Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken Recipe

Cashew chicken is a healthy Chinese takeout favorite, but recipe developer Jessica Morone tells us that it's easier to make your own than it is to order out. She notes that along with a few hours in the slow cooker and "only about 15 minutes of active cooking time, you get a delicious, flavorful meal with very little effort." The is sweet and tangy and even though it's not too spicy, but you can add more crushed red pepper once the dish is done cooking.

It's true that using a slow cooker takes a lot longer than stir-frying, but doing so allows you to prepare the meal a few hours before you plan to eat it rather than having to wait until the last minute. Morone also notes that cooking cashew chicken low and slow "means the sauce has tons of time for the flavor to deepen and thicken up" so your patience will be rewarded with an extra-tasty dish.

Collect the ingredients for the slow cooker cashew chicken

To make this cashew chicken, you'll need boneless, skinless chicken breasts and some cashews. Besides these two main ingredients, you'll need a dozen additional items: flour, baking soda, black pepper, canola oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sweet chili sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Sliced green onions and sesame seeds are optional ingredients that can be sprinkled on top of the dish. Once you've rounded up these ingredients, you'll be ready to get started.

Season and brown the chicken

Mix the flour with the baking soda and pepper, then use this mixture to coat the chicken. Morone recommends the shake & bake method, putting all of these ingredients in a Ziploc bag. If you're wondering why baking soda is in the mix, Morone assures us, "It doesn't affect the flavor at all, the coating just helps the chicken to stay pretty crispy and not get soggy when it cooks in the crockpot." If you'd prefer, she says you can use baking powder, instead.

Heat up the oil over medium-high, then fry the floured chicken chunks for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. You're just browning the meat at this point — don't worry if the chicken is still pink inside, since it will finish cooking in the crockpot. 

Slow cook the chicken in an Asian-inspired sauce

Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, chili sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, and red pepper, then add this mixture to the slow cooker. Put the chicken in, then cover the pot and cook everything on low for 2 to 3 hours. As Morone points out, "The longer you cook it, the thicker the sauce will be."

Add the cashews toward the end of the cooking time

About ½ hour before you plan to dish up the chicken, toss the cashews into the crockpot. Close the lid once more and resume cooking.

When your cashew chicken is done, you might wish to garnish it with sesame seeds, sliced green onions, or both. You could also serve it with either rice or noodles to put some starch in your meal.

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken Recipe
5 from 34 ratings
This slow cooker cashew chicken recipe is easy to make and filled with sweet and tangy flavors, making it a convenient version of the takeout favorite.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chicken with cashews on rice
Total time: 3 hours, 21 minutes
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 green onion stalks sliced
  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, and pepper and use this mixture to coat the chicken.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Brown the chicken in the oil for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  4. Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, chili sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, and red pepper.
  5. Put the chicken in the slow cooker along with the sauce, then cover the pot and set it to cook on low heat for 2 to 3 hours.
  6. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the cashews to the slow cooker.
  7. Garnish the chicken with the optional sesame seeds and green onions and serve it with rice or noodles if desired.
Calories per Serving 390
Total Fat 17.4 g
Saturated Fat 3.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 110.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 15.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 3.8 g
Sodium 1,123.1 mg
Protein 41.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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