Thai Cashew Chicken

I didn’t think they actually served Thai Cashew Chicken in Thailand.

Skinny Honey Thai Cashew Chicken. Ready in 20 minutes! Juicy chicken, crisp veggies, and the best sweet and savory sauce. Easy, healthy recipe perfect for busy weeknights. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

When we tumbled out of our hotel room in Chiang Mai at 10:45 p.m. in fervent search of dinner after a delayed flight, my stomach’s resolve to eat the first food we could find was outmatched only by my relentless determination to not, under any circumstances, waste a single meal in Thailand.

I forced Ben to bypass several restaurants that I deemed “too touristy,” and after we had been walking 10 minutes, he stopped firmly in front of what was one of the first open restaurants we’d seen in a while, pointed to the menu, and asked me, a look of animal-like desperation in his eyes, “Can we PLEASE eat here?” I glanced at the menu and spotted cashew chicken. I was immediately suspicious. Wasn’t cashew chicken just something they served at Westernized “Thai” restaurants in America? Surely this place could not be legit.

It was nearly 11 p.m., and even I had to admit that our prospects of finding other open options were dwindling. I reluctantly agreed.

Then, as if he could read my thoughts and were looking to spite me for making us walk so far, Ben ordered the cashew chicken.

Skinny Honey Thai Cashew Chicken. Even better than take out! An easy, healthy recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

It was delicious.

I’m still not sure how authentic cashew chicken is (we didn’t make it in any of our cooking classes or have it at our homestays), but it became Ben’s go-to restaurant dish of the trip. He ordered it at every available opportunity. Thus, great food moocher that I am, I had the pleasure of sampling it from his plate at every available opportunity too.

Today’s recipe is my adaptation of the Thai Cashew Chicken we had at nearly every restaurant north of Bangkok. Authentic or not, it’s a dynamite stir-fry dish that has weeknight dinner wrapped.

Stir-fries are a faithful companion on busy weeknights. They’re fast, hit every food group from veggies to lean proteins in a single pan, and are perfect for using up odd bits of leftover produce lurking in the fridge. Start to finish, this simple chicken and cashew nut stir-fry is ready in 20 minutes flat, even fewer if your veggies and chicken are already prepped.

Easy Honey Thai Cashew Chicken. Easy, healthy, and delicious! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

If you’ve had cashew chicken at take-out restaurants, you’ll be familiar with the rich, savory flavors of the sauce and the warm crunch of the cashews. This particular cashew chicken recipe, however, is much lighter and healthier than what you’ll find in a restaurant. I packed it with veggies, sweetened the sauce naturally with honey, then served it over whole-grain brown rice (quinoa would be tasty too). Honestly, I didn’t miss the extra oil and sugar one bit, and I don’t think that you will either.

Skinny Honey Thai Cashew Chicken. Easy, healthy, and so much better than take out! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Thai Cashew Chicken certainly saved our dinner that late night in Chiang Mai, so I feel it’s only fitting that it’s destined to be a weeknight dinner hero for us in Wisconsin. I hope it saves a manic Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday) wherever you try it too.

Tools I used to make this recipe:

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Thai Cashew Chicken

Skinny Thai Cashew Chicken. Easy, healthy, and ready in 20 minutes! Juicy chicken, crisp veggies, and the best sweet and savory sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Cashew Chicken:

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or substitute arrowroot powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 bunch green onions (about 6 medium), thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup dry roasted, unsalted cashews
  • Cooked brown rice or quinoa, for serving

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus additional to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4–1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus additional to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high. Once the oil is hot and shiny, add the chicken mixture and sauté for 4 minutes, just until lightly browned. Add the bell pepper, broccoli, and green onions. Continue sautéing until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 additional minutes. Stir in the cashews and cook for 30 additional seconds.
  3. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, ginger, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Taste and add additional honey and/or red pepper flakes as desired (I added an additional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes). Pour the sauce over the skillet and toss to coat. Enjoy immediately with brown rice.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 4) with 1/2 cup prepared brown rice

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 553 Calories
  • Total Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg
  • Sodium: 851mg
  • Carbohydrates: 57g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Sugar: 19g
  • Protein: 35g

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

35 comments

  1. This sounds both wonderfully tasty and simple.  I’m curious if you think that unseasoned rice vinegar would work for this – unless I were going to be making this constantly, there would otherwise be no point in my buying the seasoned stuff, because I don’t have any other use for it.

    • Hi Susan, I think it will be just fine to use unseasoned rice vinegar. If you think the sauce needs a little extra something after you taste it, try adding a little more soy sauce. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  2. Hey girl- this looks amazing! Yummy!

  3. Oh YUM. Anything Thai-related is the key to my heart. Adding this to my weeknight meal ideas!

  4. Authentic or not, this looks too good to pass up! We have a really similar cashew chicken stir fry in our weeknight repertoire, pinning this one to try next time we make it!

  5. SO JEALOUS of your Thailand adventure, my husband and I are dying to get to Asia and Thailand is tops on our list! In the meantime, I guess I’ll make us this chicken ;) xo

  6. I loved seeing pictures and reading about your trip! It looks like a wonderful experience!
    I love the fresh, tasty look of this dish and wish I had a plate of it in front of me right now! xo

  7. I am so jealous of every part of your trip, especially the food!! To make it up to myself (hah!), I made this dish for dinner tonight and oh my goodness – so good! I especially loved the way the chicken turned out. Plus cashews mhmm. It was the perfect weeknight meal for us – quick to prep, full of veggies, and made plenty of leftovers!

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Melissa! YAY! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I really appreciate your taking the time to report back and leave this nice review. It means a lot!

  8. Delicious!  My husband and I very much enjoyed this!  We did add 1 jalapeño (no seeds) to amp up the heat and it was great!  Thanks Erin! 

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Katie! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! The jalapeño sounds like a delicious addition. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to leave this kind review!

  9. Will try it with peanuts. I’m allergic to cashews.

  10. Made this tonight and it was a big hit. I used unseasoned rice vinegar and it had plenty of flavor. This will definitely be come part of our weeknight repertoire. Thanks!!

    Rating: 4
    • Thank you so much, Diane! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for reporting back about the unseasoned rice vinegar and for leaving this kind review!

  11. Randi Sloan-Demetriou Reply

    I made this last night. My husband made the sauce while I cooked. We only had regular Rice vinegar on hand so we used it. It was so flavorful, easy, fast and beautiful! So glad I found your website. It made about 8 servings, so it was economical, too.

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Randi! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you so much for leaving this wonderful review! I’m happy you’re here!

  12. Hi there I made this DELICIOUS recipie of yours last night my 30 year old executive son loved it he had 2 huge helpings I SERVED IT WITH BASMATI CILANTRO AND GREEN PEA RICE , what a keeper! I will be making it forever thankyou so much ! diana from toronto canada

    Rating: 4.5
    • Hi Diana, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! That rice sounds like a delicious accompaniment to the dish. Thank you so much for giving it a try and reporting back!

  13. I made this tonight and it was wonderful! I served it with Sriracha sauce to turn up the heat for those who wanted it. Thanks for a great recipe – I love when I stumble across a recipe with tons of flavor and veggies!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so happy to hear this, Diane! Sriracha is definitely a good choice for spicing up as desired. Thanks so much for sharing your feedback!

  14. Yum – thank you for the great recipe! And for the fun story to go with it.

    Rating: 5
  15. Made this recipe last week and it was great! When I brought the leftovers to work everyone assumed it was from a local Chinese restaurant and was surprised to learn I made it at home. Very tasty and not too hard to make. 

    Rating: 5
    • Awesome, Sarah! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave this great feedback!

  16. Would this work with dried ginger? How much would you substitute for the fresh?

    • Hi Kate, you can play around with ground ginger, but the flavor is flatter and less vibrant than fresh, so I recommend fresh if at all possible! If you do really want to use ground, dried spices are generally substituted at one-third the amount of fresh called for in the recipe. Just be aware though that the final flavor will differ if you use ground.

  17. Hello from New Zealand! I’m a Chicagoan living down under and I’m so happy I stumbled onto your site! I love it! I’ve made a few of your recipes and this is my favourite so far- so so so tasty. 

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Milena! I’m glad you enjoy the recipe! Thank you so much for your kind words about my site—I really appreciate it! :)

  18. This was delicious! I used apple cider vinegar in place of the rice vinegar and it turned out well. I also used 3 chicken breasts (instead of 2) and the proportion of meat to veggies was perfect. Omitted the red pepper flakes since not many here like spice. Will definitely be adding this to our regular menu rotation. Thank you! 

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful feedback and your tweaks! I’m glad to hear the recipe was a winner!

  19. I made this several weeks ago and it is a keeper! I’m making it again tonight but I’m adding carrots, mushrooms, and water crescents to it! Serving over brown rice!

    • I’m glad you like the recipe, Kay! Those additions sound delicious. I really appreciate your taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

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