Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon chicken is chicken thighs cooked in a delicious brown sugar soy sauce, with of course, bourbon for an extra kick!

Jump to RecipePinSave to Favorites

Site Index Bourbon Chicken Chicken thighs

This post may contain affiliate links. See my privacy policy for details.

Bourbon makes all things better, so why not combine it with chicken? This recipe for bourbon chicken is pretty simple and cooks up easily for a fast dinner!

For more great ways to use bourbon, why not try this Chocolate Bourbon or Rum Balls Recipe, or this recipe for a Boulevardier Cocktail?

bourbon chicken on white plate

Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon chicken is a recipe that you can just tell came about from a late-night need to make something tasty really quickly. Mixing together soy sauce, sugar, apple juice, and Bourbon somehow turns a regular chicken thigh into something intensely delicious.

Serve this sticky, slightly sweet chicken over some rice to provide some great balance, or just enjoy it with a spoon, sauce, and all.

bourbon chicken ingredients

Bourbon Chicken Ingredients

Make sure to check the recipe card at the bottom for the accurate amounts of all the ingredients down below.

  • Boneless chicken thighs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil

Bourbon Sauce

  • Bourbon
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Chicken broth
  • Apple juice
  • Ketchup
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh ginger
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cornstarch

Cornstarch Slurry

  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Diced green onions
raw chicken thigh pieces

How To Make Bourbon Chicken

  • Whisk together all of the bourbon sauce ingredients
  • Sprinkle salt & pepper over the chicken
  • Fry the chicken over high heat in some oil in a large saucepan
  • Pour the sauce over the pan when the chicken is browned on all sides
  • Cook for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened
  • For a thicker sauce, add in the cornstarch slurry, whisking constantly
  • Remove from the heat and serve over rice
bourbon chicken in a white bowl

What Kind of Chicken Should You Use For This Recipe?

Whenever you get a chicken recipe that doesn’t just use an entire roast chicken, there is always the inevitable question of what kind of chicken pieces should you use?

The general toss-up is between chicken breasts or chicken thighs. While chicken breasts are healthier and cook a bit faster, for this sort of recipe, you really need to stick to chicken thighs.

The longer cooking times really benefit something like a chicken thigh because it allows the natural collagen and fat to break down and thicken the sauce. If you tried to use a chicken breast, however, you’d just end up with really dry, stringy chicken that simply wouldn’t taste any good.

bourbon chicken on rice

Do I Have To Use Bourbon?

Bourbon is easily the most quintessential American liquor out there, so it makes sense that it shows up in some many different recipes.

However, not everyone is a big fan of the oaky intensity of Bourbon, so what could you use instead?

Any other type of whiskey could definitely work in the place of Bourbon, but maybe not a really expensive, peat-y Scotch – the flavors would just be too much.

You could even use some vodka if you preferred it, but you might find the taste a bit bland.

A good substitute could also be slightly cheaper tequila, as it hits many of the same flavor notes of some bourbons while still having a good layer of intensity on its own.

Looking for more tasty Chicken recipes? Try these out:

Happy cooking!



Don’t forget to PIN THIS RECIPE to your DINNER RECIPES Board and remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!

Bourbon chicken is chicken thighs cooked in a delicious brown sugar soy sauce, with of course, bourbon for an extra kick!

Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon chicken is chicken thighs cooked in a delicious brown sugar soy sauce, with of course, bourbon for an extra kick!
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


  • 8 chicken thighs boneless, skinless and cut into one inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Bourbon Sauce

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • cornstarch slurry


  • Whisk together the ingredients for the bourbon sauce and set aside. Adjust any of the seasonings to taste at this point.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken thigh pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken thigh pieces until browned on both sides. Drain any excess oil and fat.
  • Pour the sauce into the pan, stirring it to coat the chicken completely. Cook on medium heat for another 10-15 minutes until the chicken has cooked all the way through.
  • If the sauce hasn't thickened to your liking after the chicken is cooked, prepare the cornstarch slurry and slowly whisk into the hot sauce until it thickens to your liking.
  • Remove from the heat. Serve over rice.

Recipe Notes

  • Only use the cornstarch slurry if the sauce hasn’t thickened. This could be due to water content or juice from the chicken thighs
  • If desired you can DOUBLE the sauce recipe easily for tons of sauce!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 681kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 21g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 221mg, Sodium: 834mg, Potassium: 577mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 234IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 2mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

Made this recipe?

Share a photo of what you made on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @thekitchenmagpie or hashtag it #thekitchenmagpie.

Please rate this recipe in the comments below to help out your fellow cooks!

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

A Very Prairie Christmas Bakebook

Vintage Baking to Celebrate the Festive Season!

Learn More

a copy of Flapper Pie cook book

Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky

A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts

Learn More

The Prairie Table

Suppers, Potlucks & Socials: Crowd-Pleasing Recipes to Bring People Together

Learn More

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Bourbon Chicken Chicken thighs

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Mary Kiley says

    Can vinegar and brown sugar or another whiskey be substituted for the Bourbon?

  2. Emilia says

    Another home run the family loved. Imho idiot-proof so new cooks, DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE THIS! I made this a printed but instead of putting it over white rice I made a combination of “brown rice” (made of hearts of palm), forbidden rice, and peas. So it was very light and healthy.5 stars

5 from 15 votes (14 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment or Recipe Tip

Recipe Rating

Enter your email to get this recipe emailed to you, so you don’t lose it and get new recipes daily!