This Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken recipe is made with juicy chicken thighs smothered in a homemade sauce made from apple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, and other seasonings for a deliciously sweet and bourbon taste.
If you like the bourbon flavor, try it with our Slow Cooker Bourbon Cranberry Sauce. Consider pairing these two dishes together for a sweet and sour treat.
What is bourbon chicken?
Bourbon chicken is a well-known classic from the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana. It actually takes its name from a famous street, Bourbon Street, and typically has a main ingredient named after it – bourbon.
You’ll most likely find this dish at a Cajun-themed or Chinese restaurant, and the flavors are unique. Combining sesame oil with rice wine vinegar paired with soy sauce, ginger, apple juice, and chili powder creates an irresistible taste.
This easy bourbon chicken recipe is the way to go when you’re looking for a versatile dish.
- Chicken: Some people go for chicken breasts but if you want a more tender bite, use boneless skinless chicken thighs (that’s my go-to choice).
- Oil & Vinegar: Sesame oil adds somewhat of an Asian-inspired taste along with the rice wine vinegar, both of which help balance out all the flavors.
- Apple Juice: The hidden taste that brings everything together.
- Other Bourbon Chicken Sauce Ingredients: Soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce works well, too), ketchup, ginger, chili powder, black pepper, salt, and brown sugar are whisked together to create the delicious sauce.
- Cornstarch & Water: Used to thicken up the bourbon sauce.
This particular recipe does not include bourbon; however, you can add it in replacement for the apple juice. The alcohol content does not completely cook off, so beware of that.
Step One – Add together the ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, apple juice, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, chili powder, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
Step Two – Whisk the bourbon sauce ingredients together until well combined.
Step Three – Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs that have been placed in the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Step Four – Remove chicken from the slow cooker and cut it into small pieces. Pour in the cornstarch and water mixture.
Step Five – Add the cut chicken pieces back into the slow cooker.
Step Six – Stir the sauce and chicken pieces until well combined, and serve.
How to serve:
- This chicken is phenomenal served over rice (especially Jasmine rice). Fill your plate or bowl with a nice of rice and add a few generous spoons of the sticky bourbon chicken on top.
- Give this dish a Chinese-inspired feel by serving it with steamed bok choy with a sesame oil and soy sauce drizzle.
- Sauteed zucchini strips make a great side item with this chicken and any other of your favorite sauteed veggies.
- Serve this chicken with a few garnishes such as toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onions, and/or a dash of crushed red pepper (or red pepper flakes). Also, great topped with a drizzle of sriracha sauce.
Yes! You can use it as a replacement for the apple juice. The recipe can be made with or without alcohol, depending on your preferences.
You sure can! This meal can be frozen before or after cooking. Before cooking, make the sauce and precut the chicken, adding both to a freezer-safe bag. It will keep up to 2 months. Thaw everything overnight before cooking. To freeze after cooking, allow everything to cool and add to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can use chicken breast if you choose and still have great results. Cook the recipe as directed and shred or chop the chicken before serving.
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Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken
- 4 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs trim well
- ½ cup ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ tsp. sesame oil
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 4 Tbsp. cornstarch
- ⅓ cup water
- Add the chicken thighs to the slow cooker.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, apple juice, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Pour the mixture over the chicken thighs and mix.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the sauce and chop into bite size pieces, set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Whisk into the sauce in the slow cooker, add the cut chicken back in and cook on high until the sauce thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
- You can use chicken breast if you choose and still have great results. Cook the recipe as directed and shred or chop the chicken before serving.
- This meal can be frozen before or after cooking. Before cooking, make the sauce and precut the chicken, adding both to a freezer-safe bag. It will keep up to 2 months. Thaw everything overnight prior to cooking. To freeze after cooking, allow everything to cool and add to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- You can use bourbon as a replacement for the apple juice. The recipe can be made with or without alcohol, depending on your preferences.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
John Holden says
Food Good Real Good. Better over rice noodles
Very sweet, definitely needs a drizzle of sriracha. I made it with apple juice but I’ll be trying bourbon next time to see how it goes!
This was super good and easy! I accidentally used 2 lb of chicken instead of 4 lb but used the same measurements for all of the other ingredients. Of course it was more liquidy but it was nice because the rice soaked it all up. 🙂
I’m not sure if the corn starch is really necessary – it looked fine beforehand but then I figured why not just follow the recipe – and I’m not sure if this is because I obviously had more liquid in my batch with the lesser amount of chicken — but it turned it too thick and goopy looking (but still delicious). I think you’d be just fine skipping the corn starch!
Hey Carly you should use the corn starch or all purpose flour it use as thicker. Use cup corn starch or all purpose flour whichever you prefer in mix in water in bowl then pour into ur sauce let simmer down for 30mins to make sauce thicker along with the diced chicken. So it want be so liquidity. Tell me how turn out next time u make it.
Jasmine Richardson says
Can this dish be doubled?
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