Ree Drummond’s Cashew Chicken Is a 30-Minute Recipe the Pioneer Woman Never Gets Tired Of

Ree Drummond’s cashew chicken is the Pioneer Woman version of the classic takeout dish. Serve it with the Food Network star’s fried rice and orange chicken for a whole meal. 

What Ree Drummond loves about cashew chicken

Ree Drummond smiles wearing a multicolor top standing in front of a yellow sunflower wall
Ree Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

The Food Network star is a big fan of cashew chicken. “I could eat it weekly for the rest of my life and never get tired of it,” she once wrote on her Pioneer Woman website. She loves it that much. 

While the dish fits in many Pioneer Woman recipe categories, from quick dinners and sensational stir-fries to simple suppers, cashew chicken is, first and foremost, comfort food to Drummond. 

“Cashew Chicken is definitely, for me, a lifelong comfort food,” she said. “I used to go to China Garden in my hometown, whether with my group of friends or my boyfriend (at the time) Kevin … and this is what I always ordered.” 

She continued, saying how a bite of cashew chicken brings her back to another time in her life. “Whenever I eat it, I think of Jeep Wagoneers, Giorgio perfume, Stiff Stuff hairspray, toe shoes, Pontiac Fieros, and size 6 Guess jeans,” she said before joking that she’s not “mired in nostalgia or anything.” 

How to make the Pioneer Woman chicken recipe

According to Food Network, Drummond’s cashew chicken is made in four steps. It begins with the sauce. Vinegar, brown sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and ginger are combined in a bowl and set aside. 

Next is the chicken. After it’s seasoned with salt and pepper it goes in a saute pan for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. This is where Drummond advises not to stir the chicken. 

“Leave them alone, undisturbed, for at least a couple of minutes. This’ll give ’em a chance to start browning,” she said. “When the chicken has started to turn golden, start stirring it around so it’ll brown all over.”

Once the chicken is cooked into the pan goes chopped green pepper, ginger, and minced garlic. After the peppers have softened the pan is deglazed with sherry. 

“You can also use white wine or just broth, but I really think the flavor of sherry is special in stir fries like this,” Drummond said. 

More soy sauce goes in the pan. While it cooks cornstarch and soy sauce get mixed together in a small bowl and added to the mixture. Then in goes water chestnuts, cashews, and water. After a minute of cooking Drummond’s cashew chicken is done and ready to serve.

Reviewers advise using low-sodium soy sauce and unsalted cashews

Ree Drummond speaks into a microphone
Ree Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

Follow Drummond’s cashew chicken recipe exactly or risk disaster. The recipe calls for low-sodium soy sauce and unsalted cashews, which as reviewers pointed out in the comments section, is crucial. Otherwise, the finished dish could be too salty.

“Be sure to use unsalted cashews and low-sodium soy sauce,” a reviewer said. Another chimed in, calling low-sodium soy sauce the “key” to the recipe. 

Keep the additional salt to a minimum and prepare for a crowd-pleaser. “I’ve made this dish numerous times and it was a hit each time,” one person said, praising “the tender chicken, the crunchy veggies, and texture of the cashews.” 

“This is the best cashew chicken recipe I have ever made, I made it just as the recipe is and for me it was perfect,” added another. “I had five people over and they all thought it was the best they’ve ever had.”

Others dubbed it better than takeout and “so easy.” One even said it made their kitchen smell like their favorite Chinese restaurant.  

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