Bourbon Chicken recipe

This Bourbon Chicken is tender, moist, and full of flavor and so simple to prepare! I’ve been testing this recipe for 20 years exactly now, and it was time for a refresher on this recipe! It is my new fav thing!

One of the things that we absolutely love is that it’s so easy to spice it up or take it down a few notches depending on who you will be sharing your meal with. 

a photo of juicy flavorful bourbon chicken with a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

There was a great bourbon chicken, hold your breath, at the Washington Square Mall when I was in high school. I know, mall food. Can you even believe that I said that?! It’s completely ridiculous, and if I went back I’d probably be a bit disappointed now that my palate has evolved. Or, at least I hope that it has! And this sauce isn’t exactly like the one from the mall, it’s even better!

And I won’t even tell you about Hot Dog on a Stick. Or should I say…the cheese on a stick. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous. That one I’m still tempted to make a homemade version though…

This chicken is sweet and sticky and made with tender and flavorful chicken thighs. You start by browning the chicken on the stove top with a simple dry rub and then it finishes cooking in the oven in the sauce. Here is what you will need:


  • Chicken Thighs – boneless and skinless thighs, you can also use chicken breasts if you prefer
  • Salt – adds flavor
  • Garlic Powder – adds flavor
  • Onion Powder – adds flavor
  • Pepper – chicken should just always be seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Olive Oil – gives the chicken a good sear and keeps it from sticking to the pan


  • Garlic Powder – paired with the ginger, it is that essential Chinese food flavor combo
  • Ground Ginger – it’s very fine and blends into the sauce beautifully
  • Apple Cider – adds richness, tang and a fruitiness
  • Water – thins out the sauce some
  • Brown Sugar – adds the perfect sweetness to the sauce
  • Rice Vinegar – gives the sauce a nice tang
  • Soy Sauce – I prefer to use low sodium to better control the saltiness of the salt.

The complete recipe with all the measurements can be found in the recipe card down at the end of the post. You can also save and/or print the recipe from there.

a photo of a shallow white bowl full of sticky bourbon chicken and a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

Does Bourbon Chicken Contain Bourbon?

It can if you want it to, but bourbon chicken is actually named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, so no need to buy any bourbon at all. If you want to add bourbon, just swap it for half of the apple cider.

How Can I Make this Spicier?

If you want to add more heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a squeeze of sriracha. You have complete control of how spicy you make it.


a photo of chopped up chicken thighs covered in a dark brown sticky sauce.

Is Bourbon Chicken Gluten Free?

Yes, bourbon chicken can be gluten free as long as you are sure to use gluten free soy sauce. A lot of soy sauces do contain gluten so just check the ingredients. You could also substitute tamari or liquid aminos for the soy sauce.

What to Serve with Bourbon Chicken?

We prefer to have this chicken over steamed rice or with a side of fried rice. Then we will do a vegetable or two, like sauteed snap peas or grilled asparagus.

a photo of a dinner plate full of bite size chicken pieces covered in a sticky sauce accompanied by a side of brown rice and sauteed mixed vegetables.

How to Make Bourbon Chicken in the Crockpot

I honestly don’t think it tastes as good, but you can make this recipe in the slow cooker. Brown the chicken first just like it states in the instructions. Pour the sauce into the crockpot and add the chicken. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5.

How Long Will Cooked Chicken Keep?

Cooked chicken can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Chicken should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. Chicken should be stored covered.

a photo of a shallow white bowl sitting on a charcoal charger full of sticky bourbon chicken and a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

You don’t have to go to the malls to get that bourbon chicken you remember eating with friends in high school! Now you can make this classic take-out food totally from scratch at home! Enjoy!

More Easy Asian Chicken Recipes to Try:

a photo of juicy flavorful bourbon chicken with a side of brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Resting Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs boneless/skinless
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Cider
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar light
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce

For the Chicken

  • Mix the seasoning for the chicken together and sprinkle evenly, front and back of the chicken. Heat oil in a large skillet or heat a grill to high heat. Drizzle a little oil on each side of the chicken.

  • Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Add chicken to the hot pan or grill, and after a minute or two of browning, turn to medium heat and cook 3-5 minutes per side

  • Remove chicken from pan and place in the oven safe skillet with the sauce. You can move everything to an oven safe dish if needed.

  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board for 5 minutes, draped in foil, then chop the chicken, throw it back in the sauce and serve with rice.

We served this with brown rice and steamed broccoli. I think next time I will use a little less crushed red pepper because I like it a little less spicy, but it was such a great flavor. We will be making this one again for sure!

Nutrition Facts

Bourbon Chicken

Amount Per Serving (1 g)

Calories 652
Calories from Fat 369

% Daily Value*

Fat 41g63%

Saturated Fat 11g69%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 8g

Monounsaturated Fat 18g

Cholesterol 222mg74%

Sodium 1054mg46%

Potassium 569mg16%

Carbohydrates 31g10%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 29g32%

Protein 38g76%

Vitamin A 179IU4%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 49mg5%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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