Sticky Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
Making Sticky Cashew Chicken at home is easier and tastier than getting take out! The tender chicken is crispy on the outside and coated in an outrageous amount of deliciously sticky, sweet and sour sauce which is really easy to put together. It’s littered with crunchy, nutty cashews which add texture. Serve it with a big bowl of steaming rice a side salad or even in wraps!
My favorite thing about this Chinese American dish is all of the different textures and the tasty sauce. Making the sauce is quick and easy and uses pantry staples that most people have. Once you slice your chicken breast, you coat it in the egg coating and then dip in the corn starch and fry in batches. Cook the sauce and coat everything together! It’s an impressive looking meal that you can make on a weeknight or Friday night with ease!
If you’re looking for more tasty Asian inspired meals check out my Chinese Fried Rice which comes together in a flash and is super tasty, my healthy baked Orange Chicken or my Crispy Salmon Rice Bowl Recipe.
Sticky Cashew Chicken is what’s for dinner!
Skip the take out menu and make this delicious saucy cashew chicken instead. It’s flavorful, slightly sweet, sour and salty. Perfectly paired with a huge steaming bowl of fluffy rice!
- Extra saucy! – I’m a believer in having extra sauce in my stir fry recipes so that there’s plenty for the rice to get coated too!
- Crispy chicken – and tender too! If you coat the chicken and serve it straight away it stays crispy, but even if the sauce softens it, the chicken is tender, juicy and so flavorful.
- Crunchy Cashews! – these add so much nutty flavor to this wonderful dish.
- Serve it any way! – my favorite way to serve this is with a bowl of steaming rice but if I feel like something lighter, I serve it with a side salad. You can even put this in wraps!
Ingredients You Need To Make Sticky Cashew Chicken
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
- Rice – I use medium grain rice. I have an amazing recipe on how to make easy steamed rice with no special equipment!
- Light soy sauce – has a lighter flavor and isn’t overpowering.
- Honey – regular honey works here.
- Hoisin sauce – can be found in the Asian isle of your supermarket.
- Corn starch – is used to thicken the sauce and as a way of coating the chicken which when cooked, goes nice and crispy when the chicken is cooked. I’ve used all-purpose flour and it works but it’s not as crispy.
- Garlic – freshly minced.
- Ginger – I didn’t have fresh ginger on hand so I used jarred ginger paste, but you can get away with using ginger powder if you like.
- Sesame oil – I love the flavor of sesame oil. If you don’t have it, use canola oil.
- Chinese cooking wine – helps add some sourness to the sauce.
- Chicken breast – thinly sliced! Buy from a butcher if you can instead of buying from a supermarket.
- Egg – I used a large egg.
- Onion powder – adds a nice sweetness.
- Garlic powder
- Vegetable oil – you can also use canola oil.
- Cashew nuts – typically you don’t use salted cashews but salted cashews, but I like the added saltiness and that they’re roasted. You can also use unsalted cashews.
- Spring onion – also known as scallions, thinly sliced.
- Sesame sees – I used white sesame seeds.
How to make Sticky Cashew Chicken!
- Cut your chicken breast into strips
- Add the soy sauce, honey, hoisin and corn starch to a small mixing bowl or jug and whisk to combine.
- Add the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine and water and whisk until combined.
- Mix chicken with the egg and marinade ingredients.
- Coat the chicken in corn starch
- Fry in batches until golden and crispy.
- Once cooked place on top of paper towels and continue cooking.
- Wipe the frypan clean and add the sauce ingredients. Stir until bubbly and thickened.
- Add the chicken and cashews and mix to coat right before serving with some rice or a salad.
Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!
- Coat the chicken right before serving for a crispy chicken experience! The sauce eventually softens the crispy coating but it helps the sauce stick to the chicken making it even tastier!
- Add a dash of chili flakes for some extra heat!
- Add your fave veggies to make it serve even more people.
- If you don’t have a wok, you can use a large frypan.
- Cut the chicken into even sized pieces so everything cooks at the same time.
- Want to make this even quicker and easier to make? Skip the crispy coating for something that tastes just as flavorful but comes together in a flash!
- If you can’t find roasted cashews, roast natural cashew in the oven until they’re golden.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sticky Cashew Chicken
How can I make this quicker?
You can skip the corn starch coating and just cook all the chicken at once in a frypan on high heat!
How do I store this?
This is best served the day its made but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can I use tofu instead of chicken?
Yes! Skip the coating and fry in a little oil until golden and crispy.
What type of pan is best for this recipe?
A large non-stick frypan is best with deep sides. You can also use a wok.
Can I use chicken thigh instead of chicken breast?
Yep! If you use chicken thigh, feel for bones, cut away any excess fat and cut into even sized cubes. Follow the rest of the instructions the same exact way.
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Sticky Cashew Chicken
- 1 cup (300 g) medium or long grain rice
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) boiling water
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp Chinese cooking wine
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
- 2 (600 g) large chicken breasts , sliced into strips
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup (160 g) corn starch divided.
- 8 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup (140 g) cashews salted or unsalted (see notes)
- 1 small bunch spring onion sliced
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Add the rice to a large pot that has a lid. Turn the heat to high and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the boiling water and stir. Cover with a lid and turn to low heat. Allow to cook for exactly 12 minutes, then set aside with the lid on top for 5 minutes to finish steaming. Do not take the lid off at any point during the cooking process.
- Add the soy sauce, honey, hoisin and corn starch to a small mixing bowl or jug and whisk to combine. Add the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine and water and whisk until combined. Set aside until ready to use.
- Slice the chicken breasts or thighs into strips. Set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the egg, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and 2 tbsp of corn starch and mix using a spoon. Add the chicken strips and mix to coat the chicken. Add about 1/3 of the chicken into a bowl with the remaining corn starch and use your hands to coat well. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat this until all the chicken is coated.
- Heat a large skillet on high heat. Add 4 tbsp of vegetable oil and add half the chicken on the frypan as single pieces. Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until you reach an internal temperature of 75C / 165F and the chicken is crispy and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the remaining oil and chicken and repeat.
- Turn the frypan down to medium heat and wipe the oil away with a paper towel. Add the sauce and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add the chicken and mix to coat.
- Finish by adding half the spring onion, half the cashews (I chopped mine) and all of the sesame seeds. Mix to coat. Serve with more cashew, sesame seeds and spring onion on top of steamed rice. Goes well with a crispy salad too.