Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken from -- So easy to make and tastes just as good as any restaurant (if not better)!This Cashew Chicken is better than most Cashew Chicken dishes I have had at Chinese Restaurants! Maybe it’s because I know there isn’t any added MSG or any unknown ingredients. I love the savory chicken pieces with the crunchy cashews. PLUS it is super easy to make! You can have this ready and in the crock pot faster than you can get your kids in the car and drive to the nearest Chinese place for take-out. My family absolutely LOVED this recipe! We served it with some steamed veggies and it was the perfect pairing. You can throw veggies in the crock pot with this dish or you can serve it on the side — whatever is easiest for you!

This original recipe came from Karen at She is such a sweetheart. I have had the pleasure of meeting her several times and she has some awesome recipes. She gave this one a 5-star rating and I couldn’t agree more. It is delicious! Check out her blog for even more amazing crock pot recipes!

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (About 4 pieces), cut into smaller pieces
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup UNSALTED cashews
  1. Combine flour and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken. Shake to coat with flour mixture.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  3. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken.
  4. Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Add cashews and stir.
This recipe came from The Recipe Critic who adapted the recipe from 365 Days of Crockpot


    • Wow amazing! I couldnt find the regular cashews so just bought salted ones and rinsed them a few times! Perfect! Will definitely make this again. Thanks for the recipe!

      • The recipe didnt call for green onion, but the picture shows it. Did you cook it with out them? If not when do I add them to the crock pot? I didnt buy any. Would it taste ok without them?

      • There didn’t seem to be enough sauce? It dried up and burnt a little on the bottom. Did anyone else have this problem?

        • I haven’t had this happen when I’ve made it, but crock pot’s can vary in their temperatures. You could try adding a little water to the bottom next time.

        • I had the same problem, I even quadrupled the sauce and it still wasn’t enough. The sauce was also very dark like the sauce for Beef & Broccoli.

        • I loved this dish. I made this last year for a potluck last year someone requested me to make again for a potluck so I came here to reprint the recipe. I had not problem with the sauce burning last time I do have a new crockpot so I guess I will be checking on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. But I loved this chicken and it was a big hit there were no leftovers.

    • tried the recipe….didn’t look like the picture at all…my sauce was black and not orangy-red like on the picture. It tasted ok but nobody else in my house ate any :-(

        • My sauce is also very dark … like the soy sauce?….i have made this once before at a friends house and it turned out perfect… why is it not now?

          • Did you use a different crock pot? I am totally stumped with this one. I make this all the time and have never had it turn out dark…?

          • Same thing happened to me. I don’t understand.

            I used rice vinegar but read online it’s the same as rice wine vinegar.

            Very disappointed.

          • I’m thinking that the ladies whose sauce turned out black may have either cooked it on high instead of low or let it go longer than the 3-4 hours maybe? Could that have caused it?

        • I’m imagining this picture was stolen from another page/recipe. Mine was also black. It can’t be a coincidence that ours don’t look like the picture. Please take your own pictures of the recipes you advertise.

          • Every single photograph on our site is an original photograph that we have taken with our own cameras. We’re sorry your recipe didn’t turn out. We have made this many times and have always had great results.

    • We love this recipe! We also add about 3/4 c of peanut butter and it’s an amazing addition to an already great recipe!!

    • Not silly at all! I usually do steamed broccoli or a couple handfuls of a frozen stir fry veggie mix (I like the kind from costco but you can get them anywhere). With the stir fry mix I usually just saute it in a little oil (follow the bag directions) and a dash of salt. It is totally lazy but at least it is incorporating veggies!

  1. Looks delicious. I love using my slow cooker. I was wondering can you exchange cornstarch for the flour?

  2. Absolutely loving this!! It’s currently in the slow cooker! My boyfriends favorite meal is cashew chicken so I’m hoping he will love it as much as I loved the sauce when I tried it!! Can’t wait for it to be done!
    Thanks for the recipie!!!

  3. Hi Erica,
    Sounds super yummy! I’m putting this on my menu plan for next week. One question: Do you use raw cashews (unsalted)? I would think so, right?

  4. This turned out great, but I had to make extra sauce, it seemed a little dry when it was in the crock pot. I double the “sauce” and just poured it over the chicken.

    • Seeing that so many said there wasn’t enough sauce.. I also doubled those ingredients…. as I was preparing the.chicken, I realized that part of the reason for it being dry was because the flour on the chicken thickened up the sauce.. (like gravy)…. Soooooo, I added several tablespoons of low sodium chicken broth to the sauce mixture… plus 1 additional T of brown sugar… there is ample sauce.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I have never done it that way before so i can’t tell you for sure, but I would do it in a covered skillet for appx 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

  5. I have a food-safety concern: Is it safe to only partially cook chicken and then let it slow-cook at a low temperature for such a long time?

    • Yes, it is completely fine! There are so many recipes out there that call for you to sear meat before slow cooking.. that way you still get the outer part a little crispy and the juices stay in better.

  6. I’ve made this in the past and substituted almond meal for the all-purpose flour and agave nectar for the sugar. When I make it again I’m going to try coconut sugar (same calories as regular sugar, but low glycemic). Those changes make it more Paleo/diabetic friendly, and the almond flour adds another layer of nuttiness to an already tasty dish. :)

  7. I love recipes that use ‘proper’ ingredients rather than relying on envelopes of this or cans of that (especially the cream of soup ones). And this recipe is so easy to make without resorting to all those unhealthy ingredients :-)

    Thank you !

  8. This coming from a Chef of 32 + years….. I will NEVER buy Cashew Chicken from a Chinese restaurant again, this is fantastic!

  9. has anyone made this but left it warming in the crockpot for longer than the 3-4 hours called for? I’d love to be able to make in the morning and eat for dinner. thanks!

    • My chicken kept sticking in the crock pot. I had to add water. I wouldn’t recommend leaving it all day. I have to keep going to stir mine. I even doubled the recipe for the sauce but the chicken still keeps sticking.

  10. I only tried the sauce so far and it was very salty not using low sodium soy saice. So i think you should put low sodium soy sauce and lightly salted cashews.

    • I used low sodium soy sauce and unsalted cashews and it was way too salty!! I even tried to add a little extra sugar to cut the salt and it was terrible!! I am disappointed because I wasted all the money to buy the ingredients and nobody liked it. I am on a tight budget ugh!

      • I don’t know what you did differently… It has never been too salty when I have made it– even with regular soy sauce. I always use unsalted cashews though. I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out well for you. :(

        • If you used the frozen chicken breasts that come in a bag that could have been the problem. They are injected with a salty brine.

          • If you check the packages of the unfrozen chicken breasts sold in the meat department, you will find that they are also injected with the brine. The only way to get around this is to buy ‘fresh’ breasts. They do this with turkey too. You can order fresh turkey (without brine) at Thanksgiving time, so you may also have to order the chicken breasts too. This might be marketed as ‘organic’??

  11. Just finished this and holy crap it was awesome!!!

    I used chicken tenderloins from Publix and cut them in half, which gave me roughly 10 large-bite-sized pieces of chicken. It was perfect for just me and my husband.

    Definitely the easiest cashew chicken recipe I’ve seen and I can now confirm it’s one of the most delicious!!

  12. Cooked today & was very happy. I made a little more sauce than the recipe calls for & cooked for about 3 hours. The chicken was super tender. Served with some fried rice. Will definitely do this one again.

  13. I’m so excited I found this! I’m going to try it tonight. I want to add chopped celery, carrot and mushrooms to make it more like the one my husband and I eat when we’re out. I’m afraid if I add the veges too early, they’ll just go to mush. When would you suggest I add them to the slow cooker, and do you think they’ll have the same cooking time? Thanks so much!

    • You can add them at the beginning. They shouldn’t get too mushy. I haven’t tried it before but you should be fine!

  14. When should I add the cashews? Same time I put In the sauce or cook for a couple hours then add? Thanks! Making it tonight for dinner!

      • I just put this In the crockpot, but I just noticed that you said you add the cashews with the sauce. I thought the instructions said to pour the sauce, cook for 4-4 hours and then add cashews and stir. That leads me to believe that they got added after cooking, not with the sauce. I am confused. Please help

        • You can do it either way– it doesn’t make a big difference. If you add them later on they will be slightly more crunchy

  15. Delish! I added a bunch of green onions after cooking. Super good! Next time might add some water chestnuts as well. Yuuuuum! Thx!

  16. I made this tonight and it was good. I did not make it in a slow cooker since I don’t get home in time from work and even on “warm” my food overcooks. I did it on the stovetop, adding the sauce after I browned the chicken. I let it cook about 25-30 minutes. I did add some water to the sauce while cooking to compensate for the moisture that would accumulate from being in a slow cooker. I also doubled the sauce. The whole family ate it, even my extremely picky 5 year old daughter!!

    • We have never tried it with chicken thighs, Im sure it would be fine. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

  17. Can I make this the night before? Or will the soy sauce cause the chicken to get wonky from marinating too long? Thanks!

    • hmmm…. haven’t tried that before. I don’t know how if would affect the chicken. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

    • I cooked the chicken and made the sauce the night before but didn’t put the together until I wanted to cook it. It turned out great. I cooked it for an hour longer since everything was cold going into the crock pot

  18. I am making this now and even with using lower sodium soy sauce and unsalted cashews it is really really salty. Not sure this is going to work out well. Any suggestions to cut the salt taste?

  19. I would love to try this. We love cashew
    chicken, but we do not love alot of salt. I am thinking of cutting the amount of soy sauce and adding chicken broth, do you think this would work?

    • Make sure to get low-sodium soy sauce, unsalted cashews, and feel free to ALSO do as you suggested.. cutting the soy sauce and using low-sodium broth. That should help a lot!

      • Thank you Erica for your response. I made this tonight and it was a huge hit. I doubled the amount of sauce . I also used 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce,1/2 c chicken broth and lightly salted cashews along with the rest of ingredients in the recipe and my family really liked it. Thank you again for this recipe, it will get a lot of use. Blessings to you, Carla

  20. This was excellent. Easy to make and a nice mix up from the old standards. I wouldn’t use salted cashews and I did use low sodium soy sauce and it was a good balance of salt. Thanks!

  21. This was a delicious, better than any Chinese restaurant I have been to. Can you give me the calorie information? I count my calories so I need to know the nutrient value. Thanks!!

  22. This is probably a silly question – bit is the sauce supposed to cover all of the chicken pieces…I don’t know

  23. This was EXCELLENT. I used alot more chicken since my family is large used more brown sugar and 1/2 of the soy sauce, and more vinegar…not salty at all and one of the best things I have ever made.

  24. Just made this for dinner tonight. I made some fried rice to go with it. I can’t believe how good it was!! Definitely a repeater.

  25. Took about 15mins to prepare – chicken came out juicy, not dry which was really nice. A small bit of water would give you some sauce to go with it.

  26. I am making this recipe as we speak. I suggest the recipe be changed to show unsalted cashews. I doubled the sauce and added the bones removed from the chicken breast. Tasted the sauce, hmmmm good but a little salty. I had already bought the salted ones while shopping for the recipe and didn’t want to go back to the store. As someone else posted, I rinsed them several times to get rid of some of the salt. I tossed the cashews about 3 minutes on medium heat in a skillet to get rid of some of the moisture. I love crispy nuts. My sauce is rather thick since I browned the chicken in flour. To thin it out a bit, added a cup of water. This also helped with the saltiness. The additional water didn’t take away from the flavor since I already had the extra flavor from the bones. I am going to serve it over white rice. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have added salt to the rice but I don’t think it is going to be a problem.

  27. I made it the taste even though it was salty and strong flavored was okay. the chicken turned out really dry. Between the salty flavor and it being dry I can’t give this a good review. I might make some of the alterations mentioned before I scrape the recipe.

  28. I don’t have a delay timer on my crokpot and I am gone from home for about 12 hours every day at work. My crockpot does have a keep warm setting after it’s finished though. If I leave this on the “Keep Warm” setting for approximately 8 hours until i get home, will the chicken still come out ok?


  29. I made this tonight…and my VERY picky, chicken hating hubby LOVED it! He asked for seconds and for it to be for his lunch tomorrow. Thank you for helping this chicken loving lady find something that he will eat ๐Ÿ˜€

    • So glad that you (and the hubbs) liked it!!!! We love that stuff too. It heats up well too so I hope he enjoys his lunch today!

  30. This can easily be converted to GF by not adding flour and watching ingredients. Putting this in my menu rotation.

  31. I’m going to make this tonight but would really like to be able to throw the veggies into the crockpot to cook & marinate in the sauce! How much time before the meal is done cooking should I do this (to keep them from getting soggy) thanks so much!

    • I bet 30 minutes should be plenty of time. Depends on how chopped up the veggies are. The bigger the pieces the longer they will need to cook.

  32. Loved this dish! I cooked it on the stove instead, using chicken thighs and added more vegetables. I did add some chicken broth because the sauce was too thick (from the flour and sauce mixture). My hubby said it was restaurant style food. So we’ll be making this again in the near future. Thanks!

  33. Can I just leave out the vinegar ~ or use something else. I, typically, do not buy speciality vinegars because I rarely use them and it’s a waste of money. But, this looks amazing and I really want to try it. Suggestions? :)

    • You could probably leave it out but I can’t promise it will taste the same! :S Especially in Asian-type food like this the vinegar is necessary to give it that extra little something.. even just white vinegar would be better than no vinegar IMO

    • You CAN, but it may not turn out the same. Frozen chicken tends to make the sauce watery. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

  34. Yummy! On the second batch I doubled the sauce receipe, but only used 1/3 cup soy sauce. It was toooooo salty using 1/2 cup. I also steamed some brocolli and grilled some red peppers, adding to mixture right before I served it. The guys were asking for more!!

    • Here are some substitute suggestions for the 2 Tbsp of rice vinegar:
      2 Tbsp White Vinegar plus 1/2 tsp sugar
      2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar plus 1/2 tsp sugar

      I hope this helps! I think you will really enjoy this recipe!

  35. I haven’t been able to locate red pepper flakes at any of my local supermarkets. Does the recipe definitely need them or can I leave them out?

    • If you can’t find red pepper flakes, crushed red pepper is a good substitute. They are essentially the same thing and give the same flavor to the dish. You can also use cayenne powder as a substitute, but you would want to use about half the amount so it’s not too hot. I wouldn’t skip using it altogether. It gives great flavor to this Cashew Chicken recipe. Thank you for your question!

  36. Just made it tonight (hi from Brussels, Belgium!), it was excellent, absolutely the same as in the picture ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I was concerned about the amount of liquid, seemed not enough but it all worked out perfectly, was a hit for everyone including the fussy 7 years old!
    Thank you!

  37. I made this for dinner tonight and we really like it. I think next time I will double the sauce because I really would have liked a little extra to moisten the jasmine rice that I served the chicken over. I contemplated tossing the steamed veggies that I made into the crockpot but decided against it for the same reason, not much sauce. Mine did not appear black, as some posters described, but it was darker than your photo. (I actually snapped a photo to post of my results but I don’t see anywhere to add it. All in all this is a good recipe. Thanks!

  38. The reason some people’s sauce turned out dark is because there are different kinds of rice vinegar (or rice wine vinegar): clear/light and dark. You didn’t specify which. They should taste the same, it’ s just not as pretty! Especially if you’re making orange chicken.

  39. Can I just say this was better than restaurant food? And it was ready the minute we walked in the door- amazing! I made a few tweaks- due to my daughter’s food allergies, I used an all-purpose gluten free flour instead of regular flour. We only had 2 chicken breasts on hand (1.4 lbs), which I cut into small, bite-size pieces. I also sprayed the slow cooker with vegetable oil cooking spray before putting the browned chicken in, to prevent it from sticking. I mixed in 1 c. diced carrots, 1 stalk of celery (diced) and 1 can of water chestnuts (coarsely chopped). Based on other reviews, I doubled the sauce except for the low-sodium soy sauce and mixed everything well before putting the lid on and cooking for 2 hours and 45 minutes on low. I did rinse my lightly salted cashews under running water and then lightly roasted them in a pan. It was fabulous- thank you!

  40. The sauce is not covering the chicken in the crockpot. I used the same amounts & measurements you have. Just doesn’t seem like enough. Is that weird? Do I need to make more so it doesn’t dry out or just stir it often?

  41. I’ve made this recipe a few times, but this is the first time I read the comments. On the black chicken – in addition to the rice wine vinegar check, also check your soy sauce to make sure you aren’t using DARK soy sauce. (It will be on the label.) My husband loves the dark stuff, and I used that the first time. Looked terrible, but taste was good enough that I gave it another shot using regular soy sauce and it was great. The colour will also be affected by your choice of brown sugar – dark or yellow. I found the yellow (lighter) brown sugar will result in a lighter colour.

  42. I have made this 3 times. we all love it! (and I use regular soy sauce and salted cashews and it’s never been dark or too salty)

  43. i doubled the sauce part of the recipe and my whole meal came out SOOO salty!!!! Any ideas why? I messed up somewhere. I couldn’t eat even a bite, it was so nasty!

  44. I made this tonight, and doubled the recipe. It came out PERFECT! My kids LOVED it!! I used tamari instead of soy sauce, since it was what I had on hand. It wasn’t too salty at all (I read all the comments) and it looked just like your picture. The only thing for me was it was done in about 1 1/2 hours on low…maybe I made my bites too small or browned them a little longer. So, I’ll always check it around 1 1/2 hours so the chicken doesn’t overcook. Overall, this was a winner in our book. Thanks for a great recipe!

  45. I would use boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts; much more flavor. Also, I don’t understand the point of using a crock pot. You fry the chicken to get it crisp and then put it in sauce and cook for 3-4 hours, which loses all the crispiness. I would cook the sauce sans the chicken and cashews; and then add the chicken and toasted cashews just before serving.

  46. A couple of things – one: 3-4 hrs is TOO long, maybe hence the blackness of the chicken, for some – mine took almost less than 2 hours two: very little flavor. this isn’t a typical cashew chicken recipe. IF, i make this again – i will either choose a different recipe or tweek this. Not a bad STARTER, to the recipe. Because I do not waste food, I will just add soy sauce to this, when served.

  47. I made this for dinner tonight. It was fabulous. It looked exactly like your picture, especially after I added the green onions. Thank you for a wonderful dinner.

  48. I’m sorry but there is zero way the chicken in the photo came from this recipe. Unless you forgot to put 3 cups of water on the recipe the sauce turns out black. Soy sauce plus brown sugar plus a few spices =black sauce. This was not appetizing. Sorry.

    • The recipe shown is the exact recipe on the post. I’m not sure how people keep getting black sauce? It may be the type of soy or brown sugar? I have made this dozens of times and have never had it come out black. I honestly don’t know what is going on?

  49. I made this tonight and it was a hit. I did make a few alterations, but the general idea of the recipe remains the same and I am grateful for the inspiration.

    I did all of this on the stove top (rather than the slow cooker) and it took less than 45 minutes, start to finish. I added a bit of Chinese 5-Spice to the flour/pepper mix to coat the chicken, browned the chicken in a skillet, then removed it from the pan. Then I stir-fried some chunks of green pepper and onion in the pan, added the sauce (doubled the recipe, next time will triple it for our family’s preference) and added the chicken back to the pan. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes in the sauce. Served it with white rice and broccoli. Was a big hit (even for my newly-picky two year old).

    • Thank you for your tips! I don’t always remember or have time to get things going in the crock pot earlier in the day. Thank you for sharing a stove top version!


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