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Lemon Sesame Chicken Stir Fry


This lemon sesame chicken stir fry has bright citrus and soy flavors. It comes together in under 30 minutes, is loaded with veggies, and makes for an simple weeknight dinner or meal prep recipe.

Stir fries are a staple in our weekly routine, as it’s simple to just use what you have on hand. I have seven tasty stir fry sauce recipes that will help shake up your stir fry flavors, and this lemon sesame chicken stir fry is one of them!

Lemon Sesame Chicken Stir Fry in pan with wood spoon

With a short ingredient list, and a sweet, savory and citrussy stir fry sauce, this recipe is sure to mix up your dinner routine for the better!

Reasons to ♡ this lemon chicken stir fry

  • it’s got a short ingredient list, and is flexible
  • it has sweet, savory and citrussy flavors
  • you can make it for a weeknight dinner or use as a meal prep recipe

Recipe video

Wondering how this stir fry comes together? Watch this 1-minute video to see how simple it is to prep! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.

overhead view of ingredients required to make lemon sesame stir fry

The stir fry sauce

  • chicken stock- to gives the sauce volume; can be swapped for water
  • brown sugar- sweetens the sauce and balances the citrus and soy flavors; you can swap for honey or even maple syrup
  • soy sauce- for the savory flavor base; we like using reduced sodium soy sauce, and you can swap for tamari or coconut aminos for gluten-free or paleo
  • sesame oil- and sesame seeds to give it some dimension and a flavor boost
  • lemon juice- to give it the citrussy flavors; I highly recommend using fresh lemon juice for the top flavor
  • cornstarch- to thicken the sauce; swap for arrowroot powder

To make the lemon sesame stir fry sauce, simply combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid, and shake it up until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. You can make ahead- store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Make sure to give it a good shake up before pouring into the pan.

collage image showing how to cook lemon sesame stir fry

Recipe tips

Prep all ingredients before cooking

When it comes to stir fries, the majority of the work is in prepping the ingredients. It’s top to have your chicken cubed, veggies chopped and stir fry sauce shaken up before you commence cooking, as this makes the cooking process more streamlined and less stressful.

Cook veggies first

Start by cooking the vegetables in a non-stick pan or wok over medium heat. We also add lemon pieces with the vegetables, as it helps give them a kind lemony flavor as they cook.

Cook the vegetables until they are softened; this will depend on the vegetable. For bell peppers and asparagus, this will be close to 5 minutes, but for hardier vegetables like carrots, it can take 10 minutes or longer.

Once vegetables are softened to your liking, transfer them to a clean plate.

Cooking the chicken

Add more oil to the pan, then add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like, then cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through and no pink remains. You can use an instant read thermometer to check that large pieces have reached 165°F, or you can cut a piece in half to see if it is cooked through.

Add the sauce

Remember to give the sauce a good shake up to obtain the cornstarch distributed evenly, as it can settle as the sauce sits. Pour the sauce over the chicken and simmer for 1-2 minutes. It should be bubbly and thickened at this point.

Add the vegetables to the pan and toss everything up in the sauce.

Serving the stir fry

Serve the lemon sesame chicken stir fry over rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or your favorite carbohydrate. Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds and lemon pieces. You could also garnish with some fresh green onions for added flavor and a pretty green color.

Stir fry ratio

You can make this recipe as written, or use it as a base and use up what you have in your fridge. For this batch of stir fry sauce, you will need:

  • 1 lb protein- chicken, shrimp, pork, tofu; this works out to 4 oz per person
  • 4 cups vegetables– bagged stir fry mix, green beans, snow peas, carrots, asparagus, bell peppers, mushrooms, bok choy, or your favorite vegetable; this works out to 1 cup vegetables per person
  • 2 cups cooked rice– or swap for cauliflower rice, quinoa, brown rice; this works out to 1/2 cup cooked carb per person. See how to cook great fluffy rice!

Lemon Sesame Chicken cooked in pan

Storage + meal prep

This recipe works great for a cook ahead and reheat meal. Here’s how to safely store and reheat it:

  • fridge- cool completely, then portion out into meal prep containers with 1/2 cup rice per portion. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • freezer- stir fry recipes freeze great! Cool completely, then portion out into freezer-friendly meal prep containers with 1/2 cup rice. Freeze for up to 3 months
  • thaw- overnight in the fridge or heat on low in the microwave (make sure your meal prep containers can cope with this!)
  • reheat- in the microwave until steaming hot; do not reheat more than once.

Find my favorite meal prep containers here!

More healthy stir fries

Lemon Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: Chinese

Keyword: chicken, lemon, stir fry

Calories: 290kcal

Servings: 4

This lemon sesame chicken stir fry has bright citrus and soy flavors. It comes together in under 30 minutes, is loaded with veggies, and makes for an simple weeknight dinner or meal prep recipe.

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time30 mins

  • Cook the veggies- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 or so minutes, until mostly cooked through. Add the remaining vegetables and lemon slices and cook for 5 minutes, until veggies are tender. Remove the veggies to a clean bowl.

  • Cook the chicken- Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the chicken breasts and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

  • Prepare the sauce- Shake together the sauce in a jar or salad dressing shaker until no lumps remain, then add into the hot pan with the chicken. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until sauce bubbles and just begins to thicken.

  • Assemble and serve- Return the veggies to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with rice.

1- this is roughly 2 large chicken breasts; feel free to swap for boneless skinless chicken thighs.
2- brown sugar can be swapped for your favorite sweetener; honey and maple syrup both work great
3- I recommend reduced sodium soy sauce; swap for tamari, coconut aminos or liquid soy seasoning to make this recipe gluten-free
4- nutritional information excludes rice
Storage
Cool completely, then portion out with 1/2 cup rice per serving.

  • fridge- store for up to 4 days
  • freezer- store for up to 3 months

Reheating
Thaw completely if frozen; if your meal prep containers permit, you can heat on low heat in the microwave until thawed and heated through.
Heat until steaming hot; do not reheat more than once.
Variations
Swap the protein, veggies and carbs to obtain your great stir fry. Use:

  • 1 lb protein- chicken, shrimp, pork, tofu; this works out to 4 oz per person
  • 4 cups vegetables– bagged stir fry mix, green beans, snow peas, carrots, asparagus, bell peppers, mushrooms, bok choy, or your favorite vegetable; this works out to 1 cup vegetables per person
  • 2 cups cooked rice– or swap for cauliflower rice, quinoa, brown rice; this works out to 1/2 cup cooked carb per person.

 

Serving: 1/4 batch | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 710mg | Potassium: 808mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 84.6mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1.6mg


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