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4.36 from 17 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


  • 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


  • 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. 


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.