Bourbon Chicken

Chicken Addiction Bourbon Chicken

Hi, I’m Mollie, and I have an addiction: Bourbon Chicken. How does a Northerner come to crave this Southern dish named after New Orleans’ famed Bourbon Street? One taste at our local food chain and it happened, and before I knew it I went back for more, and then did it again, and maybe even again…

Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon Chicken – delicious, sweet & smoky

Well, “ya’ll” know how I feel about fast food: more expensive than you’d think & not so good for you. I knew I could do better & I think I did. I also kept it simple AND fast. Dinner is on the table in about the time it takes the rice to cook. No need for a slow cooker like some other recipes.

This chicken is succulent, coated in a smoky, sweet sauce with just enough spice to add interest. I like to add onions and mushrooms to help the nutritional value. If you want, leave them out and make up the difference with a little more chicken. Grandma says eat your veggies, tho!


Bourbon Chicken took me more than a few tries to perfect, and I tinkered quite a bit. I tried variations side by side with the famous Leeanne Chin’s version and finally decided I liked my Bourbon Chicken more. So it’s not an exact copycat, but I think you’re going to love it.

The recipe ran about $2.50 for the chicken; the rice and vegetables, another $1.70. A complete meal for four for the bargain price of $4.20. Look for your chicken breast on sale for 99 cents a pound and you’ll save more.

Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon Chicken – delicious, sweet & smoky. My version in a take out container

Bourbon Chicken

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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The recipe tastes more like Leeann Chin’s using the first ingredients listed, but if you don’t have or don’t want to hunt down any ingredient, don’t sweat it – it’s still amazing.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken, cut into chunks, about 3/4 inches (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 small onion, sliced pole to pole
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal, for garnish

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes; more can be added
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or freshly grated – ground tastes more like the restaurant version)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon or Whiskey (or 2 tablespoons of white wine, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons Plum Sauce (or 2 tablespoons ketchup)
  • 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar (or 1 tablespoon any vinegar)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of liquid smoke (recipe is best with the liquid smoke)


Preheat a large saute pan or skillet to medium-high with the two tablespoons of oil. Add onions and mushrooms. As the onions and mushrooms begin to cook, toss chicken pieces with cornstarch. Push the mushrooms and onions to the side, add the chicken, separating with a spatula as they begin to cook. Cook until chicken is opaque and turns white on all sides.

While the chicken is cooking, mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. (If using powdered ginger, whisk with a small amount of one of the liquids at the beginning so it doesn’t clump.)

When the chicken is opaque, add sauce to pan with the chicken and mushrooms and stir together. Bring to a boil, add a lid, and reduce to a good simmer. Cook for about five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally until chicken is well coated with sauce and cooked through.

If sauce seems to thin, remove the lid for a moment. If too thick, add water, a tablespoon at a time.

Sprinkle finished dish with green onion and serve with rice.


  • Chicken can be difficult to cut to size, but do aim for 3/4″ so the chicken is done as the sauce is thickened. Too small it may be dry and too large, the sauce may need to be thinned.
  • This easy skillet recipe cooks in minutes, so start the rice first, which will take about 20 minutes.

From the kitchen of


Rice: 1 cup raw equals 2 cups, cooked; I like leftover rice for fried rice, so I usually make a little extra. Place in pan, use double the amount of water as rice and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook at a bare simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steam for five minutes, then remove lid & fluff with a fork.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving money/time and managing this recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop-down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.


per serving estimate, for chicken and sauce: Cal 382; fat 11g; chol 83mg; carb 44g; sod 695. prot 34g; sug 25g


I don’t freeze this dish because recipes with cornstarch don’t generally freeze well. This dish is often on rotation at my house, so I do cut up chicken, bag it and tag it and toss it in the freezer so I can make this at a moment’s notice.

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • Vegetables: I often serve vegetables with this recipe, strips of peppers, broccoli or frozen Stir Fry vegetables. All can be added IN the recipe if you’d like.
  • Pineapple: This dish is great with pineapple chunks in the sauce instead of mushrooms and onions…
  • Sugar and Red Pepper: Many versions of this recipe are much sweeter; if that is your preference, feel free to add more sugar. As far as the heat level, use anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon up to 3/4 of red pepper. I was aiming for a taste similar to Leeann Chins, which isn’t spicy. Bourbon Chicken from Cajun places may very well have more heat.
  • Alcohol: This dish is named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans and doesn’t necessarily have Bourbon in the recipe. I like the way the Bourbon rounds out the recipe, but the wine or the lemon both give a balance.

A few variations:

  • Grilling: The chicken can be grilled, the sauce made in a pan, then the chicken sliced and all combined.
  • Chicken Wings: Dust your wings with any kind of Cajun rub, then baste with the sauce as they cook, or toss with the sauce when done.
  • Lettuce Cups: Cut the chicken very finely or use ground chicken and serve in lettuce cups. If you have leftover Bourbon Chicken, dice it up (it will be messy) and serve in lettuce cups.


LeeAnn Chin's Bourbon Chicken, photo from Yelp

Leeann Chin’s Bourbon Chicken, photo from Yelp

Recipe made January 2014

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