Lemon chicken is quite a common dish in Chinese restaurants in India and it’s always been one of my favorites. Although, I have seen the dish featured here in some Chinese places, it’s not as common and popular as its sister dish, Orange Chicken. I personally prefer it to orange chicken though, cos where orange chicken is just sweet, the tanginess of the lemon in this dish cuts the sweetness and gives the flavors more dimension. It’s tart, tangy, crispy, sweet and addictive.
I think this dish makes a great appetizer, although it’s mostly known as a main dish. For an appetizer I prefer making it a little drier, but if you’re making it as a main dish served with rice or veggies, I would suggest adding a little more chicken stock to the sauce to cut the tartness a touch and add all the sauce to the chicken.
Watch A Video Of This Recipe
It’s a super easy recipe and one you can make ahead, as long as you don’t mix the sauce in till you’re ready to eat. Here’s the step-by-step picture recipe…
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Sherry (or Shaoxing Wine)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 lemons (zest + Juice)
- 3/4 cup corn starch + 1/2 tbsp dissolved in a little water
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Salt as per taste
- vegetable oil for frying
- – Crack one egg into a medium mixing bowl and add the soy sauce, sherry/shaoxing wine, sesame oil and the zest of one lemon to it. Mix it all well together. This is the marinade for the chicken.
- – Slice the chicken breast into strips and add it to the marinade and let it sit covered in the fridge for 20-30 minutes atleast or a couple hours.
- – Then, in a shallow bowl add the corn starch and season it generously with salt.
- – Dip each strip of the marinated chicken in the corn starch to coat it on all sides and lay them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, ready to fry.
- – While you’re coating the chicken, get a pan on stove and heat up about 1/2 an inch of oil on medium-high.
- – When the oil is hot, fry the coated chicken strips in small batches for about 4-6 minutes, until it turns a light golden and the chicken is cooked through inside.
- – Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Break a big piece to check if the inside is cooked.Go ahead, give it a taste.
- – For the sauce, zest the other lemon into a sauce pan. Add to it, half a cup of lemon juice (roughly the juice of 2 lemons), 1/2 a cup of chicken stock and a 1/3 of a cup of sugar.
- – Put the pan on medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- – When the sauce starts bubbling, add the corn starch slurry (1/2 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water) while stirring continuously.
- – The sauce will thicken fast and turn glossy. Turn off the heat and season it with salt.
- – Give it a taste-test by dipping a piece of the fried chicken in it. Good huh?
- – When you’re ready to eat…simply add the chicken to a frying pan and slowly spoon in some of the sauce. Toss the chicken to coat it in the sauce. Add as much sauce or all of it if you like.
- – Garnish the Lemon chicken with toasted sesame seeds and some sliced green onion. You can serve this dish up as an appetizer and keep it dry or sauce it up and serve over plain steamed rice.
It's an EU thing says
Great recipe! Thanks for sharing… I love getting this at a Chinese restaurant… But I can bring it home with me too I guess 😉
I’ve never actually seen lemon chicken on menus, but your recipe looks delicious! I’ve never been able to master that perfect texture on the outside for some reason, but i might retry, the pictures are really helpful 🙂
This tastes delicious. Is there any way to make the sauce more solid? I like pouring the leftover sauce onto my rice, but its consistency is a little too watery for that. Maybe more corn starch? (I’m just learning how to cook, sorry if this question is ridiculous)
sugar and starch is what makes it more thick.
Very tasty and nice photographs!
I made this for the family last night, and even our picky 3 year old liked it.
A few notes on changes to the recipe I made:
I didn’t have sherry, so I used brandy. I doubled the cornstarch slurry to 1 tbsp to make a thicker glaze-like sauce. And I had to juice 3 1/2 lemons to get to 1/2 c of juice, but I’m glad I did because it would’ve been too sweet otherwise–I was using Meyer lemons and should’ve dialed back the sugar because they are milder.
Just made this for lunch. It was so delicious and easy!
Made this tonight and it was a big hit!! Great recipe i will definitely be making it again!
I just needed the lemon sauce, so this comment is only about the lemon sauce as I didn’t make the chicken. The lemon sauce turned out perfect! even though i did not have chicken stock and instead added just water! Still really delicious!
Made this last night and it was fantastic!! Usually I would have just thrown the chicken on the rice and added the sauce but I took the time to throw it in the frying pan with the sauce instead and I was glad I did! It came out amazing!
The chinese takeaway round the corner from where I used to live is generally considered the best in the area and I love their food. This tastes exactly the same as theirs!!
I’ll be making this on a regular basis from now on.
That’s so nice to hear. I love lemon chicken and I’m glad yours turned out good. 🙂
Fourth or fifth time I have made this so far, I love this recipe, I have started to add twists of my own to it so I can steal it and claim it as my own. Thank you so much for showing me how easy it is to cook this.
Allan middleditch says
Is corn starch and corn flout the same thing
Yes, I believe so.
No. I’ve made thatistake before. Turns out that corn flour is simply cornmeal that’s been ground superfine. It doesn’t thicken well and leaves a white haze. Starch is extracted from corn with heat and water. It becomes clear when heated.
I disagree. I’m Australian, we call it cornflour here. I’ve lived in America – where they call it Cornstarch – both are the same. A superfine, bright white powder.
Cornmeal is completely different again from Cornstarch and Cornflour.
Corn flour corn starch are 1 of the same
Jesper Rasmussen says
Loved this 🙂 Easy-to-follow recipe, attractive photos and tasty result. Not for the calorie conscious but nice once in awhile. Thanks for taking the time to present this great dish in such a thought-out way 🙂
Jesper Rasmussen says
Oh, btw I cooked the chricken strips in my Phillips deep fryer and they came out great. However, I think next time I’ll calorie bomb it even more and cook the cheicken strips in tempura batter and panko bread crumbs. Ever tried that? Is it too much of a good thing, I wonder?
Made this dish yesterday with a little variation-instead of sherry i used rum and added a little bit of vinegar since i was falling short of lemon juice. Nonetheless the dish tasted just awesome,much like the ones that we get to taste in the restaurants of Calcutta,India. thank you for sharing this awesome recipe.
Made this recipe today turned out spot on!,
Loved it I’ll be using this one again
Nice crispy chicken and lemon sause was really good
Not even the takeaway round here makes it that good!
Thanks Jim! That’s so nice to hear. 🙂
Lindsey Smith says
This recipe is AMAZING! I happened to scan across this site and was very pleased with the results. I basically only use this recipe to make Lemon Chicken. Great results!!
Turned out perfect
Awesome recipe and super easy to make, thanks so much for posting!
can this be made with no alcohol ? looks delicious want to give it a go.
Yes Sarah, you can use white vinegar instead of the Sherry.
Judy Still says
Tried your recipe, its yummy, But, how do you keep chicken warm please. ?
This recipe was amazing!
So easy to make, and such a hit with the whole family!!
Thanks for this, Noreen! I managed to replicate it following your recipe 100%! We had lemon chicken two days in a row – it was that good. I doubled the amount of cornstarch in the sauce to make it thicker though. Apart from that, this recipe is perfect. Thanks again!
All Recipes says
This is Very Delicious Recipe. i Made Last Night. Author Keep it Up.
Hi Noreen ! Thanks for sharing this lemon chicken chinese style recipe , it looks delicious and tasty. Any substitute for soy sauce to add in this recipe?? TIA
Justin Cooper says
Thanks Noreen, that is an awesome recipe!
Is it supposed to be this sweet? It is like lemonade chicken.
This dish is on the sweater side just like orange chicken.
Hi. I am form Ukraine and just cooked chicken based on this recipe. It was delicious. Thank you.
Image is here^ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2651532878449242&set=a.1400318010237408&type=3&theater