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Honey Bourbon Chicken {30 Minute Meal}

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I’m bringing you another 30 minute meal! They are my favorite! This is another one of our favorite take-out, but made-at-home meals. Saucy, sweet, tangy, Honey Bourbon Chicken with crisp broccoli and bright orange carrots. Steam up some rice for a quick healthy weeknight meal.


I don’t know about you, but lately, I’ve been rather uninspired at dinnertime, maybe it’s because I was sick for a bit, but I just can’t seem to get my act together. However; this is one of my go-to recipes, I typically have the ingredients on hand and at 4 o’clock when I realize dinner needs to be on the table, this Honey Bourbon Chicken comes together quickly.


I don’t know why dinner comes as such a surprise, we eat every night, 7 days a week, nothing changes and yet, I find myself, tummy rumbling or kids asking, “what’s for dinner!” and I panic!

Honey Bourbon Chicken is the answer for moments like this…if you have them, you probably don’t, it’s probably only me…

THAWING TIP | Need to quick thaw your meat? While gathering the ingredients, toss your meat (place in a baggie if not already in vacuum packed bag) into a bowl of warm water, on the hotter side. Let it sit changing water out about half way through; it should be defrosted enough to work with in about 15-20 minutes.

Swirl some oil (try using Toasted Sesame oil for an even more flavorful dish) into a hot pan and toss in your onions, sautéing over medium-high heat until soft and nicely caramelized.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Chop the garlic and toss in during the last minute of onion caramelizing.

garlic and onions in pan for honey bourbon chicken | via @thefreshcooky

While your onions and garlic are sautéing, gather your sauce ingredients.

Bourbon (or whiskey) is entirely optional! The chicken still tastes great without it, however keep reading as I do explain why I use alcohol at times in my meals.

Ingredients for honey bourbon chicken www.thefreshcooky.com

Measure honey into a small mixing bowl.

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I love using Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s instead of soy sauce, or try soy sauce, Tamari, GF soy sauce or Coconut Aminos because they all work beautifully!

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Squirt in the ketchup, I use organic ketchup, you can probably substitute with tomato sauce if need be.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Sprinkle some red pepper flakes; since I’m a spice wimp I go light, but shake away if you and your family likes more heat.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Do I need to use Bourbon?

The bourbon (whiskey) is completely optional, but leaves a lovely, light smokey depth to the dish.

Pour in bourbon and whisk until it’s combined, then set sauce aside. If you are worried about kids and the alcohol content, the majority of it cooks out leaving behind amazing flavor, plus it’s a pretty small amount, so I’ve never worried about it with my own kids. 

Salt & pepper chicken; I love to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, it’s so juicy and tasty. But you can certainly use boneless, skinless chicken breasts if desired, just don’t cook as long.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Scoot your cooked onions and garlic to the side of the pan and if needed, add in a bit more oil, then increase heat to medium-high, add your chicken.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Turn after a few minutes, browning both sides. Add in a handful of sliced carrots, shredded carrots or chopped carrots, whatever you have on hand.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Stir it all around, sautéing the carrots slightly. Pour in the sauce, stir around and bring to a simmer.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or so, turning chicken around 15 minutes until your meat is cooked.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Toss in your broccoli florets and simmer with lid on for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp tender.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Once chicken is cooked, remove thighs from sauce to cutting board, then slice chicken into thin strips and return to simmering veggies.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Quickly make a cornstarch slurry by combining cornstarch and water with a spoon or a whisk. Pour into chicken and sauce mixture, stir to simmer until thickened. This is my most often used small liquid measure.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Quickly stir to combine over medium heat as this will thicken your sauce helping it develop a beautiful gloss.

Serve immediately over steamed rice, riced cauliflower or eat by itself!


We love making “rice cakes” by scooping sticky rice into small bowls and inverting them onto our plates. Like this…kids love this!

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Scoop some of the honey bourbon chicken mixture over the top of the rice into the bowl…drooling!!!

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Or using smaller bowls, scoop in some rice and your honey bourbon chicken, sprinkle with crispy chow mein noodles and serve.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Serve family style and I almost always bring the pan to the table! One less bowl to wash.

Honey Bourbon Chicken | www.thefreshcooky.com #honeychicken #chicken #takeout #honeybourbonchicken

Happily sharing this week on Weekend Potluck!

Like this recipe?
Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Honey Bourbon Chicken

Author: Kathleen | The Fresh Cooky
4.77 from 13 votes
Just like take out, but made at home this recipe for honey bourbon chicken is ready in 30 minutes! Sticky, tangy, sweet and tender chicken with crisp broccoli and carrots. Serve over rice and you have dinner.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 480 kcal


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (breasts may be substituted)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil, optional
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup onion sliced or diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced, diced or shredded
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut into small florets


  • 1/2 cup scant honey (I use local, raw honey)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, or alternative, I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 cups cooked rice


  • Heat oil(s) in large saute pan. Add onions and saute for 5-10 minutes until caramelized and browned. Add garlic and stir for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • While onions are caramelized; mix together sauce ingredients in medium bowl. Honey, soy sauce, ketchup, bourbon (if desired) and red pepper flakes. Mix and set aside.
  • Salt & pepper chicken thighs. Move onions to one side of the pan and brown thighs* on each side for 1-2 minutes. *Add a tablespoon more oil if needed. Toss in carrots and stir to combine. Pour in sauce, stir, mixing in onions. Simmer for 20 minutes, turning chicken about 15 minutes. May cover or leave uncovered.
  • Remove chicken from pan to cutting board and slice into thin strips or bite size pieces. Set aside. Add broccoli florets to pan, stirring to combine, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp tender. Return chicken to pan, stirring to combine.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon COLD water, stir to mix. 1-2 minutes, Pour into chicken dish, stirring and simmering until thickened and glossy. If too thin, add another tablespoon of cornstarch/water and stir to thicken.
  • Serve immediately over steamed rice for a hearty meal.

✱ Kathleen’s Tips


Serving: 1 Calories: 480 kcal Carbohydrates: 57 g Protein: 26 g Fat: 15 g Saturated Fat: 3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 11 g Cholesterol: 92 mg Sodium: 1420 mg Fiber: 3 g Sugar: 4 g

Nutrition Disclaimer

The Fresh Cooky is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

30 Minute Meals

Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. 4 stars
    Very good and flavorful but too sweet for my family. I did use chicken broth instead of the bourbon, and it tasted fine. Next time, I’ll cut back on the honey.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m going to be the envy of all my co-workers. Just made this for lunch for the rest of the week. Definitely use the sesame oil. The flavor it adds is amazing!