Bourbon Chicken

I (Lisa) used to love getting bourbon chicken whenever we went to a shopping mall so when mommy came across this recipe, we had to try it out so we could see if it outdid the mall-version !


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar (we used 1 packed cup of light brown sugar)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce (we used low-sodium soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup bourbon liquor (we used Jim Beam)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup apple juice (we used Tree Top 3 Apple Blend)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Take a large, heavy-bottomed pot out (we used a Dutch oven) and pour the oil in, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot, toss the chicken in and cook until the chicken looks golden* on all sides. Take the chicken out and place it in a bowl for now.
  2. In the same pot you had the chicken in earlier, add in the following ingredients, stirring to combine: water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, bourbon, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes. After everything’s mixed together, scrape the bottom so any browned bits get mixed in as well.
  3. Toss the chicken back into the pot and wait for the liquid to come to a boil. Turn the heat down so it’s at a simmer and let the dish cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Make a smooth slurry by mixing the cornstarch and apple juice together until there’s no clumps of cornstarch remaining. Mix the slurry into the chicken and sauce and let it thicken for a few extra minutes. Serve with white rice.

Serves 4.

*When we added our chicken in, the chicken just turned white, there was no golden appearance on it all. When we saw the chicken was close to, or was fully cooked, we just pulled it out rather than wait to see if it’d get golden at all. Looking back, we think we should’ve added the chicken in batches rather than adding it in all at once to ensure the chicken had a chance of being seared.


To be honest, it’s been years since having bourbon chicken. Feels like all I can remember was that it tasted really good but nothing specifically about the flavors themselves. So whether or not this is what bourbon chicken from the mall is supposed to taste like, it tastes really good ! There were no leftovers when we made this. It’s definitely got a sweet flavor but there’s also a pleasant level of heat to it. We were expecting it to be a lot spicer since it had a whole tablespoon of red pepper flakes in it but instead, it was just enough to notice, but not so strong that you needed something to drink afterwards.

Recipe source unknown.

We weren’t paid in any form to mention Jim Beam or Tree Top.

Take care everybody !

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