Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

5 from 12 votes

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This Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich recipe is packed with island flavors and topped with sliced ham, grilled pineapple and Pepper Jack cheese. A backyard cookout favorite!

Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches on a wood board with watermelon

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich, aka the “Big Kahuna”

This Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich blends all the sweet and salty flavors of Hawaiian teriyaki in a sandwich. Typically we enjoy this teriyaki chicken recipe drenched in teriyaki sauce with fried rice and veggies. But we recently made it into a sandwich and it was out of this world! 

My husband wanted the privilege of naming these sandwiches after he made them. He kept calling them “Big Kahuna Sandwiches” while he was grilling them and insisted that be the official name. So that’s what we are calling them – Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches.

My favorite part of this sandwich is how we spiced up the teriyaki chicken by adding some deli ham, grilled pineapple, and pepper jack cheese. I don’t think we will ever go back to making them the old way again. These were a huge hit!

Ingredients for a Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich

These Big Kahuna sandwiches are so easy to throw together; they’re the perfect meal to serve at a backyard picnic or weekend barbecue. Just a few ingredients will get you the most flavorful chicken sandwich you’ve ever tasted!

  • Chicken – we like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts but you could use boneless chicken thighs too.
  • Teriyaki sauce – save time by using a bottle of your favorite marinade. We like Lawry’s brand because it has good low sodium options. Or you can make your own with water, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and some cornstarch to thicken.
  • Brown sugar – enhances the sweetness of the teriyaki sauce
  • Deli ham – make sure it’s sliced very thin.
  • Pineapple slices – fresh pineapple tastes best but you can use a can of sliced pineapple too.
  • Pepper Jack cheese – we like to use deli slices of cheese so it melts evenly over the sandwich.
  • Hamburger buns – you’ll need a larger size to fit the large chicken breast and all the toppings.
Ingredients for Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich

Extra Toppings

Once your sandwich is assembled, add any toppings you like! Here are some ideas:

  • lettuce
  • mayonnaise
  • a drizzle of honey
  • tomato
  • bacon
  • red onions

Make Big Kahuna Burgers

You can easily make these into “Big Kahuna” burgers by marinating beef or ground turkey patties in the teriyaki sauce rather than chicken. Trust me, you’ll never have a more moist or flavorful burger in your life! And for an extra Hawaiian spin and protein, add a fried egg to the top.

Tips for Grilling the Teriyaki Chicken

  • Meat thickness: The key to getting perfect grilled teriyaki chicken is making sure the thickness of the meat is as even as possible. You don’t want one end of the chicken to be thick and the other end to be thin (how it comes naturally). To get an even thickness on the chicken breasts, place each breast in between pieces of plastic wrap, then use a meat pounder and flatten out that thick part to match the thinner part (or close to it).
  • Grill Temperature: You want to make sure you have the right grill or skillet temperature. Aim for around 375-degrees and 450-degrees. If you’re cooking in a skillet on the stove top turn it to medium-high heat. This makes it so you don’t have a charred outside and raw inside, which happens when you cook at too high of a temperature.
  • Digital Read Meat Thermometer: Using a digital-read meat thermometer is also very helpful. When the internal temperature reaches 150-155 degrees (should only take a few minutes on each side) take it off the grill and allow to rest for a few minutes. Wrap the chicken in foil and the chicken will continue cooking to reach 165-degrees. You will have perfectly juicy chicken.
Chicken and pineapple on an grill

Side Dish Ideas

Here are some great side dish ideas that will go PERFECTLY with these teriyaki chicken sandwiches:

  • Hawaiian Macaroni Salad: Hawaiian Mac Salad is a staple side dish for any Hawaiian meal. This is an AUTHENTIC Hawaiian recipe, straight from the islands!
  • Fresh Mango Avocado Cole Slaw: You have got to try this coleslaw with a fun island twist! Goes GREAT alongside these grilled chicken teriyaki sandwiches!
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Chicken sandwiches and sweet potato fries are a winning combination. Every. Time. You can’t go wrong!

What Readers are Saying About this Recipe

“The whole family loved these. Such a great flavor combination!” – Alison

“Excellent taste! The whole family loved this and said several times throughout dinner how good it was. I served mine with jalapeno coleslaw.” – Monica 

“These sandwiches made me and my man a hit at our bbq! So delicious! We used Kikoman garlic and green onion teriyaki sauce…delicious!” – Eloina

“We just made these for dinner. Oh my goodness! So delicious. I’m so happy to have found this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing. I followed the directions exactly, the only thing I did differently was to throw these puppies onto King’s Sweet Hawaiian buns. Can’t wait to make them over and over and over again, and knock the socks off any person who happens to be lucky enough to come over when we make them.” – Dani

Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches on a wood board with watermelon

More Teriyaki Recipes to Try

Love the vibrant sweet and sour of teriyaki? Try some of these other recipes that boast this unique flavor:

How to Make Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches on a wood board with watermelon

Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

5 from 12 votes
These Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches are better than most because they are loaded with sliced ham, grilled pineapple, and Pepper Jack cheese.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinating Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Course Lunch
Cuisine Hawaiian, Island
Servings 4



  • Outdoor Barbecue Grill


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle Lawry's teriyaki sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 slices deli ham
  • 1 can sliced pineapple or you can use fresh which would be even better
  • 4 slices Pepper Jack cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns large


  • Pound chicken breasts until they are about 1/4" thick all around.
    Pound chicken breast
  • Place in a large Ziploc bag. Combine Teriyaki sauce and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add ½ of the mixture to the bag with the chicken and seal tightly. Place bag in refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours.
    Separate remaining Teriyaki mixture into 2 separate bowls (to prevent cross contamination use 2 separate brushes too)– one for the pineapple, one for the chicken. Open pineapple can and save a little of the juice in a bowl.
    Big Kahuna chicken in a ziplock back with marinade
  • Place chicken and pineapple on the grill (medium heat).
    Brush with Teriyaki sauce every few minutes until chicken and pineapple are done. Try to only flip the chicken and pineapple once. Either on the grill or in a frying pan, cook ham with a little of the pineapple juice until it becomes nice and hot.
    Chicken and pineapple on an grill
  • Slice open hamburger buns and place a piece of cooked chicken on each bottom bun. Top with cheese, ham, grilled pineapple, and bun top. Serve immediately with remaining grilled pineapple.
    Big Kahuna Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches on a wood board with watermelon

Nutrition Information

Calories: 766kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 64gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 946mgPotassium: 1216mgFiber: 3gSugar: 63gVitamin A: 300IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 289mgIron: 3mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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  1. Just came across this recipe, sounds delish. Scrolling dow to see other recipes and noticed your from boise, small world I live in twin falls id.

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious change to the common grilled chicken sandwich. Love this recipe! Will definitely make again…. and again. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. What kind of buns are being used? I know I have enjoyed a bun like this one before but can never find them at stores… Help!

    1. I don’t remember the exact type of buns, but usually grocery stores will have a large bun option instead of regular sized buns. We usually get those!

    1. Yes, of course. You just want to make sure the chicken is cooked through. You could also bake the chicken.

  4. 5 stars
    Very good and something different! Made it last week and making it again tonight. Highly recommend.

  5. 5 stars
    Excellent taste! The whole family loved this and said several times throughout dinner how good it was. I served mine with jalapeno coleslaw.

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