This Lemon Chicken recipe is packed with flavor, incredibly fast, and really delicious!

Tender chicken is pan-fried to perfection and tossed in a tangy-sweet lemon sauce that will turn everyone into a lemon lover!

Serve it over rice for a complete and satisfying weeknight meal.

plated Lemon Chicken

The Easiest Lemon Chicken Sauce

When we go for Chinese, lemon chicken tops my list! It’s always so tender and perfectly sweet and tangy.

At home, my family loves this easy lemon chicken recipe. Not only is it packed with flavor, but the sauce is made with just 4 simple ingredients that you probably already have. Broth, cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice are all you need to make the perfect lemon sauce.

I prefer to keep it simple but you can add a couple cloves garlic to the chicken when stir frying if you’d like.

How To Make Chicken Tender

Have you ever had a stir-fry and wondered how they get the meat so darn tender? Most often, it’s due to a technique called velveting.

Meat (beef or chicken) is marinated in a combination of egg white, cornstarch, oil, and often other additives like vinegar. Cornstarch is a natural tenderizer (and used in this recipe as well as many other stir fry favorites like Mongolian Beef)!

How To Make Lemon Chicken

  1. Dice chicken breasts and toss with egg mixture (per the recipe below). Refrigerate while making the sauce.
  2. Stir fry the chicken in batches until golden brown.
  3. Add the sauce and cook until thick and bubbly. Toss with chicken and serve.

Garnish with lemon slices, green onion or chives, and sesame seeds.

Tip: Freeze the chicken for about 15 minutes before cutting if time allows (or cut it while it’s not completely defrosted).

It’s great served over rice or noodles with a side of fresh veggies like Sesame Bok Choy or even simply steamed broccoli.

Lemon Chicken in a pan with lemon slices

Leftovers

Lemon Chicken is a great dish to make ahead or make a double batch so that you’ll have lots of leftovers. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days for easy lunches!

Better Than Takeout Dishes

Did your family love this Lemon Chicken recipe? Leave us a comment and a rating below!

Lemon chicken lemon chicken in a bowl with sesame seeds chives and lemons
4.96 from 43 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Lemon Chicken

This easy lemon recipe is a sweet zesty favorite, made in under an hour!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinate Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast diced
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Sauce

  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Optional Garnish

  • sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onion

Instructions 

  • In a bowl, combine chicken with egg, cornstarch, and soy sauce. Allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.
  • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip off. Discard the marinade.
  • Add chicken to the pan in batches and stir-fry until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir the sauce well to ensure the cornstarch is fully incorporated. Pour it into the pan with the chicken. Let it simmer on low heat until it thickened, about 3-4 minutes
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onion, and lemon wedges if desired.

Notes

This recipe comes together quickly; prepare all of the ingredients before beginning to cook.
Chicken: For easy handling, place chicken in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting (optional). Chicken thighs work well in this recipe.
Lemon: Fresh lemon juice is best for this recipe. If using fresh lemon, ½ teaspoon of lemon zest can be added to the sauce for an extra boost of lemon flavor. 
Vegetables: Vegetables can be added to this chicken, asparagus, or green beans are great options. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Trim the vegetables and add them to the pan. Stir-fry them for a few minutes until they are tender crisp. Add the chicken and the sauce and continue to cook as directed.
For a crispy chicken, marinated chicken can be dusted in corn starch and deep fried in small batches at 350°F for 4-5 minutes. Thicken sauce and toss with chicken.
 
4.96 from 43 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 258 | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 814mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Chicken, Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian Fusion
Lemon Chicken in a bowl with lemon slices and writing
close up of Lemon Chicken with a title
Lemon Chicken cooking in a pan with a title
cooked chicken and plated Lemon Chicken with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I am in New Zealand and have found Holly’s site. Having a great time with all these lovely recipes and helpful tips. Cooked this in the weekend and it was a instant winner. Delicious and easy to make. Looking forward to trying many more. Thanks.

  2. just loved the lemon chicken, so tasty and so easy to make.
    looking forward to trying more of your mouthwatering recipes.4 stars

  3. This was amazing and so easy. Cut back on sugar and added a orange yellow and red sliced pepper. Served over jasmine rice will definitely make again.5 stars

  4. Just finished devouring this delicious dish! ok, I added a 1/4 cup of vodka to the sauce, and I’ll probably reduce the sugar a little next time, but this recipe is dinner party-worthy! The velveting technique is very simple and will be used in all of my stir-fries going forward. A++, Holly!

    1. I haven’t personally tried substituting flour for cornstarch in this recipe, so I can’t say for certain how it would turn out. However, a general rule of thumb is that you would need to use twice as much flour as the amount of cornstarch called for. Let us know how it goes!

  5. OMG, was that ever delicious!
    My boyfriend said it was the best chicken he ever had! So tender! Sauce was perfect!
    Will definitely make this again and again!5 stars

  6. This is an outstanding, simple Lemon Chicken recipe. I made it first for myself and loved it. I then made it for a small dinner party and everyone raved about it….no leftovers. The chicken is very, very tender. The one thing I did change was the size of the chicken pieces. I made larger pieces than suggested. Still worked very, very well. Bravo!!!5 stars

  7. yum, delicious! the chicken had amazing flavor and texture. i served it over lo mein noodles with steamed broccoli on the side, and it was the perfect meal!

  8. Great recipe and really nice to learn about velveting. It really works, the chicken had the perfect texture. The sauce was also spot-on to what I’ve had in Chinese restaurants. I do like a little more lemon so I squeezed some fresh lemon over the top after dishing. Thanks for the recipe, I’m sure we’ll make it again.5 stars

  9. I’m going to make this Lemon Chicken for special friends tomorrow. Serving it over a bed of Jasmine Rice.

  10. Just made the lemon chicken for supper tonight. Absolutely delicious! Easy recipe. Will definitely make again soon!

  11. Love your recipes Holy. I was recently put on a low calorie diet. Do you have any good low calorie diet recipes? Will you please write a book? Thanks5 stars