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. Pull out your slow cooker, pour yourself a hurricane cocktail and turn on some jazz, because today we’re keeping it easy with one of the best crockpot recipes inspired by The Big Easy herself.

plate of crockpot bourbon chicken served over fluffy white rice
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.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken recipe served over rice, garnished with scallions

What’s in a Bourbon Chicken Recipe?

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 be made in a slow cooker. 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.

crockpot full of homemade bourbon chicken

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.

healthy bourbon chicken recipe made in a slow cooker, served over rice

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Recipe Serving Suggestions

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 to go with Sommer’s killer mint julep recipe and my Bourbon Buttermilk Pie for dessert. Can I swap you some Bourbon Chicken for your recommendations?

More Crock Pot Chicken Recipes

 

plate of crock pot bourbon chicken served over fluffy white rice

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken

3 from 2 votes
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.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 hrs 10 mins
Total: 6 hrs 20 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4) with 1/2 cup prepared brown riceCalories: 495kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 34gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 1282mgFiber: 2gSugar: 17g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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31 Comments

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  1. Oof, I love a recipe like this. I sadly don’t have the time right now but I will have to try this delicious looking chicken recipe sometime soon! Definitely need to pin this for later :)

  2. Reason #2375934 why I need a crockpot. Oh well, my birthday is coming up in a couple weeks so I know what I’m making!! ;)

  3. I love Bourbon Chicken, but I always wondered why it was considered a NOLA dish…I still don’t know why, but that won’t stop me from eating it!

  4. This bourbon chicken looks so incredibly tender, flavorful, and absolutely delicious! I want to dig into that plate :) 

  5. I actually laughed out loud at “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 (?). ”  Well, wherever it came from, I’m glad it’s up on your blog now!  It looks delicious!!  I don’t have a crockpot (I know, crazy right?) but now I really want to go out and get one!!!!  

  6. This recipe sounds great. At present I am not supposed to use alcohol because of a pancreatitis attack
    I am just getting over. Is there a substitute I could use? Love and use your recipes often. Donna

    1. Donna, I think that you would be safe just to omit it or you could swap chicken stock. I hope you enjoy the recipe. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy my other recipes too! That means a lot :)

  7. hi erin,
    this recipe is one i didn’t even know i was looking for before i “found” it on your blog. :o)
    it brings back such fond memories of our years in the states and the many many wonderful foods sampled. i can scarcely wait to prepare bourbon chicken as a surprise for my husband, however we are currently living in austria where crockpots/slow-cookers are virtually unknown. any suggestions on how i could adapt this recipe for cooking on the stovetop? in the oven? your help would really be appreciated!
    thanks! monica

    1. Hi Monica! I’ve only done this in the slow cooker, but with experimentation, I think you could nail it on the stovetop or oven. You could either cook the chicken on the stovetop, simmering it in the marinade until it’s cooked through or bake it in the dish in the oven with the marinade at 350 degrees, basting it periodically. I’m not sure if the sauce would need to be thickened on the stove with cornstarch after the chicken is cooked (if yes, remove the chicken, then thicken it, then add the chicken back in)—you’d just have to see what the consistency is like once the chicken is cooked. Sorry I can’t give you more specific direction but I hope this at least gets you started!

  8. I had saved this to my Paprika account and was looking for something to do with chicken thighs …OMG… this is delicious and soooo easy! Can’t wait for tomorrow and leftovers. I halved the recipe but forgot what I was doing when I got to the vinegar, so I upped the maple syrup a tad. It was just right. I can always rely on your recipes.

    1. Paula, this means so much! Thanks so much for your kind words and for taking time to share this review too.

  9. Erin, you’ve become my “go-to” cooking blog. I can’t tell you how many of your wonderful recipes I’ve tried and will try again. Last night was this recipe for Crock-pot Bourbon Chicken. If I could post a pic here I would. (But really, it looks just like yours!) It got raves from my dinner guests and it is definitely going into rotation! Thank you!

    1. This makes my day!!! Thank you so much for your kind words about my recipes, and I’m glad that this one was such a hit too.

  10. Ok, so I’ve search my cupboards for bourbon with no luck, so I’ve decided to add some cognac ☺️. I look forward to our dinner tonight after my boys’ soccer training. When slow cooker is on , it always feels like someone else cooked dinner …. Thanks Erin for another great recipe ! 

  11. Anyone know if this would be similar to Chao Cajun’s Bourbon Chicken? It’s the only “bourbon chicken” I’ve had and would love to make it at home!

  12. Hi Erin, I have these marinating in the fridge right now for dinner tonight (not sure you’ll see this before I have to start cooking). I’m worried I bought the wrong kind of chicken. I bought chicken thigh filets. Do you think these will be OK on low for about 6 hours or should I do less time?

    1. Hi Christine, if the chicken pieces are smaller, they will likely need less time. I haven’t tried that particular cut myself, so I don’t have a specific time to recommend, but I’d check for doneness before 6 hours!

  13. Tried this or the first time last night and it was delicious! Most of the leftovers went for lunch today! The sauce was perfect!5 stars

  14. I noticed that a lot of your recipes only call for a 5-7 hour slow cook time. I’m usually gone for work for 12 Hours, will I destroy the recipe by letting it cook for so long?

    1. Hi George, the cook times given are a range, but 12 hours will likely overcook the chicken. If your crock pot has an option to switch to Warm after a set cooking time, that can be helpful!

  15. I was off to a great start but something went terribly wrong! I let my boneless skinless thighs marinate overnight then cooked in crockpot for only 2 hrs on high and my meat was DRY! The sauce and it’s flavor were good but it could not mask the paleness and dryness of the chicken. I was so excited but ended up embarrassed with my presentation. 1 star

    1. Hi Yolanda, I’m so sorry that this happened. It’s hard to know what exactly may have gone wrong since everyone’s slow cooker is different. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not have it turn out as expected, so I truly wish you would have loved this.

  16. Hi Erin- I want to make this recipe but only have bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs at home. I can cut the skin off, no problem. Any idea how much longer I should cook the chicken?

    1. Hi Annie! I’d suggest checking out my Crock Pot Shredded Chicken post for tips on how long to cook chicken based on your specific chicken type and weight. I hope this helps!