This Instant Pot Chinese Lemon Chicken is a delicious takeout recipe with a savoury lemon sauce that comes together with pantry staples!
Love Lemon Chicken from your fave Chinese food takeout joint?
Then you’re going to LOVE this Instant Pot Chinese Lemon Chicken! It takes all the guesswork out of your favourite stir fry dish and comes together with some super simple ingredients from your pantry.
The sauce is beyond easy and you can easily meal prep this lemon chicken to make a whole bunch of healthy meals for the work week too! Whether you’re going to enjoy for your weekly lunches or as a quick dinner idea, this Chinese lemon chicken is healthy, quick and easy so it’s a no-brainer to put on your weekly menu!
Turn it into a whole meal by making a side dish of rice and serve it along with a side of roasted broccoli – you can’t get much better than that!
I love making Asian stir fry inspired dishes in the pressure cooker because it’s way quicker and easier than doing it on the stovetop, and you tend to use less dishes as well.
There are just so many takeout copy cat recipes you can make in the Instant Pot and they are way healthier than eating out, trust me!
Stovetop Chinese Lemon Chicken
This Instant Pot Lemon Chicken can easily be done on the stovetop so if you don’t have an Instant Pot yet you don’t need to worry! You could technically also do it in the slow cooker so there are a variety of options.
The key is to first toss the cut up chicken with the cornstarch so that you get a light coating overtop of the chicken pieces. It’s way easier than making a breading for the chicken and it saves calories – plus you’ll still get that lightly breaded texture that will also serve to thicken up your sauce in the long run.
Once you get the coating on the chicken, you will saute it either in a frying pan on the stove or in your Instant Pot – when the chicken is lightly browned that’s where you will add the sauce and continue cooking down the sauce on the stove or in the slow cooker; if you choose the slow cooker method you’ll cook on low for 2-3 hours and another 10 minutes on the stovetop if using that method.
Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Sauce
This Instant Pot Chinese Lemon Chicken sauce is SO easy and you probably already have all of the ingredients available at home. You’re using mainly a blend of soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, garlic, lemon zest and salt to get an authentic-tasting sauce.
You can also substitute honey, coconut sugar or brown sugar for the white sugar in terms of sweeteners – since you’re using a ton of lemon juice you will unfortunately need quite a bit of sweetener but you can always adjust to taste. You may find you don’t need that much sugar to offset the tartness of the lemon so it’s up to you to season to your taste and take into the calorie count surrounding that.
If you’d like to reduce the sugar, I’d suggest adding 3 tbsp instead of 1/4 cup as suggested in the recipe below – the rest is pretty straightforward when it comes to the sauce.
If you’d like to up the nutrients in this Lemon Chicken recipe you can serve with a side of broccoli as suggested at the beginning of this post, or you can even add in some veggies when you’re cooking the chicken. Any type of greens like spinach is a good addition that you can throw in at the end, and red peppers are also a go-to for me since they don’t take that long to cook.
If you’d like to make this Instant Pot Chinese Lemon Chicken lower carb you can eliminate the cornstarch coating and the rice altogether and just serve the chicken with a side of vegetables – you can never go wrong with chicken and veggies as a low calorie dinner idea!
Garnish with some green onions and sesame seeds and that’s it! Super easy!
Will you be making this Instant Pot Chinese Lemon Chicken?
It’s the perfect mid-week dinner idea and will definitely save you some money on takeout!
If you try any of my recipes be sure to let me know on Facebook or in the comments – I’d love to see what you come up with!
Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on packing this Chicken Pasta Bake in the freezer and defrosting in the microwave.
Or these aluminum foil containers are perfect for re-heating straight from the freezer to oven.
And of course I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box!
Instant Pot Chinese Lemon Chicken
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 chicken breasts, diced
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups cooked jasmine rice (about 1 cup dry, cooked according to package directions)
- 4 green onions, sliced
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- Mix lemon juice, sugar, chicken broth, lemon zest, garlic, soy sauce and salt together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, get rice cooking in a rice cooker according to package directions.
- Add vegetable oil to Instant Pot and turn on saute mode. Toss chicken with cornstarch in a large bowl. Add chicken to Instant Pot and saute for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned, then add in sauce, cover with lid and let sit on saute mode for 2-3 minutes.
- Open lid and stir chicken, cooking another 2-3 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Serve overtop of rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!