Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken
Pour yourself a hurricane and turn on some jazz, because today we’re keeping it easy with a simple, slow cooker recipe inspired by The Big Easy herself: Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken.
I’ve been to The Big Easy (New Orleans) twice, and I’d return again faster than you can say, “beignets.” What I remember most about the city—aside from the ethereally fluffy, powdered sugar-doused beignet donuts at Café du Monde—is the charming architecture of the French quarter and the way jazz exuded from every corner.
I also recall Bourbon Street.
Both of my visits to New Orleans were during undergrad, and in retrospect, I spent a disproportionate amount of time sipping hurricanes on Bourbon Street, instead of soaking up the city’s culture and cuisine. It’s a sad, youthly omission that I hope to rectify on a future trip. I’ll take a hurricane AND bourbon chicken please.
Juicy chicken cooked in a sweet, sticky sauce, Bourbon chicken is named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, as well as its not-so-secret boozy ingredient. My research results for the origin of Bourbon chicken were admittedly dubious and semi-conflicting—it does seem to be considered a Cajun dish by origin and is definitely named after Bourbon Street, though it’s also very popular in Chinese take out restaurants (?). One source credited a Chinese restaurant that was on Bourbon Street. Whatever its origin, this bourbon chicken recipe is delicious, easy, and addictive.
Every classic Bourbon sauce recipe begins with a standard ingredient list: soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and of course bourbon. I took a bit of a departure from classic recipes by swapping some of the brown sugar for pure maple syrup, which is both more natural and (as my Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars can attest), and a delightful pairing with bourbon.
I also split with tradition by adapting this Bourbon chicken recipe to the crock pot. The prep is less than 10 minutes, so you can even assemble the dish in the morning before work or right after you get home and still eat at a decent hour.
If you aren’t a fan of bourbon, fear not: this Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken recipe doesn’t taste boozy at all. The bourbon balances the sauce’s sweetness and imparts a subtle, smoky flavor that’s wonderful with the maple syrup. Die-hard bourbon fans may even want to consider upping the quantity a bit.
This Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken recipe scored full points at dinner a few weeks ago, and I plan to make it again in a few weeks in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Consequentially, I’m also in the market for a big Derby hat and a killer mint julep recipe. Can I swap you some Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken for your recommendations?
Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken
This Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken recipe is easy to make and tastes better than any Chinese restaurant! Less than 10 minutes to prep and absolutely delicious.
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours (on high) or 6 hours (on low)
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat*
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 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
- Prepared brown rice (for serving)
- Optional: marinate the chicken thighs by placing them in a shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, bourbon, brown sugar, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. Pour over the chicken. Cover the dish tightly and refrigerate for as long as time allows (a few hours or overnight).
- Lightly coat a 4-to-6-quart crock pot with cooking spray and arrange the chicken thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour the sauce (marinade) over the top, cover the crock pot, and 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 sauce pan and place on the stove.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons 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.
I highly recommend using chicken thighs, not chicken breasts in this recipe, as chicken breasts have a tendency to dry out in the crock pot. If you decide to substitute chicken breasts, watch the cooking time carefully, as you may need less time and do not want the chicken to overcook.
Serving Size: 1 (of 4) with 1/2 cup prepared brown rice
- Amount Per Serving:
- Calories: 495 Calories
- Total Fat: 16g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Cholesterol: 44mg
- Sodium: 1282mg
- Carbohydrates: 56g
- Fiber: 2g
- Sugar: 17g
- Protein: 34g
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