Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken will have you putting down that take-out menu. With a zesty blend of chicken, cashews and addictive spicy sauce it has fast food beaten – hands down!
One of my most favorite things about making Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken, besides the incredible flavor, is that you can walk away until it’s done.
My friends, I can’t lie to you…if you love Chinese food this stuff is addictive. The sauce becomes so thick and the chicken so flavorful that if I closed my eyes (and didn’t see my messy kitchen) I would have believed we had just brought in take-out. And the sauce recipe is so delicious I think I am going to use it for stir-fry too!
For this dish, I did brown and almost pre-cook the chicken chunks first in a little oil. If you don’t want to take the time (or add the calories) to do that, the chicken chunks can just be thrown in the slow cooker and then allow about 3-4 hours for the cook time.
Ingredients Needed to Make Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
- Chicken Breasts
- Vegetable Oil
- Ponzu Sauce – similar to soy sauce but it has added citrus flavor and is lighter than soy sauce. Sold in the oriental food aisle
- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- Rice Vinegar -made from rice it’s lighter and less sour than regular vinegar.
- Brown Sugar
- Red Pepper Flakes
** Rice Vinegar is sold in the oriental food aisle. Substitute another light vinegar like champagne vinegar if you do not have rice vinegar. If using regular white vinegar, use 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup water instead.
How to Make Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
Get started by cutting up the chicken breasts into large bite size chunks. Use a really sharp knife and make sure the breasts are really cold or even slightly frozen. It makes cutting so much easier. Note – I always cut chicken on a glass cutting board so I can sanitize it afterward.
Mix the cornstarch and the pepper in a large plastic bag or large container with a lid. Add all the chicken chunks to the cornstarch mixture and shake until all of the chicken is coated.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and over medium-high heat, brown the chicken on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. The smell of that browning chicken is just heavenly!
This is what the chicken should look like on all sides…a lovely golden brown. Aren’t they pretty! Oh so pretty! The chicken chunks should be more than half cooked thru when you are done. While the chicken is cooking, mix up the sauce. Into a medium bowl, add the Ponzu, ketchup, Thai chili sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper flakes and 1/2 (4 oz) of the cashews. Stir until blended.
Place the chicken into the slow cooker and pour the sauce over the chicken, Set the slow cooker on high for 2 hours. Start checking the chicken at 1-1/2 hours for doneness. The chicken is done when tender and cooked thru and the sauce is thick. If the sauce gets too thick, just add a little water to thin it out, it won’t hurt a thing!
During the last 1/2 hour of cooking the chicken, make the white rice and broccoli. To serve, place rice portion into a bowl and top with chicken and sauce. Decoratively tuck broccoli stems into the bowl and garnish attractively with remaining cashews, then take 200 pictures until you get just the right ones… (just kidding!)
Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
- Mix the cornstarch and the pepper in a large plastic bag or large container with a lid. Cut up the chicken breasts into large bite size chunks and add the chicken chunks to the cornstarch mixture and shake until chicken is coated.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and over medium-high heat, brown on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. The chicken should be almost cooked thru.
- Into a medium bowl, add the Ponzu, ketchup, Thai chili sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper flakes and 1/2 of the cashews. Stir until smooth.
- Place chicken in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over the chicken, Set the slow cooker on high for 2 hours. Start checking the chicken at 1-1/2 hours. The chicken is done when cooked thru and the sauce is thick. Divide into portions and sprinkle with remaining cashews.
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