Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken Recipe

From start to finish, this easy Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken Recipe is ready in under 30 minutes! Packed with flavor, it’s faster than going to the mall to pick up a plate of this dish!

We love Instant Pot recipes! Whether your making a batch of hard boiled eggs (the BEST), or whipping up a quick and heart bowl of Instant Pot Taco soup, there’s something for everyone.

Bourbon chicken with rice in a bowl.


Why this Dinner is Best

This is a low effort, maximum satisfaction kind of meal. And the flavor is so good that I cast no judgement to anybody who chooses to lick their plate.

Our family loves going to the mall, but mostly to get some of our favorite bourbon chicken. Today, I’ll show you how to save money and make it at home!

  • There is almost no prep. Even if you’re a beginner, you can get this meal going in under 5 minutes. Let your Instant Pot do the rest. You’ll have 6 heaping servings ready in less than half an hour. Especially on a busy weeknight, it doesn’t get much better than that.
  • Choose broth, bourbon or apple juice – any of these will work. I love using chicken broth and have written the recipe that way. With that said, I’d recommend experimenting as many people have already done (repeatedly). There are some great suggestions in the comment section below which you can use for inspiration. 
  • Incredible flavor. I can’t overstate the how much you’ll get with this recipe – umami, sweet and savory. It’s amazing considering how little effort is required.

The chicken comes out exceptionally tender, and it will make your kitchen smell amazing from the moment you release pressure on the Instant Pot. 

Be sure to try our easy Instant Pot Chicken tacos next. Perfect for your next fiesta! Or finish your day with a bowl of Instant Pot Rice Pudding topped with fresh whipped cream.

Bourbon chicken in an instant pot with a wooden spoon.

Important Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken thighs will give you the most flavor and affordability with the least prep. You could use chicken breasts if you prefer.
  • Apple Juice
  • Chicken Broth
  • Soy Sauce – Both regular and low-sodium varieties work in this recipe. Choose whichever kind you like. 
  • Brown Sugar – Reach for light brown sugar to keep the flavor of this sauce balanced and mellow. Dark brown sugar will make the taste of the sauce too molasses-forward.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves will offer the best and strongest flavor. Pre-minced, jarred garlic is fine in a pinch, but you won’t get the same rich flavor.
  • Ginger – Skip the ginger in a tube, and go for freshly grated ginger whenever possible. There’s a noticeable difference in flavor between the two.
  • Green Onions – Green onions are an optional garnish. Incorporating them will add color, texture, and flavor to the dish. 

Easy Instructions

  1. Prep the Instant Pot. In your Instant Pot, quickly whisk together all ingredients except the chicken, water, cornstarch, and green onions. Once they’re well combined, stir your chicken into the sauce so it’s thoroughly coated.
  2. Pressure cook on high. Secure the lid, seal the valve and start cooking – 12 minutes on High for fresh chicken.
  3. Prepare the slurry. While the dish cooks, mix cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl until it combines and thickens. Set it aside.
  4. Thicken the sauce. Once the cook cycle is complete and pressure is released, set your Instant Pot to the “saute” setting. Remove the chicken and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Then slowly whisk your cornstarch slurry into the sauce. This should take about 2 minutes. Turn off the pot once this step is complete.
  5. Serve it up. Return the diced chicken to the pot and coat it with sauce. Garnish with green onions and you’re ready to eat!
Bourbon chicken served in a bowl with rice and green onions.

Tips and Tricks

  • This is an excellent recipe to keep on hand when you’re in a pinch and forgot to prep for dinner. Since you can make this recipe with frozen chicken, virtually no foresight or planning is necessary.
  • A convenient alternative to fresh grated garlic and ginger is the frozen variations of these ingredients. Freezing preserves the ingredients’ peak flavor, so you’ll get the best taste possible without all the prep.
  • You could use teriyaki sauce if you don’t have soy sauce. Teriyaki includes the same ingredients as soy sauce, plus some sugar. This swap could lead to a slightly sweeter sauce, but you can tweak the brown sugar to your liking. Coconut aminos is another great alternative.
  • No Instant Pot? No problem. Try our slow cooker bourbon chicken recipe instead!

Serving Suggestions

  • The easiest side dish for Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken is rice. You can cook it on the stovetop, use frozen rice, or rice that you steam in the microwave for convenience.
  • I also love following this Cilantro Lime Rice recipe but swapping the lime for melted butter and the cilantro for a few cloves of sautéd garlic. 
  • You can’t get more “comfort food” than serving this Bourbon Chicken with Baked Mashed Potatoes. Whether you serve it on the side or smother the potatoes in the chicken and bourbon sauce, every bite will be as mouth-watering as the last.
Bourbon chicken in the instant pot and a bowl served with rice.

Recipe FAQs 

What’s the best way to store leftover Bourbon Chicken?

Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. You can store the leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days.

What’s the best way to reheat leftover Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken?

Microwaving the leftovers is fair game when you simply can’t wait for a bite. However, the best way to reheat the chicken and sauce is to transfer it to a pot and heat it on the stovetop.

How is this bourbon chicken if there’s no alcohol included?

The combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, apple juice, and ketchup creates the syrupy, caramelized, barbeque-esque bourbon flavor. This recipe’s seasonings further emphasize the sweet, umami flavor without needing any bourbon. Bourbon chicken was named for Bourbon street…not the actual alcohol.

Bowl with rice and glazed chicken.

More Chicken Dinner Recipes

  • Make juicy, sweet and tangy chicken in your crockpot with this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe!
  • Make ahead, freezer friendly Copycat Firecracker Chicken Wraps are a delicious appetizer to serve family and friends. This copycat Longhorn recipe is so good!
  • Comfort food. This Chicken Tetrazzini recipe has been a family favorite for many years! It’s also a great dish to bring a new mom!
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip – serve it up for dinner or a snack.
  • Easy Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe. Crispy chicken in a sweet and tangy glaze, perfect for weeknight dinners!

Don’t forget dessert! We always keep a bag of peanut butter balls in the freezer, for a quick treat. Or bake a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!

Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken

4.62 from 163 votes
By: Aimee
From start to finish, this easy Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken Recipe is ready in under 30 minutes! Packed with flavor, it’s faster than going to the mall to pick up a plate of this dish!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 3 green onions sliced

Instructions 

  • In the bottom of your instant pot, start adding your ingredients. Apple juice, broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, honey, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, and ginger. Use a whisk and mix it really good. Place your fresh or frozen chicken into the instant pot, making sure if's coated in the bourbon mixture.
  • Secure the lid to your pressure cooker, and turn the release valve on top to sealing. Turn on the Instant Pot and press manual (or pressure cook) on high. Set the timer for 12 minutes. 
  • Allow the pressure to build and cook. While it's cooking, mix your cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
  • Once the chicken is done cooking, allow it to naturally release for 5 minutes. Then do a quick release.
  • Remove your chicken from the instant pot and place it on a cutting board. Dice into bite sized pieces.
  • Turn your pressure cooker to saute and slowly add in the cornstarch mixture. Using your whisk, mix continuously until thickened. This takes about two minutes! Turn pressure cooker off and return chicken to the sauce. Top with green onions and enjoy!

Notes

  • Want a rich bourbon sauce? Swap out the chicken broth for your favorite bourbon.
  • A convenient alternative to fresh grated garlic and ginger is the frozen variations of these ingredients. Freezing preserves the ingredients’ peak flavor, so you’ll get the best taste possible without all the prep.
  • You could use teriyaki sauce if you don’t have soy sauce. Teriyaki includes the same ingredients as soy sauce, plus some sugar. This swap could lead to a slightly sweeter sauce, but you can tweak the brown sugar to your liking. Coconut aminos is another great alternative.
  • No Instant Pot? No problem. Try our slow cooker bourbon chicken recipe instead!

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 185mg, Sodium: 1027mg, Sugar: 25g
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!


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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on January 29, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I read some comments and seasoned the chicken with a few spices before hand. Had a delicious taste and the sauce was the bomb! My family really enjoyed this! Will be in my MEAL ROTATION 😋 THANK YOU!

  2. No longer Bourbon chicken? Put in all ingredients including broth then was curious where the bourbon had went. Used this recipe several times in the past but not recent enough to remember broth or not. So now I got broth and bourbon added. See how it goes…

  3. This recipe is completely different than your slow Cooker bourbon chicken. Can this exact one be done in a slow Cooker? I like the c
    Fact of not having to buy alcohol

  4. If we have a sugar restricted diet to work around, could we reduce or do away with the brown sugar? Or would that change the flavor too much?

  5. This recipe seems easy and sounds delicious.
    Can this recipe be modified for a crockpot or stove top?
    If so, can you adise me?

    1. I think something drastic has changed with this recipe..like the ingredients list doesn’t contain BOURBON. I think it got replaced by chicken broth. Odd.

      1. Right? I used to substitute chicken broth for the apple juice and suddenly there IS chicken broth and no bourbon! Gah.

  6. I add a bit more of each ingredient, additional seasons and salt and pepper too and it’s important to use Evan William’sor whatever brand honey bourbon and abt 3lbs of chicken already chunked up, mix it altogether and cook it in the instant pot for 15 mins. Added the slurry with some more apple juice or broth or water whatever available. And saute till sauce thickens slightly, bc it will continue to thicken as it cools. So turn off and remove from the “outer pot”. I make a chicken flavored rice and veggie blend in the instant pot before cooking the chicken and keep it warm in a container stored in the microwave until the chicken is done to serve over it. My 3 and 13 yr old girls devour it! And dinner nights are rough, I make this abt once a week bc it pleases all!

  7. Love this recipe!! Something my 13yr old loves so much he asks for seconds. I add broccoli instead of the green onions for some added veggie.

    1. Absolutely delicious. I used Coconut Aminos (in replace of Soy Sauce), and used Woodford Reserve Bourbon.
      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  8. Looks delicious! I’ve just recently started using an instant pot and love it. If you double chicken amount does it change amount of time needed?

  9. This was very good, lots of wonderful flavors, could not stop eating ! The only negative is that it has so much sugar almost more of a dessert than dinner.

  10. This is my favorite Instant Pot recipe so far. The smell of the ginger when I did the release was amazing! The dog keeps staring at me, but I’m not sharing

  11. Delicious!  I cut my meat up, seasoned it and sautéed the meat first.  You certainly, can taste the bourbon.  Wow.  Will make again.  Thank you!

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