Grilled Huli Huli Chicken Recipe {A Delicious Popular Hawaiian Dish}

5 from 4 votes

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Introducing our new favorite dish: Huli Huli chicken!

Huli Huli Chicken is a popular Hawaiian dish consisting of chicken thighs marinated in a sweet and savory sauce and grilled to perfection.

grilled huli huli chicken with pineapple

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

We’ve tried just about every way to prepare chicken, but this is the only one that’s ever left us craving more. The Huli Huli Sauce is so good, we spoon it over everything on our plates. We even put it on our rice and pineapple, and we’ve even drizzled some on our mac salad!

What Is Huli Huli Chicken?

It is a popular rotisserie-style chicken recipe originating in Hawaii. “Huli” means to “turn” or “reverse” in Hawaiian, so “huli huli chicken” refers to the chicken being turned over in a rotisserie roaster. Since we don’t have a rotisserie roaster, we opt for the grilled version (which still applies in my opinion because the chicken is being turned over on the grill several times).

Huli Huli Chicken’s sweet and savory sauce is made from the marinade that mainly contains pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup and brown sugar. The result is a mouthwatering combination of flavors that’s hard to beat!

If you haven’t tried this yet, I recommend trying it at your next luau—you’ll see what I’m talking about.

huli huli chicken on a platter

What’s In Huli Huli Chicken

  • Chicken Thighs – Like Shoyu Chicken, you definitely want to go with chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe. They will just turn out better, I promise.
  • Huli Huli Sauce – The sauce is made with simple ingredients including pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, garlic, and ginger. It is a delicious combination of flavors that create the perfect Hawaiian chicken glaze.
chicken being brushed with huli huli sauce

How To Make Huli Huli Chicken

  1. Place chicken thighs in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag.
  2. Combine Huli Huli sauce ingredients and pour over chicken.
  3. Marinate at least 2 hours and up to 20 hours (no more than 20 because the sauce is so acidic it will break down the chicken)
  4. Grill over medium heat to an internal temperature of 165-degrees. Simmer the sauce in a pan while chicken is cooking.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken and serve with rice and/or your favorite Hawaiian side dishes (see below)
chicken on the grill with pineapple


  • Don’t throw out that marinade! Simmer the sauce on the stove top and make a delicious glaze to pour over the top or use to glaze the chicken on the grill. If you simmer the sauce in a big enough pot you can just throw the grilled chicken in while it is still simmering. This is something I learned in Hawaii and it makes the chicken SO GOOD.
  • Grill up the pineapple slices and serve along with the chicken. You won’t be sorry.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. This keeps your chicken nice and juicy. If you cut it open to check for pink, the juices will run out and your chicken will be dry.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. Wrap it in foil after grilling and just let it sit. The chicken will relax and become more tender and the juices will stay put.
huli huli chicken with rice and pineapple

Hawaiian Side Dishes To Serve With Huli Huli Chicken

Because this is a traditional Hawaiian dish, you can’t go wrong with plain, white, sticky rice (Calrose rice). You can also serve with pineapple slices. We use the juice from the pineapple slices in the recipe and then grill the pineapple up with the chicken (SO good). If that’s not quite enough to complete your meal, you can also try one of these delicious Hawaiian side dishes:

Hawaiian Lunch plate with pork, white rice, mac salad, and teriyaki chicken.

More Authentic Hawaiian Recipes

How to Make Huli Huli Chicken

Huli Huli Chicken with grilled pineapple on the side

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

5 from 4 votes
Huli Huli Chicken is a popular Hawaiian dish consisting of chicken thighs marinated in a sweet and savory sauce and grilled to perfection.
Prep Time 5 mins
Marinating Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 6 servings




  • Place chicken thighs in a gallon-sized Ziplock bag.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour sauce into the bag over the chicken. Press air out of the bag and seal.
  • Marinate at least 2 hours and up to 20 hours.
  • Drain marinade into a medium-sized sauce pan and remove chicken to grill. Simmer sauce over medium heat while chicken is being grilled (about 15 minutes). Stir often. When sauce has thickened a little bit, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Grill chicken for 5-7 minutes per side over medium heat.
  • When internal temperature reaches 165-degrees, remove from heat and cover with foil for 3-5 minutes before serving.
  • Place chicken in a large serving bowl and pour sauce over the chicken, toss to cover in sauce.
  • Serve with pineapple slices, rice and/or side dishes mentioned above.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 24gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 1369mgPotassium: 466mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 130IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 2mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three 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.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. 5 stars
    Looks great! Can’t wait to try it. One question…..should you be using the marinade after it’s had raw chicken in it? Or is it safe after you’ve boiled it?