Many wonder why Bourbon Chicken is called Bourbon Chicken. Although, today the recipe does not always include bourbon, it was once a popular ingredient often used in the dish. What’s more, it was named after the famous Bourbon Street in New Orleans.


Traditionally, Bourbon Chicken is made by making a sauce that includes soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, bourbon whisky and sometimes honey. The chicken is then marinated in this sauce.

If you would prefer not to use the whisky or are serving the dish to children, broth makes a good substitution.

Why is this Dish called Chinese Bourbon Chicken?

The dish is often served at Cajun-themed or Chinese restaurants. Some may consider it a representation of the fusion of the two cultures. In fact, almost everyone has stopped by a Panda Express and had their fill of this delicious Chinese chicken.

This recipe is simple, just spicy enough, and quick enough, that you’ll be happy you’re cooking rather than ordering takeout (and so will your budget). Once you have the chicken breasts thawed, you’re only 20 minutes from serving Bourbon Chicken, a future family favorite on the dining room table.

For varieties on this recipe, here are some great tips:

  • Although this recipe calls for chicken breast, thighs work well too.
  • If you don’t have cider vinegar, white vinegar will also work well.
  • You can add hot sauce to make the recipe spicier.
  • Chicken can be grilled for a meal that is lower in fat and calories.

Bourbon chicken can be served alongside any other food, but it is an ideal topper for rice. Rice is light in taste so that the chicken is still the star of the dish and it makes a great sponge for the bourbon sauce.

Bourbon chicken is often referred to as mall chicken, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. It is an easy to make meal that is healthy and can be customized to your liking. Bon appetit!

If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure to check out our Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken Recipe and our Mexican Chicken Recipe.

How to Make Bourbon Chicken

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Bourbon Chicken Recipe

  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Total Time: 45 Minutes


This recipe is simple, just spicy enough, and quick enough, that you’ll be happy you’re cooking rather than ordering takeout (and so will your budget).


  1. 2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  2. 12 Tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  5. 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  6. 1/4 cup apple juice
  7. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  8. 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  9. 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  10. 1/2 cup water
  11. 1/3 cup soy sauce


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned. Remove chicken.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well mixed and dissolved.
  4. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve over hot rice.
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: chinese bourbon chicken, how to make bourbon chicken