The Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year, is tomorrow and I have been thinking about one of my favourite Chinese takeout dishes, lemon chicken. Normally this dish consists of crispy breaded chicken pieces in a thick, sweet, lemon sauce that can be served over rice. This is a quick and easy version of that classic dish that’s skips the coating and the frying in oil and instead simply sautés the chicken is a little oil. The lemon sauce ingredients are all mixed together before adding to the pan, so this recipe is as easy as cooking the chicken, adding the sauce and cooking until the sauce thickens! Often lemon chicken is a little too sweet for my tastes so this version uses less sweetener, I like honey but sugar also works well, which creates a pleasant balance of sweet, sour and salty! This lemon chicken comes together in less than 20 minutes so you can steam rice while making it for a complete meal ready in no time!
Add a veggie, such as diced bell peppers or snap peas!
20 Minute Light Lemon Chicken
A quick and easy, light and healthy Chinese style lemon chicken that’s just packed with flavour!
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
- 2 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce*
- 1 tablespoon garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes per side.
- Add the mixture of the chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and corn starch, to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens, about a minute.
- Add green onions and enjoy!
Note: Using soy sauce will make the sauce darker. If you want a lighter yellow colour, use salt to taste instead of the soy sauce.
Option: Omit the red pepper flakes for no spicy heat; use more for more heat; use less for less heat.
Option: Replace the red pepper flakes with a chili sauce such as sambal oelek or sriracha.
Option: Add a vegetable, such as diced bell pepper, snap peas, etc., along with the chicken.
Option: Add 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil in step 3!
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Beck and Bulow says
I cooked the chicken separately and first. I put it in a crockpot with beef broth and let it cook for 4 hours. did not brown. it came out fall off the bone tender and delicious. I had my roomy chop the veggies. she’s very good at it and fasts.,
Judy Goldin says
That looks and sounds delicious. Thank you for that.
Made it tonite… very, very good!!
Very easy and quick! I doubled the sauce and added broccoli florets, which worked great. With so few ingredients every flavor is noticeable and we weren’t pleased with taste of the low-sodium soy sauce I used…so I recommend not cutting corners but I’ll definitely make this again.