This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details.

Weeknight (25 minute) Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice…and deliciously addicting salted chili lime cashews. This is the super-fast Thai inspired chicken rice bowl that the whole family will love. Quick-cooking chicken, pan-seared, then tossed in a sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce with garden fresh bell peppers, sesame seeds, and summer’s most flavorful basil. Serve this chicken over steamed rice and top with chili lime cashews. Every bite is saucy, sweet, spicy, and hinted with basil. It’s delicious and healthy. Major bonus? This is all made in one pan without the use of your oven. Perfect for hot summer days.

overhead photo of Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice

This is one of those recipes where I just love how easily it came together for me. This came to me on a busy day and with really just the use of my brain and what sounded delicious.

I knew I wanted to use up all the Thai basil we have growing in the garden. We literally have so much. It’s overflowing at this point. So I knew I needed to do something with it…and soon. If you follow on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve noticed all the basil in the garden, there’s a lot. And I’m certainly not complaining, I love it.

I also knew I wanted to use the chicken I had on hand. Because the grocery is not a place I want to be heading to these days, so I’m trying to use what I’ve got! And in comes this chicken.

I have to say, I’m really excited with how this turned out. It’s Thai inspired, but with my own additions. Additions like chili lime cashews (with honey…and flaky sea salt too). And one of the best sweet and spicy Thai chili sauces I’ve ever made.

I love this dish. It’s easy, almost no-cook, and just so flavorful. And then there’s coconut rice too…all the (good) things I love.

overhead photo of chili lime cashews

The process.

First up, the cashews. Now, these are an “extra” and you don’t have to make them. But you certainly should if you have five minutes and cashews in the pantry.

Simply toss raw cashews with sesame oil, honey, chili powder, and a bit of turmeric, then cook until toasted, golden, and caramelized. Once the cashews are toasty, remove them from the heat, and add lots of lime zest plus flaky sea salt. Oh. So. Delicious!

Putting it out there, these are hard to stop eating. My best tip? Make a double batch. Serve half with the chicken and save the other half for random mid-day snacking. It’s a good idea.

overhead photo of Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken in skillet

Next, toss the chicken with a little cornstarch and a good pinch of pepper. Tossing the chicken with cornstarch allows it to get extra crispy and caramelize while cooking.

Now make the sauce. It’s simply, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, ketchup (which is the secret), and sesame seeds. You guys, this sauce is now my newest favorite. It’s the ketchup, it adds a layer of flavor that’s subtle, but yet is so key. It’s sweet, salty, and spicy.

Pan-fry the chicken in a little oil until it’s crisp. Add plenty of garlic, ginger, and bell peppers. Then pour the sauce in and let it simmer down and thicken over the chicken and peppers.

As the chicken is cooking, you should be making some steamed rice. I like to toss it with a touch of butter and basil just before serving. SO GOOD.

overhead close up photo of Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice

Now, put it all together…

Spoon your rice into bowls, then add the chicken and peppers. Finish each bowl off with lots of fresh basil and a handful of those salted chili honey-lime cashews.

Oh and add some thinly sliced cucumbers if you’d like too.


And you guys…that’s it. This takes less than 30 minutes to make and it’s not only delicious but fun too!

overhead close up photo of Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice

Looking for other quick weeknight Thai summer dinners? Here are some favorites:

Coconut Popcorn Chicken with Sweet Thai Chili Lime Sauce

30 Minute Sticky Thai Meatballs with Sesame Noodles

Better Than Takeout Sweet Thai Basil Chicken

Lastly, if you make this Thai basil sesame cashew chicken, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch the How To Video:

Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken Chicken.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 539 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. To make the cashews. Heat 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon honey, the cashews, chili, powder, and turmeric in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until lightly toasted and caramelized, 3-4 minutes. Watch closely. Spoon the cashews out of the skillet onto a parchment-lined plate. Sprinkle with lime zest and salt. Set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, cornstarch, and a pinch of black pepper.
    3. To make the sauce. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup honey, the soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, ketchup, and sesame seeds.
    4. Wipe the skillet clean. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and brown all over, until it becomes crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and peppers, cook another 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the sauce coats the chicken, about 5 minutes.
    5. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve the chicken and sauce over bowls of rice. Top with cashews, additional basil, and cucumbers, if desired. Enjoy!


Coconut Rice: Combine 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk and 1/2 cup water in a medium pot. Bring to a low boil. Add 1 cup basmati rice and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, cover, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook 10 minutes on low, then turn the heat off completely and let the rice sit, covered for another 15-20 minutes (don't take any peeks inside!). Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
View Recipe Comments

overhead photo of Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice

Add a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Hallo tieghan,habe das rezrpt heute gemacht und es schmeckt grossartig.werde es sicher wieder machen ubd geniessen.

    1. Hi Claudia,
      Vielen Dank, dass Sie dieses Rezept gemacht haben. Ich bin so froh zu hören, dass es Ihnen gefallen hat! xT

  2. 5 stars
    The flavors are outstanding, we love every bite! Thank you! I’m having trouble with crisping up the chicken with the corn starch. It just falls off and sticks to my staub. I know I’m doing something wrong, any help would be appreciated. I heated oil until shimmering but probably didn’t get my chicken to room temperature. Thanks for your feed back 🥰

    1. Hey Margaret,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear that it was a hit! I would let any extra cornstarch fall from the chicken, so it just has a light coating! xx

  3. 5 stars
    Tried this today. Amazing! Nice alternative if you’re craving Thai but don’t want all the coconut milk and cream. Changes I made:

    – used less soy sauce (1/3 cup)
    – added brocolli (worked really well.. I’d add them in when you’re simmering the sauce to prevent soggyness)
    – I did 1/2 cup of fresh basil and it worked out perfectly.. I think adding any more for me would have been too strong for my liking! Got a hint of it in every bite and wasn’t overpowering.
    – I did the cashews however the dish is just as good without. So feel free to omit that part.
    – make sure to squeeze some lime on your plate before eating. Takes it to another level.

    1. Hey Monica,
      Happy Monday!! 💘 Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! Thanks for sharing what worked well for you! xx

  4. I am certainly not ‘a cook’ but i have made this dish at least six times and it is delicious every time. ‘ restaurant quality’ as my guy says. didn’t have basil this time so I used romaine lettuce and it was equally as good.
    thank you for the dish. it’s a hit!

    1. Hey Ann,
      Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe and sharing your comment, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xx

    1. Hey Elizabeth,
      Happy Monday!! I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, so glad to hear it turned out well! Chickpeas would be good or pumpkin seeds! xT

  5. This is delicious. The layers of flavors makes each bite a delight. We subbed the chicken for tofu, it worked perfectly. Thank you for all of your recipe testing! This one is a keeper for us.

    1. Hey Michelle,
      Happy Monday!!⛄️ Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xT

  6. 5 stars
    We have had this one on repeat for a few years. Very few recipes truly on take 25 minutes but I can make this in 25 if I skip the cashews. When I have more time on the weekends, I always make sure to add. Definitely recommend!

    1. Hey Leigh,
      Wonderful!!🎅 I love to hear that this recipe always turns out well for you, thanks so much for making it so often and your comment! xT

  7. Can you make the coconut rice with brown rice? Would that be weird? Any recommendations how much coconut milk and how much rice?

    1. I’m asking specifically for brown rice as it varies amount of time.m, rice, water, etc for brown rice. Thanks in advance!! 🙂

    2. Hey there,
      Sure, you could use brown rice, you will want to adjust according to package instructions. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

  8. 5 stars
    The flavor is spot on! Cut the honey and chili paste down per personal preference. Made coconut rice with some ginger and garlic and I think in the future id probably prioritize that over making candied cashews if I’m in a hurry. Both my 18 month old and husband loved it!

    1. Hey Nicole,
      Wonderful!!❄️ Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, I am so glad it was a winner:)

  9. 5 stars
    I think this is my favorite HBH recipe yet! My teenage kids missed out bc of Halloween, but my husband and I managed to polish it all off. I left out the fish sauce because I’m not a fan and made it with the coconut rice. The coconut rice didn’t cook out all of the liquid when following the directions, so I raised the temp after the time and cooked it out and it even crisped up the bottom a little (which i love!). Would highly recommend this!

  10. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe. Made ours with pan fried tofu instead of chicken and added broccolini. Didn’t have soy on hand so I used liquid aminos instead and it was really good. Made the rice in a quick cook rice cooker and the whole thing came together very quickly. Will make again!

  11. 5 stars
    This has become part of the weekly rotation! I used coconut aminos since they’re a little less salty. It was perfect, and the cashews are addictive!

    1. Hey Kim,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe is always a winner and really appreciate you making it so often:) xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    This is a flavorful, slightly spicy dish! I did not have coconut milk, so I used regular brown rice. It was still delish, but I am excited to try it with coconut rice, next time.
    Your recipes are my favorite, and I look forward to your favorite things blog each week as well!

    1. Hi Gayle,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe:) I am so glad it was enjoyed! Hope you’re off to a great Monday! xxT

  13. 5 stars
    I probably make at least one recipe from this website a week. Hands down this is top three favorites. I first made it last year and couldn’t wait to plant more thai basil this year specifically for this recipe. And, definitely don’t skip on the coconut rice- it’s the perfect creamy base to a slightly spicy sauce.

    1. Hi Paula,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe so often and sharing your feedback! So glad to hear you have been enjoying the dish! Have the best weekend:)