Chicken Main Dishes

Last updated on June 18th, 2021 at 06:16 pm

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Spicy Bourbon Chicken [Video]

Spicy Bourbon Chicken is perfectly sweet, sticky and spicy, made in just one pan for a quick weeknight dinner with tasty leftovers. Watch the short video tutorial below and see how amazing this dish is!

We love making easy and delicious Asian meals for the family to enjoy. Among our most popular dishes are Instant Pot Orange Chicken,  Slow Cooker Garlic Sesame Chicken and One-Pan Italian Chicken.

Easy Bourbon Chicken

Spicy Bourbon Chicken is one of my favorite Chinese quick meals to make on a weeknight. The flavors are so much better than takeout and you can make this recipe with chicken breast, thighs or even shrimp. The sauce is sweet, sticky and deliciously spicy. You will lick your fingers clean!

This homemade dish is super tasty and served over rice or noodles with some steamed, or stir-fried veggies on the side. I usually like to make a large batch of this recipe, usually doubling it so I can have leftovers the next day.

Why You’ll Love Spicy Bourbon Chicken Recipe:

  • Firstly, it’s very easy to make, perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Also, it creates delicious leftovers that can be easily packed for next-day lunches.
  • Made in one pot, with minimum cleaning and prep work.
  • Sweet, spicy and sticky!


Yes. As the name suggests, this dish does call for bourbon. However, the alcohol evaporates as the sauce simmers, therefore it contains pretty much no alcohol. Also, if you prefer not to use alcohol at all, you can substitute it with apple juice and it’ll still be delicious.

How to make Crockpot Bourbon Chicken?

This easy and delicious recipe can also be made in the crockpot. Simply, cook the chicken as directed and add in half the amounts of the rest of the recipe sauce ingredients. Please note, the ingredients won’t be able to cook down in the slow cooker.

Then, cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours. For the last 30 minutes of cooking, add in the last tablespoon of cornstarch then cook on high.

What is best to serve with Spicy Bourbon Chicken?

How to store it?

If you want to make it ahead or have leftover, simply let the dish cool first. Then, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat prior to serving. Also, feel free to freeze it for up to 3 months. 

Recipe Tips:

  • First, try to use quality meat. You can make this recipe with chicken breasts, thighs or even shrimp.
  • Also, cornstarch is a key ingredient in here. Do not try to replace it with flour, the results will not be the same.
  • Using fresh ginger and garlic will add amazing flavor and taste to the sauce.
  • For a spicier kick, add some red pepper flakes.
  • I am a huge garlic lover, you can add more or less as you please, but in my case, more garlic is always better.
  • In addition, you can use your favorite bourbon. I also made this dish with cognac and it turned out fantastic.
  • Technically, the bourbon cooks down, so you are only left with a nice flavor, but no alcohol. However, if you are avoiding alcohol altogether, you can replace it with apple juice, or apple cider. 
  • Garnishing the dish with sesame seeds and green onions will add a pop of color and interesting texture.

Tools/Ingredients I used to make this Recipe:

  • Soy Sauce – I like using lite soy sauce in my recipes, as it has less sodium and its easier for me to control the saltiness of the dish, I always buy a large bottle like this one and keep it in my pantry.
  • Cornstarch – I prefer using cornstarch instead of flour to thicken sauces, and this organic brand is my favorite.

Spicy Bourbon Chicken

Spicy Bourbon Chicken is perfectly sweet, sticky and spicy, made in just one pan for a quick weeknight dinner with tasty leftovers.

Spicy Bourbon Chicken
  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time15 MIN
  • Servings 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil or canola oil
  • 2 pounds chicken breast or chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

Cornstarch Slurry:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon apple juice or water


  • sesame seeds
  • green onions


  • In a medium bowl combine: soy sauce, brown sugar, bourbon, rice wine vinegar, apple juice and ketchup. Stir well and set sauce aside.
  • Add sesame oil to a large skillet or wok and heat it over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken and sauté until fully cooked and browned.
  • Then, add in garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and chili powder. Sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add sauce to the chicken and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and apple juice or you can use water.
  • Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and stir frequently until thickened, 3-4 minutes.
  • If you want to thicken the sauce more, add more cornstarch slurry..
  • Serve immediately over rice or noodles, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Nutrition Facts

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This is a great recipe! I made it tonight and it was really good. I used a different spice mix and it was really good that way too. Thanks for the recipe!

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

so happy that you liked the recipe! than you for the feedback!

Jennylou Aquino

Jennylou Aquino

Hi, I was looking for a good bourbon chicken recipe and I saw your recipe and I would like to try it this weekend. I don’t have slow cooker but have instant pot. Can I use this recipe in the instant pot. If I can, do you mind giving me directions please. Just an FYI I’m also new to instant pot as well. Can’t wait for your answer. Jen

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Hi, just dump and cook all the ingredients (except cornstarch) for 6 minutes on HP, and after that add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce.

Ann Islas

Ann Islas

This is such a great recipe! My family truly enjoyed it over white rice. We added in green beans and broccoli and it was amazing! We will definitely be cooking this again.

Erika S

Erika S

Can I make this in the instant pot? If so, how would you recommend to cook it?

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Yes, you can! Just add all ingredients to the IP, cook on HP for 5 mins, 10 mins NPR. Saute mode and add a cornstarch slurry, 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water, to thicken the sauce.

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