Chinese lemon sesame chicken with an irresistibly sticky, sweet and sour chinese lemon sauce. Move over take-out!

One of your most favorite Chinese chicken dishes is easy to make at home with crispy, golden chicken tenderloin pieces. Have delicious Chinese Lemon Chicken on your table in 30 minutes.

lemon chicken

A worldwide favourite, Chinese Lemon Chicken is loved by many because of the flavours and texture you get in every mouthful. Whether it’s the tangy lemon sauce or the crispy chicken breast pieces, good take-out is hard to find. This is why having your own recipe is just as important as having a take-out menu in your kitchen.

Our recipe is different in that you’re going to use chicken tenders for a perfectly juicy result.

how do you make lemon chicken batter

The batter is so easy! You’re going to whisk an egg with soy sauce and Chinese Shaoxing wine. You can use sherry or white vinegar as substitutions if you can’t find that particular wine at your grocery store. Cut your chicken tenders into 1-inch pieces and coat well in the batter.

Marinate for 20-30 minutes for a deeper flavour (If time allows), or 5 minutes while you get your other ingredients ready.

how to make chinese lemon chicken

Once your chicken has marinated, pour chicken WITH the marinade out into the corn starch. Coat chicken pieces evenly, massaging the corn starch around the chicken.

Fry in batches, being careful not to overcrowd your pan or wok, until golden, crispy and cooked through.

what about the lemon sauce

Give your pan (or wok) a wipe over with paper towel to get rid of any crumbs that could burn while making your sauce. Add some oil to the pan to sauté your garlic and ginger until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then pour in your stock, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, honey, and a pinch of salt.

You will see the sauce begin to thicken beautifully because of the honey, but you’ll want it just a little bit thicker (similar to runny honey). This is where a corn starch slurry comes in handy and turns the sauce into a delicious glaze. Toss the chicken into the lemon sauce and evenly coat.

There you have it! Chinese Lemon Chicken!

what to serve with lemon chicken

Chinese Lemon Chicken can go with any side — plain or full-flavoured.

  • Fried rice
  • Cauliflower fried rice
  • Noodles
  • Plain rice

Chinese Lemon Sesame Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Chinese Lemon Sesame Chicken


21 oz (600 g) chicken tenderloins cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large egg
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese shaoxing wine (or white vinegar)
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon oil
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced or finely grated ginger
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
salt to taste
2 teaspoons corn starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds to garnish
thinly sliced green onions to garnish
lemon slices, to serve (optional)


  2. In a large shallow bowl whisk egg, soy sauce and wine. Add in chicken, mix well and allow to marinate for 20 minutes, covered.
  3. Place corn starch into a large baking tray. Pour chicken and marinade into the corn starch and coat chicken pieces evenly, lightly pressing the corn starch around the chicken.
  4. Heat oil in a large wok, pan or skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot (325°F or 165°C), shake off excess corn starch and fry chicken in batches in a single layer for about 5-6 minutes, turning half way during cooking, until golden and cooked through.
  5. Drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Discard oil and wipe wok/pan over with paper towel.
  7. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add stock, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, honey, and a pinch of salt. Whisk, bring to a simmer until the sugar dissolves.
  8. Whisk corn starch mixture into the simmering sauce and stir until thickened. Toss chicken in the sauce until evenly coated (about 2 minutes).
  9. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions and lemon slices. Serve.

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