Huli Huli Chicken

This Grilled Huli Huli Chicken is the juiciest and most delicious Hawaiian chicken you’ll ever try! Great alone or served on rice or noodles!!

We love grilling all kinds of things in the summertime, but especially meat! Steak, burgers, and best of all—chicken! Besides our classic go-to chicken marinade, we LOVE this grilled Huli Huli chicken!

what is  Huli Huli Chicken?

Huli Huli chicken was created back in the 1950’s in Hawaii. Originally this chicken was cooked over a pit, thus inheriting the name huli huli or turn turn chicken.

I first had it at one of our neighbor’s houses in Texas. They had lived in Hawaii for several years and the husband was an avid BBQ enthusiast. One of the meats he had cooked up for us was this huli huli chicken, and I totally fell in love with the dish and knew I needed the recipe!

With lots of research and digging, I was able to find a recipe that I think tastes just like it! Perfectly juicy, mostly savory, with a little bit of sweet. SO tasty!

Cook it up on the skillet or the grill outside!

huli huli sauce + grilling instructions

Here are the ingredients for the sauce/marinade:

  • brown sugar
  • ketchup
  • soy sauce
  • chicken brother
  • ginger
  • minced garlic

MARINATE. Mix together your marinade ingredients and reserve 1 cup for later. Put the chicken in a ziploc bag with the marinade and let it sit for at least a few hours. The longer, the better! I like to leave it in the fridge overnight.

GRILL. Discard marinade from chicken and grill thighs until no longer pink (about 8 minutes per side), basting with the extra marinade as you grill.

Can I make this in the oven? If for some reason you can’t grill this chicken, you can just use your oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sear the outside of the chicken in a skillet with a bit of oil, then  place the chicken on a baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the juices run clear and the internal temp of 165°F.

Can I use chicken breasts? Absolutely! Chicken breasts are a leaner meat and cook a bit faster so keep an eye on them so they don’t dry out. Otherwise all the steps are the same. You can also use pork chops. 

Freezer Meal

Make a delicious freezer meal by freezing the chicken in the marinade!

Use a freezer safe ziploc bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Lay flat and freeze for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to use it, thaw the bag overnight in the fridge. The chicken will continue to marinate as it thaws and be ready to throw on the grill.

How do I store leftovers? Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in a freezer safe airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat in the microwave or oven.

I’m seriously addicted to this chicken recipe. It’s so good!! Be sure you have plenty of sauce reserved because it’s even better when it’s still juicy.

I think I need to cook it up again and serve it in a salad with almonds, fried wontons and an asian vinaigrette. I think it would be amazing!! You could also try serving it with:

More than anything, I’m just so glad that I can make this recipe from home and don’t have to go all the way to Hawaii for this mouth-watering chicken. 🙂

For more favorite chicken recipes, check out:

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Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

4.94 from 16 votes
This Grilled Huli Huli Chicken is the juiciest and most delicious Hawaiian chicken you'll ever try! Great alone or served on rice or noodles!!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 461 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs


  • Mix brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, broth, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Take out 1 cup and reserve for basting (and refrigerate).
  • Place the rest of the marinade into a large Ziploc bag with the thighs. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Discard marinade from chicken and grill thighs until no longer pink (about 8 minutes per side), basting with the extra marinade as you grill. Serve warm. ENJOY!

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Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I live in Hawaii and the smell of this cooking from big food trucks near the beach is incredible!

    1. I have not, but I don’t see why not?! I’d love to know what you think, if you try it. Thank you!

    1. I just used ground ginger. I’m sure fresh ginger would be great, too. Hope that helps!! Enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    We made this dish last week and it was amazing! Made it with thighs, rather than breasts, and it was very moist. I would hesitate to use breasts because they would be drier. The thighs were very flavorful. Instead of basting the chicken, I drizzled the extra marinade over the cooked chicken for extra flavor. Leftovers were equally good!!

  3. This was a great recipe! I NEVER leave replies on recipes; however, I couldn’t not sing the praises of this chicken. I am a decent cook, kids have traveled the globe and sampled many recipes. Tonight’s quote from my 13yo foodie: “Mom, this is the best chicken ever!”. Not the best I have made; the best he has eaten. This will be on our menu often! Grilled to perfection, tastes great hot or cold, will be great cooked in large batches and served multiple was as leftovers.

    Also gotta give a shout out for your Cheesy Beef Goulash recipe. I have two competitive swimmers who are teen boys. They get hangry during swim season often. This is great to make for them. I love it also. But easy, filling, and versatile. I can use any pasta, tomato product, and cheese and it always turns out great.

    1. You are so sweet!! I am so glad that these recipes pass 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know!!

  4. 5 stars
    i usually use your itaLian dressing idea to marinade my chicken, bUt i cant wait to try this New recipe. It looks so Good!

  5. 5 stars
    This is our go to recipe for grilling in the summer. The flavor combined with grilling is just perfection. I usually serve it with rice and fruit.

  6. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe so many times – it has definitely turned into a family favorite! The chicken is so flavorful from the marinade.