Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken is simple to make at home in just 15 minutes! Fragrant lemongrass and tangy lime juice coat the chicken with a delicious glaze that’s perfect served with a side of rice. 

Truth – I’m a bit obsessed with Thai and Asian dishes. If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you may have noticed (see here, here and here).

I’m also infatuated with toasted rice powder. What parmesan cheese does for pasta, toasted rice powder does for Asian food. It’s nutty, creamy, and, also, a bit crunchy. I can’t get enough of it. So naturally, I’m topping this Vietnamese lemongrass chicken with it.

To make the toasted rice powder, just add some white rice to a small skillet over medium-high heat and let it get nice and golden brown. Then, using a mortar and pestle (or a clean coffee grinder) grind it up into a coarse powder. I like to make it about the texture of coarse coffee grounds.

When the lemongrass chicken is finished cooking, we’ll sprinkle a bit of this on top for a yummy crunch. I’m obsessed with the added bit of texture it adds, and I think you will be too!

Now, let’s get to the meat of this dish (no pun intended). Chopped up chicken is marinated in a deliciously yummy mixture of jalapenos, fish sauce, brown sugar and lemongrass. It’s tangy, spicy and has that perfect combination of sweet and sour. I like to leave my chicken to marinade in the fridge overnight, to really let it soak up all those amazing flavors. However, if you’re short on time, you can let it sit for as little as four hours.

Sauce for lemongrass chicken.

Once the marinating process is complete, this dish comes together quick. Really quick. You’ll be eating in about 15 minutes, which makes this lemongrass chicken perfect for hectic weeknight dinners!

Just pop the marinated chicken into a hot skillet and let it get nice and golden. We’ll add in some sliced onions and more jalapenos during this cooking stage too. A little bit of time with the lid on ensures that the chicken cooks fully throughout, and then to get that sauce to perfectly coat all those bits of chicken, we’ll cook finish it off with the lid off for a few minutes, to be sure that the sauce condenses a bit.

Hand reaching for bowl of lemongrass chicken.

I just love all those flavors in the sauce, especially once they’ve had a chance to cook down a bit. The flavors become a bit more pronounced and the umami quality of the sauce can’t be beat.

I hope you love this lemongrass chicken as much as I do! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Quick & Easy Chicken Recipes: 

Wine Pairings for Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken:

  • An unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Gris aged in steel barrels will enhance the lemongrass, cilantro, and spicy flavors that permeate this dish.

Overhead shot of bowl of lemongrass chicken.

If you loved this Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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Lemongrass Chicken Recipe

Overhead shot of bowl of lemongrass chicken.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken is simple to make at home in just 15 minutes! Fragrant lemongrass and tangy lime juice coat the chicken with a delicious glaze that's perfect served with a side of rice. 
3.82 from 37 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch pieces )
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (tough outer layers removed, minced, divided)
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 jalapenos (seeded and minced, divided)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 lime (juiced )
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro (for serving)
  • 1/4 cup rice (plus additional for serving)
  • Lime wedges (for serving)

Instructions

  • Put half of the lemongrass into a bowl with the fish sauce, sugar, half of the jalapenos, garlic, and chicken. Toss to combine and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet or a wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, until browned. Add the reserved jalapenos, lemongrass and onion. Cook until the onion is softened. Pour in the stock, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Add lime juice. 
  • Meanwhile, toast the rice in a small skillet over medium-high heat, until golden brown. Remove from heat. Using a mortar & pestle grind the rice into a coarse powder. Alternatively, you can use a clean coffee grinder for this. Set aside.
  • Remove the lid, increase the heat, and continue to cook until the liquid is thickened. Sprinkle with toasted rice powder and cilantro and serve with rice and lime wedges on the side.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1383mg | Potassium: 830mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 140IU | Vitamin C: 18.2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1.4mg

Note: I had several reviewers stating that they felt there was too much fish sauce in the original recipe. While I didn’t feel that way, I have updated the recipe and halved the amount of fish sauce. Rather than using 1/4 cup in the original recipe, I’ve updated the recipe to use only 2 Tablespoons of fish sauce. 

 

 

42 thoughts on “Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken”

    • I’d have to agree Meredith – Asian food recipes can sometimes be a bit intimidating with obscure ingredients and lots of steps, but you can most likely find all of these ingredients at your supermarket, and it’s easy too!

      Reply
  1. This looks amazing..and I’m all about quick dishes. Is it super spicy? My kids (ages 6 and 4) don’t do well with strong spices. I supposed I could use only one, in stead of two, jalepenos….

    Reply
    • You could definitely cut down on the jalapenos. I think that with just one, with the seeds and ribs removed, you should be just fine. However, it’s always hard to say, because jalapenos can vary in heat so much! You can also leave them out entirely and just sprinkle some red pepper flakes over certain portions at the end. 🙂

      Reply
    • I have never been to Hawks View Aubrie – I’ll definitely have to give it a try next time we’re in the area. I love a good Pinot Gris, especially in the summertime!

      Reply
  2. Umm… wow. Gorgeous photos and amazing looking dish! I had never thought to do the toasted rice powder, but it is going to be a must do soon. I like that this dish can mainly be prepped the night before and on the table in no time on a busy night!

    Reply
  3. Erin, lovely flavors here! But most importantly, toasted rice powder?? Never heard of it, but now I’m so curious. I’ll be trying it asap! Thank you!!

    Reply
  4. I don’t have talent on cooking but I want to try to cook during weekend for my husband. I will try this recipe and wish me luck! Thanks for sharing! x

    Reply
  5. This sounds delicious but I am a bit confused by the rice powder, you just toast raw rice and then turn it in powder or you cook the rice before you toast it?? Thanks and I cant wait to try this one!

    Reply
    • Hi Chloe – You’re correct. Throw the uncooked rice into a skillet a let it get golden. Then you’ll turn it to powder. It’s amazing!!! I hope this helps! Let me know if you have additional questions.

      Reply
  6. Hi, this recipe sounds delicious. I have three questions: is this the traditional “brown” sauce served in lemongrass chicken recipes and what does it mean when it says “divided” regarding the lemongrass? Lastly, should I use the white or non-white part of the lemongrass? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Kecia – You will use half of the lemongrass in step one, and the remaining lemongrass in step two (that’s what the “divided” means). And, you’ll want to use the tender white section of the lemongrass. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  7. Trying this tonight! I couldn’t find fish sauce so I had to replace with soy sauce, hopefully that works! I had my chicken marinating overnight, but just had one question. The recipe doesn’t indicate if we add the marinate with the chicken to the pan or just the chicken and disregard the leftover marinate? Please confirm. Thanks!!

    Reply
  8. Hmm… I noticed your recipe just describes “fish sauce” and it doesn’t mention diluted. “1/4 cup fish sauce” is super salty because the fish sauce provided with the link to Amazon is the concentrated version. I would adjust the recipe to just 1 table spoon or less for only 1.5 lb boneless chicken. And, there’s no chicken broth, or jalapeño (should be Asian chili pepper instead), or lemon/lime wedges because these ingredients change the original “taste” of “Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken”.

    Reply
    • Yes!!! I followed recipe with 1/4 cup of fish sauce (KAME) and it was overwhelming! And my house stinks now. Really wanted to love this but now tainted by the words “fish sauce”

      Reply
  9. 5 stars
    I never leave comments, but I do read for them when I look for new recipes Wanted to leave a comment for this one because this recipe was so good. I only had 3 hours to marinate and it was still ridiculous.

    Satisfied all my Vietnamese take out cravings.

    Reply
  10. Watch out for the fish sauce. Maybe mine wasn’t diluted (KAME)? First time ever buying fish sauce and it was way overpowering in this dish! Reached out to friends of ours that spent 10+ years in Vietnam and said most they ever used we a tablespoon. Guess I should have called them first. Proceed with caution…..

    Reply
  11. 3 stars
    I made this per the instructions but without the rice powder. I thought it was a 3. My adult son came home just before dinner but felt the smell and taste of the fish sauce was too overwhelming. He may have a point because I’ve never used this much fish sauce in any other Vietnamese recipe. It was okay but not much variety in depth.

    Reply
  12. Er, I made this tonight and apparently I didn’t use the very tenderest lemongrass, because we had inedible lemongrass ‘wood’ throughout that we had to pick out. Maybe a heads up in the recipe? Otherwise, the flavor was good and the chicken was so tender!

    Reply

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