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Crispy Chinese Lemon Chicken

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Crispy Chinese Lemon Chicken is a classic Chinese take-out favorite and easy to make at home with crispy golden chicken coating and a glossy lemon sauce!

Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - in a bowl top shot

This version takes out the deep frying for the oven! So no greasy fingers or frying here. Just turn on the oven and you’re on your way! This Chinese Lemon chicken can be prepared ahead of time and makes the perfect at home-take out dinner any day of the week.

Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - side by side

Lemon Chicken is a zesty, sweet and sour lemon sauce with an oven baked and crispy chicken is easy to make and goes perfectly with my easy rice recipe!

Looking for more delicious Asian inspired recipes? I can’t go past my Baked Orange Chicken or my Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders!

Why You’ll love Crispy Chinese Lemon Chicken

There are so many things to love about this healthier version of Chinese Lemon Chicken!

  • Easy – the crumbing method for the chicken is super easy to do. Using my simple crumbing cheat, you’ll have these in the oven in no time.
  • Crispy – the key here is toasting the panko breadcrumbs for a golden crispy chicken!
  • Zesty Sauce – The sauce Is easy to make. It’s zesty, sweet and sour and so delicious!
  • Kids will love it! Simply serve with their favorite sauce on the side.

Ingredients You Need To Make Crispy Chinese Lemon Chicken

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - ingredients image 01

Crumbed Chicken

  • Panko breadcrumbs – these are a Japanese breadcrumb, which when toasted, come out deliciously crispy. You can use regular breadcrumbs, but it won’t be as crispy. Panko breadcrumbs can be found in the Asian isle of your supermarket.
  • Oil spray – I used canola oil spray.
  • Chicken – I used chicken thigh because it’s a tasty chicken. Make sure you feel for bones before cubing the chicken. Alternatively, you can use tenders or breast.
  • Garlic powder – I used garlic powder because I find minced garlic burns in the oven.
  • Cracked pepper – regular cracked pepper, or you can substitute for a dash of white pepper.
  • Salt – I used fine salt.
  • Flour – I used all-purpose flour.
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - ingredients image 02

Easy Sauce

  • Sesame oil – this ads so much flavor!
  • Ginger – use fresh, always. Grate it using a lemon zester.
  • Chicken stock – you can use vegetable stock instead.
  • Light soy sauce – or regular soy sauce. But light isn’t too overpowering.
  • Lemon – Use fresh lemon juice! Nothing compares flavor wise.
  • Brown sugar – I used regular brown sugar. Light will also work.
  • Honey – Ads a delicious sweetness. You can use only honey instead of brown sugar if you prefer.
  • Corn starch – this helps thicken the sauce. It is also known as corn flour.
  • Sesame seeds – Ads some visual flair!
  • Spring onion – also known as scallions or green onion.
  • Rice – I have a great, easy to follow recipe on how to make white rice that comes out perfectly fluffy. Just like restaurant style rice! Grab the recipe here!

How to make Crispy Chinese Lemon Chicken!

Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - step 1 and 2
  1. Feel for any bones in your chicken thighs that need cutting away before slicing into cubes.
  2. Add to a bowl with spices, eggs and flour
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - step 3 and 4
  1. Mix until well combined and coated
  2. Dip in toasted panko breadcrumbs
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - step 5
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - step 6
  1. Bake for 20 minutes (air fryer instructions in the recipe card!)
  2. Add oil, garlic and ginger to a skillet and fry on medium heat until fragrant
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - step 7
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - step 8
  1. Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Add water if needed.
  2. Add chicken right before using
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - cut open on fork

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • Prep ahead of time – you can totally prep the chicken a day ahead of time and cook the following day!
  • Use fresh lemons – Don’t use the fake stuff, this is Afterall a lemon recipe and using good ingredients is key to a great tasting outcome!
  • Make the sauce while the chicken is baking. Get the chicken in the oven and get the sauce going while the chicken is baking to save time!
  • Use fresh ingredients! Fresh ginger and garlic is key to getting a full flavored sauce.
  • Don’t skip toasting the breadcrumbs! It’s what makes the chicken coating crispy. I’ve made this without toasting the panko and it doesn’t come out crispy. You can gently toast them in the oven or in a frypan until golden.
  • Add the chicken to the sauce right before serving, to avoid crumbing from going soft and soggy.
Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - on a fork

Frequently Asked Questions about RECIPE

What does it taste like?

Zesty, lemony, sweet and sour! My favorite thing is how juicy and crispy the chicken comes out and soaked up the delicious lemon sauce!

How do I store this?

You can prepare the chicken (coat it) and store in an airtight container in a single layer with plastic wrap the day before baking. Don’t cook a day in advance.

Can I make this in an air fryer?

Yes! For the breadcrumbs, toast the panko breadcrumbs in a fry pan until golden. Cook chicken on 200C for 20 minutes. Turn over or shake halfway through.

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Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken - thumbnail

Crispy Chinese Lemon Chicken

Crispy Chinese LemonChicken is a classic Chinese take-out favorite and easy to make at home with crispy golden chicken coating and a glossy lemon sauce!

Serves 4

5 from 3 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Calories: 622kcal


Crumbed Chicken

  • 2 cups / 200 g panko breadcrumbs, see notes
  • Oil spray
  • 475 g / 475 g chicken thigh, cubed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup / 115 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs

Lemon Sauce

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely minced/grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup / 165 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 cup, 250ml water
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds to garnish
  • 2 spring onion, thinly sliced to garnish
  • Serve with rice


Crumbed Chicken

  • Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F. Add the panko breadcrumbs to a large baking tray and spread out. Spray with cooking oil spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden in color. Set aside to cool.
  • Cut the chicken into 2 inch cubes. Add the chicken, garlic powder, pepper, salt, flour and egg to a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Transfer about 6 pieces of chicken into the panko breadcrumbs. Toss to coat.
  • Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.

To Make This In An Air Fryer

  • Breadcrumbs – For the breadcrumbs, toast the panko breadcrumbs in a fry pan until golden.
  • Chicken – Cook chicken on 200C for 20 minutes. Turn over or shake halfway through.

Lemon Sauce

  • Heat a large saucepan or wok to medium heat and add the sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Mix until aromatic, about 1 minute.
  • Add the stock, soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and honey and stir until the mixture begins to bubble. Then turn down to low heat and continue cooking for 5 minutes on a slow simmer. Finish by adding the corn starch slurry and stir whilst slowly pouring in. Continue stirring until mixture becomes clear again and thickens. Add the chicken right before serving and toss to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds, sliced spring onion. Serve with rice, veggies or salad.


  • I used chicken thigh in this recipe. It won’t be perfectly cubed, just make sure each piece is around the same size.
  • This will ensure everything cooks evenly and at the same time. The safe internal temperature of chicken is 75C / 165F.
  • You can use chicken tenderloins or breast instead of thigh.
Rice – Serve this with rice! I have a great recipe here. A salad wouldn’t go astray either.
Storage – Chinese Lemon Chicken can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to three days.
Nutrition – is based on per serving. This makes 4 servings.
A note on measurements – all ingredients in this recipe are offered in Australian cup measurements and weight measurements. Weight measurements are created by me, in my kitchen here in Melbourne Australia. The best way to get recipe success is to measure ingredients by weight, using kitchen scales.
Total time for recipe takes into consideration that you will measure and make the sauce while chicken is baking.


Calories : 622kcal
Carbonhydrates: 62g
Protein: 31g
Fat: 28g
Saturated Fat: 7g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g
Monounsaturated Fat : 11g
Trans Fat : 0.1g
Cholesterol: 198mg
Sodium: 1588mg
Potassium : 474mg
Fiber: 3g
Sugar : 18g
Vitamin A: 361IU
Vitamin C: 16mg
Calcium: 124mg
Iron: 5mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!


Nick Makrides March 21, 2023 - 5:43 am

5 stars
I can not wait for you guys to try this recipe out. Perfect for Friday night take out at home with a good Netflix show! N x

Angel March 22, 2023 - 11:21 pm

I’m SO excited to make this tomorrow! I’m always looking for new recipes to try, and this sounds absolutely delicious 😋
Hi from California!

Nick Makrides May 13, 2023 - 2:47 am

Awesome! N x


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