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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: 465 kcal

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

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  • 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.
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  1. 5 stars
    Wow! Fabulous recipe, very tasty… I love the chilli heat and that pungent Thai basil!
    The cashews were a hit also, nice finishing touch.
    Served the dish with noodles at husband’s request, it worked well.
    Thanks for the recipe, we really enjoyed it! It’s a keeper. 😁🇦🇺

  2. 5 stars
    I have made so many of your recipes and love them all, but this one is easily in the top 3. So delicious and the cashews were such a nice balance of flavor and texture. Will be a regular dinner option. Thank you for sharing such delicious meals (and making me look like I can cook when I follow them exactly)

    1. Hey Amanda,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and sharing your feedback! I love to hear that it was a hit! xTieghan

  3. This is an absolute winner! I can’t get over this dish. Straight away purchased your cook book for more of these!
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Ali,
      Happy Friday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a go! xxT

  4. 5 stars
    5 stars! The cashews were my favorite part. I will mention that I made the coconut basmati rice and it did not turn out. I remade it using 2 cups rice with 1 14 oz can coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water at a medium high boil for 8ish minutes and then let it sit for another ten. Then it turned out perfect. Looking forward to trying more recipes 🙂

    1. Hey Lyssa,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a go and sharing your feedback!! I love to hear that it was a winner:) xTieghan

    2. 5 stars
      Turned out better then I even hoped. So yummy! Can’t wait for my husband to try it. With our busy lifestyles, it’s so nice that Tieghan makes recipes with common household items so I don’t have to go hunting, or get too intimidated by a recipe. Thank you!

      1. Hi Emily,
        Happy Sunday!! I love hearing that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for trying it out and sharing your feedback!! xTieghan

    1. Hi Katie,
      Yes, that’s great to use. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    Made this last night for the second time. This dish takes a bit of time to prep and make but it’s so worth it. You’ll have a restaurant-worthy dish to serve and impress your dinner guests. I served it with coconut rice which complemented it beautifully.

    1. Hey Liana,
      Happy Wednesday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go! xx

  6. 5 stars
    An absolute hit with my friends/family! So flavourful! The cashews are a showstopper and you’re absolutely right that they deserve a double batch; such a tasty next day snack. This is definitely going to be added to my HBH recipe rotation. Your recipes never disappoint!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Happy Wednesday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go! xx

  7. 5 stars
    Fabulous recipe. So happy that I found it! You are right about the cashews. They are so easy to make, and are really excellent. I buy Thai/lime/chili cashews at Trader Joe’s, but these are more complex, and I will definitely make these in the future. After having a couple of meals recently with coconut rice, I served this over wide rice noodles. Absolutely delicious! I am now going to check out your other recipes. This was such a winner, I want to see your other creations. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ann,
      Awesome!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear that it was enjoyed!! xx

  8. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious and easy. So flavourful, it will definitely become a part of our rotation. Thank you Teighan!

  9. 5 stars
    So good!! To make it meatless I used shiitake mushrooms instead of chicken and skipped the fish sauce. Would definitely make again!

    1. Hey Caitlin,
      Awesome!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a bunch for making it! xTieghan

  10. Looking forward to making this! Do u think it will turn out as good with cauliflower rice? I am going to try a few of your recipes w/ cauliflower rice to make it a bitower carb.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Sure, I don’t see why not! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    This was delicious and especially nice on the coconut rice. As always, it took me far longer to make than estimated, but it’s a small price to pay for such a great result!

    1. Hi Helen,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was a winner. Have the best weekend:) xT

  12. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! Loved this recipe! Thank you Teigen once again! I made the coconut rice once before but used long grained rice, didn’t work out. This time with the Basmati rice it was perfect. And the cashews where the added touch as well as the fresh basil! Bring on more recipes!

    1. Hey Glenn,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was a winner. Have the best weekend:) xT