Crispy pieces of chicken in a sweet, soy, garlic, ginger and Bourbon sauce (don’t worry I’ve got a sub for the Bourbon if you don’t want alcohol).

An American food court favourite that we love to make at home. Ready in less than 25 minutes!

A tall shot of bourbon chicken in a dark grey pan, topped with spring onions and sesame seeds. There is a black spoon with a wooden handle scooping some of the chicken out of the pan. The pan is resting on a grey background with a dark blue napkin. In the top of the image you can slightly see a blue bowl of egg-fried rice.
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We first tried this at a food court in the US and I just knew we HAD to recreate it back home. I couldn’t not have that sweet, savoury, sticky goodness again!

The hint of bourbon flavour adds the perfect amount of comfort and flavour. What a good Friday Night Dinner!

📋 Ingredients

Overhead shot of the ingredients for bourbon chicken on a wooden board, placed on a white counter. On the left of the image is a blue box that has white text, listing the ingredients as follows: stock, sugar, bourbon, soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, cornflour, chicken, and oil.

Bourbon – I used Gentleman Jack in this recipe because it’s Chris’s favourite! I know it is technically classed as a Tennessee whiskey but it works just the same. If you don’t fancy the alcohol, you can replace it with an equal amount of apple juice and then add 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce.

Oil – You can use any kind of neutral oil for frying, I like to use avocado oil.

📺 Watch how to make it

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. First, mix the soy sauces and corn flour in a bowl until combined, then add in the rest of the sauce ingredients.
  2. Place the chicken in a separate bowl and coat in cornflour and seasoning.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium-high heat and cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through.
  4. Turn down the heat and add garlic and ginger, fry again.
  5. Pour over the sauce and stir to coat the chicken.
  6. Take the chicken out of the pan and cut it up into chunks, then put back into the sauce and stir to coat before serving.

The chicken thigh meat really soaks up all that flavour! This is what it looks like if you wanted to serve it without slicing the chicken:

A tall shot of the whole bourbon chicken fillets in a dark grey pan. The pan is resting on a grey background with a dark blue napkin.

and after slicing:

A tall shot of the bourbon chicken in a dark grey pan. The pan is resting on a grey background with a dark blue napkin.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Cut up the chicken filets once they are cooked and coated then stir them back in the sauce to get that food court feel!

A tall close-up shot of bourbon chicken, topped with spring onions and sesame seeds.

Mmm… so tender and flavourful!

An overhead shot of a grey plate of bourbon chicken with egg fried rice, topped with spring onions and sesame seeds. The plate has a pair of wooden chopsticks lying on it. In the top right background is another grey plate of bourbon chicken, in the top right is a dish of white sesame seeds with sesame seeds and spring onions sprinkled around it. The bottom left, below the main plate of bourbon chicken, is a dark blue napkin. This is all set on a dark blue background.

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Bourbon Chicken Recipe

Bourbon Chicken – Crispy pieces of chicken in a sweet, soy, garlic, ginger and Bourbon sauce. An American food court favourite – ready in less than 25 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese-American

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 750 g (1.65 lbs) skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets (trimmed)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger

Bourbon Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce (use low sodium if preferred)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce (use low sodium if preferred)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour cornstarch in USA
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) chicken stock (use low sodium if preferred)
  • 4 tbsp bourbon whisky replace with 4 tbsp apple juice + 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce if preferred
  • 5 tbsp light brown sugar

To Serve:

  • boiled rice or egg fried rice
  • spring onions scallions thinly sliced
  • sesame seeds
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Instructions 

  • First, make the bourbon sauce. Add the light and dark soy sauce to a small bowl or jug. Stir in the cornflour until dissolved.
    3 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp cornflour, 180 ml (3/4 cup) chicken stock, 4 tbsp bourbon whisky, 5 tbsp light brown sugar
  • Add the chicken stock, bourbon and sugar and stir together. Put to one side.
  • Place the chicken in a bowl and sprinkle on the cornflour, salt and pepper. Toss together to thoroughly coat.
    750 g (1.65 lbs) skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets, 2 tbsp cornflour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat.
    3 tbsp oil
  • Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 8-12 minutes, turning a few times during cooking, until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and ginger.
    3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp minced ginger
  • Fry for a further 30 seconds, moving everything round in the pan, using a spoon or spatula, constantly.
  • Pour in the sauce and turn the heat back up to medium-high. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken is coated, and the sauce thickens.
  • Turn off the heat, remove the chicken from the pan, roughly slice and place back in the sauce, stir to coat (slicing is optional – but I like it for that 'food hall style').
  • Serve over rice, topped with spring onions and sesame seeds.
    boiled rice or egg fried rice, spring onions, sesame seeds

Video

Notes

Nutritional information is approximate, per serving (this recipe serves 4 ), not including the serving suggestions.

Can I make it ahead?

This dish taste best cooked and served immediately, but you can make it ahead too if you prefer.
Make the whole dish, then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to a day.
Reheat in a pan over a medium heat, stirring often, until piping hot throughout – about 7-10 minutes. Place a lid on the pan to keep the heat in during reheating. It’s a good idea to add a good splash (1/4 cup or so) of hot chicken stock to help loosen up the sauce again.
The chicken also tastes great cold for lunch the next day as part of a salad or wrap.

Ingredient swaps

  • You can swap out the bourbon for 4 tbsp of apple juice + 1 tbsp of  Worcestershire sauce if preferred.
  • Chicken thighs are better at standing up to high heat cooking – like that on a griddle or BBQ – whilst staying juicy. However,  you can replace them with chicken breast pieces if you prefer. Try to ensure you don’t overcook – as the chicken may become dry. But do ensure it’s cooked throughout and no longer pink in the middle.

How to scale up and scale down this recipe

This recipe can be doubled up for a crowd or halved for two people, sticking to the same ingredient ratios.

Nutrition

Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 178mg | Sodium: 2064mg | Potassium: 547mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 46IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg

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

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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