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A plate of rice topped with cashew sauce and cashew chicken on top with a pair of chopsticks in the background.
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Instant Pot Cashew Chicken

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken is quick & easy instant pot dinner recipe with chunks of chicken, cashews, and fresh vegetables in a homemade sauce with easy ingredients. This cashew chicken is perfect served over rice and garnished with green onions. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Keyword instant pot cashew chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Pressure Time 10 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 265kcal
Author Jessica

Equipment

  • 6 QT or 8 QT Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½-2 pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Cashew Sauce

  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic or garlic paste or 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon ginger (fresh ginger or dried ground ginger)

Vegetables/Extras

  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions

  • Cut chicken breasts into larger bite-sized chunks. Put the chicken chunks into a mixing bowl and add the salt and cornstarch. Stir together until chicken is coated in the cornstarch. 
    * You can also use a gallon sized Ziploc bag to do this. I do it this way, as it's easy and I don't have to dirty a bowl.
  • 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 button. Dump the chicken chunks in 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 have a golden brown crust.
    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 the 'sealed' position.
  • Press 'manual' and set the cook time to 8 minutes. 
  • Do a quick release by moving the valve into the 'venting' position and let the pressure and steam come out.
    Add in the cashews and the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce.
    * To make the cornstarch slurry mix together the 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water and stir with a fork.
  • Serve over rice and garnish with sliced green onions.

Notes

Tip : 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 you can try reducing the cook time by 2 minutes (just make sure the chicken chunks are small so they will cook all the way through in that time) or you can add the vegetables in after the cook time along with the cornstarch slurry and cashews. You may have to press the sauté button and cook for a few minutes to soften the veggies slightly if doing it this way. 
Serving Size & Nutrition Information : 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 1 serving of cashew chicken. Rice is not included as it will change depending on what you serve the chicken over.  
Tip : I've had readers comment and say that they add some chopped water chestnuts to the mixture with great results and more crunch. 

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 715mg | Potassium: 479mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 501IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg