Instant Pot Cashew Chicken (Easiest Recipe)

EASY INSTANT POT CASHEW CHICKEN

Dump and cook Instant Pot Cashew Chicken that has no added oil! Skip takeout and make this cashew chicken in instant pot for a quick weeknight dinner or meal prep for the week. Delicious served with white or brown rice.

instant pot cashew chicken served on a white and blue plate along with cooked white rice in a seperate brown bowl and roasted cashews in another small bowl

This cashew chicken in instant pot is the easiest recipe ever!!!

Perfectly cooked tender chicken and buttery crisp cashews coated in a thin silky, sweet ginger garlic sauce that is awesome spooned over white rice and you have a delicious, healthier restaurant quality meal right at home.

All made in your Instant pot, YESSSSS. 

Another Instant pot win!!!! 

Instant pot recipes are always my go-to when I’m looking for quick weeknight dinner ideas. They are quick, mostly easy and only one pot to clean up.

Why is this the best instant pot cashew chicken?

  • Easy peasy
  • One pot—> Instant pot
  • Easy clean up
  • Weeknight dinner
  • Meal prep
  • Family favorite
  • Restaurant quality
  • Tastes amazing

Let us compare this Cashew chicken Instant pot v/s skillet cashew chicken stir fry

  • No added oil. You just dump all ingredients into the instant pot, cook for five minutes, release pressure. simmer for a minute with a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce slightly. So much healthier than than greasy cashew chicken stir fry from a takeout container. 
  • Dump it and forget it. So much easier than standing in front of the stove with a hot skillet or wok. 
  • Chicken cooks so tender and perfect in the Instant pot. ‘Tis a pressure cooker cashew chicken after all. 
  • Chicken cooks in the sauce, adding so much more flavor. 
    The Instant pot cashew chicken makes a saucy cashew chicken that is perfect served with rice. You don’t need to make chowmein /fried rice. 

Main ingredients:

Boneless skinless Chicken thighs – Chicken thighs are always my favorite cut of meat. They are moist, flavorful and almost impossible to overcook (check out more recipes with chicken thighs)

Onion – Red, yellow or white onion is good. Cut them into 1 inch dice.

Ginger, Garlic – Both chopped

Sauce ingredients – Brown sugar, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and oyster sauce

Roasted cashews – Roasted unsalted cashews

An instant pot with cashew chicken and slotted spoon for serving

How to make cashew chicken in instant pot? 

Dump. Cook. Simmer. Eat —-> As easy as that. Seriously one of the simplest recipes out there! 

When Instant pot is hot, dump onion, ginger, garlic and all sauce ingredients, give a good stir, close and cook in manual for 5 minutes.

Release pressure, bring to a boil in saute mode, stir in cornstarch slurry and let boil for 30 seconds. Stir in roasted cashews and scallions.

Spoon over white rice and enjoy!

Cashews are one of my all time favorite nut. It is buttery, sweet and incredibly addictive. Some of may favorite cashew recipes are : Salt & pepper cashews, Stuffed mushrooms, sweet and spicy cauliflower with cashews, Butter chickpeas and Butter chicken pasta.

a white and blue plate with cooked chicken and roasted cashews, garnished with scallions

Frequently asked questions

How to meal prep cashew chicken ?

Cook and cool cashew chicken. Place cooked rice into meal prep containers and divide chicken over rice, spooning sauce over the chicken. Close and refrigerate for up to a week. Microwave until hot before eating. 

Can we add any vegetables into this cashew chicken instant pot? 

Diced green bell pepper, asparagus, broccoli and broccoli stems are all great options. Simply saute the veggie in hot instant pot, until cooked yet crunchy and then remove. Proceed with the recipe as instructed and then stir in the cooked vegetables along with cashews and scallions.

Can I use chicken breasts instead?

I love chicken thighs in instant pot recipes, since they cook tender and juicy, just the way you would get in Chinese restaurants. Howvever, you can absolutely use one pound chicken breasts instead.

How to serve cashew chicken?

It is delicious served with cooked white or brown rice, quinoa, simple fried rice or lettuce cups.

Recipe tips and tricks:

Chinese cooking wine – Shaosing cooking wine can be found in all Asian grocery stores. If you cannot find it, then Mirin may be used instead (reduce brown sugar to 1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons).

Chicken – I have chosen to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs since it cooks super tender and also adds so much flavor when compared to boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But, you can use breasts instead. 

Onion – cut onion into 1-inch discs, seperate layers and then measure 1 cup. 

Though the recipe does not have much liquid, the chicken will leave out moisture during cooking and you will end up with a good amount of sauce.

To make instant pot cashew chicken with vegetables:

Choices – Green bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, broccoli stems….. Set instant pot to saute mode. Add a tablespoon oil (sorry peeps this is essential when adding veggies). Add your vegetable of choice, stir occasionally and cook for 2-4 minutes, until crisp and slightly cooked. Remove onto a plate and then proceed with the recipe as given. Stir into the cashew chicken instant pot recipe when done. 
If you wish to cook your veggie further, you can add the veggie back into the dish before adding the cornstarch slurry (in step 4) or add along with cashews and scallions and give a good toss. 

More restaurant take out recipes at home:

Instant pot BBQ Chicken

Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice 

Honey Soy Chicken and Green Beans Stir Fry 

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl

Instant Pot Shrimp Fried Rice  

Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma Wraps  

Instant Pot Egg Fried Rice

EASY INSTANT POT CASHEW CHICKEN
Print Recipe
4.16 from 13 votes

Easy Instant Pot Cashew Chicken

No added oil! Skip takeout and make this easy instant pot cashew chicken for a quick weeknight dinner or meal prep for the week. Simply serve over plain white or brown rice. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Total Time12 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: best instant pot cashew chicken, cashew chicken in instant pot, cashew chicken instant pot, instant pot cashew chicken
Servings: 3
Author: Maria Doss

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces (500 grams)
  • 1 cup diced onion pieces (cut into1-inch discs) (refer notes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (not packed)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chinese cooking wine (Shaosing wine)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less or more as per taste)

Additional ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 3/4 cup roasted cashews, unsalted
  • 2 scallions or green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Have all ingredients chopped and measured. 
    Set instant pot in saute mode. 
  • When hot, press cancel, add all ingredients (except additional ingredients) and give a stir to mix everything. 
  • Close pot and lock lid (with valve set to seal). Set Instant pot to 5 minutes in manual mode. 
    When done, release pressure immediately.  
  • Open lid, press cancel and then to saute mode. 
    Stir together cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the Instant pot. Stir well, let it come to a boil and let cook for 20-30 seconds. Turn instant pot off, stir in roasted cashews and scallions. 
  • Spoon over plain white or brown rice and pack into meal prep containers.
    (This easy instant pot cashew chicken makes a thin sauce that is perfect to be served with white/brown rice). The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools. 

Notes

1. Onion – cut onion into 1-inch discs, seperate layers and then measure 1 cup. 
2. Chicken – I have chosen to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs since it cooks super tender and also adds so much flavor when compared to boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But, you can use breasts instead. 
3. Shaosing cooking wine can be found in all Asian grocery stores. If you cannot find it, then mirin may be used instead (reduce brown sugar to 1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons)
4. To add veggies:
(Choices – Green bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, broccoli stems….. ) Set instant pot to saute mode. Add a tablespoon oil (sorry peeps this is essential when adding veggies). Add your vegetable of choice, stir occasionally and cook for 2-4 minutes, until just cooked. Remove onto a plate and then proceed with the recipe as given.
You can add the veggie back into the dish before adding the cornstarch slurry (in step 4) if you wish to cook your veggie further or add along with cashews and scallions and give a good toss. 
OR simply serve easy instant pot cashew chicken with white rice and steamed broccoli/green beans. 
5. To roast cashews – Place cashews in a sheet pan (spread into single layer), bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

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