Make Simple Lemon Chicken at Home: A Quick and Easy Recipe – Seaco Online
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Make Simple Lemon Chicken at Home: A Quick and Easy Recipe

Looking for a fast and simple way to satisfy your Chinese food cravings? This simple Chinese lemon chicken recipe is just what you need. With a handful of ingredients and some prep work, you can have a delicious meal ready in no time. Perfect for those busy weeknights when you need a quick and easy dinner option.


Sliced lemon and chicken stir-frying in a wok with soy sauce and sugar

To make this Chinese lemon chicken recipe, you'll need a few key ingredients such as chicken breast, cornstarch, flour, salt, white pepper, turmeric, sesame oil, garlic, lemon juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, and lemon zest. These ingredients are easy to find at your local grocery store and won't break the bank. You can also add some vegetables like broccoli or bell peppers to the recipe to make it even more nutritious.

Once you have all of your ingredients, the preparation process is simple and straightforward. You'll need to dredge the chicken in the dry mixture and drop them into the oil, in batches of 5-6 pieces. Then, use chopsticks or a slotted spoon to carefully turn the chicken pieces occasionally so all sides are uniformly fried. The sauce is also simple to make and adds a tangy, sweet flavour to the dish.

Ingredients Overview

A table with a bowl of sliced chicken, lemons, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch. A wok with oil, garlic, and ginger

When it comes to making Chinese lemon chicken, it's important to have all the necessary ingredients on hand before you start cooking. Here is an overview of the ingredients you'll need to make this delicious dish.

Main Ingredients

The main ingredient for Chinese lemon chicken is, of course, chicken. You can use either chicken breast or thigh meat for this recipe. Cut the chicken breast into boneless bite-size pieces, either with the skin on or removed. Asian prefers chicken thigh over breast meat.

Apart from chicken, you'll also need cornstarch, flour, salt, pepper, and egg to make the batter. These ingredients help to create a crispy coating on the chicken.

For the Lemon Sauce

To make the lemon sauce, you'll need fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, salt, water, garlic, soy sauce, and cornstarch. The lemon juice and zest give the dish its tangy flavour, while the sugar and soy sauce help to balance out the acidity. Garlic adds a depth of flavour to the sauce, while cornstarch helps to thicken it.

Additional Garnishes

To garnish the dish, you can add sesame seeds and green onions. These add a pop of colour and flavour to the dish. You can also add honey to the sauce to make it sweeter and more flavourful.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try adding seafood to the dish. Shrimp or prawns would be a great addition, and would complement the lemon flavour well. Simply add the seafood to the dish during the last few minutes of cooking, and cook until it's pink and opaque.

Preparation Guide

A chef slices fresh lemons and tender chicken, surrounded by soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. A wok sizzles with the fragrant mixture as it cooks to perfection

Preparing Chinese lemon chicken is a simple process that involves three main steps: marinating the chicken, creating the batter, and deep frying. Here's a breakdown of each step:

Marinating the Chicken

Marinating the chicken is an essential step in ensuring that the chicken is flavourful and tender. Begin by mixing boneless chicken thighs with ginger, granulated sugar, and corn flour. You can also add seafood to the marinade, such as prawns or scallops, to add a seafood twist to the recipe.

Cover the marinated chicken and place it in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavours to penetrate the meat thoroughly.

Creating the Batter

Creating the batter is the next step in preparing Chinese lemon chicken. Begin by creating a wet batter by mixing corn flour, baking powder, and water. You can add more water if the batter is too thick.

Next, create a cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with water. This slurry will help create a crispy coating for the chicken.

Deep Frying Essentials

When it comes to deep frying, it's essential to use a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil or peanut oil. Heat the oil to 375°F in a deep pot or a wok.

Dredge the marinated chicken in the cornstarch slurry and then coat it in the wet batter. Gently place the chicken in the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes or until it's golden brown and crispy.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Serve the Chinese lemon chicken hot with a side of rice or noodles.

By following these simple steps, you can create a delicious Chinese lemon chicken that's sure to impress your guests.

Cooking Procedure

A wok sizzles with diced chicken, lemon slices, and a fragrant sauce. Steam rises as the ingredients are stir-fried to perfection

Cooking the Chicken

To start making your Chinese Lemon Chicken, the first step is to marinate the chicken. This will allow the seasoning to penetrate deep into the meat, ensuring that the chicken is equally flavorful throughout. You can marinate the chicken for a few hours or overnight for best results.

Once the chicken has been marinated, it's time to cook it. You can either deep fry or shallow fry the chicken to get a crispy coating. For deep frying, heat the oil to 350°F and fry the chicken until golden brown. For shallow frying, heat a small amount of oil in a pan and cook the chicken until crispy on both sides.

Making the Sauce

The next step is to make the lemon sauce for your Chinese Lemon Chicken. In a small saucepan, combine chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and cornstarch. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and becomes sticky.

If you prefer a glaze-like texture, you can reduce the amount of cornstarch in the sauce. You can also add lemon slices to the sauce for extra flavour and presentation.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add seafood to your Chinese Lemon Chicken recipe. Shrimp or prawns work particularly well with the lemon sauce, adding a delicious seafood twist to the dish.

Overall, Chinese Lemon Chicken is a simple yet delicious dish that can be made in just a few steps. With its crispy chicken and sticky lemon sauce, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any dinner party or family gathering.

Serving Suggestions

A plate of Chinese lemon chicken with steamed rice and broccoli on a wooden table. A lemon wedge garnishes the dish

If you're looking for simple and delicious meal ideas, Chinese lemon chicken is a great choice. This dish can be served with a variety of sides and garnishes to suit your taste. Here are some serving suggestions to help you get started.

Pairing with Sides

When it comes to pairing sides with Chinese lemon chicken, rice is an obvious choice. You can serve it with plain white rice or fried rice for a more flavourful option. If you're looking for something lighter, you can also serve the chicken with a side of lettuce or other greens.

In addition to rice, you can also pair Chinese lemon chicken with a variety of vegetables. Broccoli, green beans, and cauliflower are all great options that will add some colour and nutrition to your meal. You can steam or stir-fry the vegetables for a quick and easy side dish.

Garnishing Tips

To add some extra flavour and visual appeal to your Chinese lemon chicken, consider adding some garnishes. Fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley can add a pop of colour and freshness to your dish. You can also sprinkle some sesame seeds or chopped peanuts on top for some added texture.

If you want to take your Chinese lemon chicken to the next level, consider adding some seafood to the recipe. Shrimp or scallops would pair well with the tangy lemon sauce and add some extra protein to your meal. Simply cook the seafood separately and add it to the dish before serving.

With these serving suggestions, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that everyone will love.

Storage and Leftovers

A wok sizzles with tender chunks of lemon chicken, surrounded by colorful vegetables and a steaming pot of rice

After preparing your Chinese lemon chicken, you may have some leftovers that you want to store for later. Here are some tips on how to store and reheat your chicken to keep it fresh and delicious.


If you have any leftover Chinese lemon chicken, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. It's important to store it properly to ensure it stays fresh and doesn't spoil.

If you anticipate having leftovers, consider leaving some of the crispy chicken unsauced. You can freeze it on a baking sheet, then transfer it to a freezer bag for 3-4 months. However, we don't recommend freezing the chicken in the lemon sauce as it may affect the texture and taste of the chicken.


To reheat your leftover Chinese lemon chicken, you can either use the microwave or oven. If you're using the microwave, place the chicken in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on high for 1-2 minutes until it's heated through. If you're using the oven, preheat it to 350°F and place the chicken on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until it's heated through and crispy.

Seafood Option

If you're looking to switch up your Chinese lemon chicken recipe, you can try adding seafood to it. Shrimp or prawns would be a great addition and can be cooked in the same way as the chicken. Simply coat the shrimp or prawns in the same batter as the chicken and fry until crispy. Then, toss them in the lemon sauce and serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

A wok sizzles with stir-fried chicken, lemon slices, and a tangy sauce. Steam rises as the chef adds a sprinkle of sesame seeds

How do you make the sauce for Chinese lemon chicken?

To make the sauce for Chinese lemon chicken, you'll need to mix together lemon juice, sugar, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch. Mix well and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens. You can also add some garlic, ginger, and green onions to the sauce for added flavour.

What's the secret to tender Chinese chicken?

The secret to tender Chinese chicken is to marinate it in a mixture of cornstarch, soy sauce, and egg white for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will help to tenderize the chicken and give it a nice texture.

Can you make a healthy version of Chinese lemon chicken?

Yes, you can make a healthy version of Chinese lemon chicken by using skinless chicken breasts, baking instead of frying the chicken, and reducing the amount of sugar in the sauce. You can also use honey or stevia as a sweetener instead of sugar.

What are the steps to creating a crispy lemon chicken like the takeaway?

To create a crispy lemon chicken like the takeaway, you'll need to coat the chicken in a mixture of cornstarch and flour before frying it. You can also add some baking powder to the mixture to make the chicken even crispier. Make sure to fry the chicken in hot oil until it's golden brown and crispy.

How does lemon juice affect the chicken's flavour and texture?

Lemon juice adds a tangy flavour to the chicken and helps to tenderize it. The acid in the lemon juice breaks down the protein in the chicken, making it more tender and juicy. However, too much lemon juice can make the chicken tough, so it's important to use the right amount.

Where did the dish Chinese lemon chicken originate?

Chinese lemon chicken is a popular dish in Chinese-American cuisine, but its exact origin is unclear. Some sources suggest that it was created in the United States in the 1970s, while others believe that it has roots in traditional Chinese cuisine. Regardless of its origin, Chinese lemon chicken has become a beloved dish around the world.

As a suggestion, you can use prawns or shrimp instead of chicken to make seafood lemon prawns or shrimp. Simply coat the prawns or shrimp in the same cornstarch and flour mixture, fry them until crispy, and toss them in the lemon sauce.