Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken Review

Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken

Sometimes we feel like we’ve seen everything there is to see when it comes to Lean Cuisine (Ron Howard narrator voice: “They haven’t.”) Then we stumble over something that we somehow never noticed before, and we get instantly curious about how it might taste.

We recently saw the Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken referenced in an internet forum, and we did a double take. What? How had we missed this? This frozen meal isn’t brand new (the official Lean Cuisine website has reviews for this product dating back about five years), so we’re surprised we’d not heard about it before.

So we did what we always do in these situations: We fired up our grocery delivery service and checked to see if we could find this meal in town. Lo and behold, it was there, just a mouse click away. Since you’re reading this review, we’re guessing you’ve figured out by now that we were successful in acquiring it. Today we’re checking out the Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken.

This is so easy to cook that even a baby could do it. Okay, so probably not a baby, but a small child probably could, depending on whether or not you let them use the microwave. All you have to do is pop this meal in for five minutes, then let it cool for a minute. Bam, done!

Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken

The first thing we noticed was how much sauce there is here. Seriously, this thing is drenched in it. In fact, it seems like almost half the meal is pure sauce.

Yes, that’s the maple bourbon sauce promised by the title, and it’s actually really good. It has a lot of subtle flavors that come together to make something grander. There are bitter hints of bourbon and sweet hints of maple, with a smoky aftertaste. All of this comes together to make a sauce that has a not-quite-BBQ flavor to it. We really enjoy this sauce.

The problems with the meal begin to emerge once you get past that, though. The chicken is just fine — it’s not great, but it’s also pretty inoffensive. The biggest issue is that there just isn’t much of it here. Once you eat the three or four small strips (and the smaller chunks that surround them), you’re left with mostly a dish full of sauce.

Lean Cuisine tries to fill some of that emptiness with what they refer to as “wild rice,” but it tastes more like plain white rice to us (we’re from Minnesota, where local wild rice is plentiful, so we definitely know the difference). This lacks that “wild,” earthy flavor that we associate with wild rice and has more of the starchy flavor we associate with white rice.

Then there are cranberries and chunks of sweet potatoes to liven it up a bit. Both are appreciated, but they’re not quite enough to rescue that rice portion. You’ll have plenty of sauce leftover to hide the blandness, but this “wild rice” just isn’t as good as we were hoping it’d be. The general template seems good, but this meal really needs a higher-quality wild rice to make it all work.

Unfortunately, this meal isn’t very filling — there’s just not much in the dish — so the 350 calories and 700 mg of sodium are actually a bit high. We definitely think you’ll be eating some sides to fill you up, which makes this meal less diet-friendly than it might appear at a glance.

The Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken is off to a good start, but it doesn’t stick the landing. With a more authentic wild rice and a more generous chicken portion, this dish would have been easy to recommend. As is, though, it’s much better in concept than in execution. We’d love to try a revised, improved version of this, because we really think that Lean Cuisine is onto something here.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this Lean Cuisine frozen meal, check out our package scans below.

Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken
Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken
Lean Cuisine Maple Bourbon Chicken
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