Chinese Lemon Chicken

This Chinese Lemon Chicken is simple to make with sweet and tangy Asian flavor. It’s amazing served over rice or noodles!

This is a Chinese dish similar to Orange Chicken, but with a lemony twist. We love to serve this as an easy dinner with some egg drop soup and cream cheese wontons.

Pieces of lemon chicken in a white bowl

delish Chinese lemon Chicken

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Lemon Chicken. It has so many delicious flavors including lemon, soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar and more. Sounds delicious, right?!

It’s fairly easy to make, too, and is great served by itself or even with rice or noodles. It reminded me of a mild version of the chicken found in the Spicy Chicken Salad at Pei Wei’s. Have you tried it before?

It’s my favorite dish to get there, and now I feel like I can make the chicken myself at home! Even better, you can serve this with some greens and make your own salad at home.

I definitely recommend giving it a try because it is so tasty and definitely won’t disappoint. 😉

Coating a piece of chicken for lemon chicken recipe

How to make Lemon Chicken

GLAZE. Begin my making your glaze. Combine the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10-12 minutes. It should be slightly thickened.

OIL. In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium high heat. (Be mindful of the oil temperature. For an even cook keep the oil in the 350-375° F range. This way the chicken does not burn or become too greasy.)

BREADING. Place flour in a ziploc bag and pour milk into a small bowl. Add 8-10 pieces of chicken to your bag of flour and shake around, then dip in milk and throw back into the flour bag to coat a second time. Repeat until all chicken is coated in flour and milk.

FRY. Fry chicken in oil for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

COAT & SERVE. Toss chicken in your glaze mixture and serve warm over rice, noodles or salad.

Other Cooking Methods

Using an air fryer will give a similar texture, but you can also bake the lemon chicken. Either one is a great alternative.

  • To air fry: preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Spray the basket and line the chicken pieces in the basket. Be sure they are not touching. Depending on how many pieces you are making You may need to do multiple batches. Fry for 4 minutes, turn and fry for another 4 minutes. 
  • To bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and. spread the chicken out in a single layer. Bake for 6-8 minutes, turn and bake for another 6-8 minutes. You may want to broil the chicken for about 2 minutes to give a crispier texture.

Variations

  • Chinese food and veggies go hand in hand. For this recipe you can  easily stir fry veggies such as asparagus, broccoli florets, snap peas, bell peppers. Serve on the side or mix it with lemon chicken.
  • You can also top with lemon zest, sesame seeds and green onions.
  • Kick up the heat with red pepper flakes or sriracha.
Chicken being fried in oil

Make ahead & Store

To make 1-2 days ahead of time, you’ll want to flour the chicken according to directions and combine the glaze as directed. Store the chicken and glaze in separate airtight containers in the fridge for 1-2 days before cooking.

To FREEZE I would suggest cooking the chicken before storing the chicken and glaze in separate containers. Label and freeze them for 2-3 months. Reheat lemon chicken in the oven, heat the glaze in a sauce pan and then combine.

STORE leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. For longer storage, put it in the freezer for 2-3 months. For best results REHEAT in a skillet, stir until hot. If you’re in a hurry you can reheat in the microwave.

Close up of Chinese lemon chicken in a white bowl

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Lemon Chicken Recipe

5 from 18 votes
This Chinese Lemon Chicken is simple to make with sweet and tangy Asian flavor. It's amazing served over rice or noodles!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 622 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed
  • ½-¾ cup vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk

Lemon Glaze

  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Instructions
 

  • Begin my making your glaze. In a medium pan, over medium heat, combine honey, soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, lemon pepper and minced garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer about 10-12 minutes, should be slightly thickened.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium high heat.
  • Place flour in a ziploc bag and pour milk into a small bowl. Add 8-10 pieces of chicken to your bag of flour and shake around. Take each piece out and dip in milk and throw back into the flour bag. Shake around and take the chicken out. Repeat until all chicken is coated in flour and milk.
  • Fry chicken in oil for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Toss chicken in your glaze mixture and serve warm over rice, noodles or salad.

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Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious.

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    When I’m making my grocery list and I ask the kids what they want for dinner this dish is usually one of the meals requested. I love making this for dinner because I know everyone will be happy about what we’re eating that night.

  2. 5 stars
    It’s citrus season in AZ and I have a 5 Gallon bucket of lemons so I’m saving all your lemon recipes. This one is definitely on the list. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I made the other day it was amazing! I love lemon so much. My sauce didn’t thicken up as much as i wanted it to. Any suggestions?

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