Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken {Easy Slow Cooker Recipe} – WellPlated.com


This Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken is N’Awlin’s meets take out, and it’s going to be one delicious rendez-vous. Tender chicken thighs slow-cooked in a sticky, sweet bourbon sauce made with maple syrup, brown sugar, and ginger, it’s the kind of (big) easy recipe that makes any day feel more extraordinary.

plate of crock pot bourbon chicken served over rice

Pin this recipe on Pinterest to save for later

Pin It!0

What do New Orleans, Chinese takeout, and bourbon all have in common?

The answer is bourbon chicken.

I’ve visited the Big Easy (New Orleans) three times.

One dish I couldn’t get enough of (aside from beignets and Blackened Salmon) was the city’s famous bourbon chicken.

Juicy chicken cooked in a sweet, sticky sauce, bourbon chicken gets its name after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, as well as its not-so-secret boozy ingredient (you’ll also find it in these Bourbon Balls).

slow cooker bourbon chicken and rice on a plate

History of Bourbon Chicken

Who gets credit for being the first to make this dish is greatly contested (my research results were admittedly dubious and conflicting). However, there does at least seem to be a consensus that the dish first appeared at a Chinese restaurant that (at one point in time) was on Bourbon Street. 

While the original recipe may be one of legend, the crock pot bourbon chicken recipe I’m sharing today will make your next family dinner legendary.

a white plate with a serving of crockpot bourbon chicken

5 Star Review

“OMG… this is delicious and soooo easy! Can’t wait for tomorrow and leftovers.”

— Paula —

How to Make Crockpot Bourbon Chicken

New Orleans bourbon chicken is traditionally made in a wok or skillet (like any one of these fantastic stir fry recipes).

This crock pot bourbon chicken deviates from tradition by cutting the prep down to less than 10 minutes and turning it into an easy, effortless slow cooker recipe.

You’ll also notice the absence of ketchup. While adding 1 cup ketchup is traditional in some recipes, I prefer to skip it and use the from-scratch approach below.


The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Tender, succulent boneless skinless chicken thighs are without a doubt my favorite cut of chicken for this simple slow cooker recipe (and this Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken). This recipe calls for 1.5 lbs.

Ingredient Note

I highly recommend using chicken thighs, not chicken breasts in this recipe, as chicken breasts tend to dry out in the crockpot.

If you decide to substitute chicken breasts, watch the cooking time carefully, as you may need less time to avoid overcooking the chicken.

  • Bourbon. No need to buy the pricey stuff. Just make sure you choose a bourbon you would also like to drink. A bourbon with notes of honey, caramel, cinnamon, black pepper, or dried fruit would pair especially well with this dish (as well as this Bourbon Glazed Salmon).

Substitution Tip

If you would like to make crock pot bourbon chicken without bourbon, you may either omit it entirely from the recipe, replace it with chicken broth, or try making bourbon chicken with apple juice.

  • Soy Sauce. Flavors the marinade with a wonderful umami flavor.

Dietary Note

To make this recipe gluten free, opt for tamari over traditional soy sauce.

juicy easy slow cooker bourbon chicken with rice and green onions
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. Lends some much-needed acidity to balance out the sweetness of the sauce and also helps to tenderize the chicken.
  • Ginger + Garlic Cloves. Provides a little zippy kick and Asian flair.
  • Brown Sugar. For sweetness, depth of color, and subtle molasses flavor.
  • Maple Syrup. Compliments and enhances the bourbon flavor (as it does in these Maple Bourbon Bars) while adding additional sticky sweetness to the sauce.

Substitution Tip!

If you are not a fan of maple flavor, you may swap it for 2 tablespoons honey which also pairs well with the bourbon.

  • Cornstarch. Thickens the sauce so it clings to every crevice of the juicy, tender chicken thighs.
  • Green Onions. Finish this saucy chicken recipe with a bit of color and freshness.
  • Rice. A generous scoop of fluffy brown rice is my favorite way to serve crock pot bourbon chicken. However, jasmine rice, quinoa, or even farro would all be excellent options for serving.

Tip!

While this bourbon chicken isn’t spicy, if you’d like a kick, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to taste.

The Directions

bourbon chicken sauce ingredients in a measuring cup
  1. Stir together the marinade (sauce) ingredients in a small or medium bowl.
chicken thighs arranged in a baking dish
  1. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish, then pour the mixture over the chicken.
chicken thighs marinating in a sweet bourbon marinade
  1. Marinate, covered, in the fridge for a few hours or overnight for maximum flavor.

TIP!

Looking for a shortcut? While I think the BEST slow cooker bourbon chicken is one that’s marinated, you can opt to skip this step if you’re short on time.

uncooked chicken thighs arranged in a slow cooker for crockpot bourbon chicken
  1. Transfer the chicken and marinade to a slow cooker.
juicy crockpot bourbon chicken thighs in a slow cooker
  1. Cook the bourbon chicken on LOW for 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Remove the chicken and then transfer the sauce to a saucepan on the stove top.
  2. Make a slurry with 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pot and heat the sauce to thicken.
  3. Pour sauce over the chicken. Chop the green onion and serve with rice. Season with salt or red pepper flakes to taste. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftover crock pot bourbon chicken may be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To Freeze. Store cooked slow cooker bourbon chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before warming.
  • To Reheat. Warm in the microwave until steaming.
Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken over rice with a fork

What to Serve with Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken

View all recipes

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Slow Cooker. This old girl has been my trusted kitchen partner for several years now.
  • Whisk. A small size for incorporating the cornstarch slurry into the bubbling sauce.
  • Shallow Baking Dish. Perfect for marinating meat and baking up casseroles.

The Best Programmable Crockpot

This 6-quart crockpot has easy programmable features, a stone insert that can also be used in the microwave and oven, and an easy locking lid for transporting it.

plate of crock pot bourbon chicken served over rice

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Bourbon chicken, I don’t know where you came from, I’m just glad I found you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Bourbon Chicken on the Stovetop?

Yes. In fact, most bourbon chicken recipes are made on the stovetop. This particular recipe I’ve only done in the slow cooker so it would be an experiment to adapt. I would suggest either cooking the chicken on the stovetop, or simmering it in the marinade until it’s cooked through. Remove the chicken, then reduce and thicken the sauce with cornstarch as directed.

Can I Make Bourbon Chicken in the Oven?

I have not tried this recipe in the oven, however, I suspect it could be done. I would try baking the chicken in the marinade at 350 degrees F, basting it periodically, until cooked through. Note that the sauce would likely need to be thickened on the stove with cornstarch after the chicken is cooked. 

Could I Prepare Bourbon Chicken with Bone-In Chicken Thighs?

I have not made this recipe with bone-in thighs so I, unfortunately, cannot give specific advice on timing. My post on Crock Pot Shredded Chicken may be a good starting point however since it offers tips and instructions for preparing bone-in chicken in the slow cooker.

Can I Make This Recipe with Frozen Chicken?

Frozen chicken cannot be placed directly in the slow cooker, as it will spend too long at an unsafe temperature. If you’d like to use frozen chicken, be sure to thaw it completely first.

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat*
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari for a gluten-free alternative
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (You don’t need top-shelf—just make sure it’s a brand you’d also enjoy drinking. I like Bulleit.)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions for serving
  • 2 cups Prepared brown rice for serving

  • In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, bourbon, brown sugar, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, and black pepper.

  • Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish, then pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover the dish tightly, transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for as long as time allows (a few hours or overnight).

  • Lightly coat a 4-to-6-quart crockpot with cooking spray and arrange the marinated chicken thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour the marinade over the top, then cover the crockpot.

  • Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, until tender and cooked through.

  • Remove the chicken from the crock pot to a serving plate and cover to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a small saucepan and place it on the stove.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to create a slurry. Heat the saucepan on medium-high, then whisk the slurry into the cooking liquid until evenly combined. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce bubbles. Continue cooking and stirring until glossy and thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Pour the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with green onions. Serve warm with rice.

  • SHORTCUT: You may skip marinating the chicken if you are running short on time (or simply forget to do so). The chicken will still turn out delicious just perhaps slightly less tender and flavorful.
  • INGREDIENT NOTE:  I highly recommend using chicken thighs, not chicken breasts in this recipe, as chicken breasts tend to dry out in the crockpot. If you decide to substitute chicken breasts, watch the cooking time carefully, as you may need less time to avoid overcooking the chicken.
  • TO STORE: Leftover crock pot bourbon chicken may be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • TO FREEZE: Store cooked slow cooker bourbon chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before warming.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm in the microwave until steaming.

Serving: 1(of 4) with 1/2 cup prepared brown riceCalories: 439kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 37gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 162mgPotassium: 566mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 104IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 4mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite projects and tutorials.

Register

Related Recipes

There’s nothing better than a little Asian food takeout at home. Here are more popular stir fry recipes:

beef and broccoli lo mein with noodles on a plate

Beef Lo Mein

30 mins

Healthy Egg Roll in a Bowl - Easy and Low Carb Recipe

Egg Roll in a Bowl

25 mins

Skinny Honey Thai Cashew Chicken. Ready in 20 minutes! Juicy chicken, crisp veggies, and the best sweet and savory sauce. Easy, healthy recipe perfect for busy weeknights. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Thai Cashew Chicken

20 mins

View all recipes




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.