Grilled Bourbon Chicken

Grilled Bourbon Chicken breasts are marinaded with soy sauce, Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger and spices then grilled until slightly caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Grilled Bourbon Chicken breasts are marinaded with soy sauce, Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger and spices then grilled until slightly caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.
BBQ Bourbon Chicken

This recipe takes boring grilled chicken to a whole new level! The inspiration came from the popular mall dish, Bourbon Chicken, a dish I used to get as a teenager at my local mall’s Cajun-themed Chinese restaurant. I served it over cauliflower rice, but it would also be great with brown rice.

Other chicken recipes we love are Grilled Chicken Shawarma and Grilled Chicken Salad with peanut vinaigrette.

Rather than stir frying, and using all that oil and sugar they typically use in the dish, I lightened it up and made it on the grill with a lot less sugar. This chicken is so deliciously flavorful with hints of bourbon flavor.

What kind of bourbon to use for cooking?

I save my better Bourbon like Knob Creek for sipping, and use cheaper Bourbon like Jim Beam, Wild Turkey or Old Crow for cooking with.

Tips for making the BEST Grilled Bourbon Chicken

  • The longer it marinates the better it tastes! I marinaded it for 12 hours but you can even do it overnight.
  • If you don’t have a gas grill, you can make this on a grill pan or under the broiler.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs would be great in place of chicken breasts. Increase the cook time to about 20 minutes, turning often if doing so.
  • To make without alcohol you can eliminate the bourbon.

Grilled Bourbon Chicken breasts are marinaded with soy sauce, Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger and spices then grilled until slightly caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.

This recipe takes boring grilled chicken to a whole new level!Grilled Bourbon Chicken breasts are marinaded with soy sauce, Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger and spices then grilled until slightly caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Grilled Bourbon Chicken breasts are marinaded with soy sauce, Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger and spices then grilled until slightly caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.

More Grilled Chicken Recipes you might enjoy:

Grilled Bourbon Chicken breasts are marinaded with soy sauce, Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger and spices then grilled until slightly caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Print
4.84 from 56 votes
Did you make this recipe?

Grilled Bourbon Chicken

4
8
4
SP
381 Cals 51 Protein 12.5 Carbs 9.5 Fats
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Yield: 4 Servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Chinese, Japanese
Grilled Bourbon Chicken breasts are marinaded with soy sauce, Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger and spices then grilled until slightly caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup low sodium or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, I like Bragg’s
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • sliced scallions, for garnish

Instructions

  • Place the chicken breasts, 1 at a time, in a Ziploc bag. Pound the chicken breast to an even thickness, being careful not to puncture the bag. Put breasts in the bag.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, apple sauce, onion, ginger, garlic, oil, bourbon, BBQ sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and red pepper flakes.
  • Reserve and refrigerate 1/3 cup of the marinade and transfer the remainder to the Ziploc bag with the chicken. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight (the longer the better!! I marinated mine 12 hours).
  • Preheat outdoor grill over medium high heat. Discard the marinade in the bag and grill the chicken for 4 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Transfer chicken to a plate, tent with foil and allow to rest while you make the sauce.
  • Put reserved 1/3 cup marinade in a small sauce pan. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduced heat to medium-low until sauce has thickened slightly, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Slice chicken breast, top with sauce, scallions and serve.

Video

Notes

Nutritional info accounts for the marinade that gets tossed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1breast, Calories: 381kcal, Carbohydrates: 12.5g, Protein: 51g, Fat: 9.5g, Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 724.5mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 8g
Blue Smart Points: 4
Green Smart Points: 8
Purple Smart Points: 4
Points +: 9
Keywords: BBQ Bourbon Chicken, bourbon bbq chicken, bourbon chicken, cajun grill bourbon chicken recipe, Grilled Bourbon Chicken

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this Recipe:




136 comments

  1. So much flavor!! I made it exactly as listed except I cooked it in the oven. I was too lazy to BBQ. I marinated it for an hour.  But, it was so tasty. I can only imagine if I marinated it overnight it would be o so delicious. 

  2. Wow! Another big hit! Made this for a BBQ pool party we had for Memorial Day. The only change I made is that we cooked it on our Traeger. It was amazing! Will be making again and again! Had so many guests comment “best chicken ever!”

  3. I needed to get away from the same chicken dishes, so when I found this it looked interesting — the Whole family LOVED it! The key is def to let the chicken marinate for hours, let the acid from the vinegar really break it down and your chicken will be so tender and flavorful! I grilled them on my Pampered Chef Double Burner grill pan — the extra sauce was great, especially on the side of rice. I added a little more brown sugar when heating the sauce.

  4. Great flavor! Will definitely add this to our regular rotation.

  5. I went to make this recipe and realized that I was out of charcoal so I put everything into a slow cooker and cooked on low for 6 hours. It was amazing! I can’t wait to try it the recipe again but on the grill this time.

  6. I really, really wish that you would start adding the marinade time to the recipe in the total time space. This is the second recipe I’ve happened upon tonight where there is a surprise marinade time. 

  7. We make these with chicken thighs! Such an awesome marinade and the whole family loves it.

  8. This was delicious. I used the gauge with recipe to reduce the portions to two servings but beware, not all of the ingredients adjust accordingly. I missed that when it came to the number of chicken breasts so I had 1 pound of 4 breasts instead of 1 pound of 2 breasts. Oh well, we like leftovers.

  9. I have made this recipe twice and what a big hit with hubby and family. I do not use the ginger in the recipe ,  but substituted it with cinnamon applesauce. Great summer meal.

  10. Could I sub in coconut aminos for the soy? Soy and I don’t get along. I would have to cut the sweetness somewhere if I added the aminos. 

  11. Has anyone tried this marinade with a pork tenderloin?

  12. We enjoyed this very much.   It is really good.

  13. Hope this question is not silly but we don’t drink Alcohol at all.  Is there something I can sub for the bourbon ?   Thx !!

  14. Marinated on Wed for four hours using a zip lock bag so could turn over a few times. Left bourbon out. Just delicious on the grill. Tasty, flavorful and moist. Made extra so today will have delicious cold chicken for lunch.

  15. Just did my marinade. I used everything you said down to the brand of Ingredients. I have all the same stuff just sitting in my cabinet I just used a regular bbq sauce instead of my homeade one I use made by the (Neely’s). Awesome btw. And I used Jim beam vanilla bourbon. Only have time for 4 hr marinade. So I hope it taste good as the Cajun Chinese food court lol.

  16. I made this with great anticipation. Marinated for 16hrs.
    Wondering if I did something wrong.?Was very underwhelmed, it was pretty tasteless. First skinnytaste recipe I won’t be repeating.

  17. what do you use for BBQ sauce?

  18. Made this tonight and it was delicious. I adapted it to be Keto friendly by omitting the apple sauce and brown sugar. Used Keto friendly bbq sauce. Tasted just like the bourbon chicken at the mall.

  19. This will be a new staple in my household. AMAZING!!!! I loved everything about it but most of all the WW Freestyle point value! Thanks for keeping skinny delicious! 

  20. The best marinade on chicken that I have ever tried.

  21. This is delicious! I marinated mine for 24 hours as I prepared it while I made the previous nights dinner. I didn’t have an outdoor grill so used my electric grill and it worked out perfectly.  Chicken was juicy and flavor fantastic. I too wondered how to convert the recipe to my air fryer.  This sauce would be great on so many kinds of meat. 

  22. Made this last night. Absolutely delicious. My husband said this recipe is a sure keeper.
    Thank you.

  23. I just stumbled across this website. I’m in Australia, are any of these recipes available in grams and kilos? or does anyone know how to convert them? Thanks 🙂

    • Try a conversion website like https://www.unitconverters.net/ or sometimes there are conversion charts in the back of cookbooks. 

  24. This is now a staple in our house. So easy and so delicioius!

  25. Looks delish! Wondering if you can make in the air fryer and if so, for how long?

  26. This was delicious!! My husband is very picky (no cheese, seafood, random veggies, creamy sauces, etc) and he LOVED this. Yum flavor and would be a great, easy dish for a dinner party. Thank you for having healthy, delicious recipes I can feed to anyone!

  27. I would love to know how to make this in my air fryer. Thank you.

  28. I literally make this every other week. I use skinless chicken thighs. Delicious.

  29. I substituted vanilla extract for the bourbon since I didn’t have any. This was amazing!! The kids and hubby all gave this one a thumbs up.

  30. What would be the SmartPoints value of using 2 boneless skinless thighs per serving? Thank you!

  31. Made this recipe today for dinner. I didn’t grill it. I pan seared it. We had unexpected guests for dinner and I asked them to rate the chicken since it was made for the first time…I got a unanimous thumbs up.

  32. I did not have bourbon, so I used rum. But this chicken tasted AMAZING!!!

  33. Do you think this would be good with dark rum instead of bourbon?

  34. This recipe was easy to make & absolutely delicious! I have shared this recipe with several friends looking for a low calorie chicken recipe that has amazing taste. I tried to add it to the WW recipes but was unable to do it. This recipe will made many times again! Thank you for this wonderful chicken recipe. All the flavor with only 5 freestyle points!!!!

  35. Holy smokes – I have a new favorite recipe!!! This was so so so SO good! I “cheated” and used ground ginger and garlic powder an de it worked out just great. I also went a little extra with the red pepper flakes and loved the kick. This is now at the top of my list!

  36. this would be great if you used half the marinade, saved the rest… cooked and shredded the chicken added the remaining marinade and serve on a bun or roll! .. might be a weekend dinner here very soon! Thanks for the great food!

  37. Would this recipe convert well for the air fryer for those of us without a grill? If so what temperature/time?

  38. I made this last night. It was delicious! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I will definitely be making this again! Yummy

  39. Very very delicious!!! We will be making this again. Had a little heat from the red pepper flakes so if you have littles just leave the flakes out. We used scotch whisky and it was great!

  40. Absolutely delicious. I marinated the chicken overnight and used a grill pan. I used Wild Turkey 101 for the bourbon and served fresh green beans on the side. Definitely a keeper recipe that would impress guests.

  41. This is by far my favorite recipe! The chicken is so flavorful! It is great with quinoa as well!

  42. Great recipe. Cut 2 huge breasts in half so I would have 4 ppunded breasts. Added Sesame oil instead of Canola for a bigger umami Asian flavor. Altho. we’ve had a blizzard in Boston, I always grill as FOLLOWS:
    I put a flat cast Iron pan in the oven and leave in at 450 till hot. Meanwhile I crank up the grill right outside our front door. I remove the breasts. from the marinade and shake off. Take out cast iron pan and place on grill then add chicken. The best part of cooking this way: 1. Your Grate stays clean 2. Nothing drips or gets lost b between the grill grates, so no fame ups. 3. With a Flat Surface, meat cooks evenly and 4. Cast iron pan cleans easily.  Let pan cool. sprinkle with salt and rub clean. NEVER EVER WASH WITH SOAP AND WATER. After salt is scrubbed off, rinse with hot water and dry throughly. Rub a bit of cooking oil on the cast iron and let sit without stacking other items on top.

  43. Even my picky eater liked this!  Easy to make and very flavorful!  R

  44. This was very good. I forgot to reserve 1/3 c of the sauce for later, so I blew that part, which would have made it even better. I need to start reading recipes all the way through before just jumping in, ha. Still very good though, I will definitely make again.

  45. What a GREAT marinade. I did not have any BBQ sauce but substituted with Hoisin (Korean BBQ sauce) and it turned out delicious. I am on WW and calculated the recipe with the substitution of BBQ sauce and it didn’t have an affect on the point total. This would also be great for a pork tenderloin! YUM!!

  46. What a GREAT marinade. I did not have any BBQ sauce but substituted with Hoisin (Korean BBQ sauce) and it turned out delicious. I will adjust my points for the change, but I don’t think it will have a huge affect on the point total. This would also be great for a pork tenderloin! YUM

  47. We tried the marinade/sauce last night with boneless pork ribs and it was delish! Served with baked applesauce and roasted butternut squash and carrots. What a great supper!

  48. GIna, should the marinade be strained before adding chicken broth and reducing on stovetop?

  49. Didn’t care for this one.

  50. Hi Gina! Love your recipes they are awesome! I was curious how you calculate the marinade in with weight watchers. I’ve googled it and gotten a a bunch of different answers. I would love to hear your method, thank you so much! 

    • I use the recipe builder. The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why. Hope this helps!

  51. I’ve made this recipe already and it was delicious! I’m planning to make it again for dinner on Monday (it’s Saturday night now.) Do you think I could leave it marinating until Monday, or should I already grill the chicken tomorrow and reheat on Monday? I wasn’t sure if the marinade would toughen the chicken if left to long. Thanks in advance for any advice. Love your recipes!

  52. Really, really good! I didn’t have any BBQ sauce, so I added a little extra bourbon. This is another keeper.

  53. Walden Farms has a great BBQ that has 0 calories, sugar and fat. We’ve made this recipe twice now and have used it both times and don’t miss “regular” bbq sauce!

  54. Paired this with your Garlic Mashed Potatoes and some green beans and it was delicious. I marinated the chicken for 20 or so hours. Even though I forgot to buy bourbon, it was plenty tender. Will definitely make this again. Thanks Gina!

  55. How do I calculate salmon instead chicken for macros?

  56. I’m so disappointed ? everyone else raves about this recipe so I finally gave it a go, it was mediocre at best. I’ve never had bourbon chicken before so I guess maybe I just don’t like it in general.

  57. Delicious marinade!! We have done it with both chicken and boneless pork chops and actually preferred the pork!! Just seared the outside and baked at 400 until 120ish degrees (internal temp) then switched to broiler to caramelize the topping until 140-145 degrees. Super tasty!!!

  58. Our grill JUST broke and the new one doesn’t arrive until this Friday, and I have the chicken marinating in the fridge for dinner tomorrow! Can you tell me how you would do this in the oven/broiler? Thank you! 

  59. How long do you put it in the broiler? My grill has broke and I i would rather not over cook it!!

  60. Another fantastic recipe! We will definitely be adding this to the rotation.

  61. Absolutely delicious!!! Incredible combination of flavors!

  62. Hi Gina – can i marinate and freeze do you think? Then cook later. Not sure if the marinade ingredients are freezer friendly.

  63. This is a terrific recipe! We both thought it could be a good company dish as well as weeknight.

  64. Excellent , I made a 1/2 recipe as that is the amount of chicken I had but did the full amount of sauce. We loved it and thought it was wonderful. Wish I had had more chicken when I did it. Can’t wait to have it again. Thank you

  65. OMG! This was one of the best marinades for chicken breasts. I marinated mine overnight and served the chicken with vegetable fried rice. The chicken breasts were juicy, the taste was fabulous, and my husband loved them as much as I did. I have shared the recipe with my friends and family and urge anyone to make this recipe. You will be happy you did. I also think this would be great with pork. Will follow up and let you know as I am going to give it a whirl!

  66. HOLY SMOKES!! This was AMAZING!! My whole family loved it! Even my picky daughter who doesn’t like “sweet meat”! I used used chicken tenders and marinated overnight. The only thing I didn’t add was the onion. I forgot it! I will be making this again.

    Thanks Gina!

  67. This was amazing. I recently bought a brand new grill and this was a great recipe to try out. I bought boneless thighs to add to the last 2 chicken breast for a giant bag from Sam’s club. I just a honey flavored Bourbon in my recipe and I like that I had most of the ingredients on hand other than that then ginger. I used a sugar free BBQ sauce. I only was able to marinate the chicken for 4 hours, but after pounding the chicken flats that loosened the meat to absorb the marinade faster. It grilled great, it didn’t burn despite the sugar in the recipe. I agree that it tastes exactly like the Bourbon Chicken at the mall food court. Such a great recipe.

  68. Delicious, Gina!  I made a double batch & next time will set aside a bit more sauce for reducing too.  Added leftovers to my salad for lunch at work today.  So good!  My 17 year old son said “Oh, WOW”, after his first bite & proceeded to finish a giant chicken breast without further discussion- he was BUSY.  This is a winner- thank you!

  69. Yummy way to grill chicken and get some beautiful charring and grill marks from the sugars in the marinade. I sliced my chicken breasts long ways to make cutlets, which came out to about 3-4oz per breast. I also used G Hughes sugar free barbecue sauce, which has EXCELLENT flavor for a sugar free product. Hoping these two tricks/swaps cut the points a little. I found that one 3-4oz cutlet was plenty for me. Thanks for another great recipe, Gina!

  70.  Made this for our fifth anniversary and it did not disappoint! 10/10 will make again and for company!!!! Thank you Gina!!!

  71. This was phenomenal! The chicken was so juicy and the sauce was so delicious. We are making this a staple every month!

  72. For oven/broiler cooking, how long would you suggest?  Should we flip it half way?

  73. Another excellent recipe, Gina. Thank you!!!

  74. Amazing! My whole family loved it! I was worried about using cheap bourbon, but we used the cheapest of the cheap and it was SO GOOD!

  75. Thank you for the recommendations of brand names for the bourbon. My knowledge/consumption of alcohol is limited to wine coolers !

  76. Stumbled on this last week and have made it 3 times. An amazingly flavorful dish! We make thighs and breasts, then have chicken salad the next day with the breasts. We had no bourbon and used Crown Royal Whiskey instead. Wonderful!

  77. This is absolutely delicious!  Thanks for the suggestion for pounding the chicken a bit!  It cooked perfectly! I am not usually the grill master of our family… but this recipe made me closer!

  78. This was delicious and so simple! I was pleasantly surprised to have all of the necessary ingredients on hand. I served it alongside your crustless zucchini pie and grilled corn salad with feta. Delicious summer meal, thanks for all you do!

  79. This was fantastic! I didn’t have applesauce, so I subbed homemade apple butter and left out the brown sugar so it didn’t get too sweet. I also used SF BBQ sauce because that’s what I had on hand. Served on it’s own (without rice)…would be great over a salad!

  80. Made this over the weekend, it was delicious. Had not tried the cauliflower rice yet and had a bag in the freezer and got to try that too. What an amazing dish! Couldn’t get my husband to try the “rice” but he also loved the chicken. Brought the leftovers today for lunch. Another winner recipe, two thumbs up!!
    Don’t want to wish my life away but can’t wait till I get your new cookbook in October.

  81. This is so great! Definitely a go-to dish for company. Thanks for making it easy to eat real, healthy food while I lose weight!

  82. Your recipes are wonderful.  Since my hub and I have serious food allergies(celiacs, rice, and potatoes, plus I am extremely allergic to any sulfites!  You have given me new inspiration! .  Thank you so much!!!!  Vic

  83. Loved the recipe and made it with the cilantro lime cauliflower. Yum. One small (BIG) change: I used thin sliced, boneless pork chops! The marinade was great as written and was delicious with the pork!

  84. hello. We don’t have Bourbon where we are. There is whisky, expensive and affordable types. Can I substitute? Can I make my own Apple sauce by Just blending an Apple?

    • Bourbon is whiskey, it is just whiskey from a specific region. Like champagne is bubbly from France vs prosecco from Italy.

    • Bourbon is just a type of whisky.  It all depends on what exactly is in the grain mixture and the types of containers it is stored in when being made that makes it bourbon vs. calling it whisky.  Some brands of bourbon would be Wild  Turkey, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve…..

  85. This looks delicious.  I’m always looking for new ways to grill chicken.  I have all the ingredients on hand except for the apple sauce. Do you have a substitute?  What if I leave it out all together?  Thank for the recipe.  

    • Since this has now been asked twice, the answer is Gina made a mistake in the instructions. Per the ingredient list, she’s specified Apple Cider Vinegar (no applesauce) so sure that’s what she meant to say.

      • Wait, what?? So is there applesauce in this recipe or not? It is listed in the ingredients. I’m confused.

      • Yes there is applesauce. 1/2 cup and in directions number 2. There really is no sub, if you leave it out you will have less sauce.

  86. I don’t have an outdoor grill. How do I get close to that taste using the oven and stovetop?

  87. This was incredibly easy to make and good.  My husband made it and I made the cauliflower rice and added asparagus tips to it.   It hit the spot right on!  Thanks

  88. What would you reccomend using in place of canola oil? Vegetable or olive? 

    Thanks! Look forward to making this this weekend! 

  89. Is that cauliflower rice?

  90. Could you make this with chicken tenders?

  91. I love bourbon and cannot wait to make this! What purpose does the apple sauce serve and can I leave it out?

  92. Since chicken breast is now zero points, is all 5 points for the marinade or are you including the nutritional values of chicken in your calculation?

  93. I can’t wait to try this tomorrow night! We are always looking for new recipes using chicken breasts. Thanks for the new recipe!

  94. Hi Gina! Could I also make this using ground chicken?

  95. I’d like to make this in the air fryer.  How long and at what heat, would you do this?  

  96. What do you think about crockpotting it?

  97. Can this be made on stove top? I like a lot of your grilled recipes but don’t have a grill. thanks !

  98. When I told the hubster about this he excitedly responded, “I like bourbon! Let’s do it!” So, I guess a trip to the liquor store is in my not so distant future. I think it will be brilliant over garlicky zoodles and mushrooms.

  99. The ingredients call for two pounds/4 breasts of chicken, but directions say put two in baggie and pound. Serving says the serving size is one breast. Very confusing. Is that two huge chicken breasts cut in half so you have four, or four separate breasts? Please clarify. Thanks-much appreciated. This was delicious by the way. ?

  100. Looks great!  What kind of barbecue sauce do you use?

  101. Bourbon chicken is one of my favorites, too. I almost wonder how this might be using salmon, instead?   I’m thinking it would be an interesting twist but what would you suggest as far as marinating, as I wouldn’t want to “over-marinate, which is so easy to do with fish. 

  102. This looks amazing! I’m curious to know if there is any substitution for the Bourbon (which seems like a silly question as that is the namesake of the dish), but I am gluten free and can’t have most dark liquors.

    Thanks, love all of your recipes!!

    • I am sure it would taste fine without!

    • I’m gluten free as well (but by choice for food sensitivities not allergies so not 100% sure on these) but still drink Jack Daniels, it also looks like Wild Turkey might be gluten free. Captain Morgan is also all GF so might be a good substitute. Hope this helps!

      • We made the marinade and put the chicken in last night.  Now we found out we won’t be able to cook it tonight.  What do we do?

    • Check with a nutritionist on this…but our nutritionist told us that all distilled liquors are gluten-free.  Not beer, but spirits are gluten-free due to the distillation process.  My husband is Celiac and he drinks all kinds of liquor.

  103. Hi Gina! I love your recipes!!! What non-alcoholIc substitute can I use for this recipe??? TIA

  104. Do you think it would be okay if I skipped the acv?