Bourbon Chicken

5 from 12 votes
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Bourbon Chicken is an American-Chinese classic and found in strip malls and food courts everywhere! The sweet, savory glaze over the stir fried chicken is absolutely mouth-watering and so easy to make at home! The best part is that it’s done in 30 minutes for a delicious, easy dinner any day of the week.

Bourbon Chicken in a bowl next to rice

Watch the Bourbon Chicken Recipe Video Below!

Ingredients

This Bourbon Chicken is exactly like take out! The tender pieces are so delicious and tossed in a sweet and tangy bourbon sauce. Here is what you’ll need:

  • For the Chicken:
    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 tablespoon avocado oil 15 ml
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 30 ml
    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 2 g
    • 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine 7 ml
    • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch 4 g
  • For the Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 30 ml
    • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce 5 ml
    • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar 5 ml
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 39 g
    • 1/2 cup warm chicken stock or water 120 ml
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 1 g
    • 2 tablespoons bourbon 30 ml, divided in half
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 8 g
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil 5 ml
  • Aromatics
    • 1 slice ginger 1/4 inch (0.6cm) thick and smashed with knife or cleave
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 scallion chopped
Bourbon Chicken cooking in a pan

Where did Bourbon Chicken come from?

Bourbon chicken, a beloved American-Chinese dish, has a history that can be traced back to the 1970s in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although its origins are somewhat unclear, it is widely believed that the dish was named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, famous for its lively atmosphere and street food. Bourbon chicken is characterized by tender pieces of chicken cooked in a sweet and savory sauce made with ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, and bourbon whiskey. Over the years, it has become a staple in American mall food courts and Chinese-American restaurants, enjoyed for its rich, flavorful glaze that combines elements of Chinese-American and Southern cuisines. Today, bourbon chicken remains a popular comfort food with a unique blend of flavors that reflects the culinary diversity of the United States.

Can I substitute the protein?

Traditionally, Bourbon Chicken is made with Chicken thigh, but you can easily substitute it for chicken breast, pork loin, or strip steak.

Tips for the BEST Bourbon Chicken:

  1. Quality Ingredients: Start with high-quality chicken, preferably boneless, skinless chicken thighs, as they are more flavorful and tender. Use real bourbon whiskey for the sauce, as it can significantly enhance the dish’s flavor.
  2. Marinate for Flavor: Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 15 minutes to infuse it with the sweet and savory flavors of the marinade.
  3. Hot, Quick Cooking: Use a hot skillet or wok for stir-frying the chicken. High heat helps to sear the chicken quickly, keeping it juicy. Don’t overcook the chicken; it should be tender and slightly caramelized.
  4. Thicken the Sauce: Do not skip the cornstarch in the sauce! It is key to thickening the sauce and give it the glossy finish that is so delicious!
  5. Garnish Creatively: Garnish your bourbon chicken with sesame seeds, chopped green onions, or fresh cilantro. These additions not only add visual appeal but also fresh flavors that complement the dish.

If you liked this Bourbon Chicken recipe, check out some of the most popular recipes on the blog! Please consider leaving a review and letting me know your thoughts about the recipe. It really helps out the blog!

Bourbon Chicken close up plated with rice
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5 from 12 votes

Bourbon Chicken

Servings: 4
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Bourbon Chicken close up plated with rice
Bourbon Chicken is an American-Chinese classic and found in strip malls and food courts everywhere! The sweet, savory glaze over the stir fried chicken is absolutely mouth-watering and so easy to make at home! The best part is that it's done in 30 minutes for a delicious, easy dinner any day of the week.

Ingredients 

For the Chicken:

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 30 ml
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 5 ml
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 5 ml
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 39 g
  • 1/2 cup warm chicken stock or water, 120 ml
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, 1 g
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon, 30 ml, divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 8 g
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 5 ml

Aromatics

  • 1 slice ginger, 1/4 inch (0.6cm) thick and smashed with knife or cleave
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, chopped

Instructions 

  • Marinate the chicken with soy sauce, white pepper, Shaoxing wine, avocado oil and cornstarch. Mix until incorporated and marinate for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients by combining the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, dark brown sugar, chicken stock or water, bourbon, sesame oil and white pepper and set aside.
  • Heat ¼ cup of neutral oil in a wok or large frying pan on high heat until smoking, then add half of the chicken to the pan. Let the chicken sear on one side for 1 minute, then flip and sear the other side until all sides are golden brown. Remove and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  • Bring the wok or pan to medium heat and immediately add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Stir in the bourbon to deglaze the wok, and let cook for 30 seconds to allow the alcohol to cook off, leaving the flavor behind. Next, add the sauce and heat over medium high until bubbling and thickened. The consistency should be able to coat the back of a spoon. Add the chicken and toss it in the sauce until fully coated.
  • Stir fry for another minute and garnish with scallions. Serve with freshly steamed rice and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 121kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 1009mgPotassium: 68mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 30IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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5 Comments

  1. Hi CJ! I am loving all of your recipes and I can’t wait to try your Bourbon Chicken! What bourbon do you recommend? Do you prefer bourbon or a bourbon whiskey?

    1. Hi Brooke! A bourbon whiskey is best for this recipe like Jim Beam, which I find to be pretty affordable. Let me know how it turns out!

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you CJ! This is helpful, and I cannot wait to try it! Looks so yummy! We made your copycat Panda Express Chow Mein last night and loved it! Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    One of my friends loves bourbon chicken and I made this recipe for them. They loved it. They said it’s even better then the original. We loved this recipe.