  • 6 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped (leaves and stems)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten free for gluten-free version)

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, stems and most seeds discarded, roughly chopped

  • 1 tablesoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs


  1. Make the spicy cashew paste:

    In a food processor or blender, add the cashews, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, jalapeño, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of water.

    Pulse or blend until the mixture is a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Reserve a third of the marinade for serving with the chicken. Use the rest for coating the chicken.

  2. Coat chicken with the cashew paste:

    Sprinkle the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken pieces with the marinade.

    At this point if you want, you can make ahead, and chill for several hours or overnight until ready to cook. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  3. Grill or broil the chicken:

    Preheat broiler or prepare grill (or grill pan) for medium direct heat.

    Broil or grill chicken, turning frequently, until golden and crisp and a meat thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (not touching a bone), or when the juices run clear (not pink) when cut into with a knife.

    This will take about 25 to 35 minutes for a grill on medium heat, or about 10-20 minutes under a broiler, depending on how far the chicken is from the heat.

    Note that as you turn the pieces, some of the coating will fall off. It's to be expected, so don't worry if and when this happens.

    Serve with lime wedges, reserved marinade, and cilantro.

Recipe barely adapted from New York Times Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken published July 11, 2007.


Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken here on Simply Recipes

Roast Chicken with Cilantro and Lime - from Kalyn's Kitchen

Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1065 Calories
76g Fat
16g Carbs
86g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1065
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 76g 98%
Saturated Fat 19g 96%
Cholesterol 435mg 145%
Sodium 1112mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 86g
Vitamin C 7mg 33%
Calcium 70mg 5%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 1144mg 24%
*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.