Sticky Bourbon Chicken is so much better than take-out and easy to make at home!
Tender chicken is coated with an unmistakably tangy and irresistibly sticky-sweet sauce, for a copycat recipe your family will rave about!
No Fail Recipe
This bourbon chicken recipe is a no-fail favorite and perfect when you’re craving takeout at home. The sauce is both simple and quick, great for busy weeknights!
So what is Bourbon Chicken? This dish is named after the famed Bourbon Street in Louisiana, where it’s said the dish was first created.
It’s an easy stir-fry recipe and one you have likely seen at your local food court in the mall, but truly, best bourbon chicken is made right at home!
BOURBON CHICKEN SAUCE The sauce is a bit sweet and has big flavor. Ingredients include soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and a bit of bourbon whiskey! (All of the alcohol burns off in the cooking process but I have some substitution ideas below if you need).
CHICKEN This recipe uses chicken thighs to make it extra juicy and tender. You can use chicken breast if you prefer but I find the thighs to be juicier and have more flavor.
GARNISH We garnish with a bit of green onion and/or sesame seeds. Add your favorites including chilis, or cilantro!
How to Make Bourbon Chicken
This delicious chicken dish is one of those easy, no-fail favorites to pull out on a weeknight!
- Chop chicken and brown in a frying pan.
- Whisk marinade and add to chicken (per recipe below).
- Add cornstarch mixture and simmer until thickened.
What Can I Substitute for Bourbon?
It’s easy to purchase a very inexpensive miniature bottle of bourbon, or just keep a few on hand in the cupboard. You can substitute almost any whisky in this recipe. If you prefer to skip the bourbon, we’ve got you covered.
- Use 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract diluted in 1/4 cup water
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/8 cup apple juice.
Any of these substitutions will change the flavor so it won’t exactly be like a classic Bourbon Chicken, but it’ll be delicious!
Tips for Success
- If time allows, freeze the chicken for 20 minutes before cutting. This makes the task easier.
- Prep all of the ingredients and mix the sauce ahead of time, this dish comes together quickly.
- Use fresh ginger and garlic for the best flavor. Add more chili flakes for more heat.
- Cook the chicken in small batches. It takes a bit of extra time but you’ll get a better brown on it.
- Simmering with the sauce help cook off the alcohol and cook the chicken throughout.
- Rice Vinegar and Rice Wine Vinegar are the same and either works in this recipe. Do not use “seasoned” rice vinegar in this recipe.
Bourbon Chicken can easily be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or frozen for up to one month! Make sure to store in an airtight container or zippered bag with the date.
Take-Out at Home!
- Cashew Chicken Stir Fry – simple, savory dish
- Lemon Chicken – 4 ingredients sauce
- Chicken Chow Mein – better than take-out
- Sweet and Sour Chicken – deliciously sweet & sour
- Chicken and Broccoli Stirfry
- Teriyaki Chicken – ready in under 30 mins
Did you love this easy bourbon chicken? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
- 2 pounds chicken thighs boneless skinless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup apple juice
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 green onions thinly sliced, green tops only
- Trim off any extra fat on the chicken thighs and cut into 1-inch chunks.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together soy sauce, bourbon, apple juice, dark brown sugar, grated garlic, grated ginger, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and water.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook in batches until browned and mostly cooked through.
- Pour the sauce mixture into the skillet with the chicken and simmer for 15 minutes. This will help cook off the alcohol in the bourbon and fully cook the chicken throughout.
- In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and the cold water. Add to mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened and coats the chicken fully.
- Stir in green onion tops and serve over rice.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)