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Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe – Easy Kitchen Guide

Last Updated on October 12, 2023

Panda Express is a popular fast-food chain known for its delicious Chinese-American cuisine. One of their most beloved dishes is the Bourbon Chicken, with its irresistible combination of sweet and savory flavors that keeps customers coming back for more.

But did you know that you can easily recreate this dish at home? In this article, we show you how to make your own delicious Panda Express Bourbon Chicken right in your kitchen, using simple and easy-to-find ingredients.

Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe

What is Panda Express Bourbon Chicken?

Panda Express Bourbon Chicken is a popular dish that features tender pieces of chicken cooked in a sweet and savory sauce. This dish gets its name from the key ingredient – bourbon, which gives it its signature flavor.

The chicken is marinated in a mixture of bourbon, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar before being cooked to perfection. The result is a mouth-watering dish with juicy chicken and a thick, glossy sauce that is perfect for serving over rice or noodles.

The combination of sweet and savory flavors makes this dish a crowd-pleaser, loved by both children and adults alike. It’s also quick and easy to make at home, making it the perfect weeknight dinner option for busy families.

Why You’ll Love this Panda Express Bourbon Chicken?

There are many reasons why you’ll love this Panda Express Bourbon Chicken.

  • Firstly, it’s quick and easy to make, requiring simple ingredients that are easily accessible at your local grocery store. You can have this dish on the table in less than 30 minutes, making it a great option for busy weeknights.
  • Secondly, the combination of flavors in this dish is simply amazing. The sweetness from the brown sugar and the tanginess from the vinegar, combined with the rich flavor of bourbon, create a sauce that is both sweet and savory at the same time. It’s also perfectly balanced, so it’s not too overpowering.
  • Lastly, this dish is versatile and can be served in many different ways. You can serve it over rice, noodles, or even as a filling for tacos or wraps. It’s also great for meal prep, so you can make a large batch and enjoy it throughout the week for lunch or dinner.

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Ingredients 

  • Boneless Chicken Breasts: This is the main ingredient in this recipe. Make sure to get boneless and skinless chicken breasts for easier preparation.
  • Bourbon: The key ingredient that gives the dish its signature flavor. If you don’t have bourbon on hand, you can substitute it with apple juice or apple cider.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds a nice salty and umami flavor to the dish. You can also use tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
  • Vinegar: Adds a tangy and acidic component to balance out the sweetness in the dish. You can use white vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Ginger: Freshly grated ginger adds a bright and spicy kick to the dish. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can use 1 tsp of ground ginger as a substitute.
  • Garlic: Another crucial ingredient in this dish, garlic adds a subtle earthy and pungent flavor. You can use garlic powder as a substitute, but fresh garlic is always recommended for maximum flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and depth to the dish. You can also use honey or maple syrup for a healthier alternative.
  • Vegetable Oil: Used for cooking the chicken. Any neutral oil like canola or sunflower oil will work.
  • Cornstarch: The secret to achieving that thick and glossy sauce in this dish. You can also use tapioca starch or arrowroot powder as a substitute.
  • Green Onion: Chopped green onions are used as a garnish, adding a fresh and oniony flavor to the dish.
  • Water: Used for thinning out the sauce if needed.
How to Make Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe

Directions 

Step 1

Prepare the Chicken

  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together bourbon, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar until well combined.
  • Add the chicken to the marinade and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (or overnight for maximum flavor).

Step 2

Cook the Chicken

  • Heat a large pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Once hot, add the marinated chicken to the pan. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked and browned on all sides.

Step 3

Make the Sauce

  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of water until there are no lumps.
  • Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan with the chicken and stir well.
  • Allow the sauce to thicken for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Step 4

Garnish and Serve

  • Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and let it cool for a minute.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions on top.

Tips

  • For the best results, marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight) in the fridge before cooking.
  • If you don’t have bourbon on hand, you can substitute it with apple juice or apple cider.
  • Make sure to use freshly grated ginger for maximum flavor. If using ground ginger as a substitute, reduce the amount to 1 tsp.
  • Adjust the sweetness by adding more or less brown sugar according to your preference.
  • For a healthier alternative, use honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar.

Storage Tips 

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in a pan or microwave before serving.
  • This dish is also great for meal prep. You can make a large batch and store it in individual containers for an easy and delicious meal throughout the week.
Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe

Nutrition Information 

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Serving Suggestions 

Here are a few different ways you can serve this Panda Express Bourbon Chicken:

  • Over rice or noodles: This is the classic way of serving this dish, and it’s absolutely delicious. The sauce goes perfectly with steamed white or brown rice, as well as lo mein noodles or egg noodles.
  • In tacos or wraps: Use shredded cabbage or lettuce, along with diced tomatoes and avocado, to make delicious and flavorful tacos or wraps.
  • With vegetables: You can stir-fry some bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, or any other veggies you like with the chicken and serve it over rice for a balanced meal.
  • On its own as an appetizer: Make smaller bite-sized pieces of chicken and skewer them on toothpicks for an easy and tasty appetizer.
  • As a sandwich: Pile the chicken onto a toasted bun or bread, add some coleslaw or lettuce, and enjoy a delicious bourbon chicken sandwich.
  • Alongside fried rice: If you’re feeling extra ambitious, make some homemade fried rice to go with this dish for an authentic Panda Express experience.
  • Serve it as a party dish: This dish is perfect for parties and gatherings. Make a large batch, store it in a slow cooker, and let your guests serve themselves throughout the night.

What other substitute can I use in Panda Express Bourbon Chicken? 

If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, don’t worry! Here are some substitutes you can use in this:

  • Instead of bourbon, you can use apple juice or apple cider.
  • For a gluten-free option, use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
  • Any type of vinegar (white, rice, or apple cider) will work in this dish.
  • If you don’t have fresh ginger, use 1 tsp of ground ginger as a substitute.
  • Garlic powder can be used instead of fresh garlic, but for maximum flavor, use fresh garlic if possible.
  • Honey or maple syrup can be used instead of brown sugar for a healthier alternative.
Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Copycat Recipe

Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe

Panda Express is a popular fast-food chain known for its delicious Chinese-American cuisine. One of their most beloved dishes is the Bourbon Chicken, with its irresistible combination of sweet and savory flavors that keeps customers coming back for more.
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 285kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds of boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar
  • 2 tsp freshly grated Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 16 chopped Green Onion for garnish
  • 1/2 cup Water

Instructions

  • Begin by preparing the star of the dish – the chicken. Cut four pounds of boneless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and set them aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine one cup of bourbon, half a cup of soy sauce, half a cup of vinegar, two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger, two cloves of garlic (peeled and grated), and half a cup of brown sugar. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Time to cook the chicken! Heat a large pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is fully cooked and nicely browned on all sides.
  • While the chicken is cooking, let’s make a delicious sauce. In a small bowl, mix together two tablespoons of cornstarch with half a cup of water until there are no lumps. Once the chicken is fully cooked, pour this mixture into the pan and stir well. Let the sauce thicken for about three minutes, stirring occasionally. If needed, add more water to achieve the desired consistency. Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and allow it to cool for a minute.
  • It’s time to serve this mouth-watering dish! Garnish with chopped green onions on top for an added pop of flavor and color. This delicious homemade Panda Express Bourbon Chicken is now ready to be enjoyed!

Notes

  • For the best results, marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight) in the fridge before cooking.
  • If you don’t have bourbon on hand, you can substitute it with apple juice or apple cider.
  • Make sure to use freshly grated ginger for maximum flavor. If using ground ginger as a substitute, reduce the amount to 1 tsp.
  • Adjust the sweetness by adding more or less brown sugar according to your preference.
  • For a healthier alternative, use honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar.
Keyword: Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe

FAQs

Can I make this dish without marinating the chicken?

While it’s preferred to marinate the chicken for maximum flavor, you can still make this dish without marinating it. Just add the sauce ingredients directly to the pan with the chicken and follow the rest of the instructions as usual.

Can I use a different type of meat instead of chicken?

Yes, you can use other types of protein such as beef, pork, or even tofu in this dish. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly and make sure to marinate the meat for maximum flavor.

Can I make this vegan?

While this is specifically for Panda Express Bourbon Chicken, you can make a vegan version by substituting the chicken with tofu and using maple syrup instead of brown sugar. You can also use vegetable broth instead of water to thicken the sauce. Overall, there are many ways to customize this dish to fit different dietary restrictions or preferences.

What other dishes can I make with the leftover sauce?

The sauce from this dish is versatile and can be used in many other dishes. Here are a few options:
Use it as a marinade for grilling or roasting meats.
Mix it with mayonnaise to make a delicious dipping sauce for chicken tenders or fries.
Drizzle it over steamed vegetables.
Use it as a glaze for baked salmon or pork chops.
Toss it with cooked noodles for a quick and flavorful noodle dish.
Use it as a dressing for salads.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this article on Panda Express Bourbon Chicken. We hope this dish becomes a new favorite in your household!

Remember to adjust the ingredients and cooking time according to your taste preferences, and feel free to get creative with different serving suggestions or substitutes.

Please share this article with your friends and family, and let us know how your version of this dish turned out!

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My name is Lori Walker. I’m a registered dietitian, food blogger and food enthusiast. I share easy healthy, delicious recipes on my blog and review necessary kitchen items. The recipes I share take less… Read more

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