Serve this sweet and spicy Bourbon Chicken recipe over a big bowl of rice for a taste of New Orleans cuisine at your own kitchen table.
Make Easy Bourbon Chicken Recipe
What is Bourbon Chicken? It's a very popular dish served at Cajun and Asian take out restaurants across the nation. This easy chicken breast recipe is believed by food historians to have originated on Bourbon street in New Orleans Louisiana. It's widely thought that it was most likely named after the street as not all versions of this recipe actually include whiskey. It's completely up to the cook's discretion whether to include whiskey in the recipe or not and either way, it's a win.
How to Make the Best Bourbon Chicken Recipe
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Bourbon Chicken: To make this recipe you'll need boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cornstarch, fresh garlic, light brown sugar, salt, pepper, apple juice, bourbon, soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, onion powder, ground ginger, red pepper flakes, chopped green onions and cooked rice for serving. You can use boneless chicken breasts or thighs for this recipe. Chicken thighs may take slightly longer to cook so adjust the time accordingly.
- Kitchen tools you'll need: A large skillet, measuring cups and spoons, a medium bowl, whisk, sharp knife and cutting board and platter.
- Do you have to use a specific Bourbon? Use whatever brand of bourbon that you enjoy. While I do include it in the ingredients for this recipe, it can easily be omitted and replaced with additional chicken stock.
- You'll need to use a large 12 inch skillet to make this recipe to allow ample room for all of the ingredients. A large skillet will also give you the freedom to mix things thoroughly.
- Should you prefer, you can omit the bourbon in the recipe and use additional chicken stock or apple juice for the sauce. It will still be delicious and it will still be bourbon chicken.
- I prefer soy sauce for this recipe although you could use teriyaki sauce in a pinch without any other adjustments.
- Can I use fresh ginger in place of ground ginger? Yes, use ½ - 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger to in place of the ground ginger called for in the recipe.
- What is a cornstarch slurry? A slurry refers to a mixture that's used to thicken a sauce. You may thicken this sauce further at the end of cooking using additional cornstarch slurry. When making a slurry, it's vitally important that you use cold water to dissolve the cornstarch to prevent it from clumping. Do not add it to the pot with undissolved clumps or the sauce will be lumpy.
- Bourbon chicken is traditionally served over white rice. You can use basmati, jasmine or long grain white rice, it's completely up to you. You may also opt to sprinkle the top with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
More Easy Chicken Recipes to Make
Chicken is affordable and readily available in grocery stores, which is a fact that I'm grateful for as the mother of hungry teenage boys. Other easy chicken recipes you may like to add to your dinner rotation:
- Juicy Baked Chicken Breasts can be served on toasted kaiser rolls, turned into wraps or as an entree.
- Sticky Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks will bring the heat to meal time.
- Crispy Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken is an Italian favorite made with ease in the oven.
- Smothered Chicken and Gravy is comfort food at it's finest.
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are marinated in Greek yogurt and Greek inspired seasonings.
- Beer and Garlic Grilled Chicken from Barefeet in the Kitchen.
Thanks for visiting come back soon!
Disclosure ~ If a purchase is made using one of the affiliate links on this website we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 2 ½-3 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed into ¾ inch pieces
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch plus additional as needed to thicken
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon lemon pepper
- 3 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil plus additional as needed to fry
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar OR apple cider vinegar
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 medium green onions for garnishing thinly sliced
- cooked basmati or jasmine rice for serving
- Toss chicken with 3 tablespoon cornstarch, salt and lemon pepper until evenly coated.
- In a large 12 inch skillet, heat 3 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 1 ½ minutes per side or just until beginning to brown. Remove to a platter and repeat cooking chicken pieces in batches. (The chicken doesn't have to be cooked through.)
- To the skillet add garlic, cooking for 1 minute or until fragrant. Next, add brown sugar, apple juice, chicken stock, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, bourbon, vinegar, onion powder, ginger and red pepper flakes. (You may use water, apple juice or additional chicken stock in place of bourbon.)
- Add chicken back to skillet, mxi well. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or just until chicken is cooked through and sauce has slightly thickened.
- Serve immediately over rice garnished with green onion.
- To thicken sauce further, at the end of cooking. Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1-2 tablespoon cold water. Stir until completely dissolved. Increase heat, and mix cornstarch slurry into sauce. Mix well, cook just until sauce has thickened slightly. Repeat process, if desired, until thickened to your taste. (You may opt to skip this step altogether.)
I made this and didn't change a thing. It was delicious, thank you so much, Melissa!
Thanks Debbie, it's my pleasure!
In step 3 of the instructions for Bourbon Chicken, water is one of the ingredients to be added in this step. How much water should be added...in the list of ingredients there was no mention of water. Thanks for your help....I am in the middle of making this recipe and it looks delicious!
Hi Pam, sorry that wasn't clear. You may replace the bourbon in the recipe with water, apple juice or additional stock. You can also thin the sauce further (if desired) using water.
This recipe is so good! i added some pineapple chunks with the pineapple juice when adding chicken back into pan-was really good. Just needed to add a little bit more cornstarch slurry at end of cooking to thicken due to additional pineapple juice liquid. Easy and delicious recipe! Was trying to think of extra accoutrements for guests to add to the “rice bowl” If desired-any suggestions?
I would imagine you could add anything that's complementary to Asian inspired foods to this as a side dish. I'm so happy you enjoyed it, thanks!
Any substitutes for apple juice?
You could likely adapt using pineapple juice.
Is it black pepper or lemon pepper for the bourbon chicken?
Hi Jeni, I use lemon pepper but you may use black pepper, if preferred.