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Crispy Lemon Chicken Chinese Takeaway Style

Crispy lemon chicken quickly fried in a light batter, featuring a big punch of black pepper and a silky sweet and sour lemon sauce.

This dish can be prepared and cooked in under 30 minutes and as it is made in your own kitchen that batter is super crunchy when it hits your plate!

Lemon sauce poured over Chinese crispy lemon chicken.

Chinese Battered Lemon Chicken

For many years my favourite dish from a Chinese takeaway was sweet and sour pork balls.

The crispy batter that goes kinda chewy when you slather over the sauce was definitely my kina vibe.

As I have got older my sweet tooth has definitely diminished and this Chinese crispy lemon chicken has the same vibe but with much more pronounced sour flavours.

This recipe uses the same batter that I use for my sweet and sour pork balls but the chicken gets a flavour punch.

I add lots of black pepper and lemon zest to it before it gets battered and fried.

Let’s face it, it’s a classic combination and one that features in dishes as varied as my lemon pepper chicken wings through to my bacon wrapped cod loin.

Finally, there is a delicious and silky lemon sauce.

A sauce that sings of lemon juice but also features, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and Shaoxing wine!

Chinese crispy lemon chicken served with rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this be made in advance?

No, this dish really does need to be made and cooked immediately.

Why does the water for the batter need to be cold?

Using cold water apparently inhibits the formation of gluten in the flour. As a result you end up with a crisper and lighter batter.

Do I need to use an unwaxed lemon?

Strictly speaking, no. The wax used to protect lemons is a food-safe product and can be eaten.

Whether you want to or not is another matter, I usually buy unwaxed lemons if I am using the zest.

Do I have to fry the chicken?

As far as I am concerned yes, this is a battered dish and all of the alternative ways to cook batter I have tried have been deeply disappointing.

This is not an everyday dish but a rare treat!

Over head Chinese crispy lemon chicken served with rice.

Serving Suggestions

As far as I am concerned this Chinese crispy lemon chicken recipe is best served with rice.

Like so many of my fakeaway recipes, I usually opt for simply cooked rice. But this recipe is also wonderful with egg fried rice.

Noodles are another option, soy sauce noodles make a great side, however, my light sweet and sour noodles are also a great option.

If you wanted to up your vegetable options then take a look at my stir-fried asparagus or broccoli stir fry.

Chinese takeaway style crispy lemon chicken served with rice and spring onions.

Equipment Used

I only name-check specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok. You could use a deep-fat fryer to fry also!
  • 15-16cm or 6″ saucepan.
  • Oil thermometer, I use a sugar thermometer.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Mixing bowls.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Stirring spoon and a slotted spoon.
  • Kitchen paper.
Chinese takeaway style crispy lemon chicken served with rice and spring onions.
Yield: 2 Servings

Chinese Takeaway Influenced Crispy Lemon Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Crispy deep-fried crispy lemon chicken served with a silky and sticky lemon nad honey sauce, the perfect Chinese fakeaway treat!


  • 300g (10oz) Chicken Breast
  • 1 Unwaxed Lemon
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper

For the Lemon Sauce:

  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine
  • 50g (~3 Tbsp) Honey
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • ½ Thumb Sized Piece Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
  • 1 Tbsp Water

For the Batter:

  • 35g (¼ Cup) Plain Flour + 1 Tbsp
  • 30g (¼ Cup) Cornflour
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 100ml (⅓ Cup plus 1-2 Tbsp) Cold Sparkling Water
  • Plus Oil for Frying


  1. Cut the chicken breast into strips 5-7mm (¼") thick and then into bite-sized lengths.
  2. Zest the lemon and mix it through the chicken along with the black pepper.
  3. Grate the ginger.
  4. Mash the garlic into a paste.
  5. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small (15-16cm) saucepan and add the garlic and ginger.
  6. Add the chicken stock, honey, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce to the pan mix.
  7. Turn the heat under the pan to a medium high heat and bring it to a gentle simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Fill a wok with cooking oil to a depth of 4-5cm (1-1½") and heat it to 170°C or 340°F.
  9. Add the flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder for the batter to a medium bowl and mix well.
  10. Slowly pour in the cold sparkling water whilst mixing, do not worry if there are a few lumps, do not mix too much!
  11. Dip the chicken into the batter then fry for 4-6 minutes, do this in batches of 7-8 pieces of chicken at a time.
  12. When each batch of chicken has been fried place on some kitchen towel to drain away excess fat.
  13. Just before serving mix the cornflour and water for the lemon sauce and whisk it into the sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 751Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1874mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 51g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Tuesday 7th of May 2024

Used this receipe to use up some leftover roast chicken which worked well. Although I will do it again with raw chicken as it was so popular.

It would be nice to have some recipes to use leftovers, particularly leftover roast chicken and lamb.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 8th of May 2024

Hi Tessa...

I'm glad that you enjoyed this, it's not something I do often, but I love it when I do :D

Leftovers really are not my "thing" there is only the two of us at home (hence the reason that almost all of my recipes serve two) and I think I am still a little "scarred" by the ubiquity of eating leftovers as a child, so I try to avoid creating them where I can.

I do know that there are many UK based recipe creators that have a few leftover recipes on their sites, here are a few of them that I know in an online sense and they are all very passionate and knowledgeable and all of them have search buttons. Just hit search on their sites and type in leftover, naturally you can do it on my site too, but you will only get a couple of recipes.

Easy Peasy Foodie, Fab Food 4 All and Kitchen Sanctuary.

All the best



Saturday 5th of March 2022

Thanks so much for sharing this! I had this dish years ago during a visit to London I always remembered it and can’t wait to cook this for me and my husband.

Brian Jones

Thursday 10th of March 2022

Thanks Angie, enjoy!

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