🐔 Easy Hawaiian Chicken Recipe | Tropical Flavors

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Chicken Recipes, Recipes

Imagine coming home after a tiring day, not wanting to cook much. You wish for something that takes you to a sunny beach with its taste. That’s where the easy Hawaiian chicken recipe comes in. It brings together the sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy profiles of tropical chicken dishes.

One night, I felt just like this. I peered into my pantry, looking for flavors of a tropical escape. With ingredients like canned pineapple juice, low-salt soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce, I created magic. This delicious Hawaiian chicken recipe didn’t just fill my belly; it took me on a culinary trip to Hawaii from my home kitchen.

This recipe is all about easy elegance. It ensures a quick dinner or a party dish is both simple and delightful. Think of tender chicken thighs, flavored to the max, and maybe paired with grilled pineapple. With fragrant coconut lime rice on the side, any meal becomes special. It’s perfect for any occasion, making every day feel like a vacation.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Use canned pineapple juice over fresh to prevent over-tenderizing the chicken.
  • Opt for reduced sodium soy sauce to balance the flavor.
  • Chicken thighs are preferred for their juiciness and tenderness.
  • Marinating for 4-24 hours ensures optimal flavor infusion.
  • The dish can be prepared using various cooking methods, including grilling, baking, and slow-cooking.

Introduction to Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian chicken is like a trip to the tropics for your taste buds. It mixes sweet and tangy flavors just right. If you’re wondering how to make it, focus on the marinade and cooking.

The marinade has pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Marinate the chicken for 4 to 24 hours. This helps the flavors soak in.

This recipe works well with grilling, baking, or frying. It’s great for weeknight meals or when you have guests. Use boneless chicken thighs for best results.

For grilling, cook the chicken 7-8 minutes each side. It should reach 165 degrees F inside. This gives the chicken a yummy, caramelized outside but keeps it juicy inside.

Learning to make Hawaiian chicken is rewarding. It combines sweet, sour, and savory flavors well. Plus, it’s quick, only 30 minutes in all. The meal has 473 kcal, 33g carbohydrates, 29g protein, and 25g fat per serving. Here are the nutrition facts:

Calories Carbohydrates Protein Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Potassium Fiber Sugar Vitamin A Vitamin C Calcium Iron
704 96g 55g 10g 1g 145mg 1394mg 1446mg 5g 49g 2610IU 209.8mg 87mg 2.8mg

This Hawaiian BBQ chicken is highly rated. It scores 4.88 from 85 votes. That means it’s a favorite for many occasions. The mix of pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic turns each bite into a luau invite.

Ingredients Needed for the Best Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

The key to a great Hawaiian chicken recipe is the right mix of ingredients. This mix brings out real Hawaiian tastes. Let’s take a look at what makes this dish special.

Hawaiian pineapple chicken recipe

Essential Marinade Components

An amazing Hawaiian chicken starts with a special marinade. You’ll need pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Use canned pineapple juice to keep the chicken’s texture just right.

Recommended Chicken Cuts

We recommend using chicken thighs for the best flavor. They stay moist when you cook them. Plus, they soak up the marinade well.

Flavor Boosters and Add-ins

Add your own twist with ingredients like red pepper flakes for heat or teriyaki sauce for depth. You can even add fruits like mango to make it extra special.

Marinate the chicken for 2 to 24 hours to get the best flavor. Grill for 6-7 minutes each side until it’s at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit inside.

Here’s a detailed look at the nutrition in each serving:

Nutrition Amount per Serving
Calories 262kcal
Protein 27g
Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 73mg
Sodium 1020mg
Potassium 676mg
Carbohydrates 27g
Fiber 2g
Sugar 23g
Vitamin A 1056IU
Vitamin C 51mg
Calcium 36mg
Iron 1mg

Follow these tips and your Hawaiian pineapple chicken will be a hit. It will be full of flavor and true to its roots.

Preparing the Marinade

Making a tasty Hawaiian bbq chicken recipe starts with the right marinade. This guide helps you mix tropical flavors perfectly. It makes your dish really tasty.

Mixing the Base Ingredients

First, gather what you need for the marinade for Hawaiian chicken. You will need:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced

Mix these in a big bowl. Make sure the brown sugar fully mixes in. This mix is the start of the Hawaiian bbq chicken flavor journey.

Alternative Marinade Enhancements

To suit different tastes, think about these additions:

  • Asian sweet chili sauce for more spice
  • A bit of Asian chili sauce for a kick
  • Seasonings like ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper

These can make your chicken even tastier.

Storing and Using the Marinade

Next, pour your marinade on 2-3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs in a bag. Let it sit for at least 4 hours in the fridge, but 24 hours is best. Make sure each piece gets coated.

You can keep the leftover marinade in the fridge for a week or freeze it for later. To cook, take the chicken out of the marinade. Grill it until it’s 165 degrees F inside.

Marinating Process for Juicy Chicken

To make your Hawaiian chicken juicy, start with a mix of soy sauce, and other key items. You’ll use ketchup, brown sugar, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic, and more. Allow at least 4-6 hours for the flavors to soak in. But, leaving it overnight makes the chicken even tastier.

Use canned or bottled pineapple juice to avoid making the chicken mushy. For the best taste, pick boneless, skinless thighs. If you prefer, you can also use chicken breasts, adjusting the cooking time.

For really tasty Hawaiian chicken, marinate it for 3 to 48 hours. The best time is 24-48 hours. This makes the chicken juicy and full of tropical flavor, perfect for grilling or baking.

Marinade Ratio Ingredients
3/4 cup Pineapple juice
1 1/2 tbsp Ginger
1 1/2 tbsp Garlic
1/2 cup Tomato ketchup
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Sherry
1/4 cup Brown sugar
1 tbsp Sriracha
2 tbsp Rice vinegar
1 tbsp Sesame oil

Different Cooking Methods: Grilling, Baking, and More

The Hawaiian teriyaki chicken recipe adapts well to different cooking methods. You can get a tasty dish whether you grill it, bake it, or use a slow cooker. Each way of cooking gives the chicken a special texture and taste.

Grilling Instructions

To grill Hawaiian chicken, first heat your grill to 375-400 degrees F. Put the marinated chicken thighs on it. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until they are golden and have grill marks.

The chicken should reach 165-175 degrees F inside to be juicy and safe.

Baking Methods

If you like to bake Hawaiian chicken, start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Put the marinated thighs on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes.

To make the skin crispy, broil them for 6 minutes on each side. The chicken needs to be 165-175 degrees F inside for the best taste.

Slow Cooker Option

The slow cooker is a great way to make this dish too. Cook the chicken for 5-6 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. To make the sauce thicker, mix cornstarch with water and let it simmer.

Then you have it, tender chicken that falls apart, covered in a delicious glaze.

You can grill, bake, or slow cook your Hawaiian chicken. Each way brings out the tropical flavors perfectly, making it great for any event.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Chicken

To cook great Hawaiian chicken, you need to know a few key things. These tips for chicken will make sure your food is tasty and safe. We’ll talk about the right internal temperatures and how to avoid making it too dry.

perfect Hawaiian chicken temperature

Internal Temperature Guidelines

It’s important to cook chicken to the right temperature. Aim for 165°F inside, when measured at the thickest part. This makes the chicken both safe to eat and delicious.

  1. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature accurately.
  2. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast or thigh.
  3. Ensure the reading hits 165°F before removing the chicken from the heat.

Preventing Overcooking

Overcooking can ruin the taste and texture of your chicken. Here’s how to avoid it:

  • Monitor Cooking Time: When baking, set your oven to 425°F and cook for 40-45 minutes. If grilling, use medium-high heat and grill 6-8 minutes per side.
  • Rest the Chicken: Let the chicken sit covered for 5-10 minutes after cooking. This makes sure it’s juicy when you cut it.
  • Baste with Glaze: Adding pineapple glaze in the last 5 minutes helps keep it moist and tasty.
Guideline Details
Internal Temperature 165°F
Oven Temperature 425°F
Baking Time 40-45 minutes
Grilling Time 6-8 minutes per side
Resting Time 5-10 minutes
Glaze Application Final 5 minutes of cooking

Stick to these steps for perfect Hawaiian chicken. They ensure it’s both safe and a crowd-pleaser for any meal.

Serving Suggestions for a Tropical Feast

Turn your dinner into a tropical celebration with these amazing Hawaiian chicken serving ideas. By adding the right side dishes, drinks, and how you present the meal, your dinner will feel like a trip to the islands.

Side Dishes to Complement Hawaiian Chicken

Make your Hawaiian chicken even more delicious with the perfect side dishes. Dishes like pineapple rice, macaroni salad, and coconut lime rice work great. Add in a prawn and mango summer salad, a corn avocado salad, and more. Each one of these sides brings a unique taste that matches the chicken’s sweet and tangy flavors.

Beverage Pairings

Tie your tropical feast together with drinks that go perfectly with the food. For those who drink alcohol, consider a Mai Tai, a Piña Colada, or a cool Hawaiian Punch. But, if you prefer non-alcoholic drinks, coconut water or pineapple-cucumber water are great choices. These drinks will cool you off, balancing the meal’s flavor.

Presentation Tips

Making the meal look beautiful can make a big difference. Place your chicken on a big plate, topped with fresh pineapple, peppers, and sesame seeds. Use bright, fun dishes and decorations to set the tropical mood. Also, placing the side dishes in pretty bowls will make it look like a feast. With these ideas, your dinner won’t just taste delicious, it will look stunning too.

How to Make Hawaiian Chicken for Various Occasions

Hawaiian chicken is known for its ability to fit any event, from simple dinners to big parties. Its mix of sweet and tangy tastes from pineapple juice and soy sauce makes it a hit with many. This dish wins over a variety of tastes.

For a laid-back get-together, serve Hawaiian chicken with easy sides like white rice or a salad. Let it marinate for 4 hours to lock in the flavors. This makes the chicken juicy and tasty. You can also use low-sodium soy sauce for friends who watch their salt.

For fancier occasions, add some elegance. Top the chicken with green onions and serve it with special sides like mango salsa. Using organic ketchup and sweet chili sauce in the marinade not only makes it look good but also tastes great.

versatile Hawaiian chicken

Hawaiian chicken is great for meal prepping. It’s easy to warm up and stays tender and flavorful. This recipe is perfect for planning ahead. Here’s a list of ingredients and why they’re needed:

Ingredient Role
Pineapple Juice Provides fruity sweetness
Soy Sauce (Low-Sodium) Balances saltiness
Brown Sugar Adds molasses notes
Ketchup Enhances barbecue flavor
Asian Sweet Chili Sauce Imparts sweetness and spiciness
Chicken Thighs Ensures juiciness and flavor

No matter if it’s just a weeknight meal or a big celebration, this Hawaiian chicken recipe is a crowd-pleaser. It’s easy to customize and always a favorite.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Keeping Hawaiian chicken tasty and safe is simple. Just store and reheat it correctly. This way, your meal will stay fresh and delicious.

Refrigeration Tips

Store your grilled Hawaiian chicken in the fridge for 3-4 days. Always make sure it’s well covered. Doing this keeps its flavor and texture perfect.

Freezing Guidelines

To keep it longer, freeze chicken in its marinade before cooking. You can freeze cooked Hawaiian chicken for 3-4 months. Use an airtight container or freezer bag to seal tightly. When thawed, make sure to reheat it well.

Best Techniques for Reheating

To reheat Hawaiian chicken without losing its goodness, do it right. Warm up in an oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Or, use a microwave in short bursts, ensuring it heats evenly. This ensures it’s moist and not dry.

Reduce the risk of bacteria by ensuring that any reused marinade is boiled for at least 3 minutes.

By following these guidelines for storage and reheating, your Hawaiian chicken will taste great every time. Make sure every meal is as enjoyable as the first.

Health Benefits of Hawaiian Chicken Ingredients

Hawaiian chicken is more than just tasty. This nutritious Hawaiian recipe is good for you too. It brings both great flavor and health perks to the table.

Nutrition from Pineapple Juice

Pineapple juice makes the Hawaiian chicken special. It adds sweet and tart flavors. This juice is rich in bromelain, an enzyme that helps with digestion and fights inflammation. It’s also packed with vitamin C, boosting your immune system and keeping your skin healthy.

nutrition from pineapple juice

Protein Benefits from Chicken

Chicken is the star protein in this nutritious Hawaiian recipe. It offers 30g of protein per serving. This helps with muscle growth and repair. Chicken also provides vital vitamins and minerals, specifically B vitamins. These nutrients are crucial for energy and cell function. Plus, chicken breasts are lean, keeping this dish healthy.

Spice and Health: Ginger and Garlic

Ginger and garlic bring more than flavor to Hawaiian chicken. Ginger reduces inflammation and soothes your stomach. Garlic boosts your immune system and contains allicin, which helps your heart. These two spices add taste and health benefits to the dish.

In short, Hawaiian chicken is a win for your taste buds and your health. Pineapple juice, chicken, ginger, and garlic are key. They make this dish not just delicious but also good for you. Adding this nutritious Hawaiian recipe to your meals brings both enjoyment and wellness.

Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

This Hawaiian chicken recipe is full of flavor and a breeze to make. Just follow these easy Hawaiian chicken recipe instructions. You’ll have a dish everyone will love.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 4 people
  • Calories: 262kcal per serving


  • 4 chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Marinade Preparation:

Marinate Hawaiian chicken for 4-24 hours:

  • Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Add the chicken to the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours).

Cooking Instructions:

  • Grill: Preheat grill to 375-400 degrees F. Cook chicken for 6-8 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 165-175 degrees F.
  • Bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake chicken thighs for 25-35 minutes, flipping halfway through and basting with marinade.
  • Broil: Broil chicken thighs for 6 minutes on each side at the top rack position, basting before and after flipping.
  • Stovetop: Cook chicken on medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 165-175 degrees F.
  • Slow Cooker: Cook chicken for 5-6 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high until tender enough to shred. For shredded chicken, cook an additional 20-30 minutes on low.

Always use a meat thermometer for the juiciest Hawaiian chicken. It keeps the chicken from getting tough.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving) Amount
Protein 27g
Fat 5g
Cholesterol 73mg
Sodium 1020mg
Carbohydrates 27g
Fiber 2g
Sugar 23g
Vitamin A 1056IU
Vitamin C 51mg
Calcium 36mg
Iron 1mg

There you have it, tasty homemade Hawaiian chicken. It comes with simple easy Hawaiian chicken recipe instructions. Enjoy a true taste of the tropics.

Adapting the Recipe for Different Diets

Cooking Hawaiian chicken can work for many diets. You may need it low-sodium, gluten-free, or vegetarian. Here’s how to make it fit your dietary needs.

Low-Sodium Adjustments

To cut down on salt, use low-sodium soy sauce and broth. Opting for a low-salt version of coconut aminos keeps the tropical taste. You can use fresh herbs and spices to flavor the chicken without salt. This way, the meal meets everyone’s diet requirements.

Making It Gluten-Free

For a gluten-free version, switch soy sauce for gluten-free tamari or aminos. Make sure the ketchup and broth don’t have gluten. Use arrowroot starch for sauce thickening to stay gluten-free. These changes turn the recipe into a smooth gluten-free choice.

Vegetarian Substitutes

Vegetarians can enjoy this meal by using tofu, tempeh, or cauliflower instead of chicken. Use the same pineapple juice, soy sauce or tamari, and spices to flavor. Add grilled veggies or rice for a hearty, vegetarian meal. This way, the recipe adapts well to vegetarian diets.

Pairing Tips: Best Sides for Hawaiian Chicken

Pairing Hawaiian chicken with the right side dishes can make your meal outstanding. It brings out the tropical flavors and balances the dish perfectly. Let’s look at some great Hawaiian chicken side dishes:

  • Coconut Rice: Use basmati or jasmine rice with unsweetened coconut milk. It pairs well with the sweet and tangy Hawaiian chicken. Cooking takes about 17-20 minutes.
  • Grilled Pineapple: Grilled pineapple rings offer a smoky, sweet taste. They’re a perfect match for the chicken’s tropical marinade, which includes pineapple juice and more.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli and bell peppers balance the rich flavors of the chicken. They’re simple to prepare and good for you.
  • Hawaiian Coleslaw: This coleslaw adds a tangy crunch to your meal. It’s made with cabbage, carrots, and a pineapple vinaigrette, complementing the BBQ flavors.
Side Dish Flavor Profile Cooking Time
Coconut Rice Rich, Creamy 17-20 minutes
Grilled Pineapple Sweet, Smoky 5-7 minutes
Steamed Vegetables Fresh, Light 10-15 minutes
Hawaiian Coleslaw Tangy, Crisp 10 minutes

Choosing the right side dishes for your Hawaiian chicken is key to a great meal. Each element should complement the others. This creates a perfect blend of tastes and textures, bringing out the tropical feel of the main dish.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Making Hawaiian chicken might sound easy, but some mistakes can ruin it. These common errors affect how the chicken tastes in the end.

Improper Marinating Times

Letting the chicken marinate for the perfect amount of time is key. Marinate it for 2 to 8 hours, but not more than 24 hours. Too long in the marinade, especially with fresh pineapple juice, can ruin the texture. This way, the flavors blend well, and your chicken stays tender.

Incorrect Cooking Temperatures

Getting the cooking temperature right is crucial. For grilled chicken, your grill should be at 350°F, which might take about 15 minutes to reach. If baking, set the oven to 350°F, and cook for about 35 minutes. Always make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through to 165°F but keeps its juiciness.

Overlooking Key Ingredients

Skipping important ingredients is a big mistake. Canned pineapple juice must be used, not fresh, because it adds a special flavor. Also, use raw macadamia nuts as toasted ones burn too easily. Don’t forget the right amounts of BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar. These bring out the dish’s true taste.

By avoiding these mistakes, your Hawaiian chicken will be delicious and memorable.

History and Origins of Hawaiian Chicken

In 1955, Ernest Morgado and Mike Asagi created huli-huli chicken in Hawaii. This dish soon became a local favorite. Its name, “huli-huli,” means “turn-turn” in Hawaiian. It shows how the chicken is turned often while grilling.

The dish started as a fundraiser and has since helped raise lots of money for charity. Huli-huli chicken’s flavor comes from cooking it over mesquite wood chips. This gives it a unique smoky taste.

Morgado protected the term “huli-huli” with a trademark in 1967. He also started selling huli-huli sauce in 1986. This sauce is now a kitchen essential in Hawaii and beyond.

The original huli-huli sauce includes pineapple juice, ketchup, and other ingredients. Morgado kept his recipe secret, but many similar sauces are now used.

You can find huli-huli chicken all across Hawaii. It’s sold in many ways, from stands to restaurants. The chicken is always cooked by basting and turning it often.

This meal reflects Hawaii’s rich food culture. It also shows how food brings people together through charity.

Key Milestone Description
1955 Invention of Huli-Huli Chicken by Ernest Morgado and Mike Asagi
1967 Trademarking of “Huli-Huli” by Morgado through Pacific Poultry Company
1986 Commercial sale of Huli-Huli sauce begins


Wrapping up our journey with the Hawaiian chicken dish summary, we find a dish that’s easy to make and offers many benefits. This recipe is full of sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy flavors. Making it only takes 15 minutes of prep and an hour of cooking, ideal for busy days.

To create this dish, start by soaking chicken in a mix of pineapple juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Then, follow the instructions to grill or bake it to perfection. Adding pineapple tidbits and red peppers not only enhances the flavor but also boosts its nutrition.

The Huli Huli chicken recipe is perfect for family meals or special occasions. There are variations for those with different diet needs, like low-sodium or gluten-free. With these ideas, you can add a tasty touch of Hawaii to your cooking anytime.


What are the essential marinade components for the best Hawaiian chicken recipe?

The key marinade ingredients are pineapple juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Add garlic, ginger, and spices like paprika and black pepper. It’s best to use canned pineapple juice to avoid mushy chicken.

How long should I marinate the chicken for optimal flavor?

For the best taste, marinate the chicken for 4 to 6 hours. Leaving it for up to 24 hours gives even more flavor. But, don’t marinate too long. This can make the chicken too soft.

What are the best cooking methods for Hawaiian chicken?

You can cook Hawaiian chicken by grilling, baking, or slow cooking. Each method brings out a different taste and texture. Grilling adds a smoky taste, baking cooks evenly, and slow cooking makes the chicken very tender.

How can I achieve perfectly cooked Hawaiian chicken?

Make sure the chicken reaches 165°F inside before eating. Check with a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking. Keeping an eye on time and temperature helps keep the chicken juicy and tasty.

What are some creative serving suggestions for Hawaiian chicken?

Hawaiian chicken is great with rice, grilled veggies, or in wraps. For a full tropical meal, serve with mango salsa or a cool coleslaw. Add pineapple juice or a Mai Tai to drink for a complete tropical experience.

How should I store and reheat leftover Hawaiian chicken?

Put leftover chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For freezing, wrap it well and store up to 3 months. To reheat, use the oven or microwave slowly to keep it moist.

Can the Hawaiian chicken recipe be adapted for different diets?

Yes. For less salt, use low-sodium soy sauce. To avoid gluten, choose gluten-free spices and sauces. For vegetarians, swap chicken for tofu or mixed vegetables.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when making Hawaiian chicken?

Not marinating the chicken long enough, cooking at the wrong heat, and forgetting key ingredients are common errors. Always follow the recipe closely to avoid these mistakes.

Is there a specific type of chicken cut that works best for Hawaiian chicken?

Chicken thighs are the best choice due to their flavor and juiciness. Chicken breasts are also fine if you prefer them. Just be careful with cooking times to avoid dry chicken.

What health benefits do the ingredients of Hawaiian chicken offer?

The ingredients in Hawaiian chicken bring many health benefits. Pineapple juice has vitamin C, chicken offers protein, and ginger and garlic help fight inflammation. Plus, it’s tasty and good for you.