Bourbon Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Bourbon chicken is a kind of Cajun and Asian hybrid dish that’s evolved over the years in Chinese take-out restaurants and local mall food courts.
Recipe type: Chicken
Cuisine: Asian/American
Serves: 4
For the chicken:
  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the sauce:
  1. Start by marinating the chicken. Mix 3 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon soy sauce with the chicken chunks, working it with your hands until the chicken has absorbed all of the liquid. Adding water and soy sauce to the chicken (especially true if using chicken breast) results in a moist and tender chicken experience!
  2. Once the chicken has absorbed the liquid, mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the chicken until well combined and set aside.
  3. Mix the sauce ingredients by combining the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, dark brown sugar, chicken stock or water, sesame oil and white pepper and set aside.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan on high heat until just smoking, and spread the chicken evenly. Let the chicken sear on one side for 1 minute. Use a metal wok spatula (you can also use a rubber spatula if you can’t use metal utensils on your pan) to turn the chicken and sear another minute. Turn off the heat and move the seared chicken to a plate. Set aside.
  5. Return the wok to medium heat and immediately add the ginger (if using), garlic, and minced onion. Stir-fry for 20 seconds or until the onion is translucent, taking care not to burn the mixture.
  6. Stir in the bourbon to deglaze the wok, most all of the alcohol will cook off leaving the flavor behind. After 30 seconds or so, pour in the sauce mixture and stir to further deglaze the sides of the wok. Once the sauce comes to a simmer, add the chicken back to the wok. Stir until the sauce comes back to a simmer and gradually stir in the cornstarch and water mixture (stir it up first, as the cornstarch may have settled).
  7. Continue to stir and cook until the sauce has thickened enough to coat a spoon. At this point, you can remove the smashed piece of ginger or warn your guests so there are no surprises! Stir in the scallions and serve with steamed white rice!
Recipe by The Woks of Life at