Chinese Cashew Chicken
There are many recipes online, but I am going to teach you the best homemade and authentic Chinese cashew chicken recipe that tastes just like takeout from the best Chinese restaurants.
The secret to becoming an expert on this recipe lies in the silky velveting techniques of the chicken and the sauce. Master those and you won’t need takeout again, believe me.
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How to Make Cashew Chicken “silky”
If you have been to a good Chinese restaurant, you would notice that the chicken is extremely tender and silky smooth – almost velvety. Yes, most Chinese chefs “treat” the chicken with baking soda.
Baking soda removes the potential “meaty” odor from the meat and tenderizes at the same time (learn all about it in my Cook’s Note). Pairing the velvety chicken with crunchy cashew nuts adds texture and tastes absolutely delicious.
Cashew Chicken Sauce
What kind of sauce is used? Like most Chinese stir-fry, the sauce is a Chinese brown sauce that is made of oyster sauce, soy sauce, water (or chicken broth) and sugar.
For authentic flavors, sesame oil, ground white pepper and Chinese rice wine are also used to make the sauce. Lastly, corn starch is added to thicken up this traditional sauce.
Tips for the Best Cashew Chicken
- Use chicken breasts for the best result.
- Do not skimp on the cashews – include loads of cashew nuts.
- The brown sauce is the soul of this dish, so get the best quality Chinese soy sauce and oyster sauce.
- Add red or green bell peppers and cook in a wok or skillet. Make some steamed rice to go with it and you don’t need Chinese takeout ever again!
How Many Calories per Serving?
This recipe is only 515 calories per serving.
What Dishes to Serve with This Recipe?
For a wholesome meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.
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- 10 oz. boneless and skinless chicken breast (cut into small cubes)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 5 slices peeled ginger
- 1 small red or green bell pepper (cut into small squares)
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 dashes ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rice wine (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Rinse the chicken breast with cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken into cubes and marinate with corn starch and rice wine (if using). Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce together. Set aside.
- Heat up a wok or skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil and stir-fry the chicken until they turn white (not bot completely cooked). Dish out and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil into the wok or skillet and add the ginger and bell pepper. Stir-fry until you smell the peppery aroma from the peppers, then add the chicken back in. Stir in the Sauce and toss and stir fry continuously until the chicken is cooked and the sauce thickens. Add salt to taste.
- Add the cashew nuts and do a few quick stirs. Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
I can’t do the oyster sauce…if I leave it out will it be missed and if so, what else can I substitute for it?
Just use soy sauce or fish sauce.
This sounds delicious! What are your thoughts on adding celery to it?
You can add celery.
This meal is so delicious and easy. I’ve made it again and again!
I just cooked this and was impressed once again. I did the bicarbonate marinade and couldn’t believe how much better the chicken was. My wife doesn’t eat chicken very often as she thinks it’s generally rubbery but she loved this. I’ll be doing this for all chicken recipes from now on. Cant wait to try more of your amazing recipes. Thanks.
Hi Brian, that’s awesome, please try more recipes on my site: https://rasamalaysia.com/recipe-index-gallery/
This is my favourite go to recipe when I have a craving for Chinese take-out. I have made it numerous times. I find I have to multiply the marinade and sauce X 4 for a family of four (3-4 chicken breasts cubed). Also, I have to add additional cornstarch to the sauce mixture (about 1 Tbsp) to get a silky sauce. 3 cloves of minced garlic and grated ginger is a nice addition to this recipe as well. Like one other commenter, I too use rice vinegar in place of rice wine. It still tastes great.
Hi Marni, thanks for trying my cashew chicken recipe. :)
Your recipes are always so light and delicious. I just made this and it’s sooo good. Treating the chicken with baking soda made it so silky and tender. I added some dried red chili peppers for heat. Amazing!
Thanks for trying my cashew chicken. I am so happy you had success. :)
Question, do you velvetize the whole chicken pieces of the cut up chicken?
Velvet the cut up chicken pieces.