Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

4.50 from 12 votes

This slow cooker shredded chicken is full of sweet bourbon flavor!

This slow cooker shredded chicken can be served in a number of delicious ways!

Your whole family will adore this tender and succulent slow cooker bourbon chicken. Whenever you crave quick Chinese-style take-out, try this recipe instead! We combined delicious sources of clean sugar like apple juice, date syrup, and bourbon to create a deep, sweet and sticky flavor everyone will love. To make matters better, our healthy riff on this popular take-out dish is a two-step setup that makes clean-up a breeze: Place the chicken in a slow cooker, then pour it the easy-to-make sauce. It’s that simple! 

Light Sauces Make Copycat Takeout Meals Healthy

This shredded bourbon chicken is the perfect weeknight dinner because it's so simple to make!
Photo Credit: Arianna Negri

If you’ve never had bourbon chicken, envision a thick, sugary sauce dousing fried bits of crispy chicken over white rice. Admit it: that’s comfort food that’s hard to deny! However, we hit the nail on the head by thinning out the sauce in our healthier version. By sticking with trusted high-quality ingredients, you will most certainly achieve a tastier, more authentic version. As a matter of fact, moving away from sauces that contain refined sugars and corn syrup all but guarantees fewer empty calories.

This recipe begins with bourbon. Those of us who grew up watching Julia Child know that alcohol deepens the aroma and flavor of food. Alcohol bonds fat and water molecules together, creating aromas that are the first step in consuming delicious food. If you didn’t watch Julia from a tiny TV sets in the kitchen, you may still know that alcohol improves the taste of food, including desserts. 

Consequently, like all the other experts, we advocate using good quality booze for this recipe. That’s not to suggest that you pour a top-shelf bourbon into the slow cooker, though. The rule of thumb in cooking with alcohol is to use what you’d actually drink yourself, and you know your tastes the best.

Date Syrup Is The Perfect Sweetener

This slow cooker bourbon chicken is loaded with bold bourbon flavors.
Photo Credit: Arianna Negri

Date syrup adds sweetness without any cloying intensity to our Slow Cooked Bourbon Chicken. A tablespoon of date syrup contains more than twice the amount of potassium, calcium, and magnesium compared to maple syrup or honey. Date syrup also has ten times more antioxidants, too. With its molasses-like texture (but much better taste), date syrup is a no-brainer replacement for refined sugar. Date syrup is also easy to find. A lot of big box stores stock it on their shelves.

After your slow cooker has finished cooking this bourbon chicken, take two forks or meat claws (our favorite underrated kitchen gadget) and shred the chicken. The juices will naturally seep together, making this dinner a flavorful knock-out. We love serving the chicken on top of a bed of fluffy red quinoa or a small portion of another healthy starch, like brown rice or farro. For a truly high-protein, low-carb experience, try serving this chicken on a bed of steamed or sautéed greens.

Once you taste our homemade, nutrient-packed healthy recipe, you won’t order takeout anymore!

4.50 from 12 votes

Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

This chicken recipe is a guilt-free indulgence with clean and delicious ingredients.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Yield 5 people
Serving Size 1 cup
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author SkinnyMs.


  • 5 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup apple juice sugar-free
  • 3 tablespoons date syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup organic
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon good quality
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce low-sodium
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced, for garnish


  • Place chicken breasts into slow cooker. Whisk together all the remaining ingredients in a bowl then pour over chicken. Cook on low 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. When cooking is complete, remove chicken and shred it. Return chicken to slow cooker and cook on low for another 15 minutes.
  • If desired, serve over red quinoa, brown rice, or farro with green onions on top.


Choose ketchup that’s free of corn syrup and added sugars.
Instant Pot Version
Secure the lid to your pressure cooker, and turn the release valve on top to sealing. Turn on the Instant Pot and press manual (or pressure cook) on high. Set the timer for 12 minutes (or 18 minutes if using frozen chicken). 
To Delay Time
Choose Pressure Cook, add minutes. Set Delay Time hours, then push Delay Time again, for minutes, if desired. A countdown for time will appear.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 745mg | Sugar: 14g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8
Keywords dairy-free, Low-Carb, Slow Cooker

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For another amazing veggie accompaniment try these sauteed green beans and mushrooms.

What did you like about this recipe? Did you tweak it at all? Let us know in the comments section below!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on February 18, 2017. 

This post may include affiliate links.


The SkinnyMs. team believes that all people, regardless of age, size, and fitness level, have the power to transform their lives — they just need the resources to do so. The SkinnyMs. method promotes healthy living through a combination of clean eating and regular exercise. We offer everything you need to be successful.

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