Last updated on May 15th, 2023
Are you craving the mouthwatering bourbon chicken you usually find at your favorite food court restaurant? Look no further! This homemade teriyaki sauce will give you that same irresistible taste. Marinate your chicken overnight, then brown and simmer it in this delectable sauce.
Unleash the Flavor with an Overnight Marinade
To achieve the perfect tenderness and flavor, it’s essential to marinate your chicken ahead of time. My recommended marinating time is eight hours, but you can get away with as little as 2-4 hours. However, don’t rush this step just before dinner—it won’t yield the same fantastic results.
The marinade is a breeze to make, and you probably already have the ingredients in your cabinet. If you’re anything like me, there’s always a bottle of bourbon in your liquor cabinet. Whisk the marinade ingredients together and pour them into a Ziploc bag. Add your diced boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), press out any air, and seal the bag. I suggest placing the bag in a bread loaf pan to prevent leaks. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for the next several hours.
The Secret to Homemade Teriyaki Sauce: Mirin
Now let’s move on to the star of the show—the homemade teriyaki sauce. Most of the ingredients you’ll need are likely already in your pantry. However, if you don’t often cook Asian cuisine, you might not have mirin. Mirin is a subtly sweet, slightly tangy rice wine and is the key ingredient in authentic teriyaki sauce. You can usually find it in the International or Asian food section of your grocery store. Alternatively, you can use cooking sherry, sweet marsala wine, dry white wine, or rice vinegar as a substitute.
Preparing the Bourbon Chicken
Once your chicken has marinated to perfection, drain off any excess liquid. Add a couple tablespoons of flour to the chicken and toss until it’s evenly coated. This step helps absorb any remaining liquid and ensures a nicely browned chicken.
Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Spread the chicken out in an even layer so that each piece touches the hot surface. You may need to work in batches to brown all the chicken thoroughly.
While the chicken is browning, start preparing the teriyaki sauce. Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, white granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
Mix water and cornstarch to create a slurry. This step ensures a smooth and thickened sauce. Avoid adding the cornstarch directly to the hot teriyaki sauce, as it may result in clumps.
Bring the teriyaki sauce to a boil until it thickens to a syrup-like consistency. Remove it from the heat (it will continue to thicken).
Add all the cooked chicken back to the skillet and pour in half of the teriyaki sauce. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens, then add the remaining sauce. You’ll know it’s ready when the sauce beautifully coats each piece of chicken.
The ultimate test—approval from the Bourbon chicken connoisseur himself. He took a few bites, and I anxiously awaited his response.
“Well?” I finally asked.
He nodded and smiled. “This one’s a keeper. It’s really good.”
WHOOHOO! I may not always have a spotless house, neatly folded laundry, or a kid without applesauce in his hair, but I can proudly say I make a mean Bourbon chicken that The Husband approves of.
When serving, I like to enjoy the bourbon chicken over hot rice. For an extra touch, sprinkle sesame seeds and green onions on top.
For more delicious chicken recipes, check out these mouthwatering options: