Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (2024)

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by Mike Hultquist · · 14 Comments · Jump to Recipe

Huli Huli Chicken is a popular Hawaiian dish known for its sweet and savory tropical flavor, easy to make and perfect for grilling, a local favorite.

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (1)

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

Looking for your next favorite bbq chicken recipe? You've found it! We're making Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken in the Madness kitchen, and you're going to love this dish.

We're fresh back from Hawai'i and huli huli chicken was on the menu everywhere.

Huli huli chicken is a Hawaiian favorite of local-style bbq chicken. "Huli huli" means "turn turn" in Hawaiian, referring to how the chicken is traditionally turned on a rotisserie or spit over the heat, or frequently turned on the grill or in the oven for each cooking and charring.

It's a dish you'll find at luaus or local gatherings and events, definitely a local favorite.

It is not typically a spicy dish, with a focus more on the sweet and savory combination, though I incorporate a spicy kick I believe you will enjoy. This is how I like to make mine.

Let's talk about how to make huli huli chicken, shall we?

Huli Huli Chicken Ingredients

The full ingredients list with measurements is listed in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Ketchup.
  • Soy Sauce. Shoyu.
  • Brown Sugar.
  • Canned Pineapple Juice. Do not use fresh.
  • Rice Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is great, too.
  • Sesame Oil.
  • Hot Sauce or Sriracha. Optional, for a spicy kick.
  • Fresh Garlic.
  • Fresh Ginger.
  • Chicken Thighs. Boneless, skinless. This recipe works with other cuts of chicken as well.
  • For Garnish. Fresh chopped green onion or parsley, chili flakes. I love Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) for this recipe.
Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (2)

How to Make Huli Huli Chicken - the Recipe Method

Whisk together ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, vinegar, sesame oil, hot sauce, ginger and garlic. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade for basting.

Marinate the chicken either in the bowl or in a large sealable bag in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (3)

You can marinate longer if you'd like for more flavor penetration. I like to get this going on the morning for easy grilling later.

When you're ready to cook, heat up your grill. Discard the used marinade (or you can make a sauce from it - see the recipe notes), then grill the chicken until done!

Baste the chicken during grilling with the reserved marinade.

Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74C).

Boom! Done! Your grilled huli huli chicken is ready to serve. Easy enough to make, isn't it? This is a dish you'll be making all summer long. Sauce it up!

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (4)

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Do not use fresh pineapple juice in the marinade.It contains a natural chemical (bromelain) that tenderizes chicken and can give it an unpleasant mushy texture.
  • The used marinade can be used as a serving sauce,but it must be cooked.To do so, transfer the used marinade to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. It will reduce and thicken. You can swirl in 1 tablespoon cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water) to thicken more, if desired.
  • This recipe works with any cut of chicken. I love skinless, boneless chicken thighs, but you can use any cut of boneless or bone-in chicken, chicken breasts, even a whole chicken. Just be sure to adjust your cooking method as needed, as cooking times can vary.

Serving Huli Huli Chicken

Serve with your favorite bbq sides like macaroni salad, sticky rice or pineapple fried rice, grilled pineapple.

It goes great with grilled veggies or over a mix of greens.

Storage & Leftovers

Leftoever huli huli chicken will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can easily reheat it gently in the microwave or in a pan on the stove top.

I love to chop up any leftover chicken and use it in quick dishes like Chicken Fried Rice.

You can also freeze it for 2-3 months in freezer bags or containers.

That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this huli huli chicken recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and if you decided to spice it up!

Cookbook Recommendation

If you enjoy Hawaiian cuisine, check out the following cookbooks, which I used to help adapt this recipe.

Amazon Affiliate links, my friends! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

  • Grilled Chicken Marinade
  • Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers)
  • Peri Peri Chicken
  • Chicken Adobo Recipe
  • Peruvian Chicken (Pollo A La Brasa)
  • Pollo Asado (Mexican Roast Chicken)
  • Blackened Chicken
  • Buffalo Chicken
Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (6)

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (7)

Print

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

Huli Huli Chicken is a popular Hawaiian dish known for its sweet and savory tropical flavor, easy to make and perfect for grilling, a local favorite.

Save Recipe

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Keyword: chicken thighs, ketchup, soy sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes minutes

Marinating: 1 hour hour

Calories: 428kcal

Author: Mike Hultquist

Servings: 6

Tap or hover to scale

5 from 5 votes

Leave a Review

Ingredients

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup soy sauce shoyu
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pineapple juice* do not use fresh
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar apple cider vinegar is good, too
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon hot sauce or sriracha optional, for a spicy kick
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • Oil for the grill

Instructions

  • Whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, vinegar, sesame oil, hot sauce, garlic, and ginger together in a large bowl until well combined. Reserve ½ cup of the marinade.

  • Add the chicken to the bowl and cover, or pour it all into a large sealable bag. Rub the marinade into the meat. Marinate at least 1 hour in the refrigerator, or overnight for more flavor penetration.

  • Heat your grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess moisture. Discard used marinade*.

  • Grill the chicken 5-6 minutes per side, basting with reserved marinade as you go. Chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees F (74C) internally.

  • Serve and enjoy.

Notes

Serve with your favorite sides like macaroni salad, sticky rice or pineapple fried rice, grilled pineapple.

*Do not use fresh pineapple in the marinade. It contains a natural chemical (bromelain) that tenderizes chicken and can give it an unpleasant mushy texture.

*The used marinade can be used as a serving sauce, but it must be cooked. To do so, transfer the used marinade to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. It will reduce and thicken. You can swirl in 1 tablespoon cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water) to thicken more, if desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 46gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 1.212mgPotassium: 746mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 168IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (8)

Did You Enjoy This Recipe?I love hearing how you like it and how you made it your own. Leave a comment below and tag @ChiliPepperMadness on social media.

Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Reply

  1. Becky says

    Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (9)
    Hi Mike and Patty!
    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Thank you for all of your recipes. It is so hot here, like everywhere else in the country. We are not too far from Seattle so we are whimps about the heat. We like it raining and mossy! Your grilling recipes are great right now because no oven necessary! Thank you! Stay cool and enjoy your summer!

    Reply

    • Mike Hultquist says

      Hey, thanks so much, Becky! Glad you're enjoying the recipes!

      Reply

  2. Paul R Bolton says

    Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (10)
    easy to prepare and delicious. The marinade made the dish a tasty treat. I added some Spanish rice and the grilled pineapple were perfect compliments.

    Reply

    • Mike H. says

      Glad to hear that you've customized it to your preference, Paul. Enjoy!

      Reply

  3. Rachel says

    Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (11)
    Do not have a grill, can this be made in the oven?
    if so, please instruct.
    Thank you for the great recipes.

    Reply

    • Mike H. says

      Hi Rachel. It absolutely can. Starting from Step 3 of this recipe, preheat the oven to around 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup. Place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet and lightly grease it with oil to prevent sticking. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess marinade. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared wire rack, leaving space between each piece. Brush the reserved marinade over the chicken pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade halfway through the cooking time and again towards the end. Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Continue with Step 5 of the recipe, i.e. "Serve and enjoy!" =)

      Reply

  4. Miska Knezevic says

    This is I must make! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Mike H. says

      You are very welcome!

      Reply

  5. Pat Nugent says

    Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (12)
    I have enjoyed this exact recipe now for about 9 years. Also very good with bone-in chicken as well. Make sure your pineapple juice is the un sweetened bottled/canned variety. Look forward to your recipes every week!!

    Reply

    • Mike H. says

      Appreciate it, Pat. Amazing to hear that!

      Reply

  6. Ramya says

    Cant wait to make this soon for me can i use tofu i never had huli huli chicken before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

    Reply

    • Mike H. says

      Enjoy, Ramya!

      Reply

  7. Stacey says

    Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (13)
    This tasted just like I remembered in Hawaii….loved it. Will happily create again and again. Great recipe.

    Reply

    • Mike H. says

      Thank you, Stacey, enjoy!

      Reply

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