This Instant Pot Cashew Chicken is better than take-out! Plus it's healthier, and easy to adjust for Whole30 and Paleo diets.
I love Chinese take-out. I really, really do. There's something so comforting about ordering food and having it delivered to your door while you answer in your sweats and no make-up. Then eating out of those adorable take-out containers while binge watching the latest Netflix shows (have you watched Dead to Me yet? So good!).
There are a lot of Chinese recipes that are super duper easy to make at home, though. And I also find it just as comforting being zen in my kitchen whipping up these better-than-take-out dishes in 30 minutes or less.
Instant Pot Cashew Chicken
This dish is SO simple and so fast. The most time you'll spend is in cutting the chicken and the veggies, but that takes just about 10 minutes tops.
You can also adjust the recipe to comply with Whole30 and Paleo diets. I've included notes in the recipe below for that.
How to Avoid the Burn Notice on Your Instant Pot
One common complaint of Instant Pot users is that they will sometimes get a BURN notice when cooking certain dishes. Usually that means there's not enough liquid to cook the solids without charring them to the bottom of the pan a bit. It seems like most people get this when cooking pastas in the Instant Pot, or meats with thicker sauces.
When I first made this dish in the Instant Pot, I got the BURN notice. So, I've adjusted the liquids to where I no longer get it. They key is to ensure you have enough liquid to mostly cover the chicken and veggies before you seal the lid. I use 1.5 pounds of chicken, but you may use 1.7 pounds of chicken and just a little more veggies, which would call for more liquids. Simply add a little chicken stock, water, or more coconut aminos if you want more flavored liquid.
Instant Pot Cashew Chicken
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
- ½ cup coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons ketchup (sugar-free for a paleo/whole30 dish)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot flour, divided
- ½ teaspoon Five Spice Powder
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small 1" pieces
- ½ cup green pepper, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup carrots, julienned
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 cup cashews
- In a large bowl, mix together 1 tbsp sesame oil, coconut aminos, ketchup, vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, and Five Spice powder. Stir and set aside.
- In a large ziplock bag or another large bowl, mix together 2 tbsp arrowroot flour with salt and pepper. Then add the chicken and coat evenly with the flour mixture.
- Turn Instant Pot to SAUTÉ, and add remaining 2 tbsp sesame oil to the bottom of the pot. Once the oil is heated, add the chicken and stir, searing evenly on all sides for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken in the instant pot. Add the chopped green peppers and carrots, then pour in the chicken stock; stir. Cover, seal, and set to PRESSURE COOK or MANUAL to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp arrowroot flour with 2 tbsp water and stir well to dissolve.
- When the instant pot is done, Quick Release, and open the lid once the valve is down and it's safe to open.
- Set the Instant Pot to SAUTÉ, and add the water and flour mixture into the instant pot and mix well into the sauce. Add the cashews and continue stirring until the sauce has thickened, which takes just about a minute or two.
- Serve immediately with rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, and additional veggies.