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Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cashew Chicken

Pressure cooker cashew chicken is to die for! You just need a few ingredients to make this sweet sauce with crunchy nuts and tender pieces of chicken. Make it in your Instant Pot, Crockpot Express or Ninja Foodi tonight!

Pressure Cooker Cashew Chicken

Last night we made this pressure cooker cashew chicken and served it over rice. OH MY was it good! We love easy Instant Pot recipes! (originally published 5/19, affiliate links present)

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken

We also just got a Ninja Foodi and it’s the bomb too. It works the same way except you can air fry at the end if you want. In this case you’re just pressure cooking. You can make it in a Crockpot Express too. I honestly can say I haven’t turned on my oven in months.

I bet you’re a Panda Express fan right? We are, but my wallet can’t handle it several times a week. Now you can make their very favorite dish at home, and adjust the heat to your liking too. This will surely become part of your weekly meal plans too.

FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! Now let’s start with a few basic tips:

For reference, this is the pressure cooker I have (a 6 quart) and use for all recipe creations.

star wars instant pot

Using either chicken breasts or chicken thighs, this turns out great in less than 30 minutes flat. With a sweet sauce, my girls all agree it is one of their favorite meals over rice. You can skip the nuts on the top or skip that step if you want.

Pressure Cooker Cashew Chicken

It’s easier to make than you might think. Add a bit more hoisin sauce to make it even sweeter, or more soy sauce for a saltier base. As always, I say you should adjust it to your taste buds.

  • I would say the first time, start with my measurements and then go from there. 😉
  • If you love Panda Express cashew chicken this is the dinner for you!

There may be a few ingredients that you might need to buy such as hoisin sauce. If you haven’t heard of this, it is super versatile and what makes a lot of Asian dishes sweet with a thick dark sauce. I’m sure you have soy sauce.

soy sauce

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken Breast

When I am coming up with something new I kinda’ stick to my to go sauce choices and adjust until they are just right. I would never share an easy Instapot recipe that wasn’t absolutely 1000% perfect of course. 😉

  • Just get everything out so you’re ready.
  • I’m not kidding you when I say this is a dump and go throw it together dish.
  • You don’t even need to precook the meat beforehand.
  • Sauce + diced chicken for 4 minutes on high pressure and it is done to perfection. So moist too.
  • At the end I suggest you take that last step to thicken the sauce with cornstarch. If you don’t want to of course you can skip that.

This is basically what we added to our pot. Use any brand of pressure cooker you might have. We used our Foodi this time. No matter which brand you have, I highly suggest having a non stick pot as you see here.

easy cashew chicken recipe

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken with Rice

Oh yeah, and you can add a bit of heat too if you’d like. We don’t. A squeeze of Sriracha or a pinch of chili powder would do the trick though. That’s what’s great about making homemade cashew chicken, you can make it JUST like you want it. If you want with rice make that separately.

  • Using chicken broth instead of water also gives this one pot meal more flavor. It definitely isn’t lacking of that!

If you’re familiar with our Instant Pot honey chicken or Hawaiian chicken recipe this is somewhat like those with a few different ingredients.

Many of these Asian dishes have a lot of the same items with a tweak here and there. Of course you can personalize it from there but you’ll need these basic items to make most of them.

ninja foodi recipes

Cashew chicken Instant Pot recipe

  1. Pressure cooker
    1. I highly suggest getting a non stick pot too
  2. Chicken breasts
    1. you could use chicken thighs if you wanted
    2. cut into bite size pieces
  3. Hoisin sauce
  4. Minced garlic
  5. Cashews
  6. Soy sauce
  7. Rice vinegar
  8. Green onions
  9. Salt and pepper
  10. Chicken broth 
  11. Cornstarch – to thicken sauce at the end
  12. White rice to serve it over
  13. Sesame oil or olive oil

Sesame seeds and diced bell peppers would be optional add ins as well.

ninja foodi chicken

Do you have to brown meat before putting in a pressure cooker?

  • NO
  • You do NOT need to precook or saute this chicken before you pressure cook.
    • It cooks all at the same time and in just 4 minutes flat which makes for a short cook time!! Seriously. 
  • Some recipes like our Instant Pot crack chicken casserole you do.
    • So it depends on what you’re cooking.

Ingredients for pressure cooker cashew chicken

  • Pressure cooker
    • If you have an Instant Pot I HIGHLY suggest you get a non stick pot too!
    • A Crock Pot Express, Mealthy or Ninja works too.
Pressure Cooker Cashew Chicken 2

Easy cashew chicken recipe

Dice your chicken into bite size pieces. This will make it easier to eat, allow the meat to absorb lots of sauce and cook faster. Add your meat and all other ingredients (minus your cornstarch) into the pot and stir so everything is coated.

  • You’re going to close your lid, close valve to sealing, and start cooking on high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • Quick release the steam when your pot beeps and remove the lid.
  • Set that aside and turn your pot off and then press saute.
  • Once sauce bubbles, add cold water with cornstarch. Whisk together until smooth, then add into the pot.

How do you thicken a sauce in a pressure cooker?

In a small bowl whisk together some of the hot liquid out of your pot with your cornstarch. Make sure it is nice and smooth, now dump that into your pot. Stir and allow to thicken. Turn pot off and serve immediately over rice or quinoa!

Looking for more pressure cooker chicken recipes? We have a LOT but our spicy teriyaki Instant Pot chicken is always a winner.

instant pot spicy teriyaki chicken thighs

Sesame chicken with cashews

Here are a few more family favorite one pot meals everyone enjoys. Try a few others after this one, especially if you’re new to this way of cooking. Believe me, after a few recipes you’ll be a “pro” at this too!

How many carbs are in cashew chicken?

That depends on what recipe you’re following but for ours the nutritional information is all listed below in the recipe card. Each serving is calculated for 3 ounces of the chicken and sauce itself. We always serve it with a side.

Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!

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the typical mom
Pressure Cooker Cashew Chicken 2
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5 from 2 votes

Pressure Cooker Cashew Chicken

Pressure cooker cashew chicken is to die for! You just need a few ingredients to make this sweet sauce with crunchy nuts and tender pieces of chicken.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese, Japanese
Keyword chicken, instant pot, ninja foodi, pressure cooker
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 383kcal
Author The Typical Mom



  • Put your diced chicken, sesame or olive oil, salt, minced garlic, pepper, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth into your pressure cooker. Stir.
  • Close pressure cooker lid and steam valve and set to high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • Do a quick release when done. Open lid and set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk together your cornstarch and 5 tbsp of hot liquid from your pot until smooth.
  • Set your pressure cooker to saute and when sauce inside begins to bubble pour your cornstarch mixture in and stir for 1 minute. Then turn pot off. 
  • Dice green onions and put into pot, add as many roasted cashews as you’d like. Stir so everything is combined well.
  • Serve alone or on top of rice!


Nutrition Facts
Pressure Cooker Cashew Chicken
Amount Per Serving (3 oz)
Calories 383 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 651mg28%
Potassium 328mg9%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 220IU4%
Vitamin C 3.6mg4%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
ninja foodi chicken recipes
Recipe Rating

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Friday 24th of September 2021

This is wonderful! Great timing and directions. The flavors really come together better than the wok version! Thank you for the fabulous recipe! Nyummers!


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

The vinegar flavor seems a little strong to me. Can I reduce it by half without completely changing it?

The Typical Mom

Thursday 16th of September 2021

If you feel it is strong to you then of course reduce it a bit to your liking.


Friday 20th of August 2021

Is 1/4 cup chicken stock enough? I thought you need 1 cup minimum in a 6 qt pressure cooker

The Typical Mom

Sunday 22nd of August 2021

Juices are created when cooking chicken, I wouldn't share a recipe that didn't work.


Friday 13th of August 2021

Would be nice to have ingredients with measurements.

Justine Howell

Friday 13th of August 2021

@Stephen, It is right there in the recipe card at the very bottom of the post.

Bethany Seeley

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

We love this recipe! Thank you! :) My only question is whether it would work better to blend the cornstarch with cold water--that is how I was taught to thicken things, as it is less lumpy. Also, I toss in a bag of frozen peas after it has thickened, and let the heat of the sauce cook them. So yummy!


Sunday 26th of September 2021

@Bethany Seeley, it says in the directions to mix with cold water. I had to go through the article again to see if it said it too.

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