Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

Perfect for cookouts, this is the BEST Grilled Huli Huli Chicken. Chicken thighs marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce then grilled until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve this Huli Huli chicken with grilled pineapple and rice to make it a meal!

Fire up the grill this weekend with this Huli Huli Chicken, a side of Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges, and Cucumber Avocado Salad!

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken skewers on a white plate with pineapple.

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

To me nothing says summer more than kabobs on the grill! During the summer we are all about grilling out. It keeps the heat and cooking outside and gives us the perfect char / smoke we all love from grilling. Simple, fast and so delicious, I can’t get enough of Grilled Huli Huli Chicken! The marinade is amazing! Thick, tangy, sweet and spicy all in one!

It’s so easy to throw this grilled pineapple chicken together with the marinade, you can even do this step in the morning and let the chicken marinade for a couple of hours. Then just load up the skewers and grill the chicken for 15 minutes. It’s super easy!

My favorite part of this recipe is the Huli Huli Sauce! It’s sweet, tangy, nutty, and seriously addictive. It’s kid-friendly as well making this Huli Huli Chicken a perfect recipe to take to cookouts over grilling season.

What is Huli Huli Chicken

Huli Huli Chicken first originated in Hawaii. It is chicken cooked in a sweet and tangy marinade and then grilled. It was originally cooked between two grills which had to be flipped over. Huli is the Hawaiian word for “turn”, thus giving it its name: Huli Huli Chicken!

Ingredients for Huli Huli Chicken

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are perfect for grilling! They don’t need to be deboned, and they stay nice and juicy on the grill. You can also use chicken breast for a lighter option, just take care to not over cook it, and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes so that the chicken breasts stay nice and juicy.
  • Pineapple: This is optional but I love the taste of grilled pineapple! It’s perfect on the skewers with the Huli Huli Chicken.

Ingredients for Huli Huli Sauce

This sauce is seriously so good! It is now my go to marinade anytime I make chicken. It’s thick enough to coat the chicken and is perfectly sweet, tangy with a little kick thanks to the sriracha! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Soy sauce: I used regular soy sauce in this recipe however low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos could be substituted.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness to the sauce.
  • Sesame Oil: This is one of my favorite ingredients. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor to the sauce.
  • Ketchup: Helps to thicken the sauce and adds flavor and tang.
  • Pineapple Juice: This wouldn’t be an authentic Huli Huli Sauce without pineapple juice!
  • Ginger: I prefer fresh however ground ginger could be substituted as well.
  • Garlic: I always have to have garlic! Again, I prefer fresh but garlic powder would also work.
  • Sriracha: I use 2 teaspoons in the sauce. It has a bit of a kick to it. If you don’t want it to be as spicy you can always add less or just skip it.

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken skewers on a white plate with pineapple.

How to make Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken

  • Combine all of the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch and water in a small medium bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade.
  • Add the remaining marinade to a large ziplock bag. Add in the chicken and toss to coat. Marinade for at least 30 minutes or for up to 3-4 hours. Any longer and the chicken will become soggy and mushy.

marinating cubed chicken in ziplock bag

  • When you are ready to cook the chicken preheat the grill. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray. Cook chicken for about 5 minutes on each side or until chicken reaches 165 degrees.

grilling kabobs on grill

  • While the chicken is cooking heat the reserved 1/2 cup marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water.
  • Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce whisking constantly. Simmer for an additional minute or until the sauce has thickened.

simmering Huli Huli sauce

  • Brush the thickened sauce onto the cooked chicken and serve any leftover sauce on the side.

brushing chicken with pineapple sauce

  • Serve immediately with grilled pineapple and fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

cubed chicken on kabobs

How long should I marinate chicken?

I would recommend marinating the chicken for at least 30 minutes but preferably a couple hours if you have the time! I would not recommend marinating this overnight. Believe it or not it is actually possible to marinate chicken for too long. When this happens the chicken becomes soggy and mushy (not what were going for!) The Kitchn has a great article that explains how to NOT over marinate meat.

What to serve with Huli Huli Chicken

grilled cubed Pineapple chicken on white plate

How do I store Huli Huli Chicken?

Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat cook on the grill, in the microwave, or in the oven before consuming. Store the Huli Huli Sauce separately.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can this be baked instead of grilled? Yes absolutely! Cook in a 425 degree over for 15 minutes or unil the chicken reaches 165 degrees. To get more of a char on the chicken allow it to broil for a couple of minutes.
  • What does Huli Huli mean in Hawaiian? Huli Huli means “to turn” which is what happens when you cook Huli Huli chicken. The chicken is turned so that it cooks evenly all over.
  • What island is Huli Huli Chicken on? Huli Huli Chicken originated from the big island of Hawaii. You can find authentic Huli Huli Chicken in restaurants, especially on the weekends.
  • How many calories are in a Huli Huli chicken? Each chicken skewer contains just 319 calories, including extra Huli Huli sauce.

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken skewers coated in Huli Huli Sauce on a white plate with pineapple.

Here are more grilling recipes to try!

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Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

The BEST Grilled Huli Huli Chicken. Marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce then grilled until golden brown and crispy. Serve with grilled pineapple and rice!

Ingredients

Huli Huli Chicken

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • grilled pineapple slices for serving, if desired
  • fresh chopped parsley for serving, if desired

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp water

Instructions

Images:
  • Combine all of the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch and water in a small medium bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade.
    Add the remaining marinade to a large ziplock bag. Add in the chicken and toss to coat. Marinade for at least 30 minutes or for up to 3-4 hours. Any longer and the chicken will become soggy and mushy.
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken preheat the grill. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray.
    Cook chicken for about 5 minutes on each side or until chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  • While the chicken is cooking heat the reserved 1/2 cup marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
    In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water.
    Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce whisking constantly. Simmer for an additional minute or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Brush the thickened sauce onto the cooked chicken and serve any leftover sauce on the side.
  • Serve immediately with grilled pineapple and fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Grilled Huli Huli Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 319 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 162mg54%
Sodium 1155mg50%
Potassium 551mg16%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 118IU2%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: Easy Dinner Recipe, Grilled Huli Huli Chicken, Grilling, Summer Recipes

 

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