Lemon Chicken

Updated: June 24, 2024, By Swasthi

This easy Lemon Chicken is packed with gourmet flavors. It’s deeply savory, a little spicy and perfectly umami that anyone will love. It is easy to customize to your palate and goes well with rice, fried rice or with noodles. This Lemon Chicken is made in Indo-Chinese style but made healthier by stir frying instead of deep frying.

Chicken is seasoned with spices, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice, later stir fried with aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger and chilies until tender. It is finished off with your favorite spice blend like garam masala or Cajun or steak seasoning.

Lemon Chicken

While we love Indo-Chinese dishes like this Chilli Chicken, Chicken Manchurian, Chicken Lollipop and Schezwan Chicken, all these require deep frying or at least air frying and baking. In these, chicken is coated with flour & fried before tossing in sauce but this Lemon chicken is an exception.

Firstly there are no 2 parts in this recipe like frying and then adding to sauce. Instead everything gets done in the same one-pan, making it so much simpler for a week night meal. If you want to make a one-pan Lemon Chicken noodles or rice, simply double the sauce and spices to add some precooked rice or noodles.

To keep the recipe simple, I have not used veggies. But you may use carrots, bell peppers and French beans for a complete nutritious meal. A lot of times I also add beaten eggs to scramble them in the pan. Here is what you need for the recipe.

Ingredients & Substitutes

  • Chicken: I use boneless chicken breasts but you can also use skinless boneless chicken thighs cut up to bite sized pieces. If you are using breasts, avoid overcooking as they can easily get rubbery and chewy.
  • Lemon: I use large lemons for this and avoid lime because I feel the flavors are slightly different. You will use ¼ teaspoon of fresh lemon zest but dried also works in a pinch.
  • Sauce: This recipe uses only soya sauce for umami flavor and more flavor comes from the garam masala or other spice blends you use. But feel free to use Worchester sauce, fish sauce or barbeque sauce as per your choice.
  • Seasoning – Spice blends: This recipe has been tested with garam masala, all-spice, Cajun seasoning and steak seasoning. We prefer using garam masala for the Indo-Chinese flavors. Feel free to experiment with your favorite seasoning. Spices like red chili powder and turmeric are used for Indian vibes but you may sub the red chili with chili flakes and omit turmeric.
  • Aromatics like onions, ginger, garlic and green chili are used for flavor and I wouldn’t suggest using dried ginger for fresh. If you want you may use green onions and omit green chilies.

Photo Guide

Step by Step Photo Instructions

1. Add diced chicken, ginger paste, red chili powder, salt, turmeric, lemon juice, lemon zest and oil. Do not omit oil, it is the key to tenderize chicken along with lemon juice. I used half of a large lemon. I suggest using fresh lemon and freshly ground ginger or grated ginger.

marinade for lemon chicken recipe

2. Marinate the chicken and set aside for at least an hour up to overnight in the refrigerator.

resting marinade

3. Heat oil in a pan and saute ginger and garlic for 1 minute.

fry ginger for lemon chicken recipe

4. Add onions, slit green chili, sugar and salt.

addition of onions

5. Saute until the onions turn transparent.

addition of marinade

6. Add marinated chicken along with the lemon juice. Turn down the flame to low, Stir and saute till the chicken is half cooked, for 2 mins.

stir fry

7. Sprinkle garam masala or cajun spice mix or all spice. Stir Fry for another 2 to 3 mins.

addition of spice powder

8. Pour soya sauce and cook on a slightly high heat till the chicken is cooked through for another 1 to 2 mins. Evaporate the soya completely. Taste test and adjust salt, sauce or spices to your taste.

soya sauce

9. Add finely chopped mint leaves or cilantro/coriander leaves.

mint leaves

10. Stir through and saute until the herbs wilt, for another 1 minute. 

finished soft cooked lemon chicken recipe

Garnish lemon chicken with mint or cilantro/coriander leaves. Serve with onion wedges.

Lemon Chicken Recipe

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

Lemon chicken

Lemon Chicken Recipe

4.97 from 77 votes
Delicious Indian-Chinese style dish of stir-fried chicken with soya sauce and spices. Makes for a great side with noodles or fried rice.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )


  • 300 grams (10 ounce) chicken boneless breast
  • tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ginger fine grated
  • 1½ to 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • ¾ tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
  • tsp turmeric (optional)

Other ingredients

  • ½ tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger chopped or minced
  • ½ tbsp garlic chopped or minced
  • 1 green chili slit
  • 1 medium yello onion chopped
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning or garam masala or ¼ tsp all-spice
  • ½ tbsp soya sauce
  • 8 to 10 mint leaves or handful of coriander leaves fine chopped


  • Mix chicken with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under marinade. Cover and rest for at least one hour to overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Heat oil in a pan and saute ginger garlic for a minute. Add onions, chilies, sugar and salt. Saute until the onions turn transparent, for 4 to 5 mins.
  • Add marinated chicken and saute for 2 mins. Stir in the spice blend and pour the soya sauce. Saute on a medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, for another 3 mins.
  • Taste test to adjust salt, sauce or spices. Add mint leaves and saute for another 1 min until they wilt and turn aromatic.
  • Serve lemon chicken with onion wedges alongside fried rice or noodles.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 312 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 219mg10%
Potassium 202mg6%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 340IU7%
Vitamin C 2.4mg3%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
I made this for my family (including a 3 year old grandchild) and served it with Anna Jones’ Double Lemon Pilaf with Buttery Almonds and her My Perfect Lemon Salad. What a meal! It was enjoyed by all! My daughter, who is not a big cook, immediately asked for the recipe for your Lemon Chicken and is determined to make it a part of her cooking repertoire. Glad I found your site.

5 stars
Hi swasthi, I am a huge fan of your webpage and have tried many recipes with great success.
The portion size is so small and I would have to double/triple most of the times. Wondering if I am using 1 kg chicken if need to triple all ingredients ??

5 stars
I tried Lemon Chicken recipe and it came out really nice. I made one change thought. In place of mint or coriander leaves, I used springs of spring onions.

5 stars
Came out great!! Everyone enjoyed it.

Hi Swasthi, Looks amazing. Could I make it ahead of time and reheat for a party?

5 stars
Very simple recipe, me and my husband tried it for the first time, it came out very nicely.

itz too much yummy and tasty….i made it first time but it wuz very simple…thnkww

Hi Swasthi,

I always refer to your recipes when I cook something different. I tried this dish as a starter for some guests. Left the chicken marinate overnight. The dish turned out so yummy that I got barely to taste it. All my guests are it and appreciated the flavours very much.

Please keep posting new things.

Thank you,

Hi swati,

I always refer to your blog before I cook something new. So get lemon chicken today. I find it very easy to follow all recepies that u believe. I believe that the chicken will also turn out to be yummy. Thank u.


5 stars
It was toooo tummy, i made as advised
My hubby loved it
Thank you

I tried first time as advised it was too easy and my hubby loved it
Thank you

5 stars
This is a very good recipe.
I made it twice, the first time as it is written, the second with some modifications. I am reporting them so maybe someone will find them useful:
-the second time I used 2 tablespoons of yogurt + 1 teaspoon oil instead of 1 1/2 tablespoon oil. I wanted to see if I could bring some of the oil down. It worked for me.
-I am always looking for methods to cut onion and garlic away from recipes because unfortunately they irritate my stomach (due to medicines my stomach is sensitive). So I didn’t use onion and garlic and in their place I started the recipe with a tadka of 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed + 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida and then, when frying the chili, a pinch of turmeric. I think it was good.
-I didn’t try this but I would be interested in using tamarind instead of soy sauce.

As always thank you Swasthi, your recipes are very good!

5 stars
Hi swathi…lemon chicken recipe is so simple & yummy..i tried this for the first time & got appreciation from my hubby…thanks a lot for the yummy recipe…

5 stars
Hi Swathi,

We don’t get Soya sauce, what should I use instead. Or can we make it without it ?

Please advise 🙂


5 stars
Hey Swati
I m cooking chicken for the first time.
I need to know that when is chicken half cooked or full cooked n thanks for the recipe.

5 stars
I tried lemon chicken it’s yum

Dear Swasthi,

I made the lemon chicken on my mother’s birthday.. Believe me.. it was so tasty.. have no words to describe. my brother asked me to make it twice in a week and were amused both the times we tasted it. Super tasty 😀

Thanks isn’t enough
again making it do with thanks


Yummy , thanks for the recipe

Wow nice food

So beautiful thank you

4 stars
Hi swasthi, visited your blog for the first time and tried this recipe. It was a super hit. I am sure to haunt your blogs more often hereafter 😉 thank u!