Food Court Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe

We live about 30 minutes from an outlet mall, so we go there more often than we should. Becca absolutely loves the bourbon chicken at the Chinese restaurant in the food court, and I have made special trips to the mall just to get the chicken!

Most of the recipes out there are either attempts to copy the New Orleans original (this is really nothing like that) or some sort of barbecue type sauce.

After much tinkering, trial and error I finally came up with a recipe that is nearly identical (close enough) to what is served at our food court. We love it, I hope you do too.

If your house is like ours, there are probably some General Tso’s fans sitting next to the Bourbon Chicken fans. You can find my General Tso’s copycat recipe here. You might also want to try some of my delicious and easy homemade egg rolls.

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The full recipe card is at the bottom of this post, but I’ll walk you through the process with pictures. If you just want the recipe, scroll down.

  1. Cut the chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces, and remove any excess fat or skin.
  2. In a small bowl combine the ginger, pepper, soy sauce, whisky (or apple juice), water, garlic, vinegar and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large saute pan or skillet heat the oil on medium high heat.
  4. Add the chicken and cook until the juices have cooked off and the chicken starts to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Stir the chicken every 1-2 minutes so it doesn’t burn and browns evenly.
  1. Add the bourbon mixture and stir well. Allow the liquid to come to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Don’t rush this as you want the alcohol to cook off from the whiskey.
  2. Add in the cornstarch/water liquid and stir briskly. The sauce will thicken quickly. (If the sauce doesn’t thicken up for you disolve another Tbsp of cornstarch in 2 Tbsp of water and stir that in)
  3. Serve over rice.

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Food Court Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe

Food Court Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe
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Category: Main Dish, Entree
Cuisine: American Chinese

A copycat recipe for the bourbon chicken served at many food court Chinese restaurants. This may not be authentic Chinese food, but it is delicious.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 LB chicken thighs, skinless.
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (I used 4 turns on the pepper mill)
  • 1/3 Cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Bourbon (or whatever brown whiskey you have sitting around. Dark rum would probably work too). If you don’t keep alcohol in your house you can substitute apple juice or cranberry juice. If you use juice, use a little less brown sugar. It really is delicious with just apple juice and no Bourbon.
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (white wine vinegar or plain white vinegar would do if you don’t have rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp cold water

  1. Cut the chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces, and remove any excess fat or skin.
  2. In a small bowl combine the ginger, pepper, soy sauce, whisky, water, garlic, vinegar and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large saute pan or skillet heat the oil on medium high heat.
  4. Add the chicken and cook until the juices have cooked off and the chicken starts to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Stir the chicken every 1-2 minutes so it doesn’t burn and browns evenly.
  5. Add the bourbon mixture and stir well. Allow the liquid to come to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Don’t rush this as you want the alcohol to cook off from the whiskey.
  6. Add in the cornstarch liquid and stir briskly. The sauce will thicken quickly.
  7. Serve over rice.

If you don’t have or don’t want to use whiskey in this recipe simply substitute apple juice. The taste is nearly identical. You may use chicken breast in place of chicken thighs, but the food court in my area definitely uses thighs.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Yield: 8 bowls
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Calories per serving: 573.07 kcal
Fat per serving: 36.4 g
Saturated fat per serving: 10.16 g
Carbs per serving: 15.28 g
Protein per serving: 43.73 g
Fiber per serving: 0.17 g
Sugar per serving: 13.4 g
Sodium per serving: 749.43 mg
Trans fat per serving: 0.22 g
Cholesterol per serving: 172.5 mg
Nutrition label for Food Court Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe
https://oldguykitchen.com/2019/01/16/food-court-bourbon-chicken-copycat-recipe/

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197 thoughts on “Food Court Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe

  1. I’m not a huge fan of the spice ginger so I omitted the ginger and replaced with cayenne pepper (by half). My whole family loved the kick 🤗

  2. Making this into a vegan dinner. What veggies do you think would compliment the sauce best? I’m definitely going with broccoli, but I’d like at least 2-3 more options.

    1. Great question Kristen. I think broccoli is a good call for sure. Green beans or snow peas would be good. You could also try some thinly sliced carrots, and maybe some water chestnuts. Are you using tofu or faux chicken? If not perhaps add some mushrooms as well.

      1. My sauce was a little thick
        How can I thin it out some?
        Add more water?

      2. Hi Karen – it’s a little tricky to thin once it has set. You can try adding less cornstarch next time, or adding more liquid. It thickens as it heats so be sure to add the cornstarch at the very end and remove from heat as soon as it thickens to the desired level.

      3. I added a tad more water to my sauce and a little more with cornstarch
        Also watched more carefully after I added cornstarch
        It was perfect
        The time I made it I may have left it on heat a little too ling.
        Was delicious both times
        Will continue to make
        Tastes just like I remember from the mall

  3. I’m not sure what I did. There’s no way if I did another round of corn starch and water it would look dark and thick like your photos. It came out very thin and light colored. I used and measured out every ingredient you called for. The overall taste was good.

    1. Hi Heather – I can offer a couple of suggestions to help. Make sure the sauce is hot and simmering before you add the cornstarch liquid. Also make sure the cornstarch didn’t settle to the bottom (and stay in the container). Once the cornstarch is added to hot contents of the pan keep stirring and leave it on the heat until it thickens.

  4. I made this last night and already want to make it again! I feel like this sauce would be so delicious on everything. I am thinking next time to make it with bite size pieces of pork instead of chicken thighs.

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