Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

Cashew chicken meets pad thai- sweet, a little sour, full of tender chicken and crunchy veggies. A stir fry is really the most customizable recipe. If you don’t like cashews, use peanuts. If you don’t like peanuts, sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds after you plate it. I use gluten free Thai noodles here simply because they cook the fastest, but white rice, brown rice or even regular ole spaghetti all work great. This recipe also lends itself well to being served in a bowl along side some really good butter lettuce or romaine for a lighter version in lettuce cups.

If you don’t love the veggie blend I use here (green onion, matchstick carrots & red bell pepper) use whatever you like. I do however always swear by the combo of an onion, a pepper and something crunchy like carrots or steamed broccoli. If you want to make it even more Pad Thai, squeeze some fresh lime into the pan and on top after you serve it, and in place of parsley and cashews use cilantro and peanuts.

This is a QUICK recipe. Yes there are several ingredients but you can marinate the chicken a head of time. Make your sauce right before you start cooking, and make sure your veggies are all sliced and ready to go. This entire thing cooks from start to finish in about 6-8 Minutes. 

A few tips and tricks before we start:

  • I make a slurry here (a combo of cornstarch and water) to thicken the sauce before I plate it. If you don’t, it will be really runny and won’t coat the chicken and veggies well.
  • Coconut sugar, Or coconut palm sugar is a fantastic sugar substitute I often bake with. Coconut palm sugar tastes similar to brown sugar but is unrefined, and lower on the glycemic index so its great for people with blood sugar issues. Its easy to find on any baking aisle in your grocery store. Its essentially sap from a coconut tree that has been dehydrated and then ground to form a sugar like consistency.
  • Hoisin sauce is AMAZING. I compare it to a more savory version of BBQ sauce. My mom made her cashew chicken with this growing up and it’s just not the same without it. Find it on the asian aisle with the soy sauces/noodles etc. Any brand will do and they should all taste about the same.

Ingredients: For the Chicken/Marinade (Marinate as little as 30 min or up to 4 hrs)

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground ginger
  • 1 Green onion sliced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed small

Cube the chicken breasts into small squares. Place in a gallon sized ziploc bag. In a medium sized bowl mix all ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour marinade into bag and squish the chicken around to make sure it is well coated. Place in refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Ingredients: For the stir fry sauce

  • 1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBSP Rice Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP packed coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP Hoison Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl making sure to dissolve the sugar. Set aside until you need it.

Ingredients: For the stir fry

  • 1 TBSP any high heat cooking oil (avocado, canola, vegetable)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 1 bell pepper (any color, I used red) diced fine
  • 1/2 Cup Matchstick carrots (I buy the pre chopped bag to make it easy)
  • 2 Green onions sliced thin
  • 3/4 Cup UNSALTED cashews (make sure they are unsalted or this will be WAY to salty)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon corn starch + 1-2 teaspoons water


  1. In a large skillet with high sides or a large soup pot, heat the oil on medium high heat. When the oil is warm and slightly shimmery add chicken from bag (yes, you can pour the marinade in). Add the chopped garlic and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside.

    2. Add chopped bell pepper and stir, cooking for 1 minute longer. Add green onion and carrots, stir to combine the mixture and continue cooking for 2 minutes more. Add the stir fry sauce mixture we made earlier.

    3. After you add the sauce, add your cashews and stir. To thicken the sauce, make your slurry. In a small bowl or dish add 1/2 teaspoon corn starch+1 to 2 teaspoons water (enough to totally dissolve the corn starch) whisk with a fork and pour directly into the stir fry. Stir constantly, allowing the sauce to bubble lightly and thicken from the slurry. This should take about 1 more minute.

    4. Take a piece of chicken out and cut it open to make sure it is totally done inside. Mine cooked fast because I cut them small- yours should be done at this point but check to be safe. When your chicken is done and the sauce has thickened, remove the pan from heat to stop the cooking.

    I served mine up over some gluten free Thai noodles, added some Sriracha and fresh cashews on top, and sprinkled with parsley and green onion. Garnish yours however you like.


    There will be enough sauce to coat the noodles or rice you put it on top of, just stir lightly and enjoy!

Remember to pin this recipe to save for later, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, and comment below with questions about this recipe. There are several serving suggestions at the top of the recipe if noodles aren’t your thing.



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