An easy and flavor-packed meal that can be thrown together any night of the week, this keto cashew chicken recipe is takeout-inspired comfort food! Tender, marinated chicken thighs sautéed with onions and bell peppers and smothered in a sweet/savory/garlic-y sauce, then topped with crunchy, roasted cashews? It's incredible, saucy goodness in every bite.
Serve it with riced cauliflower or air fryer broccoli on the side for a simple, nutritious meal. It's a great way to use flavorful chicken thighs and is the latest addition to my roundup of easy keto chicken thigh recipes!
Keto cashew chicken is delightful for so many reasons:
- it is quick to make
- it's a gluten-free, low-carb and dairy-free dish
- you can serve it with cauliflower rice and keep things low-carb
- kids like it too!
Chinese cashew chicken is sooo good, a personal favorite of mine, but the sauce is typically packed with hidden sugar. Enter this low-carb version... a few changes is all it takes to create your own delicious cashew chicken at home!
This keto cashew chicken recipe reminds me slightly of keto bourbon chicken, but it's more of a stir-fry and less sweet. In fact, I use some of the same ingredients found in other low-carb versions of Asian-inspired dishes, like my Filipino chicken adobo and this low-carb beef bulgogi.
Here's what you will need to make low-carb cashew chicken:
- Marinade ingredients. Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil, chicken broth, liquid monk fruit sweetener (optional), black pepper and xanthan gum.
- Chicken thighs. Use boneless/skinless thighs for the sake of ease. You'll need to cut them into small, 1-inch pieces.
- Avocado oil or coconut oil. To cook the ingredients, stir-fry style. Either oils will work. If using coconut oil, choose unrefined coconut oil for a more neutral taste.
- Onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Chop the onion and bell pepper into small, ½-inch pieces. Mince the garlic.
- Cashews. Choose roasted/salted cashews for ease (or you can roast raw cashews for 10-15 minutes at 350°F).
- Toppings. I serve this keto cashew chicken with sliced green onions and red pepper flakes but these are optional.
how to make keto cashew chicken
Marinate the chicken, sauté the stir fry, pour in the sauce and stir in the cashews- this easy cashew chicken recipe is as simple as that!
- Make the marinade. Stir together the marinade ingredients (except the xanthan gum), then pour 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce over the chicken and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Sauté. Heat the oil in a skillet, then cook the onions for a minute. Add the garlic, then add in the chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should brown slightly. Add the bell pepper pieces and cook another 2 minutes.
- Simmer. Whisk the xanthan gum into the sauce, then pour it into the pan and bump the temperature to high. Cook the cashew chicken for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- Serve. Remove from heat, stir in the roasted cashews, then serve the keto cashew chicken over riced cauliflower.
tips for success
- For a sweeter sauce: I like to use a tiny bit of liquid monk fruit sweetener in the sauce, but it's not a must since the coconut aminos add a natural sweetness. A good substitute for liquid monk fruit sweetener is allulose (either liquid or granulated), as it dissolves very well and won't crystallize when cooled like an erythritol-based sweetener.
- Cauliflower rice prep: To keep things simple, quick, and mess-free, I use frozen cauliflower rice. You can easily cook it simultaneously in a separate pan and it keeps the meal prep time to a minimum.
- Cashews: These are not the most keto-friendly nut and they do contain a higher amount of carbs and sugars than other types. However, you can still enjoy cashews in small portions, which is why my keto cashew chicken recipe only calls for ½ cup in the entire dish.
- Leftovers: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Since the sauce contains xanthan gum, it may look a bit gelatinous when it's cold but will thin out once reheated.
substitutions and variations
- Tamari: If you do not have tamari, you can swap in liquid aminos (different than coconut aminos) or regular soy sauce (if you're not gluten-free). For liquid aminos, add 1 extra tablespoon. Note: the sauce may appear lighter when using liquid aminos.
- Chicken: I always opt for chicken thighs in a stir fry dish like this because they hold their flavor and don't dry out as easily as chicken breasts. However, you can substitute chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins (cut into 1-inch pieces) if needed.
- Vegetables: Some cashew chicken recipes add broccoli florets or other veggies, but I prefer the taste of this with the simple chicken-onion-bell pepper combination. Add more veg in here if you'd like- your traditional stir fry veggies like cabbage, bok choy, broccoli or snow peas are all good options.
When keto cashew chicken is for dinner, it's a good day. If you give this recipe a try and enjoy it, please consider leaving a comment and star review below!
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- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon liquid monk fruit sweetener (optional-see notes for sub)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1- 1-¼ pounds chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
- 1-½ tablespoons avocado oil (or coconut oil)
- ½ yellow or white onion, cut into ¾" pieces
- 1-½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 small green bell pepper, cut into ¾" pieces
- ⅓ cup roasted/salted cashews
- 2 green onions, sliced (for serving)
- red pepper flakes, to taste (for serving)
- Place the chicken pieces into a large bowl or deep dish for marinating.
- In a small dish, mix together the tamari, coconut aminos, sesame oil, chicken broth, sweetener, and black pepper (save the xanthan gum for later).
- Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce over the chicken and toss the pieces in the sauce. Let it marinate for 10 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Once it glistens, add the onions to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, careful not to let the garlic burn.
- Add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the chicken pieces as needed to allow them to cook through- they should brown slightly.
- Add the bell pepper pieces to the pan and cook another 2 minutes.
- Whisk the xanthan gum into the remaining sauce, then pour all of the sauce into the pan. Increase the temperature to high.
- Cook the cashew chicken for 3 to 5 minutes at high, stirring frequently. The sauce will reduce and thicken.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cashews.
- Serve over riced cauliflower and top it with sliced green onions and red pepper flakes.
- Liquid monk fruit sweetener is optional. You can omit it or substitute it with 1 teaspoon liquid or granulated allulose for a slightly sweeter sauce.
- You can substitute tamari with liquid aminos (different than coconut aminos), but I would increase the amount to 3 tablespoons total. Another substitution is regular soy sauce but this is not a gluten-free swap. The sauce may appear lighter in color.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Since the sauce contains xanthan gum, it may look a bit gelatinous when it's cold but will thin out once reheated.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 192mgSodium: 680mgCarbohydrates: 11gNet Carbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 37g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.