Bourbon Marinade For Chicken Recipe (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Bourbon is rich in history and flavor that it’s good to drink for any occasion and works perfectly on anything – even on chicken. Bourbon Marinade Chicken is a popular dish in New Orleans, Louisiana. However, you don’t have to visit New Orleans to experience this simple and delicious dish.

Keep scrolling to learn how to make bourbon marinade for chicken.

Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade (For Chicken)

Brown Sugar Bourbon Chicken Marinade

Prep Time: 5 mins.

Recommended Marinating Time: at least 6 hours to overnight


  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • A pinch of Red pepper flakes


In a medium bowl, stir all the marinade ingredients together. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Toss in the chicken and mix until the chicken is covered with the mixture. Cover the dish with a plastic wrap and refrigerate. Marinate for 30 minutes or overnight. Grill and enjoy!

Best Bourbon To Use

Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

Any bourbon of your preference will do. We prefer to use Jim Beam Bourbon because of its smoky, sweet taste. But other bourbons are worth trying as well. If you prefer a sweeter taste, you might want to use Maker’s Mark bourbon. You can also use Wild Turkey bourbon for a more robust flavor.

Other bourbon brands to use for bourbon marinade for chicken are:

  • Jim Beam White Label
  • Four Roses Yellow Label
  • Evan Williams
  • Wild Turkey 101 
  • Rittenhouse Rye 

How This Bourbon Marinade Tastes

Bourbon Chicken Marinade

This bourbon marinade is tangy and rich. It also has a smoky flavor, a little sweetness, and balance because of the brown sugar. If left overnight, the meat will have a more robust flavor as the bourbon marinade will really penetrate the meat.

Best Parts & Cuts To Use

If your preferred meat is chicken, the leg and wings are best for this bourbon marinade because they can absorb the flavor well. However, you can still use boneless chicken breast if you like. If you want pork, you can use this marinade for pork chops and pork tenderloins.

Read: Recommended Bourbons For Cooking

Side Dishes to Pair With Bourbon Marinade Chicken

Tomatoes Provencal

Tomatoes Provencal is one of the best side dishes to pair with bourbon marinade chicken. It’s simple and easy to prepare. Most importantly, it’s delicious and goes well with grilled meats. 

Other side dishes that pair well with bourbon marinade chicken are garlic parmesan roasted potatoes, balsamic dijon mushrooms, and asparagus. Salads are also perfect because they add flavor and texture to your meal.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

What You'll Love About This Recipe


This bourbon marinade recipe can be made in 5 minutes. It’s easy to prepare, and the ingredients are easily available. Ingredients are also easy to purchase. Chances are, you already have them in your pantry.

Tangy & Sweet

This marinade has a tangy flavor because of the balsamic vinegar used. The balsamic vinegar tones down the burn from the whiskey and creates a balanced flavor of sweetness and tanginess that results in delicious and flavorful grilled meats.


This marinade is good for chicken but can also be used for everything. It makes kebabs, pork chops, grilled steaks, and veggies oozing with flavor.


Is there a substitute for bourbon in bourbon chicken?

Yes, there’s a substitute for bourbon in bourbon chicken. You can use apple juice or orange juice if you opt for a non-boozy bourbon chicken. These are great options for some people who don’t like using alcohol for cooking or if they just don’t have booze on hand. The apple juice makes the marinade sweeter and thicker.

What happens if you marinate chicken in bourbon for too long?

When you marinate the chicken in bourbon for too long, the meat will be mushy because prolonged exposure to acid in the marinade can cause the meat’s tissue to weaken. According to Federal Food Safety guidelines, refrigerated raw chicken can only last up to two days. Otherwise, large amounts of bacteria can grow.

Final Thoughts on Bourbon Marinade for Chicken

Marinades contain oils and acid to develop sensory attributes and tenderize meat by breaking down proteins [1]. The acid in a marinade can come from vinegar, citrus juices, bourbon, and wine. Marinating your meat in bourbon for too long can cause the alcohol to cook the meat chemically. 

Bourbon has a complex flavor profile, so it can elevate the taste of the chicken or anything you throw on the grill. Bourbon adds a smoky flavor and a little sweetness to the chicken. The bourbon marinade for the chicken is rich and flavorful, making it a total summer superstar.



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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