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Healthier Honey Lemon Chicken

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Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken |

Happy New Year’s, everyone!

Is your 2015 off to a good start? Make any big resolutions? Or, like me, did anyone choose a word to help define the new year? For anyone interested, my word for 2015 is “dare“. (And bonus, we’re kicking off a series of monthly dares on the blog and would love to have you join in this January as we are daring to move in the mornings. You can read about it here!)

Well, whatever your plans for the new year may be, I figure we’re all going to need some protein-packed meals to make ’em happen. So as is my tradition here on the blog, we’re kicking off this January with an entire month of healthier recipes on the blog. I have a bunch of quick and easy weeknight dinners ready to share with you, some winning game-day appetizers, a few healthy snacking options, and — yes — even some healthier desserts. So if one of your goals for the new year is to spend more time in the kitchen, let’s do it together!!

To kick off the new year, I thought I would start with a simple sweet and savory meal that’s sure to please a crowd. And since it only requires about 20 minutes of prep and cook time, I’d say it’s sure to please the cook as well. It’s sauteed, not fried. It’s naturally sweetened with honey. And it is crazy good.

I’m calling it Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken.

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken |

Actually, this recipe is a follow up to the wildly-popular Skinny Orange Chicken that I posted last New Year’s Day on the blog.

It’s basically a quick chicken stir fry that is tossed in a naturally-sweetened honey lemon sauce. I kept it simple with just chicken, and served it over protein-rice quinoa instead of rice. But this recipe is meant to be more of a “base” recipe, and is perfect for adding in your favorite vegetables, or some cashews, or substituting in any other proteins that might sound good.

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken |

To make it, begin by marinating some chicken with some soy sauce and rice vinegar. (If you are making this gluten-free, be sure to use GF soy sauce.)  Then saute it up, while whisking together the ingredients for your sauce. Transfer the chicken to a separate plate, and then cook the sauce until it’s nice and thick. And then toss it all together.

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken |

And then you can serve it however you’d like! I was craving traditional rice, so opted instead for some protein-rich quinoa. But you could serve it over vegetables, noodles, in a salad, or whatever sounds great.

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken |

Feel free to also adjust the sauce to your desired level of sweet-and-sour-ness. Everyone has different preferences with lemon and sweeteners, so once you have made the actual sauce, feel free to add in extra lemon juice or honey to taste.

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken |

All in all, it’s a quick, flavorful, easy, and healthier base recipe that I love tinkering around with. So play with it and make it your own, and hopefully can serve as some delicious fuel for the new year.

Cheers to 2015!

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken |

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Honey Lemon Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 13 reviews
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This Honey Lemon Chicken recipe is quick and easy to make, made naturally lighter and gluten-free, and it’s absolutely delicious!



Honey Lemon Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless (raw) chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (if making this gluten-free, be sure to use GF soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Honey Lemon Sauce (see below)
  • optional toppings: toasted sesame seeds, thinly-sliced green onions, extra lemon zest, lemon slices

Honey Lemon Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey (or more/less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • (optional: sriracha, for heat)


  1. Combine the chicken, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to a large ziplock bag, and toss until the chicken is evenly coated.  Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
  2. When you are ready to cook the chicken, drain and transfer it to a separate plate.  Season the chicken on both sides with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.  And in a separate bowl, whisk the honey lemon sauce ingredients together until combined.
  3. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and saute for 5-7 minutes or until it is cooked through and no longer pink inside, stirring and turning the chicken occasionally for even cooking.  Transfer the chicken to a separate (clean) plate with a slotted spoon.
  4. Pour the (whisked) honey lemon sauce into the empty saute pan.  Cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce reaches a low boil and thickens.  Add in some sriracha if you would like for extra heat, to taste.  (Feel free to also season with extra salt and pepper, or extra honey or lemon.)
  5. Add the chicken back into the pan and toss until it is evenly coated with the sauce.  Remove from heat and serve the chicken immediately, topped with optional toppings if desired.


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174 comments on “Healthier Honey Lemon Chicken”

  1. Hi Ali, just wondering if it would be good to put it over a plain or brown rice?

    • Hi, Mae! (We love your name, by the way!) Honestly, either type of rice would be great. We also like to serve it atop quinoa. We hope you enjoy!

  2. Made this tonight for dinner and the hubby and I loved it! Added sautéed zucchini and peas to it and put it on top of a brown rice/quinoa mixture. I will definitely make this again, thanks for sharing!

    • That sounds delicious Breanne, thanks for sharing! We’re happy you and your husband liked it! :)

  3. It would be great if the nutritional info was also included with the recipe.

    • Hey Rose! Unfortunately we currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site. The nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. But many of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  4. I made this tonight with stir fry rice, snow peas and mushrooms; the whole family enjoyed! Thank you for sharing!  My kids loved the chicken cooked this way which is awesome since they can be hard to please!

    • Thanks for sharing Angelena, we’re happy to hear this was a hit with you and your kiddos!

  5. Just made this for dinner and it was very good! I did sub lemon juice for half the vinegar in the marinade, because I want it to have extra zip. It was great! Thanks for the tasty, healthy recipe. 

  6. I made this last night. It was super easy and really tasty! Put it over brown rice and added some stiefry veggies on the side. Great!

  7. Hi, this looks great. Wondering if I could sub another type of vinegar for the rice vinegar? Like plain white vinegar or red wine vinegar? 

    • Thanks Stacey! And yes, we would suggest white vinegar, or white wine/champagne vinegar. We hope you enjoy!

  8. Thank you for the recipe…  It looks and tastes amazing!  Just what I needed for the holiday dinner :) 

  9. Looks like I am the only one confused.  Do you use the marinade again or toss it out?  

  10.     I added red bell pepper, celery, broccoli and zucchini . Served it over white rice.  Delicious! My husband loved it also.

    • Awesome Cleo, we’re happy you both enjoyed it! Those veggies you added sound delicious too! :)

  11. what is the nutritional values? 

    • Hi Kerry! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  12. Should you wiped the remaining cooked marinade from the pan before adding the honey lemon mixture or cook it all together?

    • Hi Donna, we’re not really sure what you’re asking. First you’ll marinate the chicken, then drain it (as stated in the directions). Then. in a separate bowl, you will make the honey-lemon sauce to cook the chicken in (in the sauté pan). We hope you enjoy!

  13. I think cause the word marinade is used instead of lemon sauce that is why people are asking what to put in pan. Please don’t reuse marinade from chicken unless u wanna get nice and sick :)

  14. Hey! So I have a question, i tried this recipe, but I live in France and i’m not sure that the chicken stock is the samething that We have here. Because it was sooo salty, you can even imagine! So i look at the info, and for only 2 tablespoon represented 33% of sodium. So i don’t know, if you Can five me the name of the brand that you use, or something.:)
    Thanks you!!!

    • Hi Manon! Thanks for commenting. We appreciate you trying the recipe, and are sorry this came out too salty for you! :( Chicken stock or broth can be used in this recipe, and we usually can find a less/low sodium type in most grocery stores. Maybe the American store-bought brands have a little less salt than the French brands? Or maybe in France, chicken broth is different and less salty than the chicken stocks there? The American store-bought ones are pretty interchangeable. The brands we typically use are: Swanson, Pacific Foods, or Kitchen Basics. This is the best we can think of. We hope this was helpful, at least somewhat!

  15. Okay so, I’m not that great of a cook. I guess I’m mostly just not a great creative cook (where my husband is excellent at cooking anything). Since he’s out watching Star Wars and I’m at home with the kiddo, I figured I’d give this a try. 

    It came out SO GOOD!!! This will definitely be a go-to dish for us in the immediate future. Thank you so much for sharing! :D

  16. Please add nutritional information! There are easy calculator plugins that will do the work for you. Really like your site but without nutritional info it’s nearly impossible to evaluate recipe, your audience wants this as you can see from the comments above. Some people in the food community seem to have a “relisipis” approach to not showing nutritional information which is insane because it’s basic information that is needed regardless of what eating plan one is following. I follow many sites like this one but will only make recipes with nutritional information.

    • Hi Jay! We appreciate your input, but the reason we currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, is the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate. We never want to publish anything that might be misleading, especially for those with health issues, such as diabetes. A lot of people seem to love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so please feel free to try that for an estimate.

  17. Omg, can’t wait to try this tonight. I am not a great cook but I think I can handle this one… sounds so good I’m hoping to make this a regular in my rotation!

  18. This was SO good and the kids loved it to! I used low sodium chicken broth, low sodium soy sauce and used rice vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar.

  19. Just pinned this recipe–it looks SO SO fantastic! Orange chicken used to be one of my favorites–lemon chicken is delicious too!

  20. woow! I have done but without honey,I did not had it, with a bit of sugar, it is very good!

  21. I made this tonight, it was delicious!  Hubby of course loved it, I will definitely make it again. Thanks.

  22. This recipe sounds delicious and easy…thanks for sharing!  I can’t wait to try it.

  23. So, I just put the chicken in to marinate for dinner tonight and my husband spontaneously decides to go out for dinner. Will it be okay marinating in the refrigerator for 24 hours? I used Braggs amino acids (diluted 2 TBSP Braggs plus 2 TBS or so of water) so my concern is that it will make the chicken very salty/strong. Thoughts?

    • Hi Danielle! Hmm, that’s a long time. We haven’t tried that, so it’s hard to say, but we’re concerned it will be VERY lemony. Hopefully it will be okay, but please let us know!

  24. Just made this tonight, and it is delicious!

  25. I loved your skinny orange chicken, so I’m sure that I willl love this one, too.

  26. People! Stop worrying about nutrition content, you’ll enjoy the food more.
    Eat, enjoy!

  27. Do you think this work with orange juice and orange zest instead of lemon? I am the only one in my house that would like the lemon flavor. Thank you!

    • Hi Sherry! Ali actually has an orange version of this recipe, which you can check out here!

  28. Love a good healthy recipe! This is amazing and that honey lemon sauce is to die for! xo

  29. Great recipe! The best part is that is very easy and the kitchen won’t be so dirty after preparing it. I won’t have to scrub the oven :)

  30. Hi !

    Love that recipe. Do you think it’ll work if I use tofu instead of chicken ?



    • Thanks Leslie! We haven’t tried it with tofu before, but we think it would be yummy! :)

  31. This was great. A quick and flavorful weeknight meal. Even my finicky 12 YO loved it! Thank you!

  32. we’ve made this several times now. its one of my favorite weeknight recipes! 
    i add a couple drops of siracha in my bowl separately and its the best!! a must!

  33. Honey and chicken is a killing combination. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

  34. Lemon chicken and Lime yumm the perfect combination. I will write this in the cooking apps Saves a lot of frustration of cooking and reading.

  35. Looknig so delicious!! Great recipe. Thanks for sharing Ali


  36. I LOVE this recipe, I make it all the time!!! I’m curious, what do you think this would be like with other citrus? Orange? Grapefruit? Just having fun with it.  

    • Thanks Jesse, we’re glad to hear that! We actually have a recipe for an orange version right here!

  37. I made this just as the recipe suggested.  It is very good and super easy! 

  38. I made this tonight and it was an unmitigated disaster. The lemon sauce turned out awful. I only had 2 chicken breasts so I modified the quantities accordingly. What did I do wrong? It was inedible. I had to throw it out. it was like eating a lemon washing up liquid. Even when I was making the sauce I was thinking “this is not gonna turn out well” and it didn’t. It just seemed all wrong how the sauce is done and the different ingredients involved. Some advice would be most welcome? I want to put it right for future attempts.

    • Thanks for your comment, Michael. I’m so sorry to hear that this didn’t turn out well. Not quite sure what went wrong — maybe something with the chicken stock you used? Or lemons that had turned? Sorry, we’ve made this one many times and it always seems to turn out well.

  39. Hello!
    I just wanted to say this is one of my favorite recipes of all times! I’m actually not very good at cooking and not too keen on traditional Brazilian food (this would be a good time to say I’m Brazilian, right? Lol) so I try finding fast and easy recipes. Now, Gimme Some Oven is one of my go to cooking sites. I gotta admit, I had to skip a couple of ingredients that I didn’t have but the chicken turned out delicious! Oh, and I also served it with quinoa which got covered with the amazing sauce! I just subscribed! Thanks for sharing!

    • Wow, thank you for that amazing compliment Bia! We are so glad you enjoy this recipe! :D

  40. Could this be made ahead & reheated for a party?

  41. Hi!

    Great recipe! Bae and I are amateurs but we conquered this recipe. It took us longer than the 20 minutes… about 1 hour and 10 minutes longer, but it turned out fantastic. We’re just wondering why it is called skinny.

    • Hi Madeline! We’re so glad you enjoyed this! We call it “skinny” because the chicken’s sautéed instead of fried, and the dish is sweetened with honey instead of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. :)

  42. Made this tonight, exactly to recipe, and loved it!!!! Was easy and gobbled up by the kids. Only had 20 mins to marinade, but still tasted excellent – thanks!

  43. Unfortunately this recipe turned out to be pretty unpleasant – and I followed it to a T. After initially tasting the sauce I tried to play with ratios until the flavour was nice but never quite got there. Usually your recipes are fantastic, so this came as quite a surprise! To those looking to try, I’d recommend making it for yourself and deciding on it before serving or otherwise relying on the recipe (i.e. having company or using as a main dish on a tired work night).

    • Hi Adrianna! Thank you for your honest feedback here. We’re sorry to hear you didn’t care for this one!

  44. I made this recipe today with some changes and it was great. Just wanted to add in a few suggestions to other home chefs–I used Meyer lemons. Delicious acidity but not too sharp. Added chili paste and red pepper at the end for a nice kick. When plating, ass a couple more drops of lemon to the plate, and a scant drizzle of honey to refresh the flavors. Finally, if you have it on hand, try adding a tsp of turmeric to the sauce while you’re thickening it up. It turns it a bright lemon yellow and makes the dish even more visually appealing. This recipe is solid and we both liked it. Will make again!

    • We’re glad you enjoyed this, and we appreciate your suggestions — turmeric and meyer lemon both sound like awesome ideas! :)

  45. So Yummy!

  46. Can this be made a day ahead…& reheated in the sauce? 

  47. Would I be able to substitute the corn starch for arrowroot powder?

  48. I have made this recipe a few times, absolutely love it, thanks!

  49. Absolutely delish. I served with Jasmine Coconut rice! A keeper!

  50. Your recipes are so yummy ! This is my third one I’ve made and they have all turned out great