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Honey Bourbon Chicken (Marinade and Glaze)

This Honey Bourbon Chicken Marinade is packed with flavor! Let it sit overnight, then turn the marinade into a sauce while you cook the chicken. 

*Originally published 7/2016. Updated 4/2023*

Hi friends!

I can’t wait for you to try this honey bourbon chicken recipe. I first made this recipe way back in 2016. Since then I’ve tweaked it a bit and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

The best thing about this recipe is that it’s super easy and it can be used as both marinade and a sauce.

Honey Bourbon Chicken FAQs

How To Make An Easy Bourbon Chicken Sauce

From what I’ve seen, bourbon chicken sauce is usually made with brown sugar. My version uses honey so it’s saucier and less sticky.

This sauce combines honey with tamari or soy sauce (use tamari to make it gluten-free), plus ketchup, chicken broth, ginger, garlic and of course bourbon!

How To Make Honey Bourbon Chicken Glaze

So what exactly is the difference between a sauce and a glaze? The biggest difference is really that glaze is applied while cooking. For this recipe, the liquid can be turned into a sauce or glaze depending on your cooking method.

If you’re cooking on the stove top, add it at the end as a sauce. Or let it turn into a sauce while cooking in the crockpot. But if you’re cooking on the grill, brush it on while grilling as a glaze.

Can I Make Bourbon Chicken Grilled?

Summer is coming and that typically means lots of grilling. If you’d prefer more of a glaze, you can certainly use the sauce that way. Just leave the chicken breasts whole to marinade and throw them on the grill.

While they’re cooking, add the cornstarch to the liquid to thicken it, then brush it on the chicken halfway through cooking.

Can I Make Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken?

To make this recipe in the slow cooker, leave the chicken breasts whole. Add chicken and marinade ingredients except cornstarch to a bag and let marinate in the fridge overnight. Transfer chicken and marinade to crockpot with vegetables. Let cook on low for 6 hours.

Remove chicken to shred and add cornstarch + water to the sauce. Return chicken to crockpot and let it simmer on warm for 30 minutes to let the sauce thicken.

Can I make Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken?

To make this recipe in the instant pot, you can either leave the chicken breasts whole and cook for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Or you can cut it into bite-sized pieces and cook it for about 4 minutes, similar to my Instant Pot Peanut Noodles. When the pressure is released, stir in the mix of cornstarch and water and let thicken for a few minutes on the warm setting.

What can you substitute for bourbon in honey bourbon chicken?

If you don’t have bourbon on hand or don’t want to use it, try subbing apple juice!

How To Make Honey Bourbon Chicken

This recipe honestly couldn’t be easier.

Add chicken (whole breasts or diced) to a large ziploc bag.

Add remaining marinade ingredients (except cornstarch)

Marinate overnight.

Separate the chicken from the sauce and cook with vegetables in the crockpot, on the stove or on the grill.

Add cornstarch plus a little water to the marinade liquid. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes while is thickens.

Add to chicken as a sauce or glaze.

Best Honey Bourbon Marinade & Sauce Recipe

Here are your directions:

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Honey Bourbon Chicken

This Honey Bourbon Chicken Marinade is packed with flavor! Let it sit overnight, then turn the marinade into a sauce while you cook the chicken. 

Ingredients

1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup bourbon (i used Jack Daniels)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger (grated, or use a paste like Garden Gourmet)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1.5 pounds chicken
3 cups diced mixed vegetables – i used carrots, broccoli and bell peppers.

Instructions

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces (for stovetop version).
Place chicken in a large ziploc bag.
Add remaining ingredients, except cornstarch, and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours, up to 24 hours.
Pour marinade into a small sauce pan.
Add chicken to a large skillet along with mixed vegetables over medium heat.
While the chicken is cooking, add 1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp water to the marinade. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour thickened sauce over chicken and vegetables and stir to combine.
Serve over rice!

Notes

Before adding the sauce to the chicken, taste and adjust as needed. You can add a little extra honey or some hot sauce if desired.

To make this in the crockpot, leave the chicken breasts whole. Marinate, then transfer everything to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the chicken to shred and mix in the cornstarch + water. Add chicken back to the pot and let it simmer on warm for 15-30 minutes.

Did you make this recipe?

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What to serve with honey bourbon chicken?

I think this chicken is best served over rice but you could use another grain like quinoa! If you want to make the chicken alone in the sauce, you could serve with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables to keep them separate from the sauce.

Or try serving with corn on the cobb, fruit salad or your favorite pasta salad!

Enjoy!
–Lindsay–

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