Savory and sweet with a refreshing tang, this lemon chicken uses a one-two punch of lemon juice and lemon zest combined with honey to create a glorious lemony glaze around each bite of mouth-watering chicken.

The best lemon chicken recipe with juicy chunks of savory chicken glazed in a sweet and tangy lemon sauce.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated a Chinese-American classic and given a recent request I received for this dish, I decided it was high time I give it a go. The basic process is the same as my orange chicken recipe, but I’ve substituted honey for the marmalade and used salt instead of soy sauce for the marinade to keep the color lighter. Lemon and black pepper are one of my favorite flavor combinations, so I couldn’t resist adding a generous grind of the fragrant spice into the marinade for both flavor and heat.

Once marinated, the chicken is lightly dusted with potato starch before being fried until a light golden brown. I know potato starch isn’t as easy to find as cornstarch, but it’s superior in almost every way. For frying, potato starch results in a light, crisp crust, as opposed to cornstarch, which tends to get crunchy (like the difference between a potato chip and a corn chip). As a thickener, it stays completely translucent and does not get gloppy or cloying as it cools. If you can’t find it in your grocery store it’s available on Amazon.

Tangy, sweet and savory, this easy lemon chicken recipe is quick and delicious.

The chicken doesn’t take long to fry since it’s cut into relatively small pieces, so be careful not to overdo it, or it will get tough and dry. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t have one, check out the ones made by Thermoworks, I’ve been using them for years, and they’re fast, cover a wide temperature range, and they happen to look great. The model I use (shown in step 5 of the recipe) is a Thermapen Mk4, but its little brother the ThermoPop is just as cute, and more affordable, if you don’t need the speed.

After you’ve fried the chicken, it just gets tossed in a simple sauce packed with loads of lemon flavor, thanks to the addition of both lemon juice and zest, Honey balances out the tartness, while sake adds umami to the sauce. If you chose to substitute water for the sake, it would still taste great, but the flavor will not be quite as complex. Finally, I add just a bit of soy sauce for some extra flavor, but not enough to muddy the color of the lemon sauce.

Serve this Lemon Chicken with with some Chow Mein, Singapore Noodles, or Avocado Crab Fried Rice for an awesome Chinese-American dinner that comes together in less time than ordering take-out.

Lemon ChickenIt’s been a while since I’ve updated a Chinese-American classic and given a recent request I received for this dish, I decided it was high time I give it a go. The basic process is the same as my orange chicken recipe, but I’ve substituted honey for the marmalade and used salt instead of soy … Continue reading “Lemon Chicken”

Summary

  • CourseEntree
  • CuisineChinese
  • Yield2 servings
  • Cooking Time10 minutes
  • Preperation Time5 minutes
  • Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients

for chicken
350 grams
boneless chicken thighs (cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon
sake
1/4 teaspoon
salt
ground black pepper (to taste)
1/3 cup
potato starch
vegetable oil (for frying)
for sauce
1
lemon zested
3 tablespoons
lemon juice
3 tablespoons
honey
3 tablespoons
sake (or water)
1 teaspoon
soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon
potato starch
1/4 teaspoon
salt
for garnish
sesame seeds
scallions

Steps

  1. Put the chicken in a bowl with the sake, salt and black pepper. Marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to overnight.

  2. When you're ready to make the lemon chicken, add 2-inches of oil to a heavy-bottomed pot, and heat the oil to 340 degrees F (170 C). Prepare a paper towel lined rack.
  3. Lemon chicken sauce in pan with squeezed lemons on the side.
    Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a separate pan and set aside.
  4. Dusting the marinated chicken in potato starch for making lemon chicken.
    Add the potato starch in a bowl and drop the chicken pieces in the potato starch. Roll the chicken around to coat each piece evenly with starch, tapping the excess off on the side of the bowl.
  5. Testing the temperature of fried chicken using a purple Thermapen.
    When the oil is ready, fry the chicken in batches until a light golden brown and cooked through (to test, remove a piece from the pan and use an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160 degrees F). Drain the chicken on the paper towel lined rack.
  6. Lemon chicken in a non-stick pan on the stove.
    When you've finished frying all the chicken, bring the lemon sauce to a boil. Add the chicken and toss until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is coated in a thick, shiny glaze.
  7. Plate the lemon chicken and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.