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This tasty Thai Cashew Chicken is loaded with crunchy veggies, tender chicken and an abundance of toasted cashews all in a delicious Thai stir fry sauce! This Thai dish is incredibly quick to make, ready in just 20 minutes start to finish!

freshly made thai cashew chicken in a black plate.

I think you all know my love of one pot dishes that take less than 30 minutes by now. This chicken dish is ready in just 20 minutes, so you know it’s not only faster than take out, it’s much better, because it’s homemade. I’m talking lots of crisp veggies, tender chicken pieces, roasted cashews in one lip-smacking umami packed sauce!

Thai Cashew Chicken

  • Tender and yummy chicken
  • Roasted cashews
  • Crispy veggies such as peppers and onions
  • Ready in 20 minutes, start to finish

There are many versions of Thai cashew chicken out there, as well as many versions of Chinese cashew chicken, but don’t confuse the two. Unlike the Chinese version, the Thai version isn’t quite as saucy. However, I love saucy dishes, so I made this with a bit more sauce, simply because I love to soak my rice in some umami sauce.

You might need to double up your ingredients, because I guarantee, your food will be gone before you can say ‘Cashew’.

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken – Chicken thighs are best here because they’re juicy and most flavorful, however, you can use chicken breast as well.
  • Cashews – The star ingredient in this dish. You’ll want to use raw unsalted cashews and you’ll want to toast them in a bit of peanut oil. It will make all the difference.
  • Onion and garlic – Essential flavor enhancers in any stir fry and lots of other dishes!
  • Veggies – In this dish, you’ll usually find red bell peppers cut into bite size pieces, green onions and red chilies. I opted for dried red chilies, fresh would work too, just keep in mind they are quite a bit spicier.
  • Soy Sauce – I’m using both soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Aim for a low sodium soy sauce. The dark soy sauce is not only added for that extra intensely flavored soy but also to darken the color of the sauce.
  • White Vinegar – You’ll need just a bit to add some acidity to the sauce and balance out the flavors.
  • Sugar – To add a bit of sweetness to the sauce.
  • Oyster sauce – This is where that umami flavor comes from.
  • Cornstarch – I only used a bit of cornstarch to slightly thicken up the sauce.

How To Make Thai Cashew Chicken

  1. Make the sauce: Stir all the sauce ingredients into a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cook the cashews: Heat the peanut oil in a large wok or skillet, over medium heat. Add the cashews and cook until they become aromatic and start to brown but not burn, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cashews to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
  3. Cook veggies: Turn up the heat to high and add the onion, garlic and bell peppers to the wok and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Cook the chicken: Add the cubed chicken thighs to the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.
  5. Finish the dish: Add the dried red chilies and sauce to the wok. Cook for another 2 minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy. Stir in the toasted cashews and green onions and serve.

FAQ’s and Expert Tips

thai cashew chicken over a bed of rice.

FAQ’S

Can I make this ahead?

I would recommend making the sauce the day before, and prepping all your other ingredients. Cover everything and refrigerate, so the next day you just have to cook everything together which takes less than 10 minutes.

How to serve Thai Cashew Chicken

My favorite way to serve this is over cooked rice such as Jasmine rice or Basmati rice. You could also serve it over rice noodles.

Can I make this gluten free?

Sure, just make sure the ingredients you use, such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, etc are gluten free.

A FEW TIPS

  1. If you’re not a big fan of chicken thighs, you can confidently use chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces as the recipe mentions.
  2. I prefer raw unsalted cashews because I like to toast them myself in some peanut oil. If you only have unsalted roasted cashews you can use those as well, though I would still go ahead and toast them a bit for extra nutty flavor.
  3. Feel free to add extra veggies to this recipe. Some great addition would be mushrooms, broccoli or asparagus.
  4. If you’re using fresh red chilies, keep in mind they are much spicier than the dried ones, so adjust as necessary for your comfortable spice level.

Leftovers

FRIDGE

This Thai cashew chicken is best served fresh. However, leftovers will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I usually just reheat in the microwave for a 1 to 2 minutes before serving over rice or noodles.

FREEZER

You can freeze this by storing it in an airtight container or freezer bags, once it has fully cooled. Store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. To thaw, take it out of the freezer the night before and place it in the refrigerator. The next day when ready to serve, either heat it up in the microwave and add it to a skillet or wok and stir-fry until heated through.

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