Lemon Fried Chicken Rice

Lemon Fried Chicken Rice

Lemon fried chicken is a popular Chinese dish. The juicy chicken thighs are marinated with only 5 simple ingredients. It is double fried to ensure a crispy texture and coated with a sweet and sour lemon sauce. Serve this tantalizing dish with steaming aromatic rice.

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Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 40 mins


Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean, American Chinese

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Nutrition per Serving

1650 kcal
133 g
104 g
44 g

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Lemon chicken may be one of the most loved Asian chicken recipes. This juicy and deliciously crispy fried chicken is the menu for your next dinner. Most importantly, the chicken thighs soaks up the bold and flavourful marinade and turn out awesomely tasty.

This is easily a family favourite. Kids and adults will fall in love with the crispiness and the tangy gravy. Since fresh lemon juice is used, the sourness is mild and it adds some sweetness to the sauce.

This recipe also explores a simple way to prepare rice with aromatics which adds up to the whole delivery of the dish making it delicious and complex. In actual fact, this recipe is really easy.

Easy fried chicken recipe
Easy fried chicken recipe

Why this Chinese lemon chicken recipe?

The steps are easy. This recipe is a complete meal as it contains protein as well as carbohydrates. This is not the common dry fried chicken. It is thicker than a piece of schnitzel or tonkatsu. Instead, it is almost like a fat piece of KFC-style chicken.

You will love this recipe if you like lemon gravy which is not too sweet. The ratio of sweetness balances the savouriness of the chicken. It is truly a great match.

Last but not least, the wonderful aroma of the rice. It just cannot be compared to plain white rice. Try it and you will know what I mean.

How to make Chinese lemon sauce?

Lemon sauce served with fried chicken or pork is a popular dish among the Chinese communities around the world. It is made of lemon juice with its zest and sugar.

A thickening agent like cornstarch is a must or the gravy will be runny. Salt is added to defuse the bitterness of the lemon. As a result, it enhances the sweetness and ends up being the perfect lemon sauce.

Tasty lemon sauce
Tasty lemon sauce

Batter that is better than Chinese takeaways

Crunchiness is what the batter aims to deliver. The secret is the egg and the flour combination. Using wheat flour and potato starch make the batter fluffy and crispy at the same time.

Do not crowd the pan when frying or the batter will turn soggy. Allow space for them to crisp up.

Golden crispy layer
Golden crispy layer

Substitute for potato starch

The best replacement is tapioca starch. Otherwise, a popular option is cornstarch. Although it does not stand up to high heat frying unlike the original choice of flour, cornstarch will still deliver a good result. Use either substitute at a ratio of 1:1.

Chicken breast, drumsticks or wings

This recipe works best with boneless chicken thighs because they do not dry up easily during the frying process compared to chicken breast as the meat is leaner.

Drumsticks and wings are options if you prefer meat with bones.

Secret to great fried chicken

In many Chinese restaurants, the chicken will always be fried twice. The first frying is to cook the meat while the second is done at a higher heat to create the gustatory sensation of crunchiness which we all love.

That is exactly what we are replicating in this recipe as frying the chicken over high heat entirely might cause the chicken to be overcooked. However, if the heat is too low, they might be undercooked.

Freezing battered chicken

Yes, you can freeze battered chicken in bulk. However, the chicken might not cook fully during the frying process as the thickness of the chicken thighs is not uniformed.

Battered chicken with flour
Battered chicken with flour

Therefore, it is best to par-fry them until they turn slightly yellow or once the crust is built. Allow them to cool completely before storing. They can be kept for up to 3 months if stored in an air-tight container.

To reheat, simply fry in a pan using the second fry method or pop them into an oven heated at 190 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. They should turn golden brown once ready. Do not thaw before frying.


chicken thigh(s)
1⁄2 tbsp
oyster sauce
1⁄2 tbsp
light soy sauce
garlic clove(s)
0.38 tsp
white pepper
3⁄4 tsp
1⁄4 cup
all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup
potato starch
1 cup
1 1⁄2 cups
3 cm
pandan leaves
oil for frying
lemon juice
lemon zest
1⁄2 cup
1 tbsp
1 1⁄2 tsp
corn starch

Steps to Prepare

Lemon Fried Chicken Rice Step 1

Step 1 of 6

In a bowl, marinate the chicken with the sauces, garlic, white pepper and salt. Let them sit for at least 1 hour or best, overnight for better flavor.

Lemon Fried Chicken Rice Step 2

Step 2 of 6

    • 1⁄2 egg(s)

Once marinated, incorporate the egg and mix well. Set aside.

Lemon Fried Chicken Rice Step 3

Step 3 of 6

    • 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1⁄4 cup potato starch
    • 1⁄8 tsp salt
    • 1⁄8 tsp white pepper

In a deep plate, combine the 2 types of flour, salt and pepper. Coat each piece of chicken meat with the flour mixture. Let them sit for at least 10-15 minutes to let the flour coating set.

Lemon Fried Chicken Rice Step 4

Step 4 of 6

    • 1 cup rice
    • 1 1⁄2 cup water
    • 3 cm ginger
    • 3 garlic clove(s)
    • 2 pandan leaves
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Meanwhile, rinse rice. Add water and the aromatics along with salt to cook.

Lemon Fried Chicken Rice Step 5

Step 5 of 6

    • oil for frying

Pre-heat oil in wok at medium high heat. Fry the coated chicken chop for at least 4-5 minutes on each side. Once done, remove from oil and set aside. Increase heat to high and fry the chicken again for 2-3 minutes. Drain excess oil and set aside.

Lemon Fried Chicken Rice Step 6

Step 6 of 6

    • 1⁄2 lemon juice
    • 1⁄2 lemon zest
    • 1⁄2 cup water
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 1⁄2 tsp corn starch
    • 1⁄8 tsp salt

In a pan, combine all ingredients listed. Turn on heat and stir till it starts to boil and thickens. Chop chicken into smaller pieces and pour sauce on top when ready to serve.

Published: May 28, 2022

1 Discussions

a year ago


Tried this lemon chicken recipe at last night’s dinner. My kids love it!

a year ago


Thanks for trying the recipe out, Irene! Glad that your kids love it.

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