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Bourbon Chicken

20 Reviews

This Bourbon Chicken is tender, moist, and full of flavor and so simple to prepare! I’ve been testing this recipe for 20 years exactly now, and it was time for a refresher on this recipe! It is my new fav thing!

One of the things that we absolutely love is that it’s so easy to spice it up or take it down a few notches depending on who you will be sharing your meal with. 

a photo of juicy flavorful bourbon chicken with a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

There was a great bourbon chicken, hold your breath, at the Washington Square Mall when I was in high school. I know, mall food. Can you even believe that I said that?! It’s completely ridiculous, and if I went back I’d probably be a bit disappointed now that my palate has evolved. Or, at least I hope that it has! And this sauce isn’t exactly like the one from the mall, it’s even better!

And I won’t even tell you about Hot Dog on a Stick. Or should I say…the cheese on a stick. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous. That one I’m still tempted to make a homemade version though…

Ingredients Needed for Bourbon Chicken

This chicken is sweet and sticky and made with tender and flavorful chicken thighs. You start by browning the chicken on the stove top with a simple dry rub and then it finishes cooking in the oven in the sauce. Here is what you will need:

Chicken

  • Chicken Thighs – boneless and skinless thighs, you can also use chicken breasts if you prefer
  • Salt – adds flavor
  • Garlic Powder – adds flavor
  • Onion Powder – adds flavor
  • Pepper – chicken should just always be seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Olive Oil – gives the chicken a good sear and keeps it from sticking to the pan

Sauce

  • Garlic Powder – paired with the ginger, it is that essential Chinese food flavor combo
  • Ground Ginger – it’s very fine and blends into the sauce beautifully
  • Apple Cider – adds richness, tang and a fruitiness
  • Water – thins out the sauce some
  • Brown Sugar – adds the perfect sweetness to the sauce
  • Rice Vinegar – gives the sauce a nice tang
  • Soy Sauce – I prefer to use low sodium to better control the saltiness of the salt.

Vegetables (see following section for how to make the veggies)

  • Baby Carrots – sliced in half lengthwise
  • Zucchini – I like to find baby zucchini, but regular zucchini works great, just cut it to bite size pieces
  • Yellow Squash – sliced to bite size pieces
  • Yellow Onion – cut into quarters and then sliced to the bite size pieces
  • Garlic – fresh is best and minced
  • Salt and Pepper – for flavor
  • Green Onions – for garnish

The complete recipe with all the measurements can be found in the recipe card down at the end of the post. You can also save and/or print the recipe from there.

a photo of a shallow white bowl full of sticky bourbon chicken and a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

What to Serve with Bourbon Chicken?

We prefer to have this chicken over steamed rice or with a side of fried rice. Then we will do a side of sauteed veggies. 

If you want do have veggies similar to the ones shown in these photos, slice some baby carrots, yellow squash, zucchini (you can buy little packages of precut baby squash if you want) and onion. Drizzle a little olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and sauté the onion until it is almost translucent. Toss in the other veggies and salt and pepper them. Let them sauté until they are golden on one side and then flip them and repeat. 

If you’re looking for even easier, sometimes I just toss everything in a little olive oil, s & p them and throw them in the oven on 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes and roast them.

A couple of other great sides would be our sauteed snap peas or grilled asparagus.

 

a photo of chopped up chicken thighs covered in a dark brown sticky sauce.

Does Bourbon Chicken Contain Bourbon?

It can if you want it to, but bourbon chicken is actually named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, so no need to buy any bourbon at all. If you want to add bourbon, just swap it for half of the apple cider.

How Can I Make this Spicier?

If you want to add more heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a squeeze of sriracha. You have complete control of how spicy you make it.

Is Bourbon Chicken Gluten Free?

Yes, bourbon chicken can be gluten free as long as you are sure to use gluten free soy sauce. A lot of soy sauces do contain gluten so just check the ingredients. You could also substitute tamari or liquid aminos for the soy sauce.

 

a photo of a dinner plate full of bite size chicken pieces covered in a sticky sauce accompanied by a side of brown rice and sauteed mixed vegetables.

How to Make Bourbon Chicken in the Crockpot

I honestly don’t think it tastes as good, but you can make this recipe in the slow cooker. Brown the chicken first just like it states in the instructions. Pour the sauce into the crockpot and add the chicken. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5.

How Long Will Cooked Chicken Keep?

Cooked chicken can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Chicken should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. Chicken should be stored covered.

a photo of a shallow white bowl sitting on a charcoal charger full of sticky bourbon chicken and a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

You don’t have to go to the mall to get that bourbon chicken you remember eating with friends in high school! Now you can make this classic take-out food totally from scratch at home! Enjoy!

More Easy Asian Chicken Recipes to Try:

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a photo of juicy flavorful bourbon chicken with a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

Bourbon Chicken

4.5 from 20 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs boneless/skinless
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Cider
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar light
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce

For the Vegetables

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Baby Carrots cut lengthwise
  • 2 Zucchinis small, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 Yellow Squash small, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 Yellow Onion quartered and cut into bite size pieces
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Green Onions chopped, for garnish

Instructions

For the Sauce

  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat now. Add all sauce ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium low to simmer for 20 minutes.

For the Chicken

  • Mix the seasoning for the chicken together and sprinkle evenly, front and back of the chicken. Heat oil in a large skillet or heat a grill to high heat. Drizzle a little oil on each side of the chicken.
  • Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Add chicken to the hot pan or grill, and after a minute or two of browning, turn to medium heat and cook 3-5 minutes per side
  • Remove chicken from pan and place in the oven safe skillet with the sauce. You can move everything to an oven safe dish if needed.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board for 5 minutes, draped in foil, then chop the chicken, throw it back in the sauce and serve with rice.

For the Vegetables

  • While the chicken is baking, slice the baby carrots, yellow squash, zucchini (you can buy little packages of precut baby squash if you want) and onion.
  • Drizzle the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and sauté the onion until it is almost translucent.
  • Toss in the other veggies and salt and pepper them. Let them sauté until they are golden on one side and then flip them and repeat. 
  • If you're looking for even easier, sometimes I just toss everything in a little olive oil, s & p them and throw them in the oven on 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes and roast them.
Nutrition Facts
Bourbon Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 752 Calories from Fat 405
% Daily Value*
Fat 45g69%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 9g
Monounsaturated Fat 21g
Cholesterol 222mg74%
Sodium 1115mg48%
Potassium 1283mg37%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 38g42%
Protein 41g82%
Vitamin A 9397IU188%
Vitamin C 39mg47%
Calcium 110mg11%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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a photo of juicy flavorful bourbon chicken with a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating




19 comments

  • Oh my, no wonder you ate this often!!! So good!!

    • Reply
    • So yummy right?! Thanks Kathryn!

      • Reply
  • Oh. My. Good-ness!! Made this for dinner tonight and it’s going in the rotation!! So yummy!! Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Reply
    • Yahoo!! You’ve made my day! Isn’t it so good?! I’m due to make it again asap!

      • Reply
  • This is so yummy! I didn’t add any spice and now I wish I did a little. I didn’t have apple cider but just used apple juice. I one and a halfed the sauce and I wish I would have just doubled it. The sauce is so yummy to drizzle. Definitely DOUBLE the yummy sauce. Everyone LOVED IT! I will be making this very soon.

    • Reply
    • Yay! Thank you so much for the feedback Brittany! I am ALLLLLL about the sauce too!

      • Reply
  • If I only have chicken breasts, can I use those in place of the thighs?

    • Reply
    • Hi Candice! Absolutely! It will lack a little flavor, but it will still be excellent! There’s just something special about the flavor a chicken thigh has with this recipe.

      • Reply
  • I would love the recipe for the side dish shown in the picture of the Bourbon Chicken

    • Reply
    • Hi Kim! I just added a note to the recipe card for how to cook the vegetables. I hope this helps!!

      • Reply
  • Tried this recipe last week and the family loved it, so I’m making it again today. Since I am not at home during the day I dumped all of the ingredients into the crock pot in the morning and put some rice in the rice cooker and set the timer. All I had to do when I got home was reduce the sauce from the chicken on the stove to get it to that gooey consistency. Yum, yum!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Reply
    • Great comment about using the slow cooker. I love when our readers give each other and us tips!

      • Reply
  • Tried this last week and from everyone’s comments, I went ahead and cut the red pepper in half and it was perfect! Yummy! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
  • Hey! I’m so glad you liked it! My sister in law gave me this recipe and we love it!!

    • Reply
  • mmmm..yummy. I love Borbon chicken! Delish!

    • Reply
  • ok, obviously, I can’t type this morning–I meant that I would cut the red pepper down to 1/4 teaspoon.

    • Reply
  • I made this the other day and thought the same about the red pepper, too! My older daughter, who loves anything spicy, loved it but my 2 younger children said it was too spicy! I would def. cut down the red pepper to maybe a 1/2
    4 teaspoon. I thought it was delicious and will be making it again! Love your blog–just found it from the superbowl recipe voting! p.s. sorry for the first deletion, I hit the trash button and then thought I could delete…blah blah blah!

    • Reply
  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    • Reply
  • This looks so tasty! I wonder if the original recipe had bourbon in it?

    • Reply

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