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Bourbon Chicken

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A plate of food with rice meat and vegetables, with Bourbon chicken
All the sticky sweetness of your favorite Bourbon Chicken takeout in just 25 from stovetop to table.
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This delicious bourbon chicken recipe is a play on the classic takeout favorite! It has a sticky, sweet and tangy sauce that coats the juicy chicken just perfectly. Serve it over a bed of rice and you’ve got the tastiest homemade Chinese takeout, minus the fortune cookies of course. It only takes about 10 minutes of prep, and with a cook time of just 25 minutes, this is such a quick and simple meal to feed the whole family.


Looking for some other dishes full of Asian flavor? You have got to try our Better Than Take Out Fried Rice. This is one of my absolute favorite dishes, and it really is better than takeout. I also love our Orange Chicken, since it’s another great recipe I can make in the crockpot!

BOURBON CHICKEN INGREDIENTS

You will 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 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 teaspoon
  • 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 the apple juice. The alcohol will evaporate off as the sauce simmers so it 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. Grilled 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 35 minutes prep and cook time, you’ll want to be sure that your chicken is fully thawed before you begin cooking it.

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 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 chicken to brown easily.

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

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 sauce to a boil.

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

STEP SIX: Once the sauce is done simmering, remove from heat and allow 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.
  • After, 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. You can also just eat it plain, as is, too! It’s delicious either way.

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.

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!

FAQ

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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A plate of food with rice meat and vegetables, with Bourbon chicken

Bourbon Chicken

5 from 2 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 chicken and cook until no longer pink. Drain all juices from 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.
  • In a medium bowl combine pepper, apple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ground ginger, minced garlic, water, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Whisk together.
  • Once 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 sauce to a boil.
  • Once the sauce is boiling turn heat down to low and allow to simmer 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.
  • Once sauce is done simmering remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Serve over white rice and enjoy.

Notes

TIP: Use as large a skillet pan as you have to allow the chicken to brown easily.
TIP: To keep this recipe at a quick 35 minutes prep and cook time, you’ll want to be sure that your chicken is fully thawed before you begin cooking it.
TIP: If you have bourbon on hand, replace ¼ cup apple juice with ¼ cup of bourbon.
 
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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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.

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