Classic Lemon Chicken with crispy battered chicken thighs in a sweet and tangy sauce makes this Chinese Lemon Chicken Recipe a treat. You can skip the delivery and the wait and make it at home!
Chinese Lemon Chicken is a Chinese food favorite and one of my go to’s because the sauce is so easy to make and has such a great sweet and sour flavor without needing all the red food coloring. Just a few ingredients and you’ll be glad you didn’t pick up the phone and call your favorite delivery spot.
How to make Homemade Chinese Food
I have picked up the phone to order Chinese food plenty of times over the years. But it is actually super easy to make! You need a few key ingredients for most of the recipes and you’ll be set. To make this one, here’s what you need:
- chicken thighs
- soy sauce
- corn starch
- lemon juice
- lemon zest
You’ll serve this recipe with steamed rice and vegetables too!
How to cook chicken thighs
You might be surprised to see chicken thighs in this recipe instead of chicken breasts. Chicken breasts reign supreme in a lot of recipes but the chicken thigh shouldn’t be overlooked. Breasts have white mean, are lean and you can make so many things with them. Chicken thighs have dark meat, are more fatty and in turn full of flavor. They are also way more affordable than chicken breasts. Chicken thighs also cook quickly.
- Bake in the oven – 425 for 20 minutes
- On the grill – always use the internal temperature to gage doneness. The goal is 180-185 degrees.
- On the stove – this Lemon Chicken recipe is the perfect first one to test.
Most of the cooking time for the recipe is made of leaving the chicken in the marinade. I’ve made the dish several times, both with the time as written and with just tossing the ingredients and not waiting. The soy sauce having the time to mix with the marinade does help because it gives a deeper flavor, but if you’re in a time crunch? Toss and keep going! Don’t skip the delicious recipe because you’re low on time, just let the chicken sit a couple of minutes while you put together the sauce ingredients and get the oil ready.
If you love this easy Lemon Chicken recipe, you’re going to love these other chicken recipes. Please click each link below to find the easy, printable recipe!
Lemon Chicken Recipe
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Chinese Lemon Chicken Recipe
- 1 lb chicken thighs cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/3 c lemon juice
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 c water
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 c flour
- 1/2 c cornstarch
- oil for frying
- Add soy sauce and the 2 tbsp cornstarch to your chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let marinate for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is marinating add the lemon juice, sugar, water, 2 tsp cornstarch and lemon zest to a small bowl and mix; set aside.
- Add the flour and 1/2 c cornstarch to the bowl of chicken and toss to coat.
- In a pot with oil about three inches deep, heat on medium high to 350 degrees.
- Add the chicken in batches so you don't crowd the pot or the chicken will stick together and it will lower the temperature significantly causing your chicken to be oily.
- Cook chicken until golden brown and when cooked, transfer the pieces to a skillet (this is where we will be tossing with the sauce).
- When you finish all the chicken, turn off the oil, turn the skillet onto medium high heat and add the sauce.
- Coat the chicken pieces in the sauce and cook for just a few seconds until thickened.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice and vegetables.
love this recipe. I’m curious if you think the chicken could be made ahead of time and then frozen for later use. Maybe bake at 425 for 10 minutes to reheat?
I thought this lemon chicken was delicious, it was a bit sweet so I’ll add a little salt next time. I loved the lemon zest, can’t wait to make again!