Homemade Bourbon Chicken

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Whether you're trying to pack on lean muscle or just grabbing the best of a Chinese buffet, it's hard to top a good bourbon chicken.  I was first familiarized with bourbon chicken as my go-to at my hometown mall's food court.  After that, I was ALWAYS packing my plate or to-go box full of bourbon chicken when making a dining stop at College Buffet off North Atherton Street in State College, Pennsylvania.

While Bourbon Chicken is named after Bourbon Street [citation needed], many recipes including my own also have whiskey or bourbon on the ingredient list.


For a long period of time I settled with a single recipe to make bourbon chicken, but there was always something missing.  It wasn't until our new Doberman Puppy had some food issues when I finally realized I was doing it all wrong by making it with chicken breasts. 

Our buddy Kelso was becoming increasingly picky with his kibble so to settle his stomach down we went to chicken and rice.  My wife brought some thigh meat home from Aldis and when I was cutting the cooked product into smaller pieces for him I was instantly reminded of my buffet favorite, bourbon chicken.  After I fixed the cut of chicken the recipe refining process only took about 2 or 3 attempts before I had something worth sharing.


  • 2 lbs of boneless & skinless Chicken Thigh and/or Leg Meat.
  • 1 to 2 TBSP olive oil.
  • 1 garlic clove crushed/minced.
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger.
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (can add or remove depending on spiciness preference).
  • 1 TBSP Dried Minced Onion
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice.
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce (substitute ketchup if you must).
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar.
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce.
  • 1/4 cup Crown Royal (or your whiskey/bourbon of choice).
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup.
  • Chopped green onion for garnish.

Additional Ingredients for Marinade

  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup.
  • Juice from 1 lemon (can substitute orange or grapefruit, you just need citric acidity).


  • In a wok on low simmering heat begin adding ingredients starting with oil and garlic.
  • Add remaining ingredients, turn heat to medium.
  • Stir ingredients and bring to a low simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once all ingredients have dissolved and combined, allow some time for it to chill to room temperature.
  • From the chilled mixture, remove 3/4 of a cup and add in lemon juice and 1/4 cup of Maple Syrup.  Marinate chicken with this for at least a few hours if not overnight.


  • Remove your chicken from the marinade and sear on the grill.
  • While the chicken is cooking begin heating the remaining sauce.
  • After your chicken has sufficient grill marks on it, remove from the grill and rest for 5 minutes before cutting into bite size pieces.
  • Put the chicken in a wok with the remaining sauce and cook on medium to medium high heat for 5 to 10 minutes to ensure the chicken is cooked the whole way through.
  • Serve over fried rice or Lo Mein with your favorite steamed vegetables.
By simmering the remaining sauce, we are thickening it by allowing the alcohol and other liquids to evaporate before tossing the chicken back in.

By simmering the remaining sauce, we are thickening it by allowing the alcohol and other liquids to evaporate before tossing the chicken back in.


From Panda Express... throw this shit in the garbage where it belongs.

Homemade... beats take out hands down.



A staple of mall food courts and Chinese Buffets worldwide, here is my version of homemade bourbon chicken that will beat anything coming from a restaurant.  If you follow this recipe you won't be able to compare it to anything else.  Enjoy!