Easy Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken

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Did someone say Huli Huli? This delicious recipe for Huli Huli chicken is a Hawaiian classic and super simple to make. With an easy-to-make marinade and a 15 minute cook time, this grilled Huli Huli chicken recipe is sure to become a favorite!

Huli Huli chicken on plate with pieces of pineapple on the side and garnished with green onions.

We love to grill at our house and this Huli Huli chicken recipe has become one of our family favorites. We tried it at a local shop the last time we were in Hawaii and found it to be sweet and delightful.

After some research and talking to the locals, we found that the marinade is actually really easy to make and full of such amazing flavor! It is the perfect dish for any summer cookout, family BBQ, or an at-home luau!

Ingredients Needed To Make Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

To make this grilled Hawaiian chicken, here is a quick overview of all the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe as well as a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Chicken: This recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken thighs, but chicken breasts will also work just fine. I typically will do both, as I have some kids that will not eat chicken thighs.
  • Pineapple Juice: I try to use fresh pineapple when possible, but for minimal clean-up, you can use canned pineapples. Just make sure to use pineapple in juice and not in heavy syrup.
  • Soy Sauce: This helps add saltiness and umami flavors to the Huli Huli chicken! Try to use low sodium if possible to help control the saltiness of the dish.
  • Brown Sugar: Adding some sugar to the marinade helps to create a sweet sticky exterior on the chicken. If you don’t have brown sugar, you can easily swap it out for honey.
  • Ketchup: Use ketchup without sugar if possible. The tomato in the ketchup helps create a base for the marinade and adds a bit of acidity to help balance the saltiness from the soy sauce.
  • Ginger: Try to use fresh ginger if possible! To easily peel the skin off of the ginger, use the back of a spoon and scrape the skin away.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This sauce adds a whole other layer of flavor to the chicken.
  • Rice Vinegar: It’s perfect for adding a sweet tang to the marinade!
  • Green Onions: This is optional but it adds a pop of color and fresh bite when eating the Huli Huli chicken.

Please note: For a list of exact measurements and instructions to make Huli Huli chicken, scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post!

All the ingredients needed to make Hawaiian huli huli chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken

Before I show you how to make this Huli Huli chicken recipe, here are a few questions I frequently get asked about this recipe:

Why is it called Huli Huli chicken?

Huli is Hawaiian for “turn”. So, this grilled chicken recipe is named Huli Huli after the turning motion that it cooks on a grill or in a pan. In Hawaii, this term has been used to describe rotisserie meats since 1955 because of their vertical spit cooking method.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! To make this Huli Huli chicken recipe gluten-free, swap out the soy sauce for gluten-free tamari sauce or coconut aminos. I would also double-check and buy Worcestershire sauce that is gluten-free.

How long do you marinate Huli Huli chicken?

The chicken needs to marinate for at least 1 and 1/2 hours, but I like to marinate for 8 hours if I have the time. I prefer to use a large 1-gallon storage bag so that I can make sure the marinade covers the chicken.

Tip: You will not want to go past 8 hours as the acid in the pineapple juice will eventually break down the chicken.

What can I serve with Hawaiian Huli Huli chicken?

Whenever I make this chicken at a BBQ, two of my favorite things to add to this flavorful dish are grilled pineapple and Hawaiian macaroni salad.

You should also try serving it with some pineapple rice and grilled asparagus!

Hawaiian huli huli chicken on a white plate with pinapple rice and slices of fresh pineapple.

Grilling Tips:

  • Make sure to spray a high heat cooking spray on the grill or brush with vegetable oil so that the marinated chicken doesn’t stick.
  • Don’t have a grill? You can cook this chicken on a stovetop grill pan indoors!
  • Make sure the chicken is cooked through and has an internal temperature of 165F.
  • To really make this chicken authentic, save some of the marinade to baste the chicken as it’s cooking. This will help the flavors of the marinade really sink in and create that brown, sticky sweet exterior on the chicken.

Try Some Of These Family-Friendly Recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe for Huli Huli chicken, take a look at some of these other delicious recipes you can make:

Huli Huli chicken on plate with pieces of pineapple on the side and garnished with green onions.

Easy Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken

Did someone say Huli Huli? This delicious recipe for Huli Huli chicken is a Hawaiian classic and super simple to make. With an easy-to-make marinade and a 15 minute cook time, this grilled Huli Huli chicken recipe is sure to become a favorite!
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinating Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Chicken, Dinner, Grilling
Cuisine American, Hawaiian
Servings 10
Calories 288 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Chicken breasts can be used as well)
  • 1 Cup pineapple juice
  • ½ Cup lite soy sauce
  • ½ Cup brown sugar
  • Cup ketchup
  • 2 Teaspoons fresh ginger (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup green onions (sliced)

Instructions
 

  • Trim excess fat from chicken thighs and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, lite soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, and rice vinegar. Remove ½ cup of the marinade to a bowl and refrigerate for basting.
  • Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and marinate for at least 1½ hours and up to 8 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to a medium heat about 400 degrees. Make sure to spray a high heat cooking spray on the grill or brush with vegetable oil.
  • Grill chicken on the preheated grill, covered for 6-8 minutes on each side. For the last 5 minutes brush the reserved marinade on the chicken. Grill chicken to an internal temperature of 170 degrees.
  • Remove and garnish with green onions. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 36gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 907mgPotassium: 544mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 85IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken Thighs, Grilled Chicken, Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken, Huli Huli Chicken
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