The Secret To Making Bourbon Chicken In An Instant Pot

Rumor has it that bourbon chicken, a popular dish often served at Chinese-American restaurants, actually originated in New Orleans. According to Savory Spice, near the eponymous Bourbon Street, a Chinese chef supposedly created the dish — a blend of Cajun and Asian flavors that come together in a sticky, sweet sauce to eat over rice. Though Elements of Living clarifies, however, that some people claim bourbon chicken may have gotten its name from the Kentucky distilleries where bourbon was first made. 

Whatever its origins, bourbon chicken has become a mainstay in Chinese and Asian fusion restaurants and recipes, infiltrating fine dining establishments and mall food courts alike. You can make your own bourbon chicken at home with just an Instant Pot and a few basic pantry items. To ensure a thick sauce that rivals restaurant versions, you'll need some cornstarch on hand — this will create that gooey texture essential to any bourbon chicken experience (via Shugary Sweets).

Here's how to make bourbon chicken at home

According to Shugary Sweets, the trick to using cornstarch is waiting to add it until the dish is just about finished. To begin, you'll want to put the rest of the ingredients for the sauce in the Instant Pot — apple juice, Bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, honey, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, and ginger. Then, place the chicken in the pot and cook for 12 to 18 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk cornstarch and cold water together using a one to one ratio (this recipe calls for three tablespoons of each). When the chicken has finished cooking, the sauce will be hot and thickened slightly. Adding the cornstarch will finish off the job. After setting aside the chicken, whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce slowly, to allow the sauce to slowly absorb the thickening agent. The result will be a sticky, flavorful glaze that takes just a few minutes to prepare. Shugary Sweets recommends serving this dish over rice with green onions sprinkled on top.