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Easy Stovetop Bourbon Chicken

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Easy bourbon chicken made on the stovetop, in one pot, is sweet, sticky and perfect over a bed of rice. Like the mall but better!

closeup of bourbon chicken over white rice

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My crockpot bourbon chicken has been one of my most popular recipes for years. I also have a bourbon chicken with roasted potatoes recipe too, but as many (many, many) of you have pointed out over the years, neither of those actually have bourbon in them.

Bourbon chicken is named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans so many of this recipes don’t actually include bourbon as an ingredient, but this one does.

This easy bourbon chicken recipe is made on the stovetop and will be ready in just about 30 minutes. I love serving it over rice with a side of roasted zucchini, oven roasted green beans, or roasted carrots.

large plate of bourbon chicken over white rice

WHAT DOES BOURBON SAUCE HAVE IN IT?

Each cook and restaurant will have a slightly different recipe, but each generally has a sugar for sweetness, an acid (vinegar), and seasonings.

INGREDIENTS

There are quite a few ingredients in this dish to make the sauce, but they’re everyday ingredients that you likely have in your pantry.

  • Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken breasts. You can also use thighs, if that’s what you prefer.
  • Corn Starch – Used both to bread the chicken and to make a slurry to thicken the sauce.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oil – You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or olive oil (my choice).
  • Garlic – Fresh cloves or minced.
  • Soy Sauce – I usually opt for low sodium soy sauce but regular works.
  • Apple Juice – To help sweeten the sauce.
  • Chicken Broth – To add flavor to the sauce.
  • Ketchup – Another base of the sauce.
  • Bourbon – With a smoky caramel flavor, bourbon adds to the sweet & savory sauce.
  • Vinegar – White vinegar for balance in the sauce.
  • Brown Sugar – To sweeten the sauce.
  • Ground Ginger – Popular in stir-frys, it adds great flavor.
  • Onion Powder – Onion flavor without having to dice onions. I’m in.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Optional, but adds a nice kick in contrast to the sweetness.
overhead shot of ingredients laid out to make bourbon chicken

TOOLS FOUND ON AMAZON TO HELP YOU

  • Santoku Knife – A high quality knife makes cutting chicken so easy.
  • Large Skillet – I’ve had this skillet for a few years & am happy with it.
  • Tongs – I use tongs for everything in the kitchen and they are great for flipping chicken while it’s cooking.

HOW TO MAKE BOURBON CHICKEN

STEP ONE: To a large skillet, heat oil and add 1″ pieces of chicken. Cook for 3 minutes, flip, then cook another 3 minutes. If your skillet doesn’t fit all of the chicken at once, cook it in two batches. Remove the chicken and set aside.

STEP TWO: Add the garlic to the skillet and saute then add the water, soy sauce, apple juice, chicken broth, ketchup, bourbon, vinegar, brown sugar, ground ginger, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

STEP THREE: Once boiling, reduce heat to low and add the chicken back to the sauce. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until sauce has reduced in half.

STEP FOUR: To thicken the sauce, make a slurry in a small bowl by adding 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1-2 tablespoons of water. Mix, then pour into the sauce.

Serve over white or brown rice.

collage of making bourbon chicken in a skillet

DOES BOURBON CHICKEN HAVE ALCOHOL IN IN?

As I mentioned, this recipe does have actual bourbon in it. It cooks off as you’re reducing the sauce though so nobody is getting tipsy off the bourbon. It’s perfectly safe for kids.

WHAT CAN I SUBSTITUTE FOR BOURBON IN THIS CHICKEN?

If you’d rather not use bourbon (or just don’t have any on hand), you can replace it with more apple juice.

bourbon chicken in a skillet next to a bowl of white rice

HOW TO STORE IT

Store leftovers covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

NEED MORE EASY CHICKEN RECIPES? TRY THESE:

Air Fryer Sticky Chicken Thighs
Chicken & Broccoli
One Pan Chicken & Asparagus

Click to view my full collection of chicken recipes.

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boubon chicken in chopsticks with title text overlay
closeup of bourbon chicken over white rice

Easy Bourbon Chicken

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
Easy bourbon chicken made on the stovetop, in one pot, is sweet, sticky and perfect over a bed of rice. Like the mall but better!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 6 servings
Calories 573 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 tablespoons corn starch divided
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil or canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • ¼-1/3 cup bourbon 1/4 cup for a light bourbon flavor or 1/3 cup for a little stronger bourbon flavor
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional

Instructions
 

  • Trim any fat off of the chicken and cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons of the corn starch with the salt and pepper; add the chicken and toss well to completely coat.
  • In a large skillet or pot, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add half of the chicken pieces and cook on one side without stirring for 3 minutes. Turn each piece of chicken and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and set aside. Add the remaining half of the oil to the skillet, then add the remaining pieces of uncooked chicken. Cook the chicken on one side without stirring for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for 20-30 seconds until fragrant. To the skillet add the water, soy sauce, apple juice, chicken broth, ketchup, bourbon, vinegar, brown sugar, ground ginger, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken to the sauce. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half.
  • Optional: Make a slurry to thicken the sauce by mixing the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl, then adding to the sauce and stirring to thicken.
  • Serve the bourbon chicken hot over steamed rice.

Notes

To reduce sodium, use low sodium soy sauce and low sodium chicken broth.
If you’d rather not use bourbon, you can replace it with additional apple juice.
Store covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 573kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 50gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1418mgPotassium: 1030mgFiber: 1gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 186IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  1. Rochelle says

    5 stars
    This is perfect! Great combo of sweet/ spicy. My husband and I both loved it. The method for coating/cooking the chicken will be useful in about a million other things, so thanks for that! For the record, I used about 1 lb of chicken and adjusted the sauce to 3 servings, which gave me the best measurements to follow for the other ingredients and was just the right amount of sauce for us. If it helps anyone, .17 cups is just under 3 tablespoons. I used 3 tablespoons for anything that adjusted to that amount.

    • Melissa Williams says

      So happy to hear that & yes – reviews like this are super helpful to others & make my day =)

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