gluten-free Honey Bourbon Chicken and Stir Fry Vegetables on a large white platter

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

By Rachel Tiemeyer
February 8, 2021

A little sweet and a little spicy, this easy chicken recipe is BIG on flavor and takes just minutes to throw in the slow cooker. You can also make Honey Bourbon Chicken in the Instant Pot!

Honey Bourbon Chicken and Stir Fry Vegetables on a large white platter
Photo credit: Hélène Dujardin

Why This is a Favorite Slow Cooker Meal

With all of these perks, what’s not to love about easy Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken?

Crockpot Honey Bourbon Chicken

1. It’s super simple to throw together. Simply dump the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it cook on low for a few hours. After it’s done, you can quickly thicken up the sauce using what’s called a cornstarch slurry but that’s optional yet quite easy.

2. It’s complex in flavor thanks to ingredients like fresh ginger (just keep some in my freezer to have on hand), soy sauce (or substitute coconut aminos), honey, green onions, and, of course, bourbon. (More on the bourbon in a minute.)

3. My kids love it! It’s a little spicy, but you can always pull back on the spice if your family has a sensitive palate.

4. It’s been very well-tested by Polly and me, as well as, our 500 person recipe-testing team for this cookbook! In fact, we spent nearly two years developing and refining the recipes in From Freezer to Cooker. It was quite a feat because every single recipe works in the slow cooker, the Instant Pot, and includes freezer meal instructions!

How Long Does it Cook for?

Now here’s the key to delicious Slow Cooker Pot Bourbon Chicken: Do not overcook your chicken! If you follow our recipe, you’re good to go. But…be sure to download and print off our Slow Cooker Cooking Times Chart that we spent two years developing. This guide will help you pressure cook both fresh and frozen meals perfectly! It’s our gift to you!

If you really want to get into the weeds, here is a details post about How Long to Cook Chicken in the Slow Cooker.

How to Serve Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

I like to round out this spicy-sweet chicken and sauce by serving it on top of some brown rice (or quinoa or cauliflower rice) and stir-fried veggies.

There’s a lot of sauce to spare, so whip up a big pot of rice and a pan of stir-fried veggies to help soak up all that delicious sauce. To save time, make your brown rice in the Instant Pot or buy pre-made brown rice at the store and use the frozen stir-fry vegetable mix.

Brown rice cooked and in bowls

What Should I Know About Cooking with Bourbon?

I personally don’t drink or enjoy the taste of bourbon. However, when used in cooking, I’ve found that the bourbon lends a smoky caramel-like sweetness that’s hard to replicate with another ingredient.

If you have kids, don’t worry, the alcohol will almost entirely evaporate when the sauce is simmered at the end. Look for small bottles by the liquor counter, if you don’t have some at home in your cabinet. Update: One of our readers said she used chicken stock as a replacement with decent results.

Honey bourbon chicken marinade

How to Make Ahead and Freeze This Recipe

Like most of our recipes, this freezer-friendly chicken dish is one you can easily double, eat one for dinner tonight, and freeze the other for later. Here’s how easy it is to make ahead and freeze…

Freezer meal: Honey bourbon chicken

To freeze a batch for later, you’ll combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Pour the sauce and chicken into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze. When you’re ready to eat it, simply thaw the meal using one of these safe thawing methods and then cook according to directions.

How to Make Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

You’ll love this healthy, delicious chicken meal that goes from slow cooker to table with ease!

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gluten-free Honey Bourbon Chicken and Stir Fry Vegetables on a large white platter

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

A little sweet and a little spicy, this chicken dish is big on flavor and takes just minutes to throw in the slow cooker.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (For Gluten-Free: use coconut aminos or GF tamari soy sauce.)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup organic or all-natural ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or other whiskey (For Gluten-Free: Omit or use chicken stock/broth instead.)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (decrease to 1/8 teaspoon, if sensitive to heat)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/22 pounds boneless, skinless medium chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Cooked basmati rice or brown rice, for serving
  • Stir-fried vegetables, for serving

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, ketchup, bourbon, oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and green onions. Add the chicken and stir to coat with the sauce. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the chicken and sauce in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours or until cooked through. (The chicken is done when it is no longer pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.) Carefully transfer the chicken to a wooden cutting board, dice or shred the meat, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Carefully pour the juices from the slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Add in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken and sauce to the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine. Serve over rice. Garnish with green onions and serve with stir-fried vegetables, if desired.

Freeze For Later:  Follow step 1. Pour the sauce and chicken into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen:  Note: Have cooked rice, cornstarch, and (optional) stir-fried veggies on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Follow steps 2 through 4.


Notes

One of our readers tested this recipe without the bourbon and reported that their family thought it was still delicious. 

You can make this meal in the Instant Pot using these instructions 

Want More Freezer Friendly Crockpot Meals?

We have handpicked the best of the best Crockpot Freezer meals. Make sure you to hop over and browse around our delicious list of make ahead freezer meals for the slow cooker!

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6 replies
  1. YoYo says:

    This sounds delicious. I do not use chicken breast and would like to use a whole chicken. Do you have any suggestions on recipe quantity for a whole chicken? Or bone in chicken thighs? Thank you

    Reply
  2. Peggy Fenstermacher says:

    I fixed this tonight for dinner. Only thing I didn’t have, but thought I did have and that was the bourbon. I had already been to the store to get green onion and ginger. So I looked in my cabinet and all I had was Peach Brandy so I used it instead. It was delicious! My husband even liked it. Just ask Jared Fenstermacher. He’ll tell you how picky a. Eater his dad is! Lol.

    Reply