Bourbon Chicken
The history of bourbon chicken is shrouded in mystery. Some claim it comes from Kentucky, home to most of the bourbon distilleries in the United States. Others say it’s named for Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Was it created by a Chinese chef in New Orleans as a localized version of drunken chicken, which uses rice wine? Does it even contain bourbon?

While some of these questions will never be answered, we can tell you if it actually contains bourbon. The answer is “Sometimes!” This version includes a small amount of bourbon, but it’s entirely optional.

The other thing we are sure about is that this dish, which features four of the five flavor groups, will be a hit with your family. It’s easy to put together on a weeknight and can be served with rice, couscous or spiralized zucchini noodles.

Servings Prep Time
4 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4 10minutes
Cook Time

  • 1-2tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1

    garlic clove, crushed

  • 1/2cup

    Chicken Broth

  • 1/4teaspoon

    fresh ginger, grated or minced

  • 3/4teaspoon

    Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

  • 1/4cup

    apple juice or apple cider

  • 1⁄3cup

    Light Brown Sugar

  • 2tablespoons


  • 1tablespoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1⁄2cup


  • 1⁄4cup

    Soy Sauce

  • 1/4cup

    bourbon whiskeyoptional

  • 2teaspoons


  • 3boneless, skinless

    chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute chicken until browned on all sides. Remove chicken from pan.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the pan, except cornstarch, and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved and ingredients are well-blended. Return chicken to the pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes. If the sauce thickens too quickly, add chicken broth as needed to maintain a thick but liquid sauce.
  4. Stir cornstarch into 1/4 cup chicken broth or water until completely dissolved. Slowly stir into boiling sauce until the sauce thickens. If desired, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.