Hands-Free Cashew Chicken

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Cashew Chicken was never easier than this take-out fake-out. It’s hands free in the preparation, making it a great weeknight quick fix.

Hands-free Cashew Chicken | Good Cheap Eats

We used to go to Panda Express almost on a weekly basis. It’s not far from home, and if we ordered the “Panda Feast” and a couple small entrees, we really could let the kids “feast”. But, now that my daughter clearly has severe allergies to peanuts and walnuts, we don’t take a chance. It would be too easy for a stray nut to fall into a dish.

So, despite the kids’ initial grumblings over my experimenting in Asian cuisine, I persevered and I won! This easy to make Cashew Chicken pleases even my pickiest eaters.

And no, my daughter isn’t allergic to cashews, but I make a pan without cashews just in case there’s cross contamination. 😉 You can leave out the cashews or add them at the end if you’re accommodating an allergy. You just can’t call it Cashew Chicken. Ahem.

Since I’ve been trying to eat gluten-free for some health issues, I recently tested this with gluten-free soy sauce. Kikkoman makes it; I found it at Ralphs for $3.59. Since I only use a few tablespoons in recipes, I figured it was worth a shot. Success!

(If you’re making this gluten-free, be sure to read the labels on all the ingredients to assure your safety.)

I love this so much; I get dibs on any leftovers so I can eat it for breakfast. Don’t you do that?

If you want to make a double batch, use two pans. It would cook as quickly if you cook it all in one pan. Trust me. I know this.

Next time you crave Chinese food, this is the dish to make! Serve it with lots of hot cooked rice to soak up the yummy sauce.

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. Judith says

    This looks like a WINNER! Thank you!

  2. Lmac says

    This looks delicious. I prefer the chicken cut up into bite size pieces. Would that work here, or would the chicken come out too dry?

    • That should be fine. Just check it at ten minutes baking to see if the smaller pieces are done.

  3. Erica says

    What can I use in place of the sherry? I don’t usually keep that in my pantry. Thanks!

    • A little more chicken broth would be fine. I love using sherry in cooking. Adds just a little bit of extra flavor.

  4. Kara W says

    How long do you normally cook this? 10 min? 15 min? 20 min?

  5. Roberta says

    This looks delicious! Unfortunately, I can’t have soy since the cancer diagnosis last year. I’ve heard that coconut aminos can be used as a substitute for soy sauce, but I’ve never tried them. Have you? Do you have any idea where to find them? TJs doesn’t carry them.

    • I have some, but I haven’t tried it yet. I bought them from Thrive Market.

    • Not sure if you’ll check back to the post; another reader says she gets them from Amazon.

    • I can’t have soy either. I recently tried the coconut aminos in a stir fry and loved it. The flavor is a little different, but it’s really good, and definitely the closest thing to soy sauce. I haven’t made this recipe yet (I have to get the sherry and sesame oil first), but I’m planning to make it using the coconut aminos.

      I ordered mine on Amazon, but then found that it was cheaper at the grocery store, so that’s where my next bottle will come from.

    • MgMama says

      I use coconut aminos as a replacement for soy sauce. The small bottle is expensive! But it works with little to no taste difference

  6. TSandy says

    Amazon carries the coconut aminos. Another winning recipe Jessica. I added it to next week’s menu to try.

  7. Heather M says

    Oh this looks delicious! Unlike your family, mine LOVES when I cook asian food. It’s a very regular feature in our house. I cook w/some variety of asian flavors a few times a week. This will be featured next time I shop (no cashews or snow peas right now). YUM!

  8. Val says

    Do you know any good substitutes for sesame oil? I for some reason have an issue with sesame.

    • I don’t. It’s really for the flavor, so you could just omit it. It won’t have the same taste, but that’s okay.

  9. Ellen says

    Wow this was delicious and so very easy! I made it twice once with chicken and once with tofu and mushrooms. I lstir fried the tofu then added the sauce and baked as directed. The tofu one was my favorite. The chicken one was my husbands! Thank you!

    • Great to know about the tofu! So glad you liked it! Check out the book for more of the same easy recipes.

  10. Matt R. says

    I really like this recipe! Thanks for sharing. However I mostly buy split chicken breasts or whole chicken as they are way cheaper than tenderloins, any recommendations on cooking time for the larger portions? Should I cut the chicken breast thinner to allow it to cook faster?

    • Matt R. says

      I buy whole chicken and cut it into its respective smaller parts. By larger portion I am referring to chicken breast.

    • Yes, slicing the boneless, chicken breast into three or four slices should work perfectly. I have been avoiding Foster Farms lately which is the only brand my stores seem to carry, so I end up getting the frozen tenders at Trader Joe’s which are comparable in price.

  11. MgMama says

    Tried this for dinner tonight. I substituted green beans for the snow peas becuase its what I had. It was tasty! Lacking a bit in salt though. I used low sodium soy sauce so maybe next time, I’ll season the chicken separately first. Also, we really liked the sauce, but there wasn’t much of it, so I’ll probably double it next time. Also, left out the sherry since I didn’t have it.

  12. Hilary J says

    I tried this for the first time last night. It was a huge hit! My boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of Chinese food but even he was raving about it. I love how quick, easy and versatile this recipe was. I used chicken thighs and green beans and it was perfect. I just increased the cooking time by 15 mins. This is definitely going into my dinner rotation!

    • Yay! Thanks for the feedback and specifics on chicken thighs, too. I’m sure that will help others!

  13. Julie says

    This was a huge hit for my family of 6! Each of us loved it. My 4 year old asked me to make it the next day! I did have issues with it thickening. I pulled out some sauce and added more cornstarch – which did the trick. Any thoughts on what I should do differently next time? Thanks for making meal time easier!

    • I often will stir it a few times and give it extra time in the oven if I don’t think it’s thickened as much as I like.

  14. melissa says

    Do you thaw the chicken tenders? Or do you put them in the oven frozen?

    • The directions are for thawed. If you cook from frozen, you’ll need to increase the cooking time.

  15. Katie says

    Would peanuts work okay in this recipe? My husband is not a cashew fan.

  16. Amanda says

    I’ve baked this once before and it was amazing! I made a few tweaks to fit my taste: broccoli instead of snow peas, chopped up pieces of chicken breast, and rice vinegar in place of cooking sherry since I was out of it at the time but it still turned out delicious. Now here’s the big question: is there a way to make this into a crock pot recipe? I’m thinking of using whole chicken breasts or thighs so it doesn’t dry out and then doubling the broth. Maybe on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours? I’d love your thoughts on what might work well!

    • I have not made this in the crockpot but I think what you suggest should work. Let me know how it goes!

  17. Vanessa says

    I am making this for the second time tonight with chicken thighs. The first time I recall the chicken not being done after 15 minutes. Should I cover with foil? Increase the cooking time? What am I doing wrong? I so want this recipe to become a standard at our home.

    • Hi Vanessa, I’ve not made it with chicken thighs, but I would definitely increase the cooking time. You don’t mention whether the things are bone-in or boneless. Twenty minutes should be sufficient for boneless thighs, longer if you have the bone in them.

      Did you use thighs the first time? Were they frozen? Did they have a bone in them?

  18. Vanessa says

    They were both times boneless fresh breasts or thighs. I haven’t used tenders yet. It’s funny my oven over cooks he freezer lasagna and under cooks this recipe.

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