Spicy Bourbon Chicken (Minus the Bourbon)

I love this recipe.

I think you’ll love this recipe.


It’s so simple and it’s sooo dang good! The flavors mimic the ones of a traditional bourbon chicken with the use of the most basic pantry ingredients.

Now let us talk soy sauce… shall we?

Did you know not all soy sauces should be considered equal? The next time you find yourself at the grocery store picking up soy sauce, read the label. Some brands say “Soy Sauce” on the label, but if you actually read the ingredients… it’s not soy sauce at all! The soy sauces that contain corn syrup and caramel color listed as the main ingredients, are the furthest from the real thing… so stay away from those. The ingredients you want to look for are wheat, water, soybeans, salt… Etc. So just remember the cheaper bottles of soy sauce usually are the ones made up of cheaper ingredients!

Now let’s get cooking!

For the sauce you will need: Fresh ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, dark brown sugar, ketchup, water, apple juice, olive oil, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar. You will also need chicken breasts, a large bunch of broccoli, white rice (cooked), and sliced green onions for garnish.

Start off by peeling the skin off of a piece of ginger.

In a medium bowl; use a zester and grate a teaspoon of ginger along with one clove of garlic. If you don’t have fresh ginger you can substitute with ground ginger… but only use a 1/4 of a teaspoon of the dried stuff.

Then add a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. You could totally add more for a bigger kick. But I think a 1/2 teaspoon is perfect amount of spice without it being too hot.

Next throw in the dark brown sugar and ketchup.

Then pour in the olive oil, water, apple juice, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar.

Now go find your whisk.

Whisk well then just set aside.

At my grocery store I found thin cut chicken breasts! These are just chicken breasts that were butterflied all the way through. Buying the chicken this way saved me bunch of time from having to do it myself. If you can’t find the thin cut chicken breasts at your store, you will have to butterfly your chicken breasts, it’s not hard but it just adds a little bit of time.

Cut the bigger strips into bite size pieces.

*You know if you aren’t into the whole meat thing, try substituting with strips of portobello mushrooms, peppers and other fresh ingredients! Just saute the mushrooms like you would in the step for the chicken and add the other vegetables to the sauce once it reaches a boil!

Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter to coat the pan, and then pre-heat over medium-high heat til hot, remember you wanna hear a sizzle when you chicken hits the pan.

When hot and working in batches; add the chicken and cook thoroughly until golden brown.

While the chicken is browning, trim the broccoli ends off.

And give them a good rinse.

Once the chicken is golden and brown…

You can add the sauce to the pan and bring to a boil.

Scraping the browned bits on the bottom will give it extra flavor! Let it reduce by a third.

Now I added the fresh broccoli, but if broccoli isn’t your thing you could add any fresh vegetables you like, or you could have just the chicken.

Cover and let steam for about 4 minutes.

Stir and simmer the sauce for a few minutes until broccoli is cooked to the way you like it, and sauce reduces a tad more.

Serve over top of your favorite rice and top with sliced green onions. When I took the first bite I remembered why I love this recipe so much… and that I need to make this more often!


Spicy Bourbon Chicken (Minus the Bourbon)

Quick and delicious! Spicy "bourbon" chicken minus the bourbon!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: about 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


2 pounds Chicken Breasts, sliced horrizontally (all the way through)

2 bunches or 3 Cups of Fresh Broccoli florets, rinsed

1 Garlic Clove, grated

1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger {or 1/4 teaspoon dried}

1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup Apple Juice

1/3 cup Tamari or Soy Sauce

1/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons Ketchup

1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided

1 tablespoon Butter

6 cups of Cooked Rice

3 Green Onions, sliced for garnish


Combine the grated garlic and ginger in a medium sized bowl. Next add the red pepper flakes, brown sugar, ketchup, water, apple juice, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, apple cider and tamari {or soy sauce} in with the garlic and ginger; whisk to combine and set aside.

Slice the thin chicken breasts into strips and then cube into bite size pieces.

Heat remaining olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cubed chicken and cook until lightly browned.

Once crispy and brown; pour the sauce into the pan, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom and bring to a boil.

Add broccoli florets, cover and cook until the broccoli is tender and sauce reduces, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove lid and let sauce thicken for a couple of more minutes if desired.

Serve over hot rice and garnish with sliced green onions.

NOTE: For help thickening the sauce; combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon cold water {for every cup of liquid in the pan} stir and pour into the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes to cook any starchy taste out.

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22 Responses to “Spicy Bourbon Chicken (Minus the Bourbon)”

  1. #
    nichole — April 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Looks and sounds very good. Do you think I could leave out the red pepper flakes? my son does not like spicy.

  2. #
    laurie — April 8, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I haven't ever left it out, but maybe changing it to 1/4 tsp. would make the heat less.

  3. #
    Christine — April 10, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    YUM!!!! This is on my shopping list for sure!! I might take enough out for Meredith and then add extra red flakes for us!! Looks SO good!!

  4. #
    Stacey — May 3, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    This was so yummy!!!! If I added the whiskey how much would I add?

  5. #
    wendymo — July 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Was going to make this for dinner tonight and ended up being lunch instead. The recipe was very easy and the final result was awesome. I did 1/2 tsp of the red pepper flakes and it was perfect for us. My son would eat it without the red pepper flakes. Thanks for the recipe. A keeper for sure.

  6. #
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — April 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Laurie…you seriously ALWAY have the best recipes! I have all the ingredients except for Apple Juice. I will be making this!

  7. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — April 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you Haley! 😉

  8. #
    Maggie @ Vittles and Bits — April 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Ahhhh this looks SO good!! Thanks for the tip about soy sauce, too, I honestly never thought to check the label!

  9. #
    Zoe — April 21, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I don't think I've ever seen a nicer looking photo of soy sauce before. This dish looks amazing – I can't wait to try it! 🙂

  10. #
    CarrieLovesKeith — April 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    This looks so yummy, but I actually LOVE the taste of bourbon when cooking… could you use bourbon in place of something? How much? What should I substitute it for?

  11. #
    Kita — April 23, 2011 at 1:05 am

    I bet I would love this chicken. It looks beautiful and right up our ally. Plus broccoli, that's got my name all over it.

  12. #
    Hannah — August 21, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I had to skip the apple juice and it was still delicious!

  13. #
    Gg — September 1, 2012 at 2:19 am

    My daughter and I made this for dinner and it was great. I think next time we’ll add sautéed red and green bell pepper, and maybe sliced onion. Yum!

    Thanks for the great recipe.

  14. #
    Julia W — March 4, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I made this tonight – aaaaawesome! I added diced onions & zucchini sticks & reduced the broccoli a bit. It is perfect!

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 5th, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

      Oh that sounds so yummy! Glad you liked it!

  15. #
    crystalin D — July 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    simply amazing! everyone i’ve made this for, fell in love

  16. #
    Emmy — February 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I used apple cider and tamari instead of apple juice and soy sauce.Easy and delicious! Thanks 🙂

    • simplyscratch replied: — February 23rd, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

      I’m glad Emmy! I love that you used apple cider, so smart!

  17. #
    Miranda | SlashedBeauty.com — August 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    YES!! It’s so hard to get my boyfriend to eat chicken, he usually hates it. But he continuously said “hey, this is great chicken!” while eating this dish, which is a HUGE compliment for him. Definitely adding this to the weekly rotation. I love how it utilizes mostly pantry ingredients. THANK YOU!


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