Take-out is something that most of us turn to when we’re pressed for time or just plain don’t have the energy to get in the kitchen and cook a meal. But the reality is you can make a meal that’s better for you, better tasting, and takes less time and effort than arranging for delivery or carry-out. Take our Instant Pot Cashew Chicken, for instance. It has all the flavor of the Chinese food classic, but you get to control the ingredients and it’s still on the table in less than thirty minutes.
Because of the genius of the Instant Pot, you can start by browning the chicken in the actual Instant Pot so there’s no need to dirty another pan. All that’s really left to do is whisk together a few ingredients for the sauce, pour it over the chicken, and close up the Instant Pot to let it work its magic.
The nice thing about a convenient dish like this is that it’s one you can walk away from. Once the Instant Pot is on, you can go tackle something else. We suppose there’s always laundry to fold, but we’d vote you just go ahead and put your feet up for a minute.
When the Instant Pot dings, you add a cornstarch slurry and set it to ‘saute’ mode to thicken the sauce up a bit. The cashews also get stirred in at this point so they retain most of their crunch. This, of course, goes great over some white rice, but you wouldn’t be amiss just eating it on its own. (Afterall, we’ve all eaten straight out of the take-out container a time or two before, have we not?)
Instant Pot Cashew Chicken
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup cashews
- Green onions, chopped, for serving
- Sesame seeds, for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, if using. Set aside.
- In a zip-top bag, combine the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Shake to coat.
- Turn Instant Pot to "saute" mode and add the sesame oil to the pot. Once hot, add chicken and brown for 2-3 minutes.
- Press 'Cancel" and pour sauce into Instant Pot, stirring to coat chicken evenly. Close Instant Pot, turn valve to "sealing" and set to cook on "Manual" for 10 minutes.
- When timer goes off, switch valve to "venting" to do a quick release. While pressure releases, whisk remaining cornstarch into 2 tablespoons water. Remove lid and stir cornstarch slurry and cashews into chicken mixture. Turn Instant Pot to "saute" function and cook until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes.
- Sprinkle with green onions and toasted sesame seeds to serve. Enjoy!
Adapted from 365 Days of Crockpot.