Chef John's Cashew Chicken Recipe -
Chef John's Cashew Chicken  Recipe
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How to Make Cashew Chicken
Turn leftover chicken into delicious cashew chicken. See more
  • READY IN 30 mins

Chef John's Cashew Chicken

Recipe by  

"This is a fantastic way to use up some leftover grilled chicken breasts. This will work with any kind of cooked chicken, but leftover grilled chicken has that little bit of smokiness that adds something special to this quick recipe. Serve over hot cooked rice."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 2 large portions Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    10 mins

    30 mins


  1. Season chicken cubes with salt and black pepper.
  2. Mix cornstarch and water in a bowl until smooth; whisk in lemon juice, rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, and chile pepper sauce into cornstarch mixture, stirring until brown sugar has dissolved and cornstarch is free of lumps.
  3. Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; pour in vegetable oil. Add slices of red chili and ginger to the hot oil. Cook, stirring often, until oil is flavored, about 2 minutes. Stir in cashews and garlic; cook until cashews are lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes more.
  4. Lightly toss seasoned chicken cubes with cashew mixture in skillet until combined, about 30 seconds. Turn heat down to medium-low and pour cornstarch mixture into skillet. Stir constantly until sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds. If too thick, add a splash of water. Simmer 2 more minutes to heat the chicken through. Adjust levels of salt, black pepper, soy sauce, and chile pepper sauce to taste. Stir in cilantro just until wilted, about 15 seconds.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 06, 2013

Delicious! The fresh lemon and cilantro create a bright flavor and not too oily or salty. I made this recipe exactly as written, using a leftover roasted chicken from the night before. This was a big hit with my husband and he asked me to make it again.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 12, 2013

I could barely eat this dish it was so hot! My lips are still burning! I made it exactly according to the recipe and I even like spicy hot foods but not this one. I will not make it again. I had to take the family to McDonald's.

Dec 19, 2014

I changed the recipe only a little after reading other reviews about the "spiciness." I ommitted the fresh hot red chile pepper. I exchanged the 2 teas. Asian Chile pepper with Sriracha Hot Chile sauce (maybe same thing). I exchanged the 1 TBLS. Ketchup with Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce. Served it with Jasmine Rice. My husband and son loved it.

Oct 10, 2013

It wasn't bad, but I won't be making it again.

Jan 05, 2015

too vinegar-y added one extra tbsp sugar, and still didnt taste 100%

Feb 04, 2014

Chicken Teriyaki is better recipe.

Sep 05, 2013

It smelled much better than it tasted. I did forget about adding the garlic (oops) but did add some garlic powder at the end. Thought that was why it wasn't great. I'm not a fan of cilantro and it had a huge presence in this dish. Overall, it wasn't terrible persay, but I wouldn't make it again. The flavors just didn't do it for me or my family.


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  • Calories
  • 539 kcal
  • 27%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 30.4 g
  • 10%
  • Cholesterol
  • 73 mg
  • 24%
  • Fat
  • 32.9 g
  • 51%
  • Fiber
  • 2 g
  • 8%
  • Protein
  • 33.5 g
  • 67%
  • Sodium
  • 829 mg
  • 33%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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