Sticky Bourbon Chicken

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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!

bourbon chicken served over rice with green onions on a plate

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 ingredients


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!

adding the sauce to bourbon chicken

How to Make Bourbon Chicken

This delicious chicken dish is one of those easy, no-fail favorites to pull out on a weeknight!

  1. Chop chicken and brown in a frying pan.
  2. Whisk marinade and add to chicken (per recipe below).
  3. Add cornstarch mixture and simmer until thickened.

Voila! So easy! Garnish with green onions and serve over rice. While this is a stovetop recipe, you can also make slow cooker bourbon chicken!

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!

bourbon chicken in a pan with soy sauce and rice


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!

Did you love this easy bourbon chicken?  Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Bourbon Chicken on a bed of rice
4.83 from 35 votes
Review Recipe

Sticky Bourbon Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
This homemade recipe is a family favorite! Juicy chicken drenched in a Bourbon sauce, served over rice!


  • 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

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  • 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.

Recipe Notes

Chicken breasts can be used in place of chicken thighs.
Cook the chicken in small batches to get a nice brown crust on it.
Bourbon can be replaced with orange juice or apple juice although it will change the flavor of the dish.
Freeze the chicken for 20 minutes before cutting to make it easier.
Prep all of the ingredients and mix the sauce ahead of time, this dish comes together quickly.
Rice Vinegar and Rice Wine Vinegar are the same and either works in this recipe. Do not use “seasoned” rice vinegar in this recipe.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 450, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 45g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 215mg, Sodium: 745mg, Potassium: 635mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 188IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 2mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian
Bourbon Chicken on rice and bourbon chicken ingredients
Bourbon chicken over rice with green onions with writing
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. My husband and I really enjoyed this dish, he says this recipe is a keeper. I used orange juice in place of the Bourbon, and used a bit of apple cider vinegar because is was out of apple juice. Very nice. Will definitely make this again.5 stars