Bourbon Chicken – Life Above the Cafe

Bourbon Chicken

Minus the booze, but not the flavor
Chunky Guacamole
Strawberry Pie
Blueberry Muffins
Copycat Jiffy Corn Muffins
Air Fryer Beef & Potato Flautas
Chicken Vegetable Lo Mein
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Side Dishes
Fiesta Chicken Soup
Watermelon Blueberry Salad
Homemade BBQ Sauce
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadillas
Tractor Pink Umbrella

Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon Chicken
Apr 28, 2020




10 mins.



If you are looking for a dinner that’s sure to please the Chinese food fans in your house, then look no further than this Bourbon Chicken recipe.

I first tried this recipe about 15 years ago, when we were living abroad and I was looking for a way to recreate the flavor of one of our favorite mall food court dishes. Obviously it’s not the exact recipe that the mall restaurants use for Bourbon Chicken, but it’s pretty close. I’m sure that the food court restaurants add MSG or way more sugar than my recipe does, so I’ll stick with the version I have.

This Bourbon Chicken recipe doesn’t use actual bourbon because we don’t keep bourbon in our house. The similar flavor comes from apple juice. If you’re a bourbon drinker and have a bottle hanging out then substitute the apple juice for bourbon.

When my kids were younger, they loved this meal so much that we usually had Bourbon Chicken at least twice a month. There are multiple ways to make this dish. I’ve prepped it the night before, let it marinate in a bowl, and then baked it in a casserole dish in the oven. I’ve also walked in from work, gotten everything together and cooked it in a skillet. We like it both ways, and I’ve included both methods for preparing the Bourbon Chicken in the directions below.

In my house, this is always served over a bed of my Pressure Cooked White Rice and with a side of green beans or steamed broccoli, but if you’re into cauliflower rice, it would be great served over it as well.

I hope that you’ll try this recipe out and leave a comment below. Also, please follow @lifeabovethecafe on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest using the social media icons found on this page.


  • 3-4 diced chicken breasts or chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil if cooking in a skillet

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of apple juice or bourbon
  • 1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp. of ketchup
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. of dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp. of dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. of ground ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Directions for stove top (scroll down for oven directions):

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside unless you plan to marinate the chicken overnight then place it in a covered container in the refrigerator instead.

Dice 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces.

Over medium high heat, warm 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large non-stick skillet. Begin adding the chicken to the skillet but don’t over crowd the pan so the chicken will brown and not steam. Cook the chicken pieces until browned.

Once the chicken is browned pour the sauce ingredients into the pan over the chicken. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the temperature down to maintain a simmer for about 5-10 minutes.  If you marinated the chicken in the sauce it will need to boil for at least 5 minutes to be safe.

Stir often to baste the chicken in the sauce. I like the sauce thinner so it can be poured over the white rice that I serve with the Bourbon Chicken.  If your sauce thickens too much add a little water.

For spicier bourbon chicken add 1/2-3/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy food).

Directions for the oven:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.

Dice 3-4 chicken breasts up into 1 inch pieces and place them into the casserole dish. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir well.

Bake in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces. I stir my chicken and sauce every 10-15 minutes.

Broil the chicken for 3-4 minutes to brown the top at the end of the cooking process.

If you prefer the sauce thicker pour it into a skillet and reduce it over medium high heat.

Note** this is a great recipe for boneless, skinless chicken thighs since that’s the type of meat that’s used at the food court.

Double the sauce if you like a lot of sauce to serve over the rice.  This sauce can be very salty if it cooks for too long and thickens too much(add a little more water or apple juice if necessary).  I always recommend low sodium soy sauce.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.