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Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken

Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken is deliciously breaded and pan-fried chicken in a zesty sweet sticky sauce for the ultimate dining experience! Soy-free, refined sugar-free, and gluten-free!

Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken made soy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free. An easy Chinese takeout recipe that is a healthy alternative!

I grew up in a big family with big appetites all around.

My mom would order Chinese takeout occasionally, and I would always request lemon chicken. I then would wait anxiously for her arrival with the order to ensure I was the first person to the box of lemon chicken so that I was guaranteed a bite.

There was stiff competition over food in my family!

And naturally the fight for lemon chicken was fierce!

Have you had it?

I actually haven’t come across lemon chicken frequently as an adult but absolutely love the sweet, zesty dish.

If you haven’t tried lemon chicken, you can look at it very similarly to General Tso’s Chicken or Orange Chicken.

Chopped chicken gets breaded then pan-fried and swaddled in a delicious tangy sweet thick sauce for a flavorful meal.

I love eating it with steamed brown rice, but you can absolutely go the cauliflower rice to keep it grain-free.

Paleo Lemon Chicken made soy-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free for a healthy takeout recipe

Ingredients for Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken:

For the Sauce: Lemon juice, pure maple syrup, coconut aminos (or liquid aminos if you do soy), garlic, sriracha (optional), tapioca flour, and sea salt. This combination is what make that sticky sweet tangy sauce! 

For the Chicken:
Boneless chicken thighs or breasts, egg, tapioca flour, and sea salt. The chicken gets chopped up then dredged in beaten egg and tapioca flour to create a grain-free breading. It is then pan-fried in a skillet to make it nice and crispy. The tapioca flour also serves as a thickener so when the sauce is added to the pan, it thickens nicely into that sticky texture.

You can replace the tapioca flour with arrowroot flour, cornstarch or gluten-free all-purpose flour.

Let’s make it!

Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken made grain-free, refined sugar-free and soy-free. Easy to prepare and loaded with flavor!

How to Make Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken:

This recipe is shockingly easy to make! Don’t worry…if it’s on this blog, it’s simple, because as I’ve mentioned in the past, I can’t be bothered to make things that require an exorbitant amount of time or effort. 😉

We essentially make the sauce, pan-fry the chicken, add the sauce, then continue cooking until the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked through. 

Here’s how it’s done!

Make the Sauce: 

Stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside until ready to use.

Stir together the ingredients for the sauce

Prepare the Chicken:

Whisk the egg in a large mixing bowl and chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Transfer the chicken to the mixing bowl with the beaten egg and stir well until the chicken is coated in egg.

Mix the chicken with a beaten egg

Add the flour and stir until everything is well coated with flour.

Add the tapioca flour and mix well

Chicken thighs coated in egg and flour

Make the Lemon Chicken:

Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat.

Transfer the chicken to the skillet and spread into an even layer. The chicken pieces will try to stick together so use two spoons or a rubber spatula to break them apart (it’s okay if they stick together). Allow the chicken to brown for 2 minutes before stirring well.

Pan-fry the chicken in a non-stick skillet

Allow the chicken to brown for another 2 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a full boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick and the chicken is cooked through.

Add the sauce and bring to a full boil

Boil and stir until sauce is thick and chicken is cooked through

Serve over steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or with fried rice. Garnish with chopped green onion and sesame seeds if desired! 

For extra credit, serve the Chinese Lemon Chicken with one of my fried rice recipes.

Chinese Lemon Chicken made paleo-friendly - soy-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free

That’s it! I find the chicken is best when served immediately, but you can absolutely save any leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat them on the stovetop or in the microwave.

More Chinese-Inspired Recipes:

That sweet and sour life, let’s GO!

Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken made soy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free. An easy Chinese takeout recipe that is a healthy alternative!

Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Sweet and sour Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken is a fun and unique celebration of your love for Chinese food!

Ingredients

For the Lemon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons, juiced)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos or liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp sriracha, optional
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, to taste

For the Chicken:

  • 1 to ½ lbs boneless chicken thighs or breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces.
  • ½ tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup tapioca flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil

For serving:

  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped

Instructions

    Make the Sauce: 

    1. Stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside until ready to use.

    Prepare the Chicken:

    1. Whisk the egg in a large mixing bowl and chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Transfer the chicken to the mixing bowl with the beaten egg and stir well until the chicken is coated in egg. Add the flour and stir until everything is well coated with flour.

    Make the Lemon Chicken:

    1. Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
    2. Transfer the chicken to the skillet and spread into an even layer. The chicken pieces will try to stick together so use two spoons or a rubber spatula to break them apart (it’s okay if they stick together). Allow the chicken to brown for 2 minutes before stirring well. Allow the chicken to brown for another 2 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a full boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick and the chicken is cooked through.
    3. Serve over steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or with fried rice. Garnish with chopped green onion and sesame seeds if desired!
    Nutrition Information
    Yield 4 Serving Size 1 of 4
    Amount Per Serving Calories 493Total Fat 21gCarbohydrates 40gFiber 0gSugar 14gProtein 39g
    Paleo Chinese Lemon Chicken - grain-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, healthy version of the Chinese classic!

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    Stephanie

    Thursday 21st of October 2021

    Do you think there is a way to make this without egg? I have an egg allergy but lemon chicken used to be my favourite Chinese food!!

    Julia

    Thursday 21st of October 2021

    Hi Stephanie! I think you can make it without the egg for sure...The flour won't stick to the chicken quite as nicely but it should still crisp up a bit :D Hope you enjoy!

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