Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

This easy Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken is quick to prep, better than takeout, and way healthier for you, too!  Perfect for easy weeknight dinner and kid approved! 

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken | This easy Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken is quick to prep, better than takeout, and way healthier for you, too! | A Sweet Pea Chef

Now that the weather is colder and slow cookers are being dusted off, several of the No-Fail Meals members have requested to have more slow cooker recipes included in the meal plans.

Because meal plansslow cookers = one easy peasy and delicious week of food!

So, I went to work testing out tons of slow cooker recipes.  Heck, I even bought an extra slow cooker to test twice as much.

That’s called commitment, people!

And, yes, that also means double the tasty food which is a nice reward for all my hard work.  It’s so hard 😉

Well, it just so happened on day I was craving some Chinese food.  AND I needed to test an easy slow cooker recipe.

That’s right, friends: Put your hands together!

All the ingredients for the slow cooker cashew chicken, separated and ready to add to the slow cooker. Each ingredient has a label, including chicken thighs, low sodium soy sauce, raw cashews, rice wine vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, fresh ginger, olive oil, and chili paste. Small mixing bowl which contains the cashew sauce for the slow cooker cashew chicken. Inside the mixture are raw cashers, soy sauce, honey, chili paste, and rice wine vinegar.

And that is how this slow cooker cashew chicken came to be.

Truth: this cashew chicken is amazeballs good.

Another truth (and a random side note): I find it funny that my spellchecker has learned the word “amazeballs.” Do I say that a lot?  Hmmm.

Since testing this recipe and sharing it on No-Fail Meals, I get requests for it all the time.

It’s one of those amazingly simple recipes that get you all excited about when they’re in the slow cooker because you know the delicious smell it’s giving off isn’t even a tenth of how delicious your meal will be in just a few short hours.

Super simple. Super easy. High protein. Flavorful. Yep: amazeballs.

Apparently I use that word a lot?  Jury’s still out.

Plate with the well-browned chicken thighs that have been seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, next to the bowl of cashew sauce, all ready to be added to the slow cooker to make the slow cooker cashew chicken. Overhead view of the bowl of the slow cooker, which has been filled with the browned chicken and cashew sauce, ready to be covered and cooked on Low for 3-4 hours to make the slow cooker cashew chicken.

Is Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken Healthy?

Alright, we all know and love cashew chicken.  But we’re looking at a recipe on A Sweet Pea Chef so there’s gotta be a healthy component to this, right?  Right! Cashew chicken can be a healthy option when dining at Chinese restaurants IF you practice portion control.  After about 1 cup of cashew chicken, however, the calories, sodium, and fat can quickly add up. That’s why making homemade cashew chicken is a great healthy choice.

The biggest nutritional aspects to pay attention to when enjoying cashew chicken are the sodium (hello, soy sauce!) and fat (hello, cashews and chicken thighs!).  That being said, one serving of this cashew chicken will still allow you to continue your healthy lifestyle and partake in yummy Chinese cuisine.  Woot!

If you’d prefer to reduce the saturated fat even further on this dish, you can always replace the chicken thighs with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I find I like the flavor a tad better with skin-on, bone-in thighs, though I do remove the skin when I eat it to lessen the fat content and because the chicken already has so much flavor anyways.

This recipe also doubles well, in case you’d rather not use two crock pots! 😉

White bowl filled with slow cooker cashew chicken and topped with sliced green onions, ready to eat and enjoy.

How To Freeze Cashew Chicken

Making meals and freezing them into smaller portions for using later is a great idea, especially with slow cooker recipes since they make so many servings!  It definitely helps on those crazy busy weeknight dinners or when I am out of ideas for what to make for dinner!

To freeze cashew chicken, make the entire recipe as written below first.  Then, allow to cool completely before portioning it into either several 1 quart freezer bags (individual servings) or 1 gallon freezer bag (family serving) or a freezer-safe container.  If using freezer bags, make sure they are freezer safe and remove as much air as possible before sealing.

If you’re wanting to turn this into an easy freezer meal to cook later, follow the directions to brown the chicken and make the cashew sauce, and then add everything into a freezer safe bag.  When ready to cook, just add to a slow cooker and cook.

Close up of a plate which contains the slow cooker cashew chicken which has been removed from the crock pot and topped with sliced green onions.

More Better Than Takeout Recipes

Craving takeout, but still wanna stick to your healthy eating goals (and save the money on takeout)?  Try these better for you, better than takeout recipes to get your fix.

More Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

Want more easy, delicious, and healthy slow cooker recipes?  Here ya go!

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

4.75 from 8 votes
Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken - Square Recipe Preview Image
Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 10 mins

This easy Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken is quick to prep, better than takeout, and way healthier for you, too!

Categories: Clean, Healthy Recipes, Slow Cooker
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: cashew chicken crockpot, crockpot cashew chicken, slow cooker cashew chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 518 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 green onions, for garnish, sliced
  • cooked brown rice optional for serving
  1. Heat a fry pan over high heat and add the oil.

  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan. Cook until well-browned, about 2 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer browned chicken to the bowl of a slow cooker.

  4. Combine the low sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili paste, raw honey, garlic, ginger, and cashews in a small bowl and pour over the chicken.

  5. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. Top with sliced green onions.

  6. Serve over steamed brown rice, if desired.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
Amount Per Serving (2 cups)
Calories 518 Calories from Fat 332
% Daily Value*
Fat 36.9g57%
Saturated Fat 10g50%
Cholesterol 218.1mg73%
Sodium 990.1mg41%
Carbohydrates 3.1g1%
Fiber 3.6g14%
Sugar 0.2g0%
Protein 42.9g86%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

28 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

  1. 3 stars
    This dish turned out quite tasty but I would definitely make some changes if cooking again. I only had 500g of chicken but used the recommended quantities for the remaining ingredients, and it turned out dry. Considering I only had about half of the recommended amount of meat, I can’t imagine how dry it would have been if I had used the full amount. Additionally, although tasty, the dish could benefit from some veggies for added flavour and texture. Over all, this dish is so quick and easy to make and quite tasty, but I would recommend doubling the liquid (at the very least).

  2. I’d like to make this in my Instant Pot. What adjustments would you recommend – I’m new with this Pot. Thanks.

  3. We tried this tonight and really enjoyed it. I served it with fried rice and garlic green beans. I took the liquid from the crockpot and thickened it in a saucepan with cornstarch to make a sauce which was a hit with my kids especially. Next time I would add a bit more honey but other than that I wouldn’t change a thing.

  4. 5 stars
    So I made this tonight after following the instructions provided. It turned out really well and I’m happy with the result but I would have to offer one bit of advice / constructive criticism. If you’re using a slow cooker that is as wide as mine is (I bought the ‘Crock-Pot 7.0-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker’ from Costco a few weeks ago), by following the recipe provided the fluid will not cover all of the chicken. I had to add about 2 cups of water (in addition to ~1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce and 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar) to raise the fluid level enough to cover all of the chicken.
    With that being said, it’s a great recipe and I’m happy to have all of this chicken for this week, but if you have a larger slow-cooker like mine, be ready to buy extra low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, etc. to have the fluid level go above the chicken you put in. I’ll give it 5-stars, but just because the author probably used a smaller pot and it worked great for her. Be sure to adjust your recipe if you have a larger pot like mine.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve been so disappointed with crock pot recipes lately but when I took a bite of this one I was pleasantly surprised! It’s delicious!!! It actually tastes like cashew chicken from the best Chinese restaurant. I only wish the sauce was a bit thicker but I guess I could add cornstarch or flour? Thanks so much for the delicious recipe!!!

  6. 5 stars
    Our family loved the recipe. Prepped ahead of time and put all the ingredients in a ziploc freezer bag. A few weeks later, defrosted overnight, popped the mixture into the slow cooker, and it made for an easy dinner.

  7. 5 stars
    This chinese cashew chicken was amazing!! My husband, son and myself enjoyed this and it was very easy to make. I especially liked the fact I could eat “Chinese” without a bunch of carbs. I also appreciate that it was a healthy dinner without the processed foods. Thank you, Lacy

  8. In your video you state 1/3 cup soy sauce and the recipe says 1/2 cup…
    I just made this with 1/2 but wondering which one is best 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    My friend shared this recipe with me and I”m so glad she did. It is my favorite thing to make now! It is absolutely delicious. The flavors make my mouth water and you feel good after eating it. I always use organic chicken and it’s just delicious. Thank you for this recipe!

  10. Can’t find Rice Wine Vinegar for the life of me. Is it okay to substitute Rice Vinegar instead?? Anyone else having trouble finding Rice Wine Vinegar… I tried trader joes, Ralph’s Vons, the Asian section… only Rice Vinegar.

    1. Rice Wine Vinegar is always in the Asian section of the supermarket – near the sesame oil, fish sauce etc.

    1. I use this brand (http://amzn.to/1KuGVer) but you can also replace with dried red pepper flakes if you have that on hand – it just adds a little more heat to the flavor (and is super tasty) 🙂

      1. I’ve had a heck of a time finding chili paste that would be safe for my son with his food allergies. I’m glad I saw that chili flakes will work fine. I wonder if you know an estimate as to how much flakes would be flavorful spicy but not over bearing for 4lbs chicken. (double your recipe) Thanks

  11. 5 stars
    What could you use instead of chicken thighs ? Could you use some kind of beef or pork also ? How about chicken breast?

    This sounds really good, just don’t like chicken thighs…..

    1. I’ve been meaning to try it with chicken breasts, but haven’t yet. If you try it with chicken breast, I’d do bone-in, skin-on to keep it as moist as possible.

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