Mint Julep Bourbon Chicken Skewers

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Perfect for the Kentucky Derby, these Mint Julep Bourbon Chicken Skewers are a deliciously easy appetizer! This recipe is great for derby parties, but can also be eaten year-round!

Grilled bourbon chicken on skewers with mint leaves

I was inspired to make this recipe the first time I threw a Kentucky Derby party back in 2013. Because what’s more Kentucky Derby than a mint julep? I combined the classic cocktail with my love of party skewers and the Mint Julep Chicken Skewers were born!

Since 2013, this recipe has been a hit at derby parties every year! When it comes to Kentucky Derby food for parties, this isn’t the only recipe I’ve got up my sleeve! Be sure to also add this Bourbon Bacon Cherry Crumble & these Squash Hush Puppies to your Southern inspired menu!

In addition to Derby day in May, these grilled bourbon chicken skewers make a delicious dinner dish or party appetizer year-round! No big hats or horse races required! And trust me, they’re so easy and delicious, you’ll want to make them all year long!

Grilled chicken pieces on small wooden skewers with fresh mint leaves, sitting on a white oval plate

How to make Mint Julep Bourbon Chicken Skewers

Add bourbon, brown sugar, mint leaves, balsamic vinegar and ground allspice to a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and pieces of cubed chicken breast. Stir everything until it’s well combined and the chicken is coated.

Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade on the side.

You now have two options. For the first option, you can skewer 8-10 chicken pieces on large skewers. This is a great option if you’re serving these skewers as a meal. For the second option, skewer 2 chicken pieces on smaller skewers, perfect for serving as an appetizer.

Quick Tip: If using wooden skewers, always be sure to soak the skewers in water before use. A quick 30-60 minute soak before adding the chicken and grilling the skewers will do the trick! Otherwise the wooden skewers will burn and could catch on fire during the grilling process.

Once you’ve skewered the chicken, place the skewers on the grill over medium heat. Grill for 8-10 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the grill then add fresh mint to the skewers for serving. You can also remove the chicken from the skewers and top with fresh chopped mint before serving.

Collage of images of bourbon chicken skewer preparation

How to use chicken marinade as a sauce

Remember that marinade we reserved and set aside? Add it to a small pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes. This will kill any bacteria from the chicken and make it safe to serve as a sauce with the chicken.

If you don’t feel comfortable using the marinade as a sauce, you can also make a sauce to go with the chicken. In a small sauce pan, add 2 tbsp bourbon, 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, remove from the heat and cool slightly before serving with the chicken.

Overhead shot of chicken skewers on white plate with small bowl of bourbon sauce on the side

Happy cooking & for those of you making these for a Kentucky Derby party, happy Derby Day!

Before heading out to the party, be sure to check out these other delicious chicken skewer recipes!

Overhead shot of chicken skewers on white plate
4.2 from 15 votes
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Mint Julep Bourbon Chicken Skewers

Perfect for the Kentucky Derby, these Mint Julep Bourbon Chicken Skewers are a deliciously easy appetizer recipe for derby parties or any time of the year!

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinade Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 20 small chicken skewers
Calories 46 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp fresh mint leaves divided
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 lb chicken breasts diced into small cubes

Instructions

  1. Add the bourbon, brown sugar, 2 tbsp mint, balsamic vinegar, allspice, lemon zest and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Place the chicken in the marinade.

  3. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinade.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on small or large skewers.

  5. Grill the skewers over medium heat for 20 minutes, rotating throughout the cooking process.
  6. Serve large skewers as a meal with fresh chopped mint on top or add fresh mint leaves to smaller skewers to serve as an appetizer. 

  7. You can also remove the chicken from larger skewers, place a mint leaf on each piece of chicken then skewer with a toothpick and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • If using wooden skewers, large or small, be sure to soak the skewers in water for 30-60 minutes before adding the chicken and grilling.
  • To make a sauce to serve with the skewers, reserve the marinade and place it in a small pot on the stove over high heat. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for 1-2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving with the skewers.