Best Bourbon Chicken

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Best Bourbon Chicken is juicy, tender chicken thighs cut into pieces simmered in a sweet, brown sugar glaze that will melt in your mouth. Rich in flavor and served over rice for a complete meal! 

Easy to prepare and ready in minutes! For more quick chicken recipes try these Creamy Skillet Chicken Cacciatore, Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken or One Pan Honey Mustard Chicken and Veggies.

Bourbon Chicken

Need a simple dish that is going to be flavorful and demand attention?! This is it!

You will only see clean plates at your table after serving up some bourbon chicken.

My kids go crazy over this sweet, sticky chicken that tastes AMAZING!

With a  few simple ingredients you can come up with a deliciously tasting, tried and true recipe that everyone will love.

The chicken is so tender and juicy and the glaze is rich in flavor creating the perfect combination.

You can’t go wrong with this bourbon chicken that your family is going to love!

What is bourbon chicken

Bourbon chicken is a dish named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana and for the bourbon whiskey ingredient.

The dish is commonly found at Cajun-themed and Chinese restaurants.

The recipe includes soy sauce, brown sugar, and bourbon whiskey in the base, and the chicken is marinated in this sauce.

So simple to make and everyone will be asking for more!

What you need to make bourbon chicken

Think of a rich, thick, sauce with a sweet and sticky consistency all covering bites of chicken!

It is a masterpiece in the making. So simple to make and comes together in minutes.

All the ingredients are most you already have in your pantry and they are ready to go with one bowl whisked together.

I love how easy this recipe is and how much my family craves it on a weekly basis.

  • Chicken thighs: make this meat extra tender and juicy when simmered in the glaze.
  • Olive oil: adding extra flavor when cooking your chicken.
  • Bourbon: rich in flavor and cooks out when simmered with the glaze.
  • Soy Sauce: brings added flavor and a pinch of salty taste.
  • Brown Sugar: adds to the sweetness.
  • Garlic Cloves: a hint of
  • Cornstarch: coats the chicken living it a little crispy on the outside of the chicken.
  • Water: makes it a runny sauce.
  • Sliced Green Onions: garnished on top!

How to cook bourbon chicken

Simple ingredients that make a flavorful meal. It is a tried and true recipes that is a favorite!

Only a few items that you need to make this meal fantastic!

One skillet, two bowls and a side dish! So simple and easy to make on a busy weeknight.

When cooking your chicken make sure it reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The sauce comes together quickly and smoothly. It has a thick, sticky consistency that will cover all of your chicken.

Make sure to watch over your chicken as it is cooking with the sauce that it does not burn.

Just a few minutes of simmering and you have a main meal! Add rice, green beans or asparagus.

  • Cook you chicken: In a medium sized skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil and chicken. Cook until brown and no longer pink.
  • Whisk together sauce: In a small bowl whisk together bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic. Whisk together cornstarch and water and add to the sauce.
  • Combine chicken and sauce in a skillet: Pour the sauce over the chicken and simmer for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens up.
  • Make it a complete meal: Serve over rice and garnish with chopped green onions if desired.

chicken cooking in a skillet

Tips for making bourbon chicken

This bourbon chicken is all about flavor and tender, juicy chicken.

There is not a lot to change with the recipe and ingredients but you will be thanking me after you make it!

Enjoy your bourbon chicken soon!

  • I use chicken thighs but you are welcome to use chicken breast. This will help cut down on the fat content too. Chicken thighs are little more juicer though.
  • If you don’t have bourbon, whiskey, brandy or even scotch will work in place of it.
  • The alcohol from the bourbon does evaporate completely while cooking. It is safe for children to eat.
  • If you prefer not to use alcohol substitute the bourbon for apple cider
  • To make a thicker glaze, dip your chicken in a beaten egg and roll into flour. Then deep fry it for a crispier chicken.
  • If you love a little heat, add some red pepper flakes, sriracha sauce or paprika to the glaze when whisking.

a sweet and sticky glaze sauce

Is there bourbon in bourbon chicken?

Yes! Bourbon brings out the rich, flavor in the glaze. It adds so much to this chicken and gives it most of its flavor.

As the glaze is simmering, the alcohol from the bourbon will begin to reduce and over a few minutes it does evaporate.

My kids and I eat this quite often and it is safe for all of us.

If you are worried about the alcohol just substitute it for apple cider. You will still have a great taste and flavor over this chicken.

cooked chicken with glaze pouring over it

Looking for more chicken recipes? Here are some!

We love chicken in our home!

These are more tried and true recipes that are simple to make and turn out great for busy weeknight meals.

bourbon chicken over white rice and garnished with green onions

Bourbon Chicken

4.54 from 13 votes
Best Bourbon Chicken is juicy, tender chicken thighs cut into pieces simmered in a sweet, brown sugar glaze that will melt in your mouth. Rich in flavor and served over rice for a complete meal! 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 8


  • 1 pound chicken thighs or breasts cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup bourbon*
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • sliced green onions for garnish


  • In a medium sized skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil and chicken. Cook until brown and no longer pink.
  • In a small bowl whisk together bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic. Whisk together cornstarch and water and add to the sauce.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken and simmer for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens up. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped green onions if desired.


*Can substitute with apple cider.


Serves: 8

Calories194kcal (10%)Carbohydrates8g (3%)Protein11g (22%)Fat11g (17%)Saturated Fat3g (15%)Cholesterol56mg (19%)Sodium856mg (36%)Potassium161mg (5%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar7g (8%)Vitamin A44IU (1%)Vitamin C1mg (1%)Calcium15mg (2%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Caribbean
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Has anyone tried this recipe using monk fruit extract? I often substitute monk fruit and maple flavoring in place of brown sugar in recipes. do yo think this would work? We have diabetic in our family. Would you replace the volume of the brown sugar with anything? I’ve also used pea protein powder as a thicker for low carb diets in place of corn starch. The taste goes well with soups and sauces.

    1. The brown sugar is not only got flavoring, but for the glazing effect. I use monk fruit too, but I’m not sure it would work well here. I’m might use a brown sugar substitute. I plan to make the recipe as is and have that as the only carb in the meal.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband made this recipe as written. We don’t both like a recipe often and we both LOVED this! Made with rice the first night. Had leftover sauce and chicken so reheated and put over cooked pasta. Just as delicious as the first night.

  3. As far as technique I would suggest holding the water, putting the cornstarch to the side. Cutting chicken into 1 inch dice and marinating for 2 to 24 hrs. Save your marinade while cooking. Pan medium high heat, oil, sear chicken ( don’t crowd it will steam, do 2 batches if needed). Put your cooked chicken in a bowl to the side. Add desired amount of cornstarch to your remaining marinade. Drop heat add chicken and marinade together into original pan for 5 to 10 min stirring occasionally

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe was fantastic! The only changes I made were using a tablespoon of cornstarch instead of only a teaspoon and cutting the soy sauce down to 1/3 a cup instead of 1/2 a cup. I added a little cajun seasoning for heat, and my husband loved it. This is going into our regular rotation for sure!

  5. EXCELLENT! I did use low sodium soy because I don’t like super salty, red pepper flakes and an extra clove of garlic. Served with jasmine rice and broccoli. Thank you for this recipe it will be in the rotation for sure.

  6. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit with my family. Even with my son, who is autistic and only has about 3 recipes he’ll touch on a regular basis!

    I did make one alteration, and that was actually due to a mistake on my part for not checking what I had in my kitchen close enough.

    Instead of soy sauce, I used Worcestershire sauce. I did see a few comments saying that even the low-sodium soy sauce made the glaze too salty, but with the Worcestershire sauce I thought it was perfect! I know 1/2 cup is a lot of the (admittedly expensive) Worcestershire to use, but if you happen to have some extra lying around I’d definitely give it a try because it’s delicious!

  7. So awesome! I did Chicken & next salmon. I started low carb in January so i used brown sugar swerve. Definitely stocking up on Jim Beam one of my new favorite recipes.

    Thanks Dolly

  8. 5 stars
    Easy to make. Flavorful, a bit salty. Next time I would use low sodium soy and maybe reduce the amount (that is a personal preference, my kids didn’t notice, not a critique). Maybe next time I will add bacon. As hare as taste, it was great. My picky eating kids loved it, there were no leftovers. Thanks for the recipe

  9. 3 stars
    Straight forward and easy. There was a really nice amount of sauce for the amount of meat. Sauce was too salty and a little one-dimensional. Also my sauce was more runny than the picture. I made it a second time with low-sodium soy sauce and added some extra cornstarch. I also added a little over 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp black pepper, a generous teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp of onion powder, and a Tbsp of rice vinegar (I’m sure cider vinegar would be fine too). That took it to a whole new place. Next time I will cut even the low-sodium soy sauce back just a bit.

    1. 5 stars
      There are a lot of other recipes out there which add many of the ingredients you mentioned, and they do make a fairly tasty dish, but it’s simply NOT the Bourbon Chicken you will get at the mall or in New Orleans. This recipe is the closest I’d found, and the sauce is SUPPOSED to be pretty salty and pretty runny – if it’s too salty or one-dimensional, you may be putting TOO MUCH of the sauce on your chicken and rice. Try less sauce next time.

  10. 4 stars
    Used the bourbon glaze part of the recipe next time thank I will use less soy sauce came out a little salty

  11. 5 stars
    Delicious! My whole family loved it! I read the review above. I did not find it too salty, though may try a little less soy sauce the next time I make it and see if it alters the taste too much as I’m always looking to cut sodium intake.

  12. Hi Alyssa,
    I am loving your recipes, especially the Asian inspired. Last week I made your easy fried rice and the sweet & sour chicken. Both were amazing! I did use tempura because I didn’t have corn starch… but I’m ready now!

    In this recipe you mentioned ginger early on but it’s not in the ingredients… can you clarify for me?

    Your newest fan,
    Laura in Maine

      1. 5 stars
        Coconut Aminos is a great soy sauce sub. that makes this way less salty but still super delicious!

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