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Best-Ever Lemon Chicken recipe

Best-Ever Lemon Chicken recipe

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  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Chicken breast
  • Pan fried chicken breasts

My version of the traditional dish from your local Chinese takeaway. Serve with rice.

453 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 6

  • 1.35kg skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 475ml vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:25min ›Extra time:15min marinating › Ready in:55min

  1. In a large bowl combine the chicken, sherry, soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix together, cover and refrigerate. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, 4 tablespoons cornflour and baking powder to form a batter. In a wok, heat 250ml oil to 180 degrees C. Coat chicken with batter and fry in wok until browned. Cut into bite size pieces and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, stock, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix together and add lemon slices. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in wok and slowly stir in lemon sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until sauce is clear. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(176)

Reviews in English (135)

Cooked this twice, both times added extra fresh lemon (1-2) and substituted the sherry for rice wine and also reduced the salt a little. Went down brilliantly, will be using again soon.-12 Jan 2014

Very nice had to cut down on the salt a little.-06 Mar 2013

The chicken was great but the sauce wasn't great. I had to redo the sauce because the one on this recipe wasn't very tasty. If you're wanting a very lemony sauce I suggest using only a quarter of a stock cube, a lot of lemon juice and dilute it down with water. Just a suggestion though, it worked well for me-01 Sep 2015

Lemon Chicken (Chinese Style)

Lemon chicken is quite a common dish in Chinese restaurants in India and it’s always been one of my favorites. Although, I have seen the dish featured here in some Chinese places, it’s not as common and popular as its sister dish, Orange Chicken. I personally prefer it to orange chicken though, cos where orange chicken is just sweet, the tanginess of the lemon in this dish cuts the sweetness and gives the flavors more dimension. It’s tart, tangy, crispy, sweet and addictive.

I think this dish makes a great appetizer, although it’s mostly known as a main dish. For an appetizer I prefer making it a little drier, but if you’re making it as a main dish served with rice or veggies, I would suggest adding a little more chicken stock to the sauce to cut the tartness a touch and add all the sauce to the chicken.

Just like spaghetti with tomato sauce, healthy chicken Parmesan or chicken Caprese with zucchini, all these Italian inspired dishes look impressive but are so easy to make at home. No need for fancy take out and spending money!

All there is to a delicious lemon chicken breast is to quickly coat it in a flour of your choice (we love-love almond flour!), then pan sear thin (not pounded – yes!) chicken cutlets, make sauce by deglazing the pan and garnish with lemon slices. Then serve for dinner – see lots pairing suggestions below. Or keep a container in the fridge for easy meal prep and lunches. Slice and serve on top of salad, it tastes amazing cold.

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken Breasts – You want them boneless and skinless. You can also do this with boneless skinless chicken thighs, for the dark meat lover. If using larger breasts, make sure you cut them in half lengthwise. My breasts were fairly small and thin so I didn’t need to cut them.
  • Flour – All purpose flour for dredging our chicken through.
  • Butter – I always use unsalted, this way I can control how much salt is in my food.
  • Olive oil – Pretty much my oil of choice all the time, especially for dishes such as this. Substitute sunflower, safflower or avocado oil.
  • Lemon juice – This is the star of this recipe, so you want to make sure is freshly squeezed for best flavor.
  • White wine – A dry white wine will work great such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. See “FAQs & Expert Tips” for more info.
  • Capers – This is another key ingredient in this recipe, they’ll give the dish more lemony, oily and salty flavor.

1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 teaspoon for rub and 2 teaspoons for sauce)

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil (1 tablespoon for rub, 1 tablespoon for cooking)

1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) low-sodium chicken stock, see our chicken stock recipe

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Best Easy Honey Lemon Chicken

I loved the lemon chicken recipe and even went out and bought a cast iron skillet. This is definitely a “do again” recipe.

I see you over there with your crispy golden brown skin and the bright, lemony sauce and a side salad + hunk of hot crusty bread for dipping, and to be honest, not much else because you don’t need much else when the classic, simple ingredients and the basic cooking method are this utterly perfect.

This is simple, rustic, and extremely bright and lemony. This is for those of us who want our lemon chicken to actually taste like LEMONSSSS.

What we’re doing here is simple: we’re using simple, delicious, fresh ingredients (think chicken thighs, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and basically that’s it) with a high quality piece of beautiful, American-made, #liveauthentic, rustic cookware called a CAST IRON SKILLET. And now for our next trick, using these ingredients and tools, we shall pull a faux-fancy, real food, simple and beautiful chicken dinner out of nowhere.

When we got married, long before the idea for this blog ever existed, my in-laws gave us a Lodge Cast Iron skillet. Because they knew: Lodge is kind of (absolutely) the gold standard when it comes to high quality cast iron. Fun fact – Lodge is the ONLY company that manufactures a full line of cast iron in the United States of America, and they’ve been doing their cast iron thing in a tiny town in Tennessee for over 100 years. My in-laws almost always cook with cast iron, so naturally they wanted to pass on the love to their daughter in law who loves to cook.

One small thing about the cast iron tho I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING. My sweet little Lodge skillet sat in the back of my cookware cabinet for a long while (would you be mad if I said years?) before I pulled it out when we moved and was like, hm, wait a second. This looks like it might be AMAZING.

So I started using it at which point I became completely obsessed. Three years later and I literally feel like my cast iron skillet is a part of our family. File under Things Your Food Blogger Friend Says.

As an added motivation, over the last year or so, I’ve gone on a quest to really embrace “clean living”, like, whatever that means, right? Eye roll.

For me, it just means simple swaps for a better home environment. Not perfect, but better. For example -> Getting rid of plastic food storage containers and replacing them with glass. Buying natural cleaning products without added chemicals and fragrances. Not burning candles that smell like 100 bottles of perfume broke on the hardwood floor of the living room. And slowly but surely trading out our flaking non-stick pans higher quality stainless steel and cast iron.

Remember back when I wrote that post about how much I loved my Lodge Dutch Oven? That was really my first true foray into cast iron. If you’re not sure in terms of maintenance and care and how to cook with a cast iron and all that, the Dutch Oven is an amazing place to start. It’s an enamel coated cast iron which gives you the benefits of cast iron (even cooking, oven-to-stovetop flexibility, heavy quality) without needing to care for it in any special way. Just wash and dry as you would with any pan.

Then for your basic standard cast iron skillet, when you’re ready (trust me – you’re ready), I highly recommend the Lodge 12-inch Round Frying Pan. I use it as often as I can – it has basically become a fixture that sits on top of my stove because I just never put it away. It creates a perfect even heat, it can go from the stovetop to the oven (to the grill – yes, we live boldly here), and it maintains a natural nonstick texture that is just divine.

Lots of you are maybe nervous about the care and maintenance involved (I’m actually just speaking to myself 5 years ago here), but I’m here to tell you that it is nothing. Consider me your lazy girl ambassador. I have zero tolerance for things that are unnecessarily difficult, and this passes my very strict test for ease of use and care. Here’s how I wash mine after each use:

Also, pro-tip from my friend Liz that I’m also doing these days: put it back on the heat for a while to really get hot-dry so the pan absorbs the oil. Just if you wanna be an overachiever.

Three cheers for team cast iron!

Now let’s get a simple honey lemon chicken dinner on the table for you and your family. Toss up a green salad and bust out a loaf of bread and you are a domestic boss right now.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves, halved crosswise
  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Meyer lemon, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and seeded
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 ounces pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper coat with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan, skin side down cook 6 minutes or until skin is golden brown and crisp. Turn chicken over. Place pan in oven. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 165°.

Remove chicken from pan keep warm. Discard pan drippings (do not wipe pan clean). Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan swirl to coat. Add potatoes to pan sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook potatoes 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove potatoes from pan. Add lemon slices to pan cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Remove lemon from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine and chopped fresh thyme cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Return potatoes and lemon slices to pan. Add 2/3 cup stock, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper cook 2 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Combine remaining 1/3 cup stock and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture and olives to pan bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice and butter, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat sprinkle with parsley.

If you like red potatoes, try Skillet Chicken and Vegetables:

Prepare Meyer Lemon Chicken through step 3, decreasing potatoes to 12 ounces, omitting ­lemons and shallots, and substituting 2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) slices carrot, 2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) slices celery, and 1 large red onion, cut into 12 wedges. Cook vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Substitute 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano for thyme. Return vegetable mixture to pan. Combine 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Add stock mixture, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to pan bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Return chicken to pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.

Serves 6 (serving size: 1 breast piece or 1 thigh, about 1 cup vegetable mixture, and about 1/4 cup sauce)

Lemon Chicken Breasts

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 × 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Copyright 2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved

What is lemon pepper seasoning made of?

Lemon pepper seasoning is made from a combination of dried lemon zest, black pepper, and salt. To make your own, simply combine 2 parts dried lemon zest to 1 part ground black pepper, and 1 part salt.

See how easy this Rosemary Lemon Roasted Chicken Breasts is to make. Watch the video.

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Chicken Breasts


  • 1-2 medium lemons, sliced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 1 pound uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


    Preheat oven to 425°F. Layer 1/2 lemon slices and 1 sprig of rosemary on the bottom of a baking dish. Scatter 1/2 of garlic around the pan.


  1. You can double, triple, quadruple, etc this recipe. I make it with 5 pounds of chicken so we have enough to eat all week.
  2. If you prefer your chicken more browned on top, at the end of your cook time turn the broiler on and cook for 2-3 minutes until chicken and lemons are browned.


The pictures sure show much more than 2 sprigs of rosemary

Very true! That was a quadruple batch. Enjoy.

If that is a quadruple batch and you have four breasts does that mean this recipe is for one breast and I need to increase it each time I had a breast

Could this be done in the crockpot

I have not tried it, but I imagine you could layer it the same way. Let me know if you try it and how it works out.

You'd be better off using a Dutch Oven at 225degrees. Brown first

Can you chop up some russet potatoes and cook them in the same pan as the chicken? Or would that be a bad idea? Is there a lot of juice that would make the potatoes soggy?

If you layered them on top of the lemons you should be fine. I have cooked chicken and potatoes in the same pan, they don't come out crisp, but they are still delish1

Can you chop up the russet potatoes and cook them in the same pan as the chicken? Or would that be a bad idea? Will there be too much juice from the chicken that will make the potatoes soggy?

I have done this recipe with red potatoes (a bit more healthier) and they came out fine even at the bottom of the baking dish.

Were the red potatoes ok for that period of time (40-60min)? Would like to try with red potatoes tomorrow night.

Where do you find sprigs of rosemary?

Any famer's market, whole foods, etc. should have fresh sprigs. General grocery stores might have it dried and I don't think it would make much of a difference in taste.

I have made this by sprinkling dried Rosemary over the chicken. Same effect, it is still delicious.

Trader Joes would have some also or Sprouts market.

I went to Home Depot, bought a plant and now have fresh rosemary anytime i need it!

Great tasting recipe! Chicken is so tasty and tender with lemons!

In the produce section of the grocery store, near all of the fresh herbs

Delicious! We all loved it! I will make it again and again!

I love recipes with simple ingredients that make your mouth water. You can never have too many chicken recipes. Thanks!

This was fabulous! I cut potatoes into wedges and put them in the pan for super easy meal. Salad on the side. It was so very good! I used the leftover meat to make Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup.

thanks for the recipe, it looks great.
is it good only for serving immediately or can it be refrigerated or even frozen and heated later?

This looks great and I've got rosemary I need to use up :) And chicken breasts thawing on my counter. Dinner is served :)

Love this recipe Donna. Chicken and lemon are made for each other! And Rosemary is a personal favorite! By the way . you should be dancing today for your birthday! Hope you have a great one. Please stop by and enter my giveaway! Celebrating 4 years of blogging :) Happy, happy birthday!

40 minutes seems way too long for four chicken breasts, do the lemons lengthen the cooking time? Normally I'd only put them in for fifteen minutes. And the temperature you say to cook at isn't even an option on my oven, nowhere near.

No one here likes rosemary the herb. What's a reasonable substitute? How about Italian parsley with any recipe calling for rosemary the herb. ( We specify "the herb" to avoid offending a lovely and very sweet relative named Rosemary >:

I also add thyme to this, you could use just thyme. or buy a good "italian seasoning "blend

This looks WONDERFUL. My Mom never used Rosemary that I can recall, so I'm just now learning the joys of its wonderful taste and aroma. This is just the ticket for an easy recipe for me to learn on. Thanks for posting!!

I love rosemary so this looks like something I would really enjoy!

This is excellent and so easy, loved it. Thanks so much.

This is excellent and very easy, thanks so much for this delicious recipe!

Ed - prior to making this dish I make a marinade by cutting four lemons into halves - pips and all boil them with sugar and a knob of butter - once softened (simmer for half an hour or more) mash and strain though a cloth return liquid to heat until reduced and thickens on the back of a spoon - cool until it forms a jelly - this I use with garlic and rosemary on chicken. Cod with this lemon and thyme is tasty too!

This sounds delicious. I'm going to try it! Thanks for the creation.

Wow! First time I've ever made chicken! Delicious, juicy, balanced flavor. Thank you! I do not feel like the 26 year old bachelor I am.

excellent and I e the l over chicken for chicken lemon rice soup

Tried this and found it a bit bland. Unfortunately the family didn't care for it :(

Can you steamthe recipe in a wok with steam racks?

Has anybody had issue with the garlic being bitter? I think I'd roast it first before adding to pan.

Okay, so I made this on Saturday, only I used a whole chicken that I quartered, because that's what I had in my freezer.
Oh. My. Goodness. It was fantastic!
Partway through cooking, my husband complained about the smell of rosemary and I prepared myself not to club him when he complained eating it. My mental preparations were for naught. He LOVED it and hasn't stopped talking about how good it was. Thanks for sharing!