Dinner: Bourbon Chicken Recipe

I have very good memories of discovering bourbon chicken when the mall in our area finally updated itself from an outdoor to an indoor mall, so suddenly we had access to a food court. Similar to when we discovered Auntie Anne’s (the first food establishment to open in this mall), my family went a little overboard, perhaps eating it weekly.

Sometimes, I still get tempted when I smell the aromas as someone generally is offering a sample from a plate. But, you don’t have to go all the way to a food court to get bourbon chicken if you ever have a craving! Here is a copycat recipe, but I happened to use vegetarian chicken to substitute for real meat chicken.

Bourbon Chicken


  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces – in this case I used vegetarian chik’n tenders from Quorn
  • 2 -4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove or 1/2 teaspoon of  crushed garlic from jar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/3 cup light sodium soy sauce
  • Rice


  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Cook the chicken until lightly browned. When finished, remove the chicken to a plate for now.
  3. In the skillet, put in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat the crushed garlic until it sizzles to release the flavor
  4. Next, lower to medium heat. Add the apple juice, cider vinegar, soy sauce, and water first, and then the ginger, sugar, ketchup, and red pepper until well mixed and dissolved
  5. Add the chicken and bring to a hard boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes at the lowest heat setting so the chicken can absorb the juices and sauce can reduce, but watch carefully so chicken does not dry

Just added chicken to sauce:
Bourbon Chicken Recipe
Then letting it marinate…the black flecks are a mix of red pepper flakes and perhaps I burned the crushed garlic slightly because the pan was still hot from warming the chicken and I put in the new oil/garlic right after I removed the chicken, so as soon as I tossed in the garlic it got dark real fast. Oops. Next time, turn down the heat and check the oil before adding garlic.
Bourbon Chicken Recipe
In 20 minutes, there will be less liquid as the chicken soaks it all in like a sponge
Bourbon Chicken Recipe

Serve over hot rice

Bourbon Chicken Recipe

Optional Notes on this Recipe

  1. You can also saute onions with the chicken, or add other ingredients (carrots, broccoli, etc).
  2. Using chicken with the skin tastes better, but I made this with fake chicken (that is what is pictured above)- which you can simmer longer to get soft as you don’t have to worry as much about it drying out
  3. The sauce is really made separately, so before adding the chicken make sure to season to taste. I like mine a little spicier, and less vinegary, so I ended up adding more red pepper and a little extra water to dilute the vinegar a bit more. Some people substituted orange juice for the apple juice, and used balsamic vinegar instead of the cider vinegar, so you have to make it your own.
  4. If you want the sauce to be thicker, add a tablespoon of cornstarch (optional).

If you are looking for the bourbon part… it’s not in the recipe. This is totally mall food court style, not the authentic southern+chinese cajun bourbon chicken style, you don’t think they use bourbon just to let it evaporate away in those chafing dishes do you? This copycat recipe is pretty distributed on the internets, it is not invented by me; the key is just in making the sauce to keep tasting to season it to what you personally would enjoy.



  1. coogai.com says:


    Dinner: Bourbon Chicken Recipe – Pechluck’s Food Adventures

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