This easy bourbon chicken recipe is sweet and sticky with lots of tender, juicy chicken enveloped in a tangy, slightly spicy sauce. Instructions for 30 minutes on top of the stove or 8 hours in the slow cooker included. It's the best busy weeknight meal idea ever!
For this recipe you'll need: boneless chicken, cornstarch, salt, pepper, coconut oil, garlic, chicken stock, orange marmalade, bourbon (or ginger ale if you prefer), soy sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, onion powder, ground ginger, crushed red pepper
What Is Bourbon Chicken?
Bourbon chicken is a popular fast food item at most mall food courts that's very similar to brown sugar chicken - but more casual.. Although the recipe has Asian flavors it's definitely a purely American dish created in a New Orleans eatery. Boneless chicken is tossed in a seasoned coating then pan fried to give it color and flavor before it's simmered in a thick, sweet-tangy-spicy sauce that's lightly flavored with orange.
Serve it with rice or noodles for quick and easy mall food at home!
Who Doesn't Like Food Court Fare?
With three daughters and a couple of granddaughters in my life it's no secret to anyone that I like to shop. Living just outside of Dallas means that the opportunity to do so presents itself... often.
There's just something about taking a day off to head to the mall with one (or more) of the girls and adding to my shoe collection that's the perfect shopping therapy. Then, as much as I like a good restaurant, the lure of the food court and all of that disgustingly processed but oh-so-yummy fast food always gets to me.
I swear I black out and when I come to my senses I'm standing in front of one of the vendors pushing my credit card into their hands, my mouth full of lo mein, meatball sandwich, or bourbon chicken.
Learning to make Bourbon Chicken at home was life changing and diet challenging!
Tips for the Perfect Food Court Copycat Bourbon Chicken
This is better than any Bourbon Chicken that I've had anywhere. The flavor will change a little depending on the brand of bourbon you use and the brand of ginger ale if you use that instead. I'd suggest something really strong like the Jamaican Ginger Beer.
This has the best texture the first day but it's pretty darn amazing on the second day as well!
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for juicier, more tender chicken.
- If you like it extra spicy add some hot sauce and be sure to use spicy ketchup.
- The sauce does thicken as it stands so don't worry if it seems a little thin when you first remove it from heat.
- You can make this Bourbon Chicken recipe ahead of time - just store it in an airtight container for up to 4 days or store it in the freezer for up to a month.
- You can also dredge the chicken in cornstarch, dip in egg, then roll in crushed cornflakes and deep fry before adding to the sauce just before serving. It makes it extra crispy!
- Cubed boneless pork works in this recipe, too!!
How to Make This Bourbon Chicken Recipe in a Crockpot
Crockpot bourbon chicken is an easy adaption of the original recipe. I like it best when it's made on top of the stove but it works fine in a slow cooker for those days when you don't even have 30 minutes to spare.
Just add the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low. Just before serving remove the sauce and boil it to reduce it until thickened - or mix with some cornstarch and simmer til thick.
Bourbon Chicken Recipe FAQs
I think ginger ale is a great substitute for bourbon in chicken recipes. other possibilities are apple juice or pineapple juice.
Who invented bourbon chicken?
It's not an Asian dish, although it definitely has an Asian flavor to it. Bourbon chicken was actually invented on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Sure! This easy recipe recipe works well with chicken, tofu, tempeh, pork, and I even like it with beef.
More Easy Weeknight Recipes
- King Ranch Chicken takes about 20 minutes and it is pure, carb loaded comfort.
- Diner Style Hot Turkey Sandwich is one of my favorite memories of childhood! We'd eat these at the counter in the diner sitting on big, chrome, twirly topped stools.
- Dr Pepper Sticky Chicken is a similar dish but with fewer ingredients and Dr Pepper flavor.
- Deviled Chicken is an old fashioned favorite that's sort of like a cross between fried chicken and bbq chicken.
You May Need...
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Call me crazy but I wouldn't make this recipe without my Whataburger Spicy Ketchup!!! You can taste the difference.
Easy Bourbon Chicken Recipe
Serve this copycat mall favorite with rice or noodles - it's even more addictive than the stuff at the food court! The biggest secret to making this successfully is to use a heavy pan - I use my big cast iron skillet. The Honey Garlic Meatballs are very similar in flavor to this recipe but made with ground beef.
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars!
- 3 pounds chicken, boneless skinless - breast or thigh
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, or light vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ⅓ cup orange marmalade, , or apple jelly
- ¼ cup bourbon, or ginger ale if you prefer not to use alcohol
- ⅔ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup ketchup, spicy ketchup preferred
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
- Cut the raw chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Pat dry.
- Add it to the cornstarch mixture and toss until coated on all sides.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a heavy skillet on medium high heat. I use cast iron.
- Heat the oil until it shimmers then add about half the chicken pieces.
- Cook for 3 minutes without stirring.
- Turn carefully and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Remove from the pan.
- Add more oil if needed and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Remove chicken to a platter and keep warm.
- Add the chopped garlic and saute for just a few seconds.
- Add the chicken stock, orange marmalade, bourbon, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, onion powder, ground ginger, and red pepper flakes.
- Bring to a boil.
- Carefully spoon the chicken back into the pan.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and thick, stirring often.
- If you need it thicker add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of water and stir into the sauce.
- Cook until the sauce is thick.
- Serve immediately over noodles or rice.