Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken

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Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken is rich and tasty Cajun-inspired dish that combines bourbon with soy sauce, ketchup, and a few other ingredients to make tender pieces of chicken in a sweet and savory sauce.

>> You might also like this Chicken & Broccoli.

instant pot bourbon chicken

This dish is said to be named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, or perhaps owing to the Kentucky Bourbon used in the recipe. We may never know the real origin or reason for the name, but none of that matters once you’ve scooped a spoonful of this tasty chicken into your mouth.

Don’t be put off by the bourbon, if you’re not much into whiskey. It’s used to add richness of flavor to the sauce and any alcohol burns off in the cooking, so you won’t get a strong alcohol flavor in this dish.

Served over rice, this is an easy weeknight meal that will be a hit at the dinner table.

a piece of bourbon chicken

Ingredients in Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken

Here’s what you need for this easy chicken recipe:

  • Chicken breast or thigh – Use boneless skinless chicken for this dish. Using chicken thighs yields the best texture and flavor, but chicken breast is more lean. It’s really up to you.
  • Bourbon – Use any Bourbon you like, or whiskey in a pinch. I don’t recommend leaving it out because it’s the highlight ingredient in this dish, but if you do, replace it with chicken broth.
  • Soy sauce – It’s best to use low sodium soy sauce to avoid over salting the dish. If you do use full sodium, you might want to skip adding additional salt until you can taste it at the end.
  • Brown sugar – For a lower carb/sugar alternative, use a brown sugar substitute.
  • Ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Chicken bouillon cube
  • Water
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cornstarch & water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rice – You can make basmati rice or jasmine rice in the Instant Pot.

This is also a great Instant Pot dump recipe, because you can put all the ingredients in the pot and let it cook, without needing to do anything else. You can even cook the rice at the same time in the Instant Pot with the Pot-in-Pot cooking method.

Instant Pot Pro Plus

Now you can control your pot wirelessly through an app. Cool-touch handles on the pot itself, and an automatic locking pressure release valve for greater safety. This one does it all.

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

How to Make Bourbon Chicken

Add the raw cubed chicken pieces and all ingredients through the black pepper into the inner pot. That’s everything except the corn starch and water, which will be used to thicken the sauce at the end.

bourbon chicken ingredients

Note: If you want to cook the rice at the same time, place a trivet over the chicken ingredients and place a bowl with the rice and water on top of the trivet.

Stir it all up, so the flavors are well blended.

Lock the lid and set the valve to sealing. Press the Pressure Cook button and set the timer to 3 minutes. Yes, that’s all the time it needs. Seems not enough, but it is. The chicken is cubed in small pieces, so they don’t need much time to get cooked through.

When the cook time is over, you can allow it to release pressure naturally for 5 minutes, then do a quick release of the remaining pressure. I don’t recommend leaving it any longer than that, or the chicken might become over cooked.

bourbon chicken in instant pot

Cooking Rice at the Same Time

If you’re also cooking rice in the Instant Pot at the same time, you will need a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel pot that fits inside the Instant Pot and can hold the amount of rice you’re cooking. I usually cook 1 cup of Jasmine rice with 1 cup of water.

Add the rice and water to your dish. Put the trivet or metal stand over the top of the chicken. Set the dish of rice on top of the trivet. It also can be cooked for just 3 minutes, so it’s a perfect combo.

Thickening the Sauce

When the time is up, remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, so all you have in the inner pot is the sauce. It won’t be very thick at this point, so you’ll need to thicken it up with the cornstarch.

Press the Saute mode on the Instant Pot. While it’s getting hot, mix the cornstarch slurry.

bourbon sauce

Mix the cornstarch and water in a bowl, then pour it into the pot with the bourbon chicken. Stir it well and boil it until the sauce thickens, which takes about 3-5 minutes. If you want the sauce extra thick, add more cornstarch.

When the sauce is thickened, add the chicken back to the pot and stir it to warm the chicken and coat each piece. Serve the bourbon chicken over rice.

bourbon chicken

Tips For Making the Sauce

  • This makes quite a bit of sauce, but it can be doubled if you want more.
  • You can add any whiskey you like. It doesn’t have to be Bourbon.
  • For a lower carb version, use brown sugar substitute, no sugar added ketchup, and serve over cauliflower rice.

Does Bourbon Chicken Actually Contain Alcohol

While you do put bourbon into the chicken dish, the alcohol from the bourbon evaporates completely while cooking. It is safe for children to eat.

If you don’t like Bourbon or don’t want to add it for any reason, just replace it with apple juice or chicken broth. These substitutions will change the flavor so it won’t be exactly be like a classic Bourbon Chicken, but it’ll be delicious any ways.

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instant pot bourbon chicken

Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken

Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken is rich and tasty Cajun-inspired dish that combines bourbon with soy sauce and ketchup to make tender pieces of chicken in a sweet and savory sauce.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

4.78 from 50 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Pressurize Time 10 mins
Total Time 18 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 538 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh diced
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups cooked rice

Instructions
 

  • Add the chicken and all ingredients through the black pepper to the pot. Stir. Lock the lid and set the valve to sealing. Press pressure cook and set the time to 3 minutes. When the cook time is up, allow a 5 minute natural pressure release, then manually release remaining pressure.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot, leaving behind the sauce. Press the Saute mode on the Instant Pot and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Mix the cornstarch and water in a bowl. Pour it into the pot. Stir well and boil until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to coat the pieces.
  • Serve over rice.

Notes

  • This makes quite a bit of sauce, but it can be doubled if you want more.
  • You can add any whiskey you like. It doesn’t have to be Bourbon.
  • For a lower carb version, use brown sugar substitute, no sugar added ketchup, and serve over cauliflower rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 538kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 52gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1511mgPotassium: 998mgFiber: 1gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 146IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken, Rice
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Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken

14 thoughts on “Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken

    • Laura says:

      It would work fine to change to maple syrup, but it will definitely change the flavor. I think it would still be good. But I haven’t tried it.

  1. Dale says:

    2 stars
    I doubled the sauce and it really didn’t taste good, and smelled terrible while cooking. I suspect this would be better if the chicken was browned first, and if doubling, cut the bourbon back to the original amount.

    • Laura says:

      Sorry you didn’t like it Dale. I love the smell of this cooking. With bourbon and brown sugar, I’m not sure how it can smell terrible.

  2. John says:

    5 stars
    This is a quick and easy recipe that really made a great hit at home. We are already planning to repeat it. I think the balance of flavors is just right and the smell was wonderful for my husband as he walked in the door. I would not brown the chicken because overcooking will make it dry and mealy. This was just the right amount. of cooking. It is a very sophisticated dish.

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