Bourbon Chicken

An easy classic bourbon chicken recipe that your family will love. Serve over rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.

I’m desperately trying to get back into the swing of things after our mini-vacation. Right before I left I tested two recipes that flopped leaving me with nothing to share while I was gone and zilch when I came back. Wah-wah-wahhhh. So today I thought I would dig deep and share this scrumptious recipe from way back when. I first posted this recipe in April of 2010, 6 years ago….what? How in the world has it been 6 years already? Anyhoo it’s SOOOO good and can be easily made any night of the week. Thank you for being so patient with me as I get my head out of the clouds, fight the gambling withdrawal and stock my fridge and wash piles of laundry.

I love this recipe.

My family loves this recipe.

And in turn, I think you’ll love this recipe.

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My first taste of bourbon chicken was, you guessed it, at the mall. Briefly in my teens, I worked at a Dippin’ Dots (the ice cream of the future!;)) stand right near our food court, aptly named ‘The Picnic”. That mall has since closed and locked its doors but when I worked there, the smell coming from this certain restaurant (what was it called??) would always waft its way right on into my nostrils. It happened so often that one day I caved in and finally ordered it.  A little sweet, a smidgen spicy… it really was love at first bite.

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Fast forward a few years when one can use the internet  to Google search “bourbon chicken” and make it at home. Over the past few years I’ve made some alterations; cutting certain ingredients out, scaling down the sugar-turning it into a more family friendly meal. The smell of this cooking and that glossy amber sauce kills me (the good kind!) every single time and is always a winner in my house.

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In a medium bowl add the teaspoon of grated ginger, 3 cloves of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon 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.

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Next throw in the dark brown sugar and ketchup.

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Then pour in apple juice, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar.

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Whisk well then just set aside.

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Dice 2 pounds of thin-cut, boneless, skinless chicken breasts into large bite-size pieces.

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Add a teaspoon of oil and then pre-heat over medium-high heat until hot, remember you wanna hear a sizzle when you chicken hits the pan.

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

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Transfer the chicken to a bowl and repeat, adding a teaspoon more oil to the pan as needed.

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Once all of the chicken is golden brown, place all of it back to the hot pan and pour in the sauce.

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Increase the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil…

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…before pouring in the cornstarch slurry.

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Let the sauce bubble until it has thickened and is glossy.

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I always serve this saucy bourbon chicken over top of basmati or jasmine rice with roasted broccoli and top it with sliced green onions… and sometimes I scatter toasted sesame seeds over top for some crunch.

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So good and a million times better than the mall food.


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My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Bourbon Chicken

My family loves this slightly spicy "bourbon" chicken (minus the bourbon). I serve it over basmati or jasmine rice with roasted broccoli. It's a quick and delicious meal!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: about 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


3 cloves of garlic, squeezed through a garlic press or minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup apple juice (good quality)

1/3 cup low sodium tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 pounds thin-cut boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

kosher salt

white pepper

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon olive oil

double cornstarch slurry (2 (additional) tablespoons cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons water- stir to combine)


cooked basmati or jasmine rice

roasted broccoli

sliced green onions, for garnish


In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, ketchup, chicken broth, apple juice, apple cider and tamari. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In a medium bowl toss chicken with a generous pinch of kosher salt, white pepper and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Heat a teaspoon of oil large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, work in batches cooking the chicken until golden browned on all sides. Transfer cooked chicken to a bowl and repeat, adding a teaspoon more oil as needed.

Once all the chicken has been cooked, add it all back to the pan and pour the sauce into the pan.Bring to a boil and then pour in the cornstarch slurry.

Stir and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy.

Serve over hot rice, with roasted broccoli and garnish with sliced green onions.

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26 Responses to “Bourbon Chicken”

  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 | — 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!

  18. #
    Jennifer S — August 16, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    One of our favs from you – helps me keeping it fun while feeding my husband and 2 young boys (who love it!).

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — August 17th, 2016 @ 10:57 am

      I’m so glad Jennifer! <3

  19. #
    Ryan — November 7, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    So in your walk through you say to add water and olive oil, but there isn’t an amount of water in the ingredients list nor is the water addition in the full blown instructions. Can you clarify this please?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — November 7th, 2017 @ 9:19 pm

      Hi Ryan! Sorry for the confusion. The written instructions are correct. I’ve made this recipe countless times and edited the written instructions a while ago and must have forgotten to update the step-by-step. Thanks for the heads up and enjoy!


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