Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 21/05/2023 Updated: 30/11/2023
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 2 hours 30 minutes
Vietnamese lemongrass chicken is juicy, fragrant, and absolutely ideal for a weekday meal. This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe is made with fresh lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, five spice, honey, and lime juice for a complex delicious protein option.
Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

Vietnamese lemongrass chicken is juicy, fragrant, and absolutely ideal for a weekday meal. This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe is made with fresh lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, five spice, honey, and lime juice for a complex delicious protein option.

Looking down at a plate of vietnamese lemongrass chicken with rice, vegetables, and a fried egg.

This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe is a staple recipe that we recycle on our monthly meal prep schedule. We love that this recipe for lemongrass chicken is a quick, easy, and flavorful Vietnamese recipe that can be whipped up in under 30 minutes.

The lemongrass chicken thighs are marinated with lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, five spice, honey, brown sugar, and lime juice for the ultimate combination of sweet, sour, savory, and umami flavors. My favorite part about this easy Vietnamese chicken recipe is that you can easily double or triple the recipe to accommodate meal prep or serve for large groups!

This chicken lemongrass recipe is an ideal recipe for you if you are looking for a healthy protein option without sacrificing flavor. If you loved this Vietnamese chicken recipe, check out my Vietnamese chicken wings, bo luc lac (Vietnamese shaking beef), and Vietnamese pork chops!

Lifting up a piece of lemongrass chicken from a plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Cheap and easy. This recipe for lemongrass chicken is simple to make and all the ingredients are super affordable.
  • Healthy and nutritious. Vietnamese lemongrass chicken is made with real ingredients and is ideal as a healthy protein option.
  • Great for meal prep or large groups. You can easily double or triple this recipe and cook the lemongrass chicken in large batches on the stove or at a barbecue for meal prep or large groups.
A plate of vietnamese lemongrass chicken with all the sides on a tile table.

Kitchen Equipment

These are all the items of kitchen equipment you will need for this Vietnamese chicken lemongrass recipe.

  • Tenderizer: you will use a tenderizer to smash the lemongrass before mincing it. This will release the lemongrass oils.
  • Food Processor: you can use a food processor to easily grind up the lemongrass. You can alternatively use a knife to mince the lemongrass instead.
  • Large Bowl: you will need a large mixing bowl to make the lemongrass chicken marinade.
  • Large Skillet: you will need a large skillet or cast iron skillet to cook the lemongrass chicken thighs.

Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients for this Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe at any Asian grocery store or in the Asian aisle at your local grocery store.

Vietnamese Chicken Marinade

  • Chicken Thighs: you can use bone-in or boneless chicken thighs. Alternatively, you can also use chicken breast or tenders!
  • Shallot and Garlic: serve as the main aromatics for this recipe for lemongrass chicken.
  • Lemongrass: lemongrass is the star ingredient! It adds a hint of citrus flavor with a hint of ginger to this Vietnamese chicken recipe.
  • Fish Sauce: this wouldn’t be a Vietnamese chicken recipe without fish sauce. It is a staple ingredient in almost every Vietnamese recipe. It adds a savory umami finish.
  • Soy Sauce: soy sauce adds additional salty umami flavors to the Vietnamese chicken marinade.
  • Lime Juice: fresh lime juice adds a layer of brightness to the Vietnamese chicken.
  • Salt: salt seasons and enhances the flavor of the chicken.
  • Five Spice: five spice adds complex layers of flavor to the lemongrass chicken marinade.
  • Brown Sugar: brown sugar balances out the salty flavors from the soy sauce and fish sauce.
  • Honey: honey coats the lemongrass chicken thighs with a layer of sweetness.
  • Sambal Oelek or garlic chili paste: a little dash of garlic chili paste adds a touch of heat to the lemongrass chicken marinade. This is optional.
All the ingredients to make vietnamese lemongrass chicken organized and labeled.

Serve

  • White rice or vermicelli noodles: you can serve this Vietnamese lemongrass recipe with either white rice or vermicelli noodles!
  • Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce): this wouldn’t be an authentic Vietnamese recipe without nuoc cham! Click on the link for my flavorful iconic Vietnamese garlic fish sauce recipe.
  • Tomato, Cucumber, Lettuce: add some vegetables to the plate for a well-balanced healthy meal.
  • Fried Egg: you can optionally add a fried egg to your Vietnamese chicken dish for more protein and flavor!

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize this Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe with the following substitutions and additions suggestions I’ve listed below.

Substitutions

  • Chicken cuts: instead of boneless chicken thighs, you can use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, chicken breasts, or even chicken tenders! Just keep in mind the cooking time will vary with different cuts of chicken.
  • Lemon juice: if you do not have lime juice at hand, you can easily substitute it with lemon juice.
  • Sriracha or hot sauce: instead of sambal oelek or garlic chili paste, you can use your favorite hot sauce you have at home.

Additions

  • Do chua: or Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots are a good addition to your plate if you are looking to brighten up your palate!
  • Crushed peanuts: you can always add some crushed peanuts for more crunch and a nutty flavor!
  • Mint: if you want a more traditional Vietnamese bowl feel, feel free to add mint to your lettuce.

How to Make Lemongrass Chicken

Here is how to make this lemongrass chicken recipe. Once you mix the marinade and marinate the chicken for 2 hours the rest is so easy to finish!

  1. Prepare the lemongrass. Cut the lemongrass into 2-inch pieces, then pound the lemongrass until flat. Finely mince the lemongrass or place the lemongrass pieces into a food processor and chop until finely minced.
  1. Marinate the chicken. In a large mixing bowl, add the minced shallots, minced garlic, minced lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, salt, five spices, brown sugar, honey, and sambal oelek. Mix until combined. Add the chicken and marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
Chicken thighs marinating in a lemongrass sauce.
  1. Cook. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a hot pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until each side is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Flipping lemongrass marinated chicken thighs in a skillet.
  1. Rest and slice. Remove the chicken from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it into thin pieces.
  2. Serve. Serve with steamed rice or vermicelli noodles, fresh vegetables, and a fried egg. Top with nuoc cham sauce and enjoy!
A plate of vietnamese lemongrass chicken with all the sides on a tile table.

Tips for the Best Lemongrass Chicken

  • Prep the lemongrass. Only use the white part of the lemongrass. Also, you have to use a tenderizer to pound the lemongrass before you mince it in the food processor. This will release the fragrant oils of the lemongrass to permeate through the marinade.
  • Marinate the chicken. Marinate the lemongrass chicken for a minimum of at least 2 hours or ideally overnight. This will give the lemongrass chicken marinade to tenderize, add moisture and give the chicken time to absorb all the flavors.
  • Add the chicken to a hot pan. Heat the pan and oil over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until the pan is hot before adding the chicken. This will ensure you will achieve a nice caramelized sear on the outside of the chicken.
  • Rest the chicken before slicing. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before cutting so that the juices inside the lemongrass chicken redistribute themselves back through the meat.

Storage Instructions

You can store the lemongrass chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To reheat: simply place the lemongrass chicken thighs in the microwave covered and heat until warm.

Freeze: alternatively, you can freeze the cooked Vietnamese chicken in a freezer-proof container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then microwave until warm.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

What is lemongrass chicken made of?

This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe is made with chicken thighs, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, salt, five spice, brown sugar, and honey.

How to serve lemongrass chicken?

You can serve these lemongrass chicken thighs with steamed rice or vermicelli noodles, chopped lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and nuoc cham sauce (Vietnamese dipping sauce.

What is lemongrass?

Lemongrass, also known as citronella grass, is a very popular herb in South Vietnam. It has a fragrant citrus flavor with mint and spicy ginger notes that pair well with shallots and garlic.

How do I store lemongrass?

You can store whole lemongrass stalks in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Did you make this Lemongrass Chicken?

If you made this dish and loved it, please leave a review and comment below. We would greatly appreciate it!

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A plate of vietnamese lemongrass chicken with all the sides on a tile table.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinade Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Vietnamese lemongrass chicken is juicy, fragrant, and absolutely ideal for a weekday meal. This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe is made with fresh lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, five spice, honey, and lime juice for a complex delicious protein option.
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

  • 1 ½ lb chicken thighs skinless boneless
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon five spice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Sambal oelek garlic chili paste

Serve

  • White rice or vermicelli noodles
  • Nuoc Cham Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Fried Egg optional

Instructions

  • Prepare the lemongrass. Cut the lemongrass into 2 inch pieces, then pound the lemongrass until flat. Finely mince the lemongrass or place the lemongrass pieces into a food processor and chop until finely minced.
  • Marinate the chicken. In a large mixing bowl, add the minced shallots, minced garlic, minced lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, salt, five spice, brown sugar, honey and sambal oelek. Mix until combined. Add the chicken , cover with plastic wrap and marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Cook. Add 1 tablespoon of oil onto a hot pan over medium heat and wait until the pan is hot about 2-3 minutes. Lay 2-3 pieces of chicken evenly onto the pan and cook until each side is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Make sure to not crowd the pan with the chicken. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
  • Rest and slice. Remove the chicken from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it into thin pieces.
  • Serve. Serve with steamed rice or vermicelli noodles, fresh vegetables, and a fried egg. Top with nuoc cham sauce and enjoy!

Notes

  • Prep the lemongrass. Make sure to only use the white part of the lemongrass. Also, you have to use a tenderizer to pound the lemongrass before you mince it in the food processor. This will release the fragrant oils of the lemongrass to permeate through the marinade.
  • Marinate the chicken. Make sure that you marinate the lemongrass chicken for a minimum of at least 2 hours or ideally overnight. This will give the lemongrass chicken marinade to tenderize, add moisture and give the chicken time to absorb all the flavors.
  • Add the chicken to a hot pan. Make sure that you leave the pan and oil over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes or until the pan is hot before adding the chicken. This will ensure you will achieve a nice caramelized sear on the outside of the chicken.
  • Rest the chicken before slicing. You must let the chicken rest for a few minutes before cutting so that the juices inside the lemongrass chicken redistribute themselves back through the meat.
  • Storage instructions: You can store the lemongrass chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To reheat: simply place the lemongrass chicken thighs in the microwave covered and heat until warm.
  • To freeze: alternatively, you can freeze the cooked Vietnamese chicken in a freezer-proof container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then microwave until warm.

Nutrition:

Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1019mg | Potassium: 117mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

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