Healthy Crock Pot Cashew Chicken! It’s the stir fry minus the fry. The take-out minus the “please tell me someone else ate my last 17 bites when I wasn’t looking” feeling of regret.
The slow cooker chicken recipe for when the decision between turning on your oven to make dinner or keeping it off and dipping raw broccoli and cashews in soy sauce instead is closer to a tie than you imagined possible.
I adapted this Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken with vegetables from my recipe for Thai Cashew Chicken, one of my favorite quick-fix meals.
Like that easy cashew chicken recipe (and my Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken), this Crock Pot Cashew Chicken is super simple to prep, offers every food group in a single meal, and the addictive, sticky sauce will make it a fast fave, even among picky eaters.
As someone who loves her leftovers, I appreciate that this cashew chicken recipe is just as yummy reheated the next day too.
Unlike my original Thai Cashew Chicken, however, this Crock Pot Cashew Chicken is almost entirely hands free.
You’ll need to spend a few minutes at the stove—a quick 2 or 3 to brown the chicken, then 3 more to thicken the sauce at the end—but I pinky promise it is worth it!
Crock Pot Cashew Chicken — An Easy, Healthy Slow Cooker Recipe for Real Life
This Crock Pot Cashew Chicken also stands out for its flexibility.
Like all excellent stir fry-ish recipes, you can use it to clean out your refrigerator.
If I’m shopping ahead, I’ll make Crock Pot Cashew Chicken with broccoli and red bell peppers, but with a few modifications to the cooktime, you can easily swap almost any other vegetable instead.
If you’d like to make the Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken with harder veggies such as sweet potatoes or carrots, chop them more finely so that they finish in a similar cooking time to the peppers and broccoli (just like in this Crockpot Chicken and Broccoli).
Looking to add quicker-cooking vegetable such as asparagus? Stir them in closer to the end. Even veggies as fine as spinach are doable. Mix in a few handfuls at the very end, stopping as soon as the greens wilt.
Flexibility also comes in the form of the crock pot itself. While in a chopsticks vs. chopsticks battle of Thai Cashew Chicken v. Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, I’d probably lean towards the more traditional stovetop Thai stir fry (no matter how careful you are, the slow cooker does steal some of texture and flavor from the veggies), the crock pot offers major benefits that stove top stir fries do not. Namely, you can walk away from them.
This recipes cooks in 2 to 3 hours on low (even in a crock pot, lean chicken can’t be left all day the way fattier cuts of meat can), so if you’ll be away at work, you can prep all the ingredients in the morning or the night before, then pop them into the slow cooker when you get home from work.
Those at home with kids could start the meal towards the end of the school day (or during nap time/Sesame Street time), and it will be ready in time for dinner.
The slow cooker is also an excellent option for making meal time more stress free, as Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken agrees.
With this Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, by the time dinner is ready, I can have the dishes washed, squeeze in an errand, and (assuming I bothered to change out of them in the first place) be back in my yoga pants by the time the recipe is ready.
Tips to Store, Reheat, and Freeze
- To Store. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat leftovers in a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also rewarm leftovers in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Crock Pot Cashew Chicken Thighs. I chose to make this a slow cooker chicken breasts recipe, but you can easily swap chicken thighs, which is what I use in this Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken and this Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken.
- Crock Pot Cashew Pork. I haven’t tried this recipe with pork yet, but based on how much we enjoyed this Slow Cooker Pork Stir Fry, I suspect that diced pork tenderloin would be tasty too.
- To Make Gluten Free. Use a gluten free soy sauce or tamari
- To Make Paleo. To make it a slow cooker cashew chicken paleo recipe, use arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch and enjoy it over cauliflower rice.
For even more slow cooker meal ideas for all diets, be sure to check out my collection of the Best Crock Pot Recipes too! You may find other recipes you love like my Crock Pot Pepper Steak, Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken or Crockpot Orange Chicken!
Crock Pot Cashew Chicken
FOR THE CASHEW CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES:
- 1 3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs 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
- 2 small or 1 very large head of broccoli cut into florets (about 5 cups florets)
- 1 bunch green onions about 6 medium, thinly sliced with white and light green parts divided from the dark green parts
- 2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted cashews
- Cooked brown rice or quinoa for serving
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 3 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus additional to taste
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water to create a slurry
- In a small bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Lightly coat a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken mixture and sauté, breaking the pieces apart, for 2 to 3 minutes, just long enough to lightly brown the outsides. Transfer to the slow cooker. To the slow cooker, add the bell pepper, broccoli, and the white and light green parts of the green onions. Reserve the dark green parts for serving.
- In a small bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the sauce ingredients: soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Reserve the slurry. If you like a spicier sauce, add a few extra pinches of red pepper flakes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and stir to coat.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 2 to 3 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. (I do not recommend high heat for this as the chicken can overcook, even if you check it early.)
- With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and vegetables to a large plate or bowl. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan, then place the saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Let cook on high, stirring constantly, until the sauce is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add back to the slow cooker with the chicken and vegetables. Stir in the cashews. Sprinkle with reserved green onion tops. Enjoy hot with prepared brown rice or quinoa.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave.
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This looks perfect for a summer dish because I don’t want to use the oven and stove to heat up the house.
EXACTLY my thoughts too Alicia. I hope you love it!
hey girl- this looks oh so yummy!
Thank you Shawnna!!!
This recipe looks amazing!
I only have a small crock pot. Is it possible to make in a pot on low heat?
I really enjoy your recipes.
Lisa, I’ve never tried this and developed the recipe for a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker but I think you could experiment with cutting the recipe in half. If your crock pot is narrow on the bottom, you might want to stir it a few times throughout. If you decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goe!
I know that feeling of looking down at your plate of takeout, and realizing you’ve eaten it all and you’re disgusting! I like that this is a healthier version, and the flavors sound amazing. Plus, I’m all about the slow cooker.
Danielle, I knew I couldn’t be the only one! I hope you love this version too!
Oooo this looks amazing, do you think it would work in the instant pot?
Anne, I worry that the veggies would overcook under that intense of pressure. You could gently cook it on the stove top though! If you do decide to play around with the Instant Pot though, I’d love to hear how it goes!
This is my kind of eats!!
I hope you love it Gerry!
anything in the crockpot is a keeper in my book! But gah, cashew chicken.. MY FAV!
I love it too Lindsay!!
Made it and loved it! Great directions and details as always Erin! Aporeciate you saying to check the doneness of veggies early to your liking since crockpots are so different,cause mine was ready 30 mins early. What are we all gonna make next?!?!
I meant to give it 5 stars!
Cindy, I am so pleased you enjoyed this so much! Thank you for reporting back (and crockpots can be so different. It drives me nuts sometimes! I am so glad you checked early. Thanks!)
Erin, Do you think tofu could be substituted for the chicken? Sounds delicious but I don’t eat meat. Thanks!!
Cheryl, in that case I’d make this Thai Cashew Chicken, but swap the chicken for sautéed tofu instead (I’m afraid the tofu wouldn’t hold up in the slow cooker): https://www.wellplated.com/thai-cashew-chicken/
The only problem I had with this recipe was I did not make enough. It was very good and we just ate it all last night. Ill double it up next time. Thanks for your post. YUM!
YAYYYYY! Thank you Di Jion. So glad to hear it!
Hi Erin! I wanted to check what you thought about using frozen cubed chicken instead of fresh? I typically use frozen chicken with a lot of my slow cooker recipes for ease, but wasn’t sure since you had the first step of cooking it on the stove. Thanks!
Hi Tori! I like to brown it on the stove first to give it the right texture and the cornstarch on the outside helps form the sauce. You could thaw the chicken, pat it dry, then use it as directed though!
SO into this dish!!!!!
So easy and delicious Erin! I am marking this for back-to-school!
I hope you love love it Heather!
This is the easiest best cashew chicken. My whole family liked it .
i rate it a 5 out of 5.
YAY CAROL! So glad to hear it, thank you!
This is such a healthy and heavenly dish, Erin! We are so glad to have made this for dinner last night. I do want to come out and let you know that we used hazelnut and walnut instead of cashew because we only realized we ran out the last minute; and we lessened the amount of honey according to our preference of sweetness. Overall, it was still a delight. But we definitely will be trying the cashew for real soon. Thank you!
Elizabeth, I am so so happy to hear how much you all enjoyed it, thank you!!
I work so I’m away for 8 hours. WOuld this work at low for 8 hours? Thanks!
Hi Jennifer, I worry that the chicken and vegetables would overcook if left that long, which is why I recommend 2 to 3 hours on low. I know that’s not what you were hoping to hear, but I hope if you give the recipe a try you’ll love it!
Made this for dinner last night and it came out fantastic! I used 4 pretty good sized chicken breast and doubled the sauce recipe. I mixed the rice in with the meat and veggies before serving. Really enjoyed and will be making again, thanks!
Christine, you are on a roll! Thanks so much for reporting back. :)
We really enjoyed this recipe the day I made it but I want to add this didn’t reheat the best. I’m used to cooking extra of everything so we have lunches for the week. This one will stay on the list as a go to, but not for making extra because it didn’t do great on the stove top or the microwave.
Thanks for the update, Christine!
My family is enjoying this for dinner and really likes it. The crunchy cashews make the dish. I used frozen broccoli and omitted the cornstarch, and we all liked it.
Melissa, thanks for reporting back! I’m so glad it was a hit with the whole family.
Just made this with cali rice and my fam of 4 polished it off – even the picky teens (although one didn’t eat the cashews and the other left the red peppers behind). It was very good but 4 stars because more work than I expected. I use the crockpot for a decent meal with minimal prep, but this required more work than I typically do for a weeknight meal. Everyone agreed to put it in the rotation but I made a note that its not a quick “throw together and let it go” meal. But for sure the one-pot yummy protein and veggies makes it a keeper! Thanks!
I’m so happy to hear that this dish was a hit, Kelly! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Very tasty and great for weekend meal prep. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for this kind comment, Ana! I’m so happy you loved the recipe!
Hi! Is the rice included in nutritional value?
Hi Tim! The nutritional values are based on about 1 1/2 cups chicken and vegetables, with 1/2 cup prepared brown rice. I hope you love the recipe!
Hi, quick question. I don’t understand part 3 where it says reserve the slurry. If we pour the sauce over the chicken, what are we reserving? Are we supposed to reserve the cornstarch mixture we dipped the chicken in at the beginning to thicken the sauce at the end?
Hi Corrie! The cornstarch in Step 1 is used to coat the chicken pieces and is separate from the cornstarch slurry you add to your sauce. You’ll want to add the cornstarch slurry to the strained sauce in Step 5, so this is why it should be reserved in Step 3. I hope this helps and that you love the recipe if you give it a try!
This was great! I added water chestnuts and baby corn and cooked it all in the instant pot. I didn’t add the broccoli until everything was done cooking, along with the cashews. The heat from the rest of the food cooked the broccoli enough and it stayed crunchy. Completely forgot to add ginger and it was still great. Thanks!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Jenn! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
My wife loved it (me too). The whole house has a great aroma the rest of the day. Love your recipes Erin.
Hi CM! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!