This Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken recipe is marinated in a sweet and tangy mixture of soy sauce, ketchup, ginger, and brown sugar, then grilled to juicy perfection. It’s easy to make and packed with flavor, great for summer cookouts. Serve it with grilled pineapple slices to really send it over the top!
What’s in this Huli Huli Chicken Recipe?
Whip up a flavorful marinade for chicken thighs or breasts (or both!), and grill up this Hawaiian-inspired dish!
- Chicken: You can use thighs or breasts for this recipe.
- Brown Sugar: This adds a rich, deep flavor to the marinade. Make your own by combining 1 cup of white granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses.
- Ketchup: This adds a sweet and tangy flavor to marinade.
- Soy Sauce: Regular or low-sodium soy sauce both work fine. Or you can use tamari or coconut aminos if preferred.
- Rice Vinegar: This neutral vinegar adds acidity to the marinade, to help penetrate the chicken.
- Ginger: Use fresh ginger for the most flavor. Ground ginger won’t add nearly as much kick.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best.
- Cilantro and Green Onions: These garnishes add just the right compliment of vibrancy to the dish!
Pro Tip: Rub a little oil onto the (clean and preheated) grates right before cooking so the chicken doesn’t stick.
Huli Chicken Breast or Thighs
Chicken thighs and chicken breasts both work great for this grilled huli huli recipe. Thighs will be much juicier, but breasts are leaner. Make a mix of both so everyone can choose their favorite piece.
Yes indeed! Preheat your oven to 350°F. It’s best to sear the chicken on the stove top over medium high heat with a little bit of olive oil. Sear each piece of chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side. Then line a baking dish with foil and place the seared chicken in the dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Brush the chicken with your reserved sauce and then bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.
To make this a gluten-free chicken recipe, you just need to use GF soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.
The huli huli chicken recipe was born around 1955, in Hawaii, when Ernest Mogado and Mike Asagi began grilling chicken in a sauce similar to teriyaki sauce. They used a make-shift spit and yelled “huli” which means “turn” every time they flipped the chicken and then basted it in the huli huli sauce.
How to Store and Reheat
Leftover huli huli chicken will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store it in an airtight container. You can reheat your leftovers in the microwave or oven.
How to Freeze
Let huli huli chicken cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it defrost in the fridge before reheating.
What to Serve with Grilled Huli Huli Chicken
Grilled pineapples perfectly compliment the sweet and sour flavors of the Hawaiian chicken marinade! Serve it over a bed of white rice, along with more veggies.
Grilled Huli Huli Chicken
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 small knob ginger minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 pounds chicken thighs or breasts
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped green onions
- To make the marinade, whisk together the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic together in a sealable plastic bag or large dish. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade for cooking. Place the chicken in the marinade and let it marinate overnight for the best flavor or at least 2 hours.1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1 small knob ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 4 pounds chicken thighs or breasts
- Oil the racks of the grill. Heat the grill to medium. Place the chicken on the grill, cooking for 20-25 minutes. Every 5 minutes, flip the chicken and baste with the reserved marinade. The chicken is finished once the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh or breast reaches 165 degrees.
- Finish with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and green onions. Serve with grilled pineapple if desired.Chopped cilantro, Chopped green onions