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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149 thoughts on “Food Court Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe

  1. My kids have never been to a mall and experienced this yumminess. Gonna make this for them tonight! It was my favorite when I lived in the city. Esp when I was pregnant with my eldest before we moved to a simpler life! Thanks for the recipe!

      1. Can you cook this in the crockpot? if so for how long and would you just add all the ingredients in at one time

      2. Tiffany, I have not tried it in the crock pot, but theoretically it should work. I would add everything but the cornstarch/water to dissolve it and cook on low for about 5-8 hours or high for about 3-4 hours (until chicken is at least 165 degrees). At the end dissolve the cornstarch in a 3 Tbsp of water and stir it in. Keep storing until it becomes clear and starts to thicken. Let me know if you try it 🙂

  2. Hi I have made this several times and we loveeeeeee it. My glass top stove cracked the other day and I am making this Friday for a meal train. Want to double the recipe, but have to make it in my ninja foodie. Have you made this in a pressure cooker and if so could you help me with time and measurements? Thank you so much.

    1. Sherry, I have not prepared this in a ninja foodie or similar device. I have been working up plans for a slow cooker/crock pot along these lines. Put everything except the cornstarch and 2Tbsp of water into the slow cooker on low for 5 hours or high for 2 1/2 hours. 5 min before completed mix the water and cornstarch together and stir well into the chicken.

  3. This was fantastic. With covid my favorite fast food is closed so my craving was getting out of hand!! Would you do the cajun bbq chicken anytime soon??

    P.S. I’m a lousy cook, but your pictures and instructions made the meal perfect!

    1. Jill – thank you for the comments and kind words. Nothing makes me happier than helping someone who “can’t cook” prepare a tasty meal. I truly believe anyone can cook with practice and good directions. I’ll have to look into Cajun BBQ chicken. Our local food court doesn’t offer that one but now I’m curious!

  4. Dead on to mall bourbon chicken. Big hit with the family tonight. Doubled the sauce as we like to drench our rice and used extra for egg roll dip. Thank you for sharing such an easy to follow recipe.

  5. Awesome! I had never had Bourbon Chicken but I’m a fan now! It was quick and easy and everyone enjoyed it. Thank you old guy for your delicious recipe.

  6. Tried this recipe tonight and everyone in my family of 7 loved it! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  7. My entire family loved this recipe! Made it for over 9 people and they ate it up! My mom even asked for the recipe and told me to save it to make again!

  8. This was super good! I used chicken breast and jack Daniels because that’s what I had and it was perfect. I will try with thighs and Jim beam next time 🙂

  9. I followed the receipe to the T! Is was soooo good. My husband let me have 1/3 c of Paul Mason. The smell coming out of my kitchen were delightful. What is the suggested serving size? I served thre people, 1 c each.

    1. Hi Zelina – glad you enjoyed the recipe and impressive you got your husband to share the good whisky! We generally serve 3-4 people with this recipe when served over rice. We also serve egg rolls and some type of vegetable like steamed broccoli. If this is the whole meal people will likely take larger servings.

  10. OMG this was so tasty between myself, daughter and granddaughter, we laid it low hardly any left over for next day lunch. This will be made again and again and again! So yummy and easy to make. Thank You!

    JoJo

  11. My husband and I tried this tonight, and we used apple juice. We live in Louisiana so I am not sure if our bourbon chicken is different but to us I tasted nothing like our malls. I seen online their is a new Orleans style or Cajun style bourbon chicken so maybe that’s what I am used to. Also maybe the apple juice threw it off.

    1. Hi Paige – you are correct, this is nothing like Nawlins Bourbon Street chicken. This is a dish served in Chinese restaurants north of the Mason Dixon line. I like them both, but you want New Orleans style Bourbon Chicken which is more of a barbeque flavor.

  12. Thanks for the recipe. It was easy to make and great served over rice. I made it last night and both my husband and I loved it! (Note: I used chicken breast bcuz that’s what was on sale and I couldn’t find my rice vinegar so I used balsamic- still tasty!)

  13. Made your recipe and my Wife and I loved it.
    Not every posted recipe works well but this one knocks it out of the park.
    Tim & Fran from Maryland

    1. Thanks Tim, appreciate the glowing review. I actually develop and test my recipes and validate they work consistently. It is a lot of work, but I want people to have success with them. I strive to make them easy enough for anyone to use, regardless of experience in the kitchen.

  14. Hi so I’m in the UK, not to sound silly but we don’t work in cups more like tablespoons and teaspoons what would the cups be equivalent to. Thanks hannah

  15. So easy to make and it was beyond delicious! I followed the recipe exactly (I just doubled all the sauce ingredients to have extra!) and added some steamed broccoli at the very end, served over rice! Bourbon chicken is my hubby’s favorite and he said this is better than any he’s ever ordered at a restaurant!!!! This one is definitely getting added into our dinner rotation!

  16. Delicious! I used my instant pot and all loved it as written. I do think I will use the frying pan next time. I personally missed the browning.

      1. My thighs were partially frozen so I did 12 minutes,10 minutes at natural pressure release, then quick release. For thawed meat I would recommend 10 minutes under pressure then release the same.
        I did thicken the sauce on the stove. I’m not a pro with the instant pot.

  17. I have made this dish a couple of times and it is always amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe! Would adding more cornstarch to the water make it thicker without leaving a bad taste? Thanks in advance!

      1. I will have to go get it, I unfortunately only have orange juice. Thank you!

  18. Made this tonight for dinner – as my husband passed me with his second bowl he declared it a keeper! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe 😊

  19. I made this for my three boys ages 17,15, and 10 with fried rice and potstickers. They loved it! Thank you!!

  20. This looks great! I plan to use low sodium soy sauce and use stevia for most of the sugar (leaving a little for browning). They have worked for me in the past with rice wine vinegar for eel sauce,and i hope it works here. I like eel sauce more that many BBQ sauces and this looks a lot better! Thanks so much for this inspiration!

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