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Easy Lemongrass Chicken Vietnamese Recipe

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This lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe is a reliable and looked forward to dinner in our home. 

Easy to prepare and delicious to eat, this Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe can be made with chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs.

And If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, feel free to substitute lemongrass from the tube.

lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe in white bowl with orange chopsticks.

No need for marinade ingredients, this chicken is seasoned with black pepper before it is stir-fried.

This is a classic Vietnamese recipe so no need for oyster sauce or soy sauce; this Vietnamese chicken dish has just a few ingredients and most are found in your pantry.

Of any Asian cuisine Vietnamese cooking is always my favorite.

I love the simple fresh flavors that shine in Vietnamese cuisine.

lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe in white bowl with orange chopsticks.

This recipe is so quick to put together I guarantee it will take me longer to write this up than for you to cook it!

Cooking time is less than 10 minutes which makes this an easy weeknight meal.

Easy cleanup and just a few ingredients that you probably have on hand, means you can make this recipe whenever you want.

But the most amazing thing about this fragrant lemongrass chicken? Well, it tastes so good so be sure to make a lot!

So let’s get down to it and make this lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe.

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

Black Pepper or White Pepper (I use black)

Canola or Vegetable Oil

2-3 lemongrass stalks or Lemongrass from a tube (Fresh lemongrass gives more texture but use what you can find)

Red Onion And Shallots (It used to be shallots were hard to find but my local grocer always has these now)

Fresh Garlic

Fresh Thai Chile or Red Pepper Flakes

Fish Sauce (I use Three Lions or Red Boat) There is a lot of difference between fish sauces. Stick with a Vietnamese sauce to keep this more authentic.)

Brown Sugar or Granulated Sugar

Butter (Surprise) I think just a little butter gives this simple chicken dish a lot of richness so stir just a tablespoon in while you are adding the sauce.)

lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe in white bowl with orange chopsticks.

Cut the chicken into 1″ pieces and season well with pepper.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over high heat.

Add the chicken and toss until golden brown-about 5 minutes,

Push it aside and reduce heat to medium-high heat and add the sliced onions and cook about 1 minute or until translucent.

Add lemongrass, shallots, garlic and chile.

Stir together until fragrant and then combine with chicken.

Add the fish sauce and sugar and stir until thickened.

Stir in butter for more depth.

Also make sure to taste for degree of spiciness. I like spicy lemongrass chicken so I usually add a few extra grinds of black pepper and a few sprinkles of red chile flakes.

lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe in white bowl with orange chopsticks.

Because I do not live close to Asian markets I often use lemongrass from a tube.

Fresh lemongrass wrapped in a damp paper towel may last up to 10 days.

To prepare fresh lemon grass cut off the top dry stalks and discard. However they may be used like a bay leaf to flavor many things. Just remember to remove before serving.

To reach the tender soft parts of the lemongrass slice vertically down the stalk of lemongrass. I test to see if it is tender by pressing my finger into the interior of the stalk. If your finger leaves indentations then it is tender. Mince well and you have fresh lemongrass!

Absolutely! Chop up the leftover lemongrass and mix it with a small amout of water. Freeze in ice cube trays and when frozen, place them in a zip lock bag and use as needed.

Lemongrass tastes citrusy with a hint of ginger. It can be used as a substitute for lemon though I have not tried this.

lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe in white bowl with orange chopsticks.

Chicken may be served with steamed white rice, rice noodles or in lemongrass chicken rice bowls or noodle bowls.

You could also place the chicken on top of a salad or stir fry some fresh vegetables and serve them on the side.

Garnish with Thai basil or fresh cilantro, green onions, and a wedge of lime for fresh lime juice.

See what I mean?

No need to head to Asian grocery stores for this recipe.

As long as you have fish sauce and lemongrass you are good to eat!

​Make enough to have leftovers of this lemongrass chicken Vietnamese recipe. 

I reheat it in the microwave for lunch and enjoy it all over again!

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lemongrass chicken vietnamese recipe in serving bowl with rice.

Easy Lemongrass Chicken Vietnamese Recipe

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  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 34 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


This spicy sweet lemongrass chicken stir fry is a classic Vietnamese dish. Made in about 15 minutes, this is a chicken dish that should be in your regular weeknight dinner rotation.



1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1” pieces

3/4 t fresh coarsely ground black pepper

2 T canola or vegetable oil

1/4 c minced fresh lemongrass from 2 – 3 stalks or 4 T from the tube

1 large shallot, minced

1 red onion, sliced thin

1 T minced garlic

1 Thai red chile or Serrano or a jalapeno

2 T fish sauce (Red Boat or Three Crabs)

1/2 t brown sugar

1 T soft butter

Red Pepper flakes for extra heat

Scallions for garnish

Rice or rice noodles for serving


In a medium bowl, combine chicken with black pepper.

In a medium wok or large skiller, heat oil over high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry until golden all over, about 5 minutes.

Push the chicken to the side and reduce heat to medium-high and add the onions. Cook briefly until onions are translucent. Add the lemongrass, shallots, garlic and chile and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then combine with the chicken.

Mix the fish sauce with the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through and caramelized, about three minutes. Whisk in the butter.

Test for spiciness. I like mine more on the spicy side so I often add an extra grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of red chile flakes.

Sprinkle with scallions before serving.


Thank you NYT, Vicky Pham and Vietnamese Home Cooking for the inspiration.

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