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Bourbon Chicken

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close up overhead shot of bourbon chicken topped with diced green onions in a skillet with a wooden spoon
All the sticky sweetness of your favorite bourbon chicken takeout in just 25 from stovetop to table.
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Table of Contents
  1. Bourbon Chicken Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Bourbon Chicken Recipe
  3. How To Make Crockpot Bourbon Chicken
  4. How To Serve
  5. Storage
  6. More Recipes You’ll Love
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE

This delicious bourbon chicken recipe is a play on the classic takeout favorite. It has a sweet and tangy sauce that coats the juicy chicken just perfectly to make a quick and simple dish to feed the whole family.

Looking for some other dishes full of Asian flavor? You have got to try our better than takeout fried rice. I also love our orange chicken, since it’s a great recipe I can make in the crockpot.

close up overhead shot of bourbon chicken served over white rice and topped with diced green onions

Bourbon Chicken Ingredients

bourbon chicken raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup of apple juice
  • ¼ cup of ketchup
  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Sliced green onions (for garnish)

PRO TIP:

If you have bourbon on hand, replace ¼ cup apple juice with ¼ cup of bourbon.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

BOURBON: The marinade-style sauce does typically have bourbon in the recipe, which lends itself to the name—though it is also named for its real origin, New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street. If you do have bourbon at home, you can easily substitute it for apple juice. If you do use bourbon, the alcohol will evaporate off as the sauce simmers so it is fine for the entire family.

MEAT: This recipe uses boneless chicken breasts. However, if you like a more tender cut, you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Shrimp is also a great substitution for chicken.

SEASONING: Red pepper flakes are a wonderful addition to this recipe if you like a bit of kick. Add between ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon when making the sauce, depending on how much spice you like. Another option would be to add in a bit of Siracha for some extra heat.

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How To Make This Bourbon Chicken Recipe

STEP ONE: Chop chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss chicken in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.

PRO TIP:

To keep this recipe at a quick prep and cook time, you’ll want to be sure that your chicken is fully thawed before you begin cooking it.

bourbon chicken process shot of chopped chicken breast being tossed in cornstarch in a clear bowl

STEP TWO: In a large skillet over medium heat, add sesame oil. Add chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink. Drain all juices from the pan. Return skillet to stove and continue to cook chicken over medium heat until the chicken is browned, and the bottom of your skillet is browned as well.

PRO TIP:

Use as large a skillet pan as you have to allow the chicken to brown easily.

bourbon chicken process shot of chopped chicken breast being cooked in a skillet

STEP THREE: In a medium bowl, combine pepper, onion powder, apple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ground ginger, minced garlic, water, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Whisk together.

bourbon chicken process shot of sauce ingredients being mixed together in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Once the chicken is browned, add your sauce mixture. Using a spoon, deglaze the bottom of the pan and make sure to get all of the browned bits up and off of the bottom of the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil.

bourbon chicken process shot of chopped chicken breasted cooked with sauce in a skillet

STEP FIVE: Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.

STEP SIX: Once the sauce is done simmering, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes to thicken.

STEP SEVEN: Serve over white rice and enjoy.

How To Make Crockpot Bourbon Chicken

To make this easy bourbon chicken in the crockpot, you’ll want to follow all of the instructions with just a few minor changes for the slow cooker version:

  • You will use half the amounts of the recipe sauce ingredients because they won’t cook down as well in a crockpot as they do in the skillet.
  • After cooking the chicken, place it (along with the sauce) in the crockpot and cook on low for about 5 hours.
  • Add in the last teaspoon of cornstarch and cook on high for 30 more minutes.

How To Serve

I always serve this flavorful chicken dish over a big bed of jasmine rice. In my opinion, no Asian-inspired dinner is ever a complete meal without rice! Check out our Instant pot brown rice recipe for another solid choice. However, you could also try this over noodles, zucchini noodles, or over a big bed of mixed veggies.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftovers of this sticky bourbon chicken recipe in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze bourbon chicken for up to a month in an airtight container.

close up overhead shot of bourbon chicken topped with diced green onions in a skillet with a wooden spoon

You are never going to order Chinese food takeout again after this, it’s seriously that good. I love the tangy sweetness of the bourbon sauce. It hits the spot every single time. This is definitely one of my favorites!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does bourbon chicken have bourbon in it?

Typically yes, you will find that bourbon chicken does call for real bourbon in the recipe. However, here we have substituted the bourbon for apple juice. This has a similar flavor when it’s all said and done. 

Is there another type of alcohol I can substitute for bourbon?

Whiskey, brandy, or scotch would all work in place of the bourbon.

Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts in this recipe?

Chicken thighs would also be delicious in this recipe.

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close up overhead shot of bourbon chicken topped with diced green onions in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Bourbon Chicken

5 from 3 votes
All the sticky sweetness of your favorite bourbon chicken takeout in just 25 from stovetop to table.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch + 1 teaspoon
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional

Instructions
 

  • Chop chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss chicken in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add sesame oil. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink. Drain all juices from the pan. Return the skillet to the stove and continue to cook the chicken over medium heat until the chicken is browned, and the bottom of your skillet is "browned" as well.
  • In a medium bowl, combine pepper, onion powder, apple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ground ginger, minced garlic, water, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Whisk together.
  • Once the chicken is browned, add your sauce mixture. Using a spoon, deglaze the bottom of the pan and make sure to get all of the browned bits up and off of the bottom of the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.
  • Once the sauce is done simmering, remove it from heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Serve over white rice and enjoy.

Notes

Note: Use as large a skillet pan as you have to allow the chicken to brown easily.
 
Note: To keep this recipe at a quick prep and cook time, you’ll want to be sure that your chicken is fully thawed before you begin cooking it.
 
Note: If you have bourbon on hand, replace ¼ cup apple juice with ¼ cup of bourbon.
 

Nutrition

Sodium: 1625mg | Calcium: 47mg | Vitamin C: 3mg | Vitamin A: 132IU | Sugar: 33g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 823mg | Cholesterol: 116mg | Calories: 411kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Fat: 10g | Protein: 41g | Carbohydrates: 37g | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Sandra Reynolds says

    5 stars
    This was so delicious! I used chicken thighs and whiskey- no green onions though. I made lots so we have leftovers for tomorrow night.
    Served over Jasmine rice with green beans.

    • Karen says

      5 stars
      This was very, very good. We are on the Keto diet. We used bourbon(no carbs) instead of the apple juice.
      We also used Swerve brown sugar(no carbs). We put in on a bed on riced cauliflower. It was so delicious, but mine had some “heat” to it. Not sure why or how that happened. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Was it the ginger? Or was it the sesame oil ?? I don’t know..Oh well… this recipe is a keeper !!!

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