Easy Bourbon Chicken

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Easy Bourbon Chicken that’s crispy, sweet, sticky and tastes just like the kind you grew up eating at the mall!

Easy Bourbon Chicken that's crispy, sweet, sticky and tastes just like the kind you grew up eating at the mall!
 

Easy, Crispy Bourbon Chicken

Making this Crispy Bourbon Chicken actually makes me feel like a teenager. A teenager who was a rebel and once actually took Chinese food into the movie theater!

A quick apology to those people who had to watch Dude Where’s My Car in LA in the late 90’s in a Chinese food scented theater. 😉 My bad.

It was kind of the perfect movie to do that in though because the Chinese takeout drive thru scene still makes me belly laugh.

Back to the task at hand, Bourbon Chicken. This chicken is so deliciously sweet and sticky and has a deep bourbon flavor with hints of the apple juice. It’s good. Super good.

Bourbon Chicken. This chicken is so deliciously sweet and sticky and has a deep bourbon flavor with hints of the apple juice. It's good. Super good.

Is there bourbon in bourbon chicken? Yes! There absolutely is, but it cooks down in the sauce so much it just adds a certain unique flavor and won’t impair your driving. If you prefer to skip the bourbon, just double the apple juice.

Some tips to make this the best bourbon chicken ever:

  • I used chicken breast because my mall used to. If you want a more tender cut, use chicken thighs.
  • If you’d like a thicker coating dredge in the cornstarch, dip in a beaten egg then dredge in some flour and deep fry.
  • To make this more spicy double the crushed red pepper or swap the red pepper for Sriracha sauce.

Crockpot Bourbon Chicken Recipe:

To make in the crockpot, cook the chicken (use chicken thighs) as directed and add in half the amounts of the rest of the recipe sauce ingredients (they won’t be able to cook down in the slow cooker). Cook on low for 5 hours. Add in the last tablespoon of cornstarch then cook on high for 30 minutes.

Want more Chinese Food Recipes?

The best nostalgic Bourbon Chicken of your childhood! Crispy, sweet, sticky and full of apple juice and bourbon flavors.

Tools Used in the making of the Easy Bourbon Chicken:
Wok: Great for high heat, quick cooking. This wok is a great addition to your kitchen if you love cooking Chinese food or stir fries in general.
Large Frying Pan: I use this Cuisinart for most of my non cast iron cooking unless I am going with a stainless steel option, then I choose my All Clad.
Soy Sauce: Nothing much to say here except Kikkoman has the best flavor overall and I always recommend reduced sodium.

Recipe

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Easy Bourbon Chicken

4.97 from 53 votes
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Easy Bourbon Chicken that's crispy, sweet, sticky and tastes just like the kind you grew up eating at the mall!  

Ingredients

  • 5-6 skinless boneless chicken breasts - about 3 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup lite soy sauce lower sodium
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces and in a large bowl toss it with 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil into your nonstick skillet on medium high heat and let it heat until adding the first piece of chicken sizzles.
  3. Add half the chicken pieces and cook for 3 minutes without stirring.

  4. Turn the chicken pieces and cook and additional three minutes.

  5. Remove the chicken from the pan.
  6. Use the remaining oil to cook the second half of the chicken the same way.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan.
  8. Add in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds until you can just smell it.

  9. Add in the water, apple juice, bourbon, chicken broth, lite soy sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, onion powder, ground ginger and red pepper flakes.
  10. Bring to a boil then add back in the chicken.
  11. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by about half.

  12. Add the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch to a small glass with a tablespoon of water and stir.
  13. Add into the pan and stir.
  14. Cook until the sauce is thickened. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: 208 calories, Calories: 208g, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Sodium: 1437mg, Potassium: 272mg, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 105g, Vitamin C: 1.8g, Calcium: 13g, Iron: 1.1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Easy Bourbon Chicken
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Easy Bourbon Chicken that's crispy, sweet, sticky and tastes just like the kind you grew up eating at the mall!
Bourbon Chicken. This chicken is so deliciously sweet and sticky and has a deep bourbon flavor with hints of the apple juice. It's good. Super good.

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Comments

  1. Amaaaazing!! Will be making over and over. I marinated my boneless cut up chicken thighs in garlic, onion powder, soy, salt, pepper, and meat tenderizer the night before. Very much recommend thigh meat. More like the mall recipe.
    Coupled with this sauce…I can eat half the pan myself ????? ??

  2. God bless you! I was just looking through YouTube videos for bourbon chicken and they all looked so gross, just chicken boiled in some sauce. Thank goodness I found your recipe on Google. I will be making this tomorrow for a friend’s birthday dinner.

  3. Amazing!!! I made this last night for dinner and followed the recipe to a T – it was delish! But I have to say, when I had the leftovers this evening it tasted even better – the glaze was thicker and the chicken was so much more flavorful (probably from marinating in the glaze overnight). I served it with steamed veggies last night and steamed veggies and homemade mac and cheese tonight. Next time I make it, I’m definitely making mashed potatoes. Thank you so much! This recipe will be a “go-to” for me in the future. 🙂

  4. Tried your sauce on charcoal grilled barbecued chicken kebabs and substituted pineapple juice for the apple…….YOU seriously need to try too. The pureed bacon helps hold the sauce on the kabobs.

  5. This recipe is fantastic. We live in Scotland and have never found anywhere that serves Bourbon chicken over here. Won’t get to come to USA on holiday this year but this brings back fond memories of previous visits.

  6. What can I substitute for apple juice? The only juice we use on a regular basis is orange juice. Could I just use more chicken broth or what? Thank you.

  7. I am so excited to try this recipe and as I got everything out to make it in the slow cooker, I don’t have any apple juice. Ugh!! Anyone have any tried and true substitutions/suggestions I could try?

    1. I would recommend using white grape juice as a substitute. If you don’t have that, you can add more broth instead though it will change the flavor of the dish.

  8. My family loves Bourbon Chicken so I’ve tried several recipes. No need to look any further, this one is perfect! The amounts make the right amount of sauce which is lacking in other recipes. And it couldn’t be easier for a quick weeknight meal or special occasion. Everyone was raving after the first bite! Thank you for a fantastic recipe!

  9. If I ordered this from a restaurant, I would not be disappointed! It’s really good. We have made it twice with no alterations. It’s just the two of us so we have plenty of leftovers (no complaints about that!)

  10. Has anyone tried marinating in the bourbon or any of the other ingredients through-out the day before cooking?

  11. I’ve been in the culinary industry for the last 15 years. I have my own catering company and I work as a Sous Chef in a restaurant. Anyways last night I had a hankering for some bourbon chicken like I always get when I decide to eat at Golden Corral! Found this recipe and went to the grocery store. Almost all the chicken was gone and all they had was a pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs so I grabbed it. Long story short I went home cooked acceptor the recipe and it came out great! As a chef I always want to take credit for how delicious the food is but honestly I didn’t have to add anything! Just followed the recipe and everything turned out great!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Cam. I really appreciate that you took the time to let me know how much you enjoyed it.

  12. Do I use regular chicken broth or Better than Bouillon? Because when I clicked on “chicken broth” it brought me to the better than bouillon .. I’m afraid it may change the flavor as the better than bouillon very very flavorful and may make it too salty.

  13. Are the nutrition numbers accurate? there’s no way something this amazing is only 8g of carbs and less than 300 calories! made for my girlfriends parents and they absolutely loved it, i think i’m in lol. Thank you!

    1. Well, it’s a program that automatically calculates based on ingredients. I would use it as a guideline but if you’re following a certain diet, you may want to your own calculations to be sure it work. I’m so glad you all love it so much!

  14. It taste so much better when it slowed cooked, my first time making it I slowed cooked it and it taste just like the mall. These instructions for cooking it fast makes the chicken taste dry.

  15. My husband requested bourbon chicken for his birthday this year since we are practicing social distancing and not going out to eat. This recipe was so much fun to make and was such a breeze. It was so delicious!

    I didn’t realize until i was adding my liquid ingredients that I was using half the chicken called for in the recipe. I kept the same amount of bourbon 😉 and reduced the soy sauce.
    I also had to improvise with what I had on hand – (pine)APPLE juice.

    I couldn’t believe how good it came out. Looked and tasted just like it was from a restaurant. Thank you for sharing.

  16. OMG this is amazing. I don’t even have face book and I had to leave a comment! I will never order takeaway again, this is it for life lol

  17. This dish is very easy, you can combine almost all the ingredients in a bowl ahead of time to make it all go together fast, and it’s delicious. I made mine with shrimp, but you could even use tofu. I also used fresh ginger. It’s going to be a regular at our house.

  18. I typically don’t write reviews about recipes – however this one is AMAZING!!! It’s so flavorful, the sauce is incredible. I used a combination of chicken thighs and breasts; the chicken turned out tender yet crispy.

  19. Thank you for the Recipe. My wife loves bourbon chicken.

    I did the crockpot method, with one variation. Since I also have a flattop griddle, I cooked the chicken on it with some sesame oil to give it that grilled taste.

    Turned out great.

  20. This was DELICIOUS and so easy! Really had that “mall food court” taste we were looking for. I used arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch, and used chicken thighs instead of breasts. Also added a wee bit extra red pepper as my husband and I like things spicy. Was fantastic and also tasted great for lunch the next day! Will definitely make again!

  21. I did not grow up eating this at any mall! However, I would have liked to have; I feel I missed a part of childhood now 🙂

    Great recipe…

  22. Sounds soooo good but I would like to do a slow cook in the oven with bone in chicken thighs. Would I brown the chicken, start the sauce on the stovetop and then finish cooking everything together in the oven? Any adjustments to the ingredient amounts?
    Thanks!

  23. Excellent.. I think the only thing i might disagree with is serve immediately. I tasted it immediately and it was good however after sitting for about 15 minutes and the flavors were absorbed in the chicken it was absolutely delicious!

    1. My daughter is allergic to apples so I wonder if pear juice would be ok to sub for the juice? Apple cider vinegar hasn’t ever bothered her so that isn’t an issue.

  24. What would you recommend as a substitute for the bourbon? I’m celiac and most liquor isnt an option for me but I really miss this dish!

  25. This recipe is amazing! It tastes better than the bourbon chicken at the mall! (And that’s a big accomplishment!)

    I recommend using a cast iron skillet, and deglazing it after browning your chicken. This will increase the flavor!

  26. Very good indeed! I just have one question. Whats the point of adding the one cup of water to the mixture if the whole thing gets reduced to half? Wouldn’t that remove the cup of water if not more?

  27. I made this with boneless skinless chicken thighs and I followed the instructions to the T and it was delicious. I used Jim Bean bourbon

    1. We’ve made this more than three times now and absolutely love the recipe. Our next step is to try it in our instant pot. It is a brand-name instant pot. Have you made it in one before and what do you recommend for settings?

      1. I’m so glad you all love this recipe! I haven’t tested it using an instant pot yet. I’m sure you might be able to find a recipe online using similar ingredients and use that as a guide. Good luck!

  28. Sabrina, my hat’s off to you!! This is amazing! Spot!! On!!

    I have searched for 2 decades. Yes, 20 years, for a bourbon chicken recipe that replicates the food court offering and none came close. Some were good, but not the genuine item.

    This IS brilliant, you nailed it! I used thigh meat because that’s what my restaurants used, and I just can not believe how good and correct this is!! The flavors are balanced and have “that flavor”. I stumbled on this recipe and site, possibly referenced at Allrecipes, but am I happy I did!!! I see the Orange Chicken, the Sesame chicken, the lemon chicken recipes, and bet your bottom dollar I’ll be making them as well!

    Thanks for selflessly sharing these and can’t wait to check out your other recipes, you definitely have “the right stuff”, bravo and thanks again!

    Kevin

    1. Aw, thank you so much and happy that you were able to find a recipe that brought back memories and the flavor of beloved dishes. Thanks for coming back and letting me know! Hope to hear how the other recipes turn out. 🙂

  29. For crockpot are you doing steps 1-7 or 8? before you put it in the crockpot? Or do you think you can put everything in as is? Let me now. Thanks.

  30. Could I sub half the brown sugar for coconut sugar? Or has anyone tried subbing all brown sugar for coconut OR maple syrup??

  31. So I made this for dinner and it was great. Trying to keep my carbs low I didn’t serve with rice and regret that. I did spice it up a bit and the flavor was amazing. I will definitely make it again only I will compliment it with some rice.

  32. This recipe is amazing and is actually as quick as it lists; I usually don’t prep as fast as recipes indicate. Since I don’t have bourbon in the house, I substitute with vanilla extract and it’s still delicious. Definitely a crowd pleaser in our house.

  33. Great recipe! I used whiskey instead of burboun since that’s what I had and it worked fine. Do NOT use regular soy sauce as it was saltaaay. Use low sodium as directed. And careful not to over cook that chicken or it’ll be tough. I wonder if you diced the chicken up if you couldn’t cook the chicken in the sauce and skip the whole “brown it in oil” step…