Bourbon Chicken Recipes

grilled bourbon chicken
Grilled brown-sugar bourbon chicken

Using bourbon to cook with has become quite a trend. A good aged bourbon is similar to brandy in flavor and can be used interchangeably in recipes. It's a popular barbecue sauce ingredient and finds its way into numerous dishes from desserts to main dishes with chicken.

Grilled Brown Sugar-Bourbon Chicken Recipe

If you don't have time to gather the marinade ingredients, you can use one package McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade, prepared according to package directions, as a substitution.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


For the Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon or other whiskey
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or 2 teaspoons diced hot chiles
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil like canola or vegetable
  • 2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the Chicken:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cleaned and patted dry

Do not purchase breasts that weigh more than 4 ounces each because they will be tough.


  1. Prepare the marinade: In a small glass bowl, whisk together until smooth the soy sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, mustard, hot sauce or diced hot chiles, oil, vinegar and water. Alternatively, prepare the marinade mix according to package directions. Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade in a separate dish.
  2. Marinate the chicken: Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add remaining marinade and turn the pieces to coat well.
  3. Refrigerate chicken 15 minutes or longer for marinade to penetrate. Remove chicken from plastic bag and discard any remaining marinade.
  4. Cook the chicken: Grill chicken over medium coals 6 to 7 minutes per side or until cooked through, turning occasionally and brushing with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade.
  5. Serve: Accompany the plated chicken with a green salad and french fries.

Bourbon Street Chicken Recipe

Bourbon Street chicken

Contrary to its name, bourbon is not one of the ingredients in this recipe. The moniker comes from its birthplace -- Bourbon Street in New Orleans where it is said to have been created by a Chinese cook. It can be prepared with chopped dark meat from drumsticks and thighs or whole breast halves. When breasts are used, they are typically "velveted," an Asian technique of coating the white meat with egg white and cornstarch to keep it from drying out while cooking.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or boneless, skinless chicken thighs, left whole or cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or vegetable
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup apple or pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple-cider or white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Start the chicken: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and, once hot, add oil. Carefully add whole pieces of chicken or cut-up chicken, cooking and stirring or flipping for 10 minutes. Drain any juices and return the skillet to the stove top and continue cooking over medium-high heat.
  2. Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together until smooth garlic, ginger, apple or pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water, soy sauce, red pepper flakes to taste, and cornstarch.
  3. Finish the dish: When the chicken is golden brown, pour the sauce into the skillet, making sure all the chicken is coated. Reduce heat to a low simmer, partially cover to allow steam to escape and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve: White or brown rice and a vegetable like grilled zucchini are good accompaniments to this dish.

Chicken in Bourbon Cream Sauce Recipe

bourbon chicken in cream sauce

A delicious cream sauce complements chicken in this bourbon-based recipe. Look for chicken breasts that are 4 ounces or less each, otherwise they will be tough.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


For the Chicken:

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cleaned and patted dry
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or vegetable
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 chopped large shallots or 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Cream Sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Prepare the chicken: Liberally season both sides of chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet that has a lid. Add chicken and brown on both sides.
  2. Add the bourbon and carefully ignite by tipping the pan away from you toward the open flame of the burner. Replace the pan on the burner and move it around rapidly until the flames go out.
  3. Add shallots or onion and cook for 1 minute. Add thyme, parsley, and 1/4 cup water. Cover pan and cook over low heat for 25 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate, loosely cover with foil to keep warm, and set aside.
  4. Prepare the cream sauce: Add the cream to the skillet the chicken was cooked in. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. Add to the cream in the skillet. Simmer, stirring frequently, over low heat until sauce has thickened.
  5. Return cooked chicken breasts to sauce and heat through a few minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve: If desired, slice each breast and fan out on top of fettuccine pasta and nap with bourbon cream sauce. Or serve with rice or mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Quintessential Yankee Spirit

Bourbon is a high-proof American whiskey that is made with a combination of corn, malted barley, rye, and/or wheat that is aged for at least two years. Its name comes from an area in the Old South named after a French royal family. Typically aged in oak barrels, its sometimes smoky flavor is a great foil for grilled and smoked foods but it pairs well with just about anything, both as a cooking ingredient and as a beverage.

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Bourbon Chicken Recipes