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Lemon Chicken

Lemon chicken - the easiest and crazy delicious chicken with tangy and sweet lemon sauce. Easy lemon chicken recipe that is MUCH better than takeout |


Lemon Chicken Recipe

Serves 2 | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes


10 oz (300g) skinless, boneless chicken breast/thigh, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup corn starch plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted and combined well
Oil, for deep-frying
1/2 teaspoon white sesame


1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, optional
1 tablespoon corn starch


3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon sugar or more to taste
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt, or to taste


Marinate the chicken with the Marinade, for 30 minutes. Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce. Set aside.

Coat the marinated chicken with the corn starch and all-purpose flour mixture. Heat up a wok with about two inches of oil. As soon as the oil is fully heated, deep-fry the chicken until golden brown. Transfer the chicken out to a dish lined with paper towels to sock up the excess oil.

Add all the ingredients in the Sauce into a small sauce pan and bring it to a quick boil. Transfer the fried chicken into the sauce, stir to coat well with the lemon sauce.

Dish out, top with the white sesame, and serve immediately.

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39 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. This looks like a much nicer rendition of the overly sweet battered versions in western restaurants and I may *steal* the basic idea for my own blog sometime :)

    A question: The technique of marinating ingredients in cornstarch and egg-white based marinades before deep-frying is called ‘velveting’ in most Chinese cookbooks… without the egg-white, as here, there is another name in Chinese… do you know what it is?

      • Simon

        Velveting does not involve deep frying as in deep frying til crispy. A typical velveting process involves rice wine, salt, eggwhite and corn start marination. Then the chicken is poached in moderately hot oil for about 1 minute, they do this to “seal” in the proteins and help the meat stay tender. Many restaurants also use this technique, because meat that are not velveted for takeaways tend to “deteriorate” in texture quite quickly. It also helps to retain the texture when they add it to the overly saucy western chinese food.

        Velveting can also be done with water. A chinese take out owner i visited had an open kitchen, he often velveted the chicken in simmering water with a bit of oil.

        Personally, I prefer using oil sparingly, and avoid it wherever it’s possible. Which means lightly stir fried, in just enough oil to cook it and also make light cantonese style sauces for the dish.

        No need to mask high quality ingredients with a bunch of “wei jing” (as we commonly described msg in mandarin when out traveling in asia).

  2. Zeenath A. Rahim

    Hi Bee,

    You recipes are all superb. Can you please suggest what we can use instead of Shaoxing wine as we are Muslim & don’t use any alcohol. Thanks

    • Simon

      Zeenath A. Rahim

      I don’t know if it’s concidered “haram” or not to consume alcohol after it’s cooked. But if alcohol is cooked long enough the alcohol will disappear, and the alcohol flavor will be gone. You could try to cook the rice wine, let it cool down and then use it for marinades etc, if that won’t interfere with your religious beliefs, which are fully respected on my side.

      In malaysia, we visited a few “halal” restaurants with chinese items on the menu. I’m pretty sure they omitted everything called alcohol.

  3. rdjabel

    Hi Bee,
    In your method you say “Coat the marinated chicken with the corn starch and flour mixture.” What is the recipe for this mixture? Thanks.

  4. I never thought this was an authentic Chinese recipe. But when I saw this dish on the meny in Chinese restaurants in China and Hong Kong I thought to myself that I have to try and cook it.

    This recipe sounds good! Would adding ginger to the recipe spoil it? Just to boost the lemony flavor.

    I really like the Shaoxing wine part of the marinade!

  5. PF

    The recipe was perfect, I didn’t have any problems and I love the cornstarch and flour mixture. The lemon sauce needs more sweet and a smashed ginger coin added complexity.
    I grew up in my familiy’s chinese restaurant and our lemon chicken was similar but I couldn’t remember my dad’s recipe secrets. I only remember he used orange juice with a squeeze of lemon for the sauce.
    There isn’t a whole lot of good chinese restaurants in my area – Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. Julie

    This was really good. I used 8 chicken thighs for my family of 5…you need to double everything…we ended up needing more sauce(according to the husband). Thx for the recipe!

  7. Anthony

    Simply amazing recipe ! No much good Chinese restaurant here where I live in France ,I made this for dinner , feel so happy !! Thanks a lot !

  8. Julian Fluette

    Lemon oil may be used in aromatherapy. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that lemon oil aroma does not influence the human immune system, but may enhance mood.

  9. sandy

    Hi Bee, I tried this recipe for dinner tonight and sorry to say my husband and I don’t fancy it. I double fried the chicken, it was crispy but once I coated them with the sauce, they turned soggy soon after. Also I was hoping (perhaps too highly) that the sauce would taste somewhat like what we would have back home in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) alas it tasted exactly like what the American Chinese restaurants would serve (and that is not what I was looking for). It was too corn-starchy and didn’t have the zing that we expected. Thank you for your effort though in sharing your recipes. =)

  10. Lisa

    I made this for dinner tonight & it was sooo yummy! I’ve never made lemon chicken before & couldn’t believe how easy it was. Thank you so much, this is one i’ll be making over & over again. :-)

  11. JR

    Love your recipes. I’m going to try this put soon. What oil do you recommend frying in? I have peanut oil and vegetable oil on hand.

  12. Pam


    I really would like to see more authentic recipes like Sandy was referring to. Can you post the authentic Malaysian version of this recipe as an option for those who wish to experience the culture palate.

    Also, I would like to see both the American version and the original Asia versions of recipes allowing the reader the option of choosing the version or versions they wish to try. As a teacher, I am all about culture immersion after all, I would think the purpose of you providing these wonderful recipes is to foster appreciation for commonality and differences of cultures.

    • Pam, I have A TON of authentic recipes on Rasa Malaysia, there are over 750 recipes on my blog and I would say 60% of them are the authentic recipes. However I live in the US and the majority of my readers are Americans, and too authentic is a roadblock to them. What I have been trying to do is to make Asian cooking more accessible to my general audience and simplify them and once they get comfortable with Asian cooking, they can move up to the authentic versions. I am a food blogger, and not a culinary educator or teacher, I do the best I can to please both sides of the audience but it’s not easy.

      • Azusa

        And I agree with Bee wholeheartedly, as a reader and can’t cook to save my life, i find Bee’s recipes easy to follow and foolproof. I have also read far too many blogs that have complicated steps and ingredients (as true authentic cooking tends to), as much as I admire their skills and effort, it is too hard to follow especially when residing in a western country where locating some exotic ingredients could be a task on its own.

  13. Jef

    Big fan of this recipe. Many years ago, I discovered Lemon Chicken at a Chinese Restaurant I used to frequent in Corvallis, OR. I loved the light, delicate taste of the lemon sauce they used (served on the side, if I remember correctly) and this recipe matches my memory of that delightful dish. Thank you for making it available to everyone.

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