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 the food court.

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 liquid and stir briskly. The sauce will thicken quickly.
  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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38 thoughts on “Food Court Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe

    1. Hi Annette. For this recipe you just need enough water to dissolve 1 Tbsp of cornstarch, so about 3 Tbsp is enough. This will thicken the soy sauce/bourbon liquid already in the pan with the chicken. If you want the sauce a little thinner, cut that back to about 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch to 3 Tbsp of water. You want to dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water first then add it to the hot liquid in the pan.

    1. Glad it has been a hit at your house. I’ll have to double check my directions to make sure it is clear. For the record, I add it when adding the liquid after the chicken is cooked. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by my humble blog.

  1. I made this exactly the way your recipe said and it turned out great! Everyone loved it. Am making it again tonight for company. Definitely a hit and will be a go to meal. Thanks for sharing

  2. Hello! In Step 2 you say to add in vinegar along with the soy sauce, whiskey, water, etc., however, you don’t say what type of vinegar (rice vinegar perhaps?) or what quantity. Can you clarify please?

  3. Help!! I don’t have any cornstarch and am snowed in!! Can I use flour and water to thicken or something else?

    1. Oh no! Flour is not ideal, but I think you can manage. After the chicken has simmered and the sauce has reduced a bit I would remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Slowly add flour a tablespoon at a time ( maybe 2 Tbsp) whisking constantly so you don’t get lumps, then add the chicken back in. Good luck, hope you get plowed out soon.

  4. Just made this tonight….best recipe I’ve used from Pintrest. Will be making it again. Next week your General Tsos recipe!

    1. Hi Diane, thanks for stopping by the blog. That is a great question, and I have not actually tried making it in a crock pot. That being said, I think it would work with some minor adjustments. I would put the chicken pieces and sauce ingredients (except the corn starch) in the crock pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Add the 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water and stir until thickened right before serving. Let me know how it works out!

  5. OMG! I am mad that bourbon chicken is this simple to make, and I am just now finding out about it! Made it for dinner tonight and we loved it…super easy and tasty – just like the little yummy toothpick samples at the food court!

  6. Made this delectable dish last night and used white Don Q rum in lieu of the Bourbon as that’s all I had on hand. Turned out delicious served with Basmati rice! Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Hi Dee, thanks for stopping by the blog. I like it sweet so I use a half cup, I just don’t pack it down if I am using apple juice. You could go as low as 1/4 cup brown sugar if you are trying to keep the calories down.

    1. Hi Hannah, thanks for stopping by the blog. You could certainly replace the vinegar with apple cider vinegar. Replacing all of the whiskey/apple juice with vinegar is probably not a great option. It would probably taste more like pickled chicken than bourbon chicken. You can certainly experiment with other fruit juices like cranberry if you want to avoid whiskey and apple juice.

  7. This was amazing! The chicken thighs were so delicious, the sauce was amazing. I was not paying attention and added 3 tbsp cornstarch to 3 tbsp water. Lol, I had to add more water to the sauce. Can’t wait to make this again correctly!

  8. This is so so good ! I doubled the recipe and oh was it good ! Yellow seasoned rice and corn ….. AMAZING!!!!

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