I'll admit, my first experience with bourbon chicken was at a Las Vegas buffet. The Main Street Buffet, in fact. Sure, it wasn't exactly like this bourbon chicken recipe, but it was similar and showed me how you can make this recipe at home. I love takeout food at home, and this recipe brings most of those favorite flavors to life in your own kitchen. It's ideal for a fast weeknight dish that takes ordinary chicken and makes it extraordinary in minutes!
Bourbon Chicken Recipe
Sometimes you just need a fast and easy recipe in your arsenal for those nights when everyone is hungry but you want to avoid ordering out. 30-minute meals like this one make it so much easier to manage. You'll feel like a complete kitchen rock star and won't have to make a huge effort. That's what I love! Especially when it means I have made something from scratch rather than ordering out and eating something loaded with preservatives.
Does Bourbon Chicken Have Alcohol?
Most recipes, including this one, for bourbon chicken, do contain alcohol. Bourbon is similar to whiskey but is slightly different in that bourbon mash must contain at least 51% corn. Additionally, it is 160 proof or less, they must be stored in charred new oak barrels at 125 proof or less and cannot contain any additives. This little bit of history helps you understand more about bourbon versus whiskey, but to a non-drinker like myself, is a foreign language. Perhaps it will help you, however, to understand more about what is going into your recipes.
Is Bourbon Chicken Kid Safe?
There is a lot of debate regarding foods that include alcohol. Generally speaking, if the alcohol is cooked for any period of time, most people have no problem with it being served to children. It is commonly said that "alcohol cooks off". While this isn't entirely true, it does lessen the effects and thus makes it safer for kids.
When you simmer alcohol for 15 minutes, only 40% of the alcohol is cooked off (on average). So, in this recipe, while not all alcohol remains, you are safe to presume that some are still existent after it comes to a boil then simmers. While most individuals would serve bourbon chicken to children with no concerns, keep this in mind when considering serving to your family. You may also want to consider that not only is the alcohol lowered when cooking, but it's also divided among the servings. That's not much more than 1 tablespoon alcohol per serving, and cut in half as far as strength, it lowers significantly.
What Can I Substitute for Bourbon?
If you are like me and don't drink alcohol, you may not have bourbon on hand for this recipe. There are many reasons alcohol may be off-limits, and that means you need a substitute. For this recipe, I like to use sparkling apple cider or sparkling grape juice. While not exactly the same, it still gives you the nice rich flavor that you want. You'll love the flavor with this as a substitute just as much as if made with actual bourbon.
What Goes with Bourbon Chicken?
Typically my family likes this with a batch of rice and some steamed or stir-fried vegetables. That seems to be the most traditional, but you could really serve this with anything you prefer including potatoes or pasta. Of course, nice roasted asparagus or some stir-fried vegetables would also fit perfectly with this recipe.
Homemade fried rice is a nice choice to go alongside this chicken for a little more satisfying meal. While not traditional, you could potentially serve it with something like this spicy garlic pasta. It's just mild enough to not compete with the flavors but also has enough flavor to add to the meal. If you want, you could even add a bowl of this homemade egg drop soup to start your meal.
- Chicken breasts
- Black pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Apple juice
- Soy sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground ginger
- Red pepper flakes
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds
How to Make Bourbon Chicken
Cut the chicken breasts into 1" pieces and place in a large bowl.
To the chicken, add cornstarch, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the oil and once hot, add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring until the chicken is just browned. The chicken will not be cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch then add to the waiting skillet.
The cornstarch slurry, add the apple juice, bourbon, soy sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, and red pepper flakes then stir to combine.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then add the chicken back to the skillet.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
Serve over rice with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions.
More Recipes You'll Love
If you enjoyed this recipe than you'll love some of my other favorite dinner ideas. There are tons of flavors you can add to your menu with little effort. Whether you have 30-minutes or an hour to prepare dinner, below are some delightful recipes featuring some of my favorite flavors.
- 30 Delicious Soup and Stew Recipes
- Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Fresh Herbs & Flaky Crust
- Homestyle Baked Chicken Paprikash Recipe
- Savory Authentic Peanut Chicken Curry Recipe
Every home cook needs the right tools to be successful. One of my favorite tools is the nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid. It makes preparing dishes like this easier and with much less mess. This is really important, especially when you have sticky sauces that could otherwise create a stuck-on mess in your favorite skillet.
- 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup apple juice
- ½ cup bourbon
- ⅔ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 green onions, diced
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1" pieces and place in a large bowl.
- To the chicken, add cornstarch, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the oil and once hot, add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring until the chicken is just browned. The chicken will not be cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch then add to the waiting skillet.
- The cornstarch slurry, add the apple juice, bourbon, soy sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, and red pepper flakes then stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then add the chicken back to the skillet.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve over rice with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions.
Substitute chicken thighs if preferred.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 459Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 1431mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 50g