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Quick Chinese Crispy Lemon Chicken

A piece of crispy lemon chicken is being picked up with chopsticks from a black bowl with rice and more chinese lemon chicken .
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If you always order Lemon Chicken at your local Chinese Restaurant, we have good news for you! We have a recipe that can be made quicker than the restaurant would deliver and at at least half the cost! Ridiculously zingy, refreshingly citrusy and with a crunchy coating, this Chinese Crispy Lemon Chicken is a flavour bomb that will not disappoint!

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Better Than Takeaway

A recipe for this dish was born out of desperation. Our local Chinese Takeaway was closed for refurbishment and we were desperate for a quick Chinese-style chicken dish for dinner that was both crispy, sticky and full of flavour. We have tried a number of lemon chicken recipes over the years, and today we are sharing our best one for the deliciously crispy chicken with lemon sauce.

Did we mention that this is a low-calorie Crispy Lemon Chicken? Yes, we shallow-fried (instead of deep-frying)! Served with a portion of white rice (70g) and some chargrilled pak choi, you are looking at a sticky and satisfying meal that is under 500 kcal!

Crispy Lemon Chicken in a frying pan with lemon zest and spring onion scattered on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Lemon Sauce Made of?

There are many variations of Lemon Sauce for Chicken. Some make the sauce with wine, others add honey or ginger for some extra flavour. We aimed for a quick and simple Chinese-Style Lemon Sauce that uses staple ingredients and is inexpensive to make. You will only need 5 ingredients: high-quality chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce, lemon and some cornflour (cornstarch) to thicken the sauce!

Is Lemon Chicken Authentic Chinese?

Whilst you can get Crispy Lemon Chicken in moist Chinese Takeaways here in the UK, I am told that it is not authentically Chinese. We see it as a Westernised Asian dish that has gained popularity across the world for a good reason :).

Can I Use Chicken Thighs to Make Lemon Chicken?

Yes, you can. Cut the chicken thighs in strips slightly thinner than you would when using chicken breast fillets to ensure it cooks through in the same amount of time, or simply cook for slightly longer.

How to Make This Recipe Gluten-Free?

The recipe calls for 1 tbsp of plain flour that goes into the coating to ensure crispy chicken. However, skipping the flour will still produce crispy results, if you substitute it with more cornflour. Also, ensure that the soy sauce and stock that you use are gluten-free. Tamari is a good option for gluten-free soy sauce.

Can I Deep Fry the Chicken?

Yes, absolutely! However, we hardly deep-fry anything and achieve similar results with shallow frying. The benefits are numerous: it is healthier, as the chicken doesn’t absorb as much oil, and it is cheaper and less wasteful as you only need a fraction of oil that you would otherwise need.

Ingredients Needed

This is a simple everyday recipe that uses all highly available ingredients, so you should find them all in your local supermarket, or even in your kitchen 🙂

Ingredients on a wooden board.

How to Make the Crispiest Chicken?

Chicken Coating Ingredients

To coat the chicken fillet strips for the crispiest results, we use three ingredients (plus seasoning) in this recipe. First, we roll the chicken strips in a beaten egg, then dredge them in a mixture of seasoned plain flour and cornflour. After shaking off any excess coating, the chicken is ready to fit the pan. What each ingredient does, you ask?

  • egg is used to make the coating stick to the chicken better.
  • plain flour contains gluten. Adding a bit of plain flour to your coating will give the chicken a bit of extra crunch.
  • cornflour (cornstarch): is one of the best things out there to use for crispy chicken. Cornflour absorbs moisture very well, ensuring the chicken stays moist inside and crispy on the outside.

How To Make Crispy Cantonese Style Lemon Chicken?

Mix plain flour, cornflour and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl.

Roll the chicken breast strips in a beaten egg. Then add the chicken to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly to ensure every bit of the chicken is fully coated.

Heat about 3mm of odourless oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and fry for 3 minutes, then stir and continue frying for another 3 minutes, making sure you cook the chicken on all sides (stir occasionally).

Flour and cornflour coated chicken frying in the pan.

Once cooked, place the chicken strips on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb extra oil.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, make the lemon sauce. Pour the lemon juice, stock and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the soy sauce.

In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with a tbsp of water. Add it to the sauce and stir until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Stir in the lemon zest.

Add the crispy chicken and mix just enough to coat. Serve with some scattered spring onion, if you wish!

Chinese Lemon Chicken in a black bowl with white rice.

What to Serve With Lemon Chicken?

It is no surprise that the best pairing for Chinese Style Chicken is white rice. This recipe is so full of flavour that simple boiled rice is all you need. However, no meal is complete without some greens, right? And we think that Asian-style side dishes not only add a nutritious kick but also greatly add to the textures of the dish. Try this Chinese Crispy Chicken with:

Other Chinese Dishes To Try

If you are a fan of Crispy Sticky Chinese recipes, we have you covered. Why not try some of our recipes below:

Recipe Card

A piece of crispy lemon chicken is being picked up with chopsticks from a black bowl with rice and more chinese lemon chicken .

Chinese Crispy Lemon Chicken

If you always order Lemon Chicken at your local Chinese Restaurant, we have good news for you! We have a recipe that can be made quicker than the restaurant would deliver and at at least half the cost! Ridiculously zingy, refreshingly citrusy and with a crunchy coating, this Chinese Crispy Lemon Chicken is a flavour bomb that will not disappoint!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2 portions
Calories 296 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 250 g chicken breast cut into thin strips
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • oil for frying

For the Lemon Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 3 tsp caster sugar
  • 80 ml chicken stock hot
  • 1 tsp cornflour + 1 tbsp of water

Instructions
 

  • Mix plain flour, cornflour and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl.
  • Roll the chicken breast strips in beaten egg. Then add the chicken to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly to ensure every bit of chicken is fully coated.
  • Heat about 3mm of odourless oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and fry for 3 minutes, then stir and continue frying for another 3 minutes, making sure you cook the chicken on all sides (stir occasioanlly).
  • Once cooked, place the chicken strips on a paper towel lined plate to absorb extra oil.
  • Whilst the chicken is cooking, make the lemon sauce. Pour the lemon jucie, stock and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the soy sauce.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with a tbsp of water. Add it to the sauce and stir until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Stir in the lemon zest.
  • Add the crispy chicken and mix just enough to coat. Serve with some scattered spring onion, if you wish!

Notes

Serving Suggestion:
  • Serve on a bed of fluffy white rice and some charred pak choi!

Nutrition

Calories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 32gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 739mgPotassium: 633mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 169IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken With Lemon Sauce, Chinese Lemon Sauce, Chinese Style Chicken, Crispy Chicken Fakeaway, Crispy Lemon Chicken, Lemon Sauce for Chicken
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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8 Replies to “Quick Chinese Crispy Lemon Chicken”

  1. 5 stars
    As you said, this Chinese chicken is better than takeaway! Refreshing and crunchy, just perfect, thanks!

    1. 💗 Thanks, Natalie!

  2. 5 stars
    OOH a takeout favorite! So much better when you make it from home! And leftovers, too!

  3. 5 stars
    The Chinese restaurant I go to offers orange chicken, but not lemon. I can’t wait to try this out! I love how crispy the chicken looks!

    1. Orange chicken is great, but we love a bit more of a tang that comes from the lemon 🙂 Hope you like it too!

  4. 5 stars
    This quickly became a favorite at my house!! So good and easy to make!

    1. Thanks, Toni! It makes me so happy you’ve found a recipe everyone enjoys! 🙂

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