If you’re looking for the best instant pot chicken recipe then this Instant Pot cashew chicken is it! Chunks of chicken breast, broccoli, red pepper, and cashews smothered in a delicious homemade sauce and cooks up quick in the instant pot. Dinner is ready in about 30 minutes.
I am so excited today because I get to share this recipe for instant pot chicken with cashews, broccoli, red pepper, and chicken breast. I tend to get really excited about recipes when my kids have 4 helpings each of dinner. Like in what world does that happen?! Not in mine that’s for sure. Most nights for dinner my kids try their hardest to get out of eating their dinner.
So you better believe that when they eat dinner willingly then it pretty much makes my day. It also makes my day when the recipe that I have been creating in me head for days now actually works and comes out better than any takeout you’ll ever get.
I realize cashew chicken is not a new thing but every recipe I have tried is off balance. Too much salt. Too much sugar. No flavor. Too thick. You get the idea. I think I finally figured out the perfect portions of each ingredient to create the best instant pot cashew chicken ever.
I was motivated to make this instant pot chicken recipe after we had a really bad experience with some take out Chinese food we ordered. Nothing makes me more annoyed than wasting money on bad food. We had like one bite and threw it all away. It was just gross. But, I couldn’t get the idea of cashew chicken out of my head.
I love the tender chicken breast chunks with the semi-crunchy vegetables, and smothered in a sweet and really flavorful sauce that is homemade. No packets, no bottled anything. Just easy, simple, pantry staple ingredients.
How to make Cashew Chicken in the Instant Pot
- Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into small chunks. Put them in a bowl and then sprinkle salt and cornstarch over the chunks. Stir to coat the chicken chunks in the cornstarch.
- Using the sauté function on the Instant Pot, add some olive oil to the insert and the chunks of cornstarch coated chicken. Let cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked on the outside. There is no need to take the temperature to make sure it’s cooked on the inside. The chicken will finish cooking during the Instant Pot cook time.
- Turn off the sauté function and add some chopped broccoli and chopped red pepper. Add the sauce mixture and stir everything together. Put the lid on, close the valve to the sealed position, and set the Instant Pot to manual for an 8 minute cook time.
- Once the cashew chicken is done, depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce, add a slurry of cornstarch + cold water to the chicken to let it thicken up.
- Stir in some cashews and then serve over some hot, cooked rice.
Tips for making Cashew Chicken in the Instant Pot
- Make sure the chunks of chicken are not too big. I like mine in small, bite-sized pieces. Same thing with the broccoli and red pepper. Make sure that they are all uniform size so that the chicken cooks through and the vegetables get nice and tender.
- Prepare the sauce, cut the veggies and chicken first thing. That way, making this recipe is so easy because everything is ready to go.
- The recipe calls for low-sodium chicken broth and soy sauce. Unless you really like salt, you will want to use the low-sodium versions of each. By the time you add those cashews at the end, you will end up with the perfect flavor. Not too salty but still super flavorful.
- Remember that it will take a few minutes for the Instant Pot to come to temperature/pressure before the 8 minute cook time starts. For this recipe it should only take about 5 minutes.
- Use some garlic paste and ginger paste to make this recipe so easy. You can find the tubes of garlic paste and ginger paste in the produce area of the grocery store.
- You can use ground ginger in place of fresh ginger.
The homemade sauce is my very favorite part of this instant pot chicken recipe. Mix together some chicken broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Most of these ingredients you will find by the other Asian type foods like soy sauce at the grocery store.
It is so flavorful and the perfect blend of flavors. It’s sweet , but overly sweet and while it cooks in the Instant Pot it fills the house with this delicious Chinese restaurant aroma. I am thinking they should really make a candle called cashew chicken 🙂 haha, but seriously, it does smell really good.
So, if you want the best chicken instant pot recipe then you must make this Instant Pot Cashew Chicken. It is so good and something that your kids will love. Even my “rice haters” gobbled this dinner up. And even the 3 year old too. Which if you know her at all, then you know it’s pretty much a miracle when she willingly eats her dinner.
Enjoy friends and thank you so much for stopping by to visit me today! Be sure and also check out this one pot skillet cashew chicken recipe too.
Instant Pot Cashew Chicken
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large or 3 small chicken breasts)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
cashew chicken sauce
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic or garlic paste (or 3 garlic cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground or fresh (I use the ginger paste in the tube)
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 red pepper)
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
Cut chicken breasts into small bite-size chunks. Put chicken chunks in a mixing bowl and add the salt and cornstarch. Stir together until chicken is coated in the cornstarch.
Mix together all the cashew chicken sauce ingredients and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
Add the 1 tablespoon olive oil into the Insert of the Instant Pot. Press the sauté function. Dump the chicken chunks into the insert and let cook for about 4-6 minutes. The chicken does not have to be cooked through, it should be cooked on the outside and will finish cooking in the next step. When chicken is done turn off the sauté function.
Add the cashew chicken sauce (that you set aside from earlier) into the instant pot along with the chopped broccoli and red pepper. Stir together. Put the lid on and turn the valve to sealed
Press 'manual' and set the cook time to 8 minutes.
** If you are using a Crock Pot Express Cooker (it does not have a manual cook button) press the 'rice' button, turn the pressure to high and reduce the cook time to 8 minutes **
Release the valve to let the pressure and steam out. Add in the cashews and the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. To make the cornstarch slurry : mix together the 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water and stir.
Serve over rice and garnish with sliced green onions and/or sesame seeds if wanted.
UPDATE : The 8 minute Instant Pot cook time yields softer veggies (which is how we prefer them) but if you want veggies with a crunch to them, then be sure to reduce the Instant Pot cook time down to 6 or 7 minutes instead.
The recipe yields 6 adult-size servings. If you are feeding mostly kids + 2 adults then you can probably get closer to 8 servings from it. The calories given include a serving of cashew chicken over 1/2 cup cooked, white rice.
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