Instant Pot Mall Food Court Bourbon Chicken

Remember going to the mall back in the 90s to visit such gems as Hot Topic, Claire’s, Sam Goody and Chess King? Surely you needed a break from such high fashion and you’d treat yourself to a nice trip to the mall food court t gossip about the latest eppy of 90210! 

Back before food courts went all chic and frou-frou with burgers made of golden grass-fed beef and lavender-infused tarot fries. This is the 90s and Bourbon Chicken is being hawked EVERYWHERE! Literally, every place was offering a free sample of the stuff – I swear even the taco shack tried getting in on it. And can you blame them? This stuff was seriously addicting. Like you’d put your shame game to rest knowing you’d get as many free samples of Bourbon Chicken (from each place that offered it) as possible and – BOOM – free lunch! 

Sadly, it’s not common to see such a wonderful free display of this food anymore (go to Costco for that instead). And Bourbon Chicken has taken back seat to unicorn-dusted tofu. But that is changing now. Yup – I’m bringing the 90s back. And you’ll NEVER have to scavenger for another free sample again because you’re easily making this in your Instant Pot in no time at all. In fact, I guarantee it’ll be just as wonderfully sweet & savory as you remember! 

So get out the scrunchies, pierce your upper ear cartilage, buy some chokers, a witchy-goth outfit you’ll wear once and break out the Ace of Base – because BOURBON CHICKEN RETURNS! 

Here’s How I Made It! (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe): 

Begin with some boneless, skinless chicken thighs (yes, you an use breasts too)… 

…and cut into bite-size chunks. 

Sprinkle on some seasoned salt… 

….and mix together with clean hands. 


Go to the Instant Pot and add in some butter… 

…vegetable oil… 

…and sesame oil. Give the pot some heat. 

Once everything heats up and bubbles… 

…add in the chicken. 

Stir and let cook for a few minutes until it’s pinkish-white in color. (It shouldn’t be fully cooked yet.) 

Now, add in the bourbon (because, Bourbon Chicken)… 


…and crushed/minced ginger. 

Stir and let simmer a moment for some of the alcohol to burn off. 

Then, add in some chicken broth… 

…apple cider vinegar… 

…low-sodium soy sauce… 

…and light brown sugar. 

Stir until well combined, secure the lid and cook at high pressure. 

As the chicken’s cooking, prepare the cornstarch slurry which will thicken the sauce. Combine equal parts cornstarch… 

…and water… 

…and mix together… 

…until nice and smooth. 

When the chicken’s done, it’ll look like this. 

Add in some ketchup… 

hoisin sauce (which is like a plum sauce) 

…and some honey.
Stir until well combined and give the pot some more heat and allow it to bubble again. 

Once it does, stir in the cornstarch slurry… 

…and allow it to bubble for another minute while stirring. The sauce will thicken immediately. Turn the heat off. 

As the bubbles die down, add in some Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet and stir it in. 

And look at that. PERFECT Bourbon Chicken! 

Place some in a serving bowl… 

…stick a toothpick in a piece… 

…and get ready to pitch out those free samples! 

(Don’t worry, they’ll flock to you)… 

…and try and get as many free samples as possible. 

I mean, they may even resort to going incognito… 


(But really, who can blame them? It’s friggin delish!) 

Enjoy with an Orange Julius! 

Goes GREAT over my Hibachi Fried RiceJasmine (White) Rice or Brown Rice!

Advertising Disclosure: Jeffrey Eisner/Pressure Luck is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Pressure Luck exclusively uses Better Than Bouillon/Southeastern Mills for all soup bases and bouillon

Instant Pot Mall Food Court Bourbon Chicken
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Mall Food Court Bourbon Chicken

Instant Pot Mall Food Court Bourbon Chicken

OMG! Let's totally go to Waldenbooks and Chess King and then meet at the food court for free samples of Bourbon Chicken! But wait. We can just make it at home instead - without having to feel shameful for asking for a 6th sample.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces, lightly seasoned with a few sprinkles of seasoned salt or salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of salted butter
  • 1 tbsp of crushed or minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of squeeze or minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup of bourbon (you can apple juice if you don’t want to use bourbon)
  • 1/3 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tbsp of a cornstarch slurry (2 tbsp of cornstarch + 2 tbsp of water)
  • 1 tsp of Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet (optional, for color)


  1. Add the oil and butter to the pot and hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting and allow it to heat up for a few minutes
  2. Once the oil’s heated and the butter’s melted, add the seasoned chicken and sauté for 2 minutes until pinkish-white in color (it should NOT be fully cooked in this stage)
  3. Next, add in the bourbon, garlic and ginger and stir. Allow it to simmer for another minute so some of the alcohol burns off
  4. Lastly, add in the broth, vinegar, soy sauce and light brown sugar. Stir well, secure the lid, hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure. Quick release when done
  5. When the lid comes off, stir in the ketchup, hoisin sauce and honey until well combined
  6. Finally, hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting. Once it begins to bubble, stir in the cornstarch slurry, allow to bubble for 1 minute while stirring and then turn the pot off and the sauce will have thickened up perfectly. Stir in the Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet (if using) and then place in a serving bowl (toothpicks optional if giving out as samples).
  7. Enjoy! Goes GREAT over my Hibachi Fried RiceJasmine (White) Rice or Brown Rice!

Jeffrey's Tips

Goes GREAT over my Hibachi Fried RiceJasmine (White) Rice or Brown Rice!

If you want a thinner sauce, just combine 1 tbsp of cornstarch + 1 tbsp of water to make the slurry.

If you have leftovers and refrigerate, the sauce may become a little gelatinous. That’s normal. It’ll go right back to a gravy-like consistency once re-heated in the microwave or saucepan.

Reader Interactions


  1. Patricia Wotton

    This is a Must Try!! It is as delicious as a leftover from the freezer as it was the first day. Loved it on the rice recipe

  2. Tracy

    My second recipe (after the Best Ever Pot Roast) was this! DELICIOUS! I added slightly nuked green beans at the very end and let them simmer with the sauce as it thickened. It was to die for!
    Definitely a keeper!
    Thanks again, Jeffrey! I’m a true fan!

  3. Kim

    Hi, Jeffrey! I’m new to pressure cooking & am thrilled I found your site! I have never used either Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet and am curious. What’s the purpose of them in a recipe?

  4. Beverly

    Wonderful. I didn’t have the Kitchen Bouquet but did have everything else. Also added some fresh mushrooms that needed to be used, as well as some sliced fresh carrots and a can of baby corn I found in the cupboard. My family loved this recipe, so will add to our rotation. Thanks for another great meal. Love your website; one of the first ones I look at when I’m searching for recipes!! Thank you!!!

  5. Heather

    I’m fairly new to IP cooking. I thought I’d try one of your recipes and I’m now hooked (can’t wait to try more). I usually have to alter most IP recipes (I haven’t found one yet where the food comes out perfect), but I made this “as is” and it was excellent and a huge hit. I did add some chunks of red & yellow pepper and onions at the end. I’ll be ordering both of your books, since this recipe was spot on. Thank you!

  6. Alice

    I love all of your recipes! I notice you did a quick release here; I’ve heard that can make the meat tough, and you should wait at least 15 minutes to release?

  7. Erin

    This has become a family favorite in our house! I followed the recipe the first time but found it a bit too sweet (although my daughters thought it perfect). On my second try, I substituted tomato paste for the ketchup and only used a tablespoon of brown sugar. I also added some “Everything but the bagel” seasoning at the end. It was delish. Next time I’m going to double the recipe! Super tasty

    • John Kelley

      Make sure you deglaze the pot after sauteing the chicken. Also, could be your I.P.? Don’t over due the sauteing….maybe 2 minutes. If you get a over heat warning…unplug and re-plug your IP and continue on.

  8. John Kelley

    I’m making this tonight. I’ve been cooking Pressure Luck dishes for a couple of years now and have never been disappointed. Christmas is coming up (can you believe the big box stores are getting out there Christmas stuff?!) Anyways, I’m ordering copies of Pressure Luck cookbooks for my children from Amazon.Great gifts !!


    Just made this and was pleasantly delighted. I added some asparagus spears (inch long at step 6), perfectly. Thinking about Bell pepper, onion and carrots next. Also going to try Pork. I just subscribed to web and will try other recipes.

  10. Alma

    I made this last night for the first time, with my nephews literally running in circles in my kitchen and it was still easy and SO good! Sent some home with my brother and got a message a little bit later “This is really good!”, so yea, I’ll be making it again.

  11. Tricia

    Love Jeffrey’s recipes! This chicken dish was very good and I would make it again. However, it really did not taste anything like mall bourbon chicken.

    • Shelley

      The pressure cooker makes breasts tougher. The chicken thighs are good for the instant pot. If you have had it al the mall, that’s what it is. Your choice though.

  12. Mrs Regina

    We just now tried this tonight and…HOLY CATS!!! Absolutely delicious!!!! It brought back some fond memories for this old lady, that’s for sure! That taste and smell took me back to when I was young in the 70’s and early 80’s and hangin out at the mall. I loved Bourbon Chicken at the food court there. This was exactly the same! Thank you so much, my dear! You’ve made this little old lady from south Georgia a very happy girl!

  13. Wendy Hughes

    “So get out the scrunchies, pierce your upper ear cartilage, buy some chokers, a witchy-goth outfit you’ll wear once and break out the Ace of Base – because BOURBON CHICKEN RETURNS!”

    I laughed so hard at this. I’m sold. I’m so going to try this.

  14. Shane

    I’ve made this several times and it’s delicious. I’m having a get together with family and want to triple the recipe. Would this be the same cooking times as long as I don’t exceed the liquid levels of my instapot or would you cook it in batches?

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