This Whole30 instant pot cashew chicken tastes better than our favorite Chinese takeout but is much healthier. Not only it is Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, but it can be made in under 20 minutes. This is going to be your new favorite healthy dinner recipe.
You know I love to take traditional recipes and give them a healthy twist, especially take-out meals!
We’ve really been loving simple and tasty Asian dishes lately, like my
And now this Cashew Chicken recipe is no exception. It’s healthy, delicious, quick, easy and virtually mess-free.
How to Make this Instant Pot Cashew Chicken
1. Marinate the Cashew Chicken
You can use either breasts or thighs. The first step, marinate with arrowroot flour and coconut aminos.
For best results to have the flavor soak in the chicken, let them marinate for at least an hour in the fridge.
2. Sear the Chicken in Instant Pot
Heat up a couple of tablespoons of oil in your Instant Pot on the “sautee” function.
Sear the chicken for about 1-2 minutes. This will give your chicken a nice crispy outside and also lock in some of that flavor from the marinade.
Be careful not to overcook during this step because the chicken will continue to cook in your Instant Pot throughout these next steps.
3. Stir in the Sauce
Once the chicken is done searing, add your sauce and turn the Instant Pot to high pressure.
4. Cook Sides for Cashew CHicken
Cook whatever you want to pair with your chicken: vegetables, cauliflower rice, stir fry, jasmine rice, etc.
Use the time while your Instant Pot is cooking your chicken so that everything will be ready around the same time.
You can find how to make cauliflower rice in this post in order to make a perfect Whole 30 Friendly dinner!
Why is Paleo Cashew Chicken Recipe Healthy?
Compared to the traditional Cashew Chicken you may have had for Chinese Food Takeout, this version is much healthier.
I made a few simple substitutions to make this recipe paleo, gluten-free, Keto and Whole30 Friendly as well.
1. Coconut aminos
Traditional cashew chicken uses hoisin sauce which is mainly made up of peanut butter and soy sauce.
Coconut aminos are the paleo substitute for soy sauce.
2. Cashew Butter
Cashew butter replaces the peanut butter used in a traditional hoisin sauce.
Peanuts are a legume and are not part of a paleo diet. If you are not following paleo, feel free to use peanut butter to capture the authentic flavor.
3. Arrowroot Flour.
Arrowroot flour is used in place of cornstarch in the sauce recipe.
It thickens the sauce beautifully so that it coats the chicken and sticks to it nicely.
Other ingredients that you will need for this recipe are
- sesame oil
- rice vinegar
- red pepper flakes
How to Serve this Instant Pot Cashew Chicken
You can serve this healthy cashew chicken with any of your favorite vegetables, but some of my favorite ways to serve it are with
- Jasmine rice
- steamed broccoli
- cauliflower rice (for low carb and paleo rice options)
- zucchini stir fry
Additionally, I love to toast some cashews to add a little crunch on top!
The Perfect Instant Pot Cashew Chicken Recipe for the Family
This healthy version of Cashew Chicken is a great combination of lean protein and vegetables.
This easy dish is loaded with flavor and nutrition. In 20 minutes, you have a perfectly balanced meal that will keep you and your family satisfied.
Additionally, it’s also a great recipe to make a bigger batch to use for meal prep because you can pair it with a variety of sides (see the “How To Serve section” above) and you’ll have healthy meals all week!
What is your favorite way to eat cashew chicken? Leave a comment below!
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You may also like these other Asian-Inspired recipes:
- 1 inch of fresh ginger (thinly sliced)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 - 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
- 2/3 cup raw cashews (divided)
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast or thighs
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 heaping tbsp arrowroot starch
- Salt to taste *
- 3 tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3 tbsp cashew butter
- 1 - 2 tbsp honey (Optional**)
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- Cut the chicken into cubes. In a big Ziploc bag or medium bowl, marinate the chicken with coconut amino, salt *, and arrowroot flour. Make sure the chicken is completely coated.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce - coconut aminos, water, sesame oil, rice vinegar, cashew butter, red pepper flakes, honey (if using any). Set aside.
- Using "saute" mode, heat up 1 - 2 tbsp oil in an instant pot. Add onion and garlic, saute until fragrant. Add additional 1 - 2 oil if needed ( I used extra 2 - 3 tbsp oil to prevent the chicken from sticking) then add chicken cubes. Flip a couple of times until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside. ***
- Turn off the saute mode on instant pot, stir in the sauce, cashew, garic and ginger. Make sure the chicken is evenly coated.
- Cover and set the valve to “sealing” and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- In a small greased saucepan, toast half (roughly) of the cashews on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Flip often.
- Once the cashew chicken is done, do a quick release of the instant pot.
- Following an optional step: mix 1 tbsp filtered water with 1 tbsp arrowroot flour. Add into the cashew chicken and incorporate well ***.*
- Serve with rice or cauliflower rice for Whole30 option, stir-fried vegetables, a sprinkle of chopped scallion, and the toasted cashews on top.
- *Coconut amino itself is salty, so take that into consideration when you salt the chicken.
- ** Omit honey for 1 Whole30 compliant recipe. Use Keto-friendly sweetener for Keto option.
- ***I personally prefer pre-sear the chicken in a separate non-stick pan before adding it to the instant pot. Depending on the type of instant pot you are using, the arrowroot starch in chicken marinate may create a sticky layer on the bottom of the pot.
- **** Stir in 1 tbsp arrowroot flour at the end if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir well until the sauce thickens.
- There will likely be a sticky layer on the bottom of the instant pot after cooking, it is due to the arrowroot starch. Use a wooden spatula to scrape and stir the chicken gently before serving.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This does not result in any extra cost for you, but it does mean that I make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 319mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 31g
The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.