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pile of bourbon chicken served over rice
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5 from 14 votes

Easy Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon chicken is made in just 30 minutes, and you’ll have a weeknight dinner the whole family will love!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: bourbon chicken recipe, bourbon street chicken
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 484kcal



  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil (canola or peanut are good substitutes) divided
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (3/4 tsp dried ginger can be substituted)


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp apple juice
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar is a good substitute)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Slurry (to thicken sauce)

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water


  • In a mixing bowl, add chicken pieces, salt, pepper, and cornstarch.  Toss to combine well.
  • Combine sauce ingredients in a separate mixing bowl, whisking well.  Set aside.

Sear chicken

  • To a large skillet, add 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil and heat over MED HIGH heat.  Once hot, add half the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes, without stirring. 
  • Flip chicken over or stir and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Remove chicken to a plate, and repeat with remaining oil and chicken.  Remove second batch of chicken to plate.

Make the sauce

  • To same skillet, add garlic and ginger and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Pour in the sauce you whisked together already.  Bring to a low boil, then add chicken back to skillet, stir, reduce heat to MED LOW and simmer for about 7-10 minutes until sauce is thickening and reducing.

Add slurry

  • Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth, then stir in to the skillet.
  • Cook another few minutes, until sauce is thickened to your liking and coats the back of a spoon.


  • Serve immediately, with white rice and garnished with sliced green onions and sprinkle of sesame seeds.


  • Leftover chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


  1. If you like chicken thighs, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs and slice them into the same sized pieces as directed in the recipe.
  2. Bourbon is an essential part of this recipe, so I don't recommend substituting it unless you truly have to. The alcohol content of the bourbon is cooked off when you cook the sauce, and it concentrates down into a rich amazing flavor. If you don't have bourbon, regular whiskey will work as well, or you can add an additional 1/4 cup of apple juice instead of the bourbon (but this will change the flavor).
  3. You can also freeze this bourbon chicken!  Let the chicken and sauce cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container.  Freeze for up to 3 months.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  1. Cook chicken pieces as directed (although I'd recommend using chicken thighs instead - they'll be juicier)), then add to slow cooker.
  2. Divide all sauce ingredients in half (since they won't be able to simmer and cook down in the slow cooker), and pour on top of chicken pieces.
  3. Stir, cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.
  4. Add the slurry to the slow cooker and increase heat to HIGH, cooking uncovered for about 20-30 minutes.  Stir often.
  5. If you need or want to cook the chicken longer, you can cook whole boneless skinless chicken breasts on LOW for 6-8 hours, although this will likely be a shredded sesame chicken.

Instant Pot Instructions:

  1. Omit cornstarch from chicken.  Add cubed chicken, salt, pepper, and all sauce ingredients to the Instant Pot, stirring to combine.
  2. Secure lid, making sure the valve is set to “sealing”. Select manual or pressure cook and use the +/- buttons to set it to 3 minutes.
  3. Once pressure cooking is finished, turn the valve to “venting” to perform a quick pressure release.
  4. Open lid and select “saute”.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir into chicken and sauce. Continue cooking, stirring with a wooden spoon until sauce is thickened to your liking. This usually takes me about 2-3 minutes.


Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1508mg | Potassium: 799mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 137IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg