Crispy chicken smothered in a sticky sweet and savoury sauce with crunchy cashews. I use the ‘one bowl method’ to coat the chicken (rather than dipping in separate bowls of egg, cornflour and seasoning) and it works brilliantly!
Serve this for Friday night dinner and you won’t be disappointed.
It also reheats really well – so you can make ahead too!

Overhead of crispy cashew chicken with spring onions in a black pan. There is a bowl of rice and small bowl of sesame seeds in shot.
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I always try to keep some chicken thigh fillets in the freezer so I can whip up fakeaway meals like this when the family are feeling particularly fussy about dinner.
This cashew chicken, my honey garlic chicken and salt and pepper chicken are my chicken-thigh go-to recipes.

The chicken thighs are coated in egg, cornflour and seasoning (I do it all in one bowl to save on washing up) then fried to crisp perfection.
Then we heat up an easy sauce and add the fried chicken and cashews, along with a few chopped spring onions (scallions).

It’s so satisfying, and there’s never a drop left!

📋 What do we need?

For the crispy chicken:

  • The chicken thigh fillets are chopped into bite-size pieces. You can replace with chicken breast if you like, but I find chicken thighs hold up better to the high-heat frying, so they’re more juicy in the middle.

For the sticky cashew sauce and toppings:

📺 Watch how to make it

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

**Jump to Recipe for full instructions and quantities**
  1. First we coat the chicken in egg, then stir in cornflour, paprika, salt and white pepper. Fry in oil until crisp.
  2. Next we make a sauce by combining sesame oil, cornflour, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, hoisin sauce and stock. Mix it together, transfer to a pan and bring to the boil while stirring.
  3. The sauce should thicken very quickly. At that point, add in the cooked chicken, cashews and chopped spring onions (scallions). Stir it all together so that lovely sauce clings to the crispy chicken. Then serve.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP If you’d prefer to use an Air Fryer to fry the chicken, check out the notes section of the recipe card at the bottom of this post for instructions!

Close up of crispy chicken with cashews in a sticky sauce with spring onions in a black pan. A spoonful of chicken is being taken from the pan.

🍽️ What to serve it with

Overhead of sticky cashew chicken with rice in a white bowl on a dark background. There are chopsticks sticking out of the bowl. The pan of cashew chicken is in shot and there are chopped spring onions sprinkled around.

I love to serve mine on top of lots of fluffy rice and finished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, chilli flakes and chopped spring onions.

Close up of crispy chicken with cashews in a sticky sauce with spring onions in a bowl with rice. There are sesame seeds sprinkled on top and a pair of chopsticks sticking out of the dish

🍲 More fantastic Saucy Chicken recipes

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4.91 from 10 votes

Sticky Cashew Chicken

Crispy chicken smothered in a sticky sweet and savoury sauce with crunchy cashews. Perfect for Friday night dinner!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese



  • 6 skinless boneless chicken thighs (approx 500g/1.1lb), chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small egg
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • oil for shallow frying about 120ml (1/2 cup)

For the sauce:


  • 140 g (1 cup) cashew nuts
  • small bunch spring onions (scallions) chopped on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • pinch chilli flakes
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  • Place the chicken in a bowl with the egg and mix together to coat. Drain off any excess egg from the bowl and discard.
    6 skinless boneless chicken thighs, 1 small egg
  • Add the cornflour, paprika, salt and white pepper to the bowl with the chicken and mix together. You should end up with a sticky coating on your chicken.
    4 tbsp cornflour, ½ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp white pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok, over a medium-high heat, until hot.
    oil for shallow frying
  • Add the chicken, and stir fry until golden. This should take about 7-8 minutes. You might need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your pan.
  • While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce.
  • Place the cornflour, light and dark soy sauce, garlic and hoisin sauce in a bowl and mix together until the cornflour is absorbed.
    1 tbsp cornflour, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 cloves garlic, 3 tbsp hoisin Sauce
  • Add the light brown sugar, sesame oil and chicken stock to the bowl and stir together until combined. Put to one side.
    2 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 120 ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
  • When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  • Carefully discard the oil, then pour the sauce into the pan and heat through until bubbling.
  • Add the chicken into the pan, then add in the cashews and half of the chopped spring onions.
    140 g (1 cup) cashew nuts, small bunch spring onions (scallions)
  • Stir together for 2 minutes, to heat through the cashews, then serve with rice. Sprinkle with the remaining spring onions, the sesame seeds and a pinch of chilli flakes.
    1 tsp sesame seeds, pinch chilli flakes



Can I make it ahead?
This recipe does taste best when cooked and served right away, but I’ve also made it ahead several times and it reheats really well. The chicken will retain some some crunch, but won’t be quite a crunchy as if it was freshly cooked.
You can make ahead in two ways:
Method 1 – Make the whole recipe:
  1. Make the cashew chicken, then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to a day.
  2. Reheat in a pan over a medium heat, stirring regularly until the chicken is hot throughout. This should take about 10 minutes.
You may need to add a splash of stock or water to loosen the sauce when reheating.
Method 2 – Prep the sauce and cook the chicken, then assemble and heat:
  1. Make the sauce ahead (no need to heat it) and cover.
  2. Cook the chicken, then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to a day.
  3. When ready to cook, fry the chicken in a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes to heat through.
  4. Turn up the heat to high and pour in the sauce. Stir together and allow to bubble, then add the cashews and spring onions and stir together to coat.
Ingredient swaps
  • Swap out the chicken for pork (use thin slices of pork tenderloin or fillet)
  • Add a splash of hot chilli sauce (such as sriracha) for a heat kick
  • Add veggies, such as green beans, small pieces of broccoli or peppers. Fry them in the pan in a drizzle of oil for a few minutes, then add the sauce, chicken and cashews.
How to scale up and scale down this recipe
You can scale up or down the recipe using the same ingredient ratios.
If scaling up, you will likely need to cook the chicken in 2 or 3 batches, so the cooking time will take longer.
Want to use your air fryer?
Instead of frying the chicken, you can cook the chicken in the air fryer.
  1. Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F and grease the basket of the air fryer.
  2. Add the chicken – try to separate it a little with a set of tongs.
  3. Fry the chicken for 12-14 minutes, shaking the air fryer basket half-way through cooking. Ensure the chicken is cooked by slicing open the largest piece you can find and ensuring it’s hot and no longer pink in the middle.
  4. Heat the sauce in a pan and add the cooked chicken, along with the cashews and spring onions, as per the rest of the recipe.
Nutritional information is approximate, per portion.
This information presumes approx 4 tbsp of oil is absorbed during the frying process.


Calories: 554kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 1424mg | Potassium: 484mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Mrs Tracey Bolton says:

    5 stars
    I made this this evening.
    It’s very nice …I will definitely make it again.
    I must confess I forgot to put the stock in ìt !….
    So I will have to compare with or without stock to see which one I actually prefer.
    It’s a nice Friday night meal.
    Thank you.

  2. Bob says:

    5 stars
    Hi Nicky,
    I’m a great fan of your recipes. This one has been a real hit at home. I’m thinking of doing this for a family gathering of nine people. Would you recommend just doubling up the recipe?

  3. Vickee says:

    5 stars
    All the family love this recipe and it is quick and easy to prepare. It’s a regular in our house.