Whole30 Bourbon Chicken

Hello, Whole30 Bourbon Chicken and hello nostalgia!

Here is a new recipe for sweet, sticky bourbon chicken just like the one you grew up on at the mall–but with a Whole30 twist! 

Whole30 Bourbon Chicken

I’ll never forget going to the mall as a teenager with my girlfriends and getting big plates of bourbon chicken. It was such a treat! I thought it would be fun to do a paleo rendition and I am really excited about how great it turned out! Now, of course, it’s not the *real deal.* We aren’t using bourbon or sugar here. BUT that deep flavor tossed over chicken thighs (you can use chicken breast, but my mall always used chicken thigh) and the sweet, sticky sauce is pretty dang close. Or, as close as I could get it at least! Regardless, the dish is just plain delicious!

I was actually surprised to learn that my old-school favorite food court feast isn’t even Asian in its origin! Bourbon chicken actually originated in New Orleans (aka the home of Bourbon Street). So, maybe this dish is just popular in southern food courts? I am not sure? If you’re not from the South please let me know if you’ve ever even heard of bourbon chicken! I am curious!

Whole30 Bourbon Chicken

Did you grow up eating bourbon chicken at the mall? OR was it just me and my friends at the Frisco Stonebriar Mall? I’d love to hear your bourbon chicken stories if you did AND please give my Whole30 Bourbon Chicken recipe a try and let me know what you think! 

For another Whole30 take on a nostalgic recipe, try my Whole30 Chang’s Spicy Chicken.

Paleo Bourbon Chicken

Serves: 2
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins


For the Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened ketchup I like Primal Kitchen brand
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tsp arrowroot flour

For the Chicken:

  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil

For Serving:

  • Riced cauliflower


For the Sauce:

  • In a bowl, combine the ketchup, coconut aminos, fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, red pepper flakes (if using) and arrowroot flour. Mix to combine. Set aside.

For the Chicken:

  • Season chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. 
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with avocado oil. Add chicken to the skillet and cook until a golden-brown crust has formed on each side, about 3 minutes per side. 
  • Once the chicken is browned, add the sauce to the pan and toss to coat the chicken. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 2 minutes. 
  • Serve with prepared cauliflower rice and enjoy!


  • Reply
    Lisa H.
    March 9, 2022 at 1:03 am

    I kinda improvised by adding the sauce to a chicken veggie stir fry and I didn’t have apple juice so I omitted that ingredient, but it was soooo delicious! Your recipes never disappoint, Alex 🤌🏻

  • Reply
    Maggie Crum
    January 24, 2022 at 12:49 am

    5 stars
    I have never had bourbon chicken before but it looked to delicious not to try. It did not disappoint! It comes together so quick, so will definitely be repeating this on weeknights.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe! Sauce is perfection and tastes just like our fav bourbon chicken takeout. So easy to make In a short amount of time. Served ours with rice and broccoli & loved it. Will be making again!!

  • Reply
    Sarah B
    October 19, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    I’m also in Texas and I also grew up eating bourbon chicken from the mall. They would give out so many samples, who could resist?! Thanks for recreating a healthier version 🙂

  • Reply
    Victoria McHenry
    October 19, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    Wow I’ve lived in New Orleans my whole life and never heard of this! I’ll have to ask around. Looks like a great dish!

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