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Easy Bourbon Chicken

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If you love a good chicken stir fry, you’re going to LOVE this easy restaurant quality Bourbon Chicken! This recipe features crispy chicken breast covered in a delightfully sticky-sweet Bourbon sauce and is absolutely addicting! Serve over rice or with steamed or stir-fried veggies.

bourbon chicken over a bed of rice on a plate

You’re going to LOVE this Bourbon Chicken recipe if you love:

  • Quick, easy stir fries
  • Food fusions that are absolutely delicious (hello tasty Bourbon sauce with hints of Asian stir fry flavors!)
  • Flavorful sticky-sweet, just-slightly-spicy Asian bourbon sauce that stick to the chicken and make you go back for seconds

This chicken turns out so good I was literally eating it off the pan and COULD. NOT. STOP! My husband had to intervene and physically separate me from the chicken.

chop sticks picking up piece of bourbon chicken

Just look at the gorgeous bite of Bourbon chicken!

Ingredients for bourbon chicken

This recipe has a long list of ingredients, but don’t be scared off! Once you have everything ready it comes together in under 25 minutes. Here’s what you need:

  • 3 pounds chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup soy sauce 
  • ⅓ cup apple juice
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup bourbon (use less if you’re not sure you want all that bourbon flavor! Or use more (up to ⅓ cup) if you like 🙂 )
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Whoo boy! It sounds like a lot but it’s really not so bad. And it’s SO WORTH IT!

ingredients for bourbon chicken measured out in bowls

How to make bourbon chicken

This bourbon chicken recipe is super easy and has two main steps: browning the chicken and simmering the sauce.

Step 1. Start by chopping your chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces and coating them in 4 tablespoons of cornstarch tossed with salt and pepper. The cornstarch will help make the chicken crispy and will help thicken the bourbon sauce.

chicken breast pieces tossed with cornstarch and seasonings

Step 2. Brown the cornstarch-covered chicken breast pieces on both sides in a skillet with oil. You might need to do this in two batches if you don’t have a large skillet. Make sure your oil is hot to get a nice golden-brown coating instead of simply steaming the chicken!

cornstarch coated chicken pieces browned in a pan

Step 3. Make the Bourbon Sauce! Add the minced garlic to the skillet and saute for about 30 seconds. Then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk in the cornstarch to make sure no clumps remain. Bring the mixture to a light boil, carefully add the chicken back in, and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes until it reduces in half.

chicken breast simmering in bourbon sauce

Optional step: If you want to make a thicker sauce, almost like a bourbon chicken glaze, you can whisk an additional ½ – 1 tablespoon cornstarch with water and add it to the pot, to really thicken the sauce. Depending on how long you thicken it, it will turn almost into a BBQ bourbon sauce!

DONE! Serve over rice and enjoy!

pan of bourbon chicken with a bowl of rice on the side

All that gorgeous Bourbon sauce is perfect for spooning over rice!

Questions about this recipe? I got answers!

What kind of bourbon to use for the sauce?

I’ve only used Jim Bean Bourbon for this recipe, I haven’t tried it with others. If you try another one, let me know in a comment how it turned out!! 

I imagine that any whisky or bourbon would work just fine in this recipe because bourbon is just one of the many flavors in this bourbon sauce and it gets cooked down a lot, so you will end up with a similar tasting sauce at the end whether you use a super high quality bourbon or a cheap bottle of whiskey.  Now if you want to take a few sips of bourbon while cooking, that’s a whole other story 😉

Want to make this without bourbon?

For a kid-friendly bourbon chicken sauce, just skip the bourbon and use more apple juice and a splash of Worcestershire sauce instead! You might be able to cut down on the sugar in this case because (1) you’re adding a little extra apple juice and (2) you don’t need as much sugar to balance the bourbon flavor.

Do I need to use that much sugar?

This sauce really comes out AMAZING because of its sticky-sweet flavor and texture, and the brown sugar really helps. Reducing the sugar can work but will result in a less flavorful sauce.

You can try substituting half of the brown sugar with honey if you like!

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Most bourbons are considered gluten-free because of the distillation process, however some can still cause trouble for people who cannot tolerate gluten (or alcohol!). If you’re cooking for someone who is gluten-free, definitely check with them whether they are comfortable with bourbon!

And make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce!

Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any other questions about this recipe!

Other delicious chicken recipes you will love:

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don’t forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

pinnable image for bourbon chicken recipe

bourbon chicken over a bed of rice on a plate
Print Recipe
4.8 from 5 votes

Easy Bourbon Chicken

This easy restaurant-quality Bourbon Chicken recipe is absolutely addicting, thanks to a sticky sweet Bourbon sauce with lots of flavor!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Kate
Cost: $1.50 per serving

Equipment

  • Large skillet

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 3 pounds chicken breasts (boneless and skinless, chopped into 1-inch pieces)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch (plus ½ - 1 tablespoon extra, see notes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce:

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons cornstarch with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the diced chicken and toss well to completely coat the chicken pieces.
    chicken breast pieces tossed with cornstarch and seasonings
  • In a large skillet or pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the coated chicken pieces and cook on one side without stirring for 3 minutes. Turn each piece of chicken and cook for an additional 3 minutes. The chicken does not have to be fully cooked here, just browned. Remove the browned cooked chicken from the skillet and set aside. You might need to do this in two batches to not crowd the chicken!
    cornstarch coated chicken pieces browned in a pan
  • Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients (chicken broth through red pepper flakes). Stir well and bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat.½
    chicken breast simmering in bourbon sauce
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken back to the sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half. Serve the bourbon chicken hot over steamed rice, or go on to the next step if you prefer to thicken the sauce
    pan of bourbon chicken with a bowl of rice on the side
  • Optional step: Combine ½ - 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl or cup, then stir into the sauce to thicken, let it simmer for another 2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Notes

  • If you prefer a thicker, stickier sauce that really sticks to the chicken, you will need about ½ - 1 tablespoon extra cornstarch - just follow the instructions in the last step!
  • This recipe has a lot of ingredients but you can get away with just a ¼ cup and a ½ cup measuring cup and measure all the ingredients into those cups! You can pre-measure all the ingredients for the sauce into a large bowl and add it all at once in step 3!
  • The nutrition facts are estimated assuming 8 servings and not including rice

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Bourbon Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 393 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 109mg36%
Sodium 1560mg65%
Potassium 766mg22%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 102IU2%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* The nutritional information shown here is just an estimate and not meant to be used as dietary/nutritional advice. Please consult a nutritionist for exact nutritional information based on the exact ingredients you use.

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Tommy Brunett

Monday 9th of November 2020

This is such an easy to make and delicious recipe. I am definitely going to make this on weekdays when I have to eat something filling and have a drink too.

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