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!

Grilled huli huli chicken served on a white plate.

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 Hawaiian 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 much flavor!

Raw chicken thighs cooking in a skillet.

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

Be sure you have plenty of sauce reserved because it’s even better when it’s still juicy.


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? 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. 

Serving Ideas

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:

Closeup of sliced huli huli chicken thighs.

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.

Hawaiian huli huli chicken thighs served on a white plate.

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:

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

4.95 from 51 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!


Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

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About Kristyn

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.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this chicken tonight for a different take on chicken thighs. It was delicious! I served it on Jasmine Rice with a bit of sauce spooned over it. My husband was raving about it well after dinner. I’ll be saving this recipe for our next family get together!. Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    So flavorful and fun to make! Will surely have this amazing recipe again! Thanks a lot for sharing it! Highly recommended!

  9. 5 stars
    I would give this 10 stars if I could! The flavor is so delicious it has become my go to for bowls, tacos and even chicken tostadas. If you haven’t made it you must try it! So good!

  10. I lived in Hawaii for decades, the locals don’t use ketchup, and use kiavia wood to get the right smoke flavor

  11. 5 stars
    This is my family’s go to grilled chicken ! I love it because we usually have all the ingredients in our house . We make it every time we have guests for a BBQ and everyone absolutely loves it !

  12. 5 stars
    Wow… this was delicious! I marinated half as directed, and marinated the other half with a couple pineapple juice. My husband says the original recipe was better! It was so delicious and we were both surprised and how the simple ingredients brought the flavor out in the chicken thighs. I put them on the grill approximately 14 minutes total and they came out tender and perfect.
    I gave the recipe to my sister. Her husband and Sons hate chicken thighs. She baked them in the oven at 375° for 25 minutes. All 3 boys had seconds. My nephew said “Mom, this one’s a keeper”.
    Thank you for the recipe!

  13. 5 stars
    so delish!
    i need low salt recipes and this one has the ability to change all ingredients to low/no sodium.

    it says 1593/serving, but you can drop it below 1000 if you change to no salt ketchup and salt free chicken broth!
    yes they do make them now!!!

    thanks so much for the recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    I give this a 5 star rating because it is a simple recipe, using ingredients that are not expensive, that will give you a wonderful Hawaiian flavored marinade and chicken. I have had Huli Huli Chicken at a restaurant and loved it. Can’t wait to try this at home. So many recipes are complicated…this is not!

  15. Your photos for this recipe are so appetizing, they make me want to out and buy chicken immediately.

  16. 5 stars
    This chicken is so nice and delicious. I will be keeping this in my recipes for years to come. I love the time of year that you can go out and start BBQing!!! Thank you. I love almost everything you post.

  17. 5 stars
    This chicken has a wonderful taste to it. We tried different variations instead of the brown sugar since I’m diabetic . Crushed pineapple was incredible . You could also do teriyaki sauce. Thanks for all the good recipes. Happy Summer! 🌞😎🏖️🌈

  18. 5 stars
    We love huli huli. Simple and easy to make. One of our favorites. Great for get togethers.

  19. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this! What a great recipe. We enjoyed every bite. Your recipes are wonderful. I really love making them.

  20. 5 stars
    This was amazing. I ended up smoking the chicken thighs to give them a little more and wow was it good.

  21. 5 stars
    This Huli huli recipe is great. I’ve had it many times in Hawaii and this takes very close to the original! Thank you for this recipe as it reminds me of beautiful Hawaii. Highly recommend you try this.

  22. 4 stars
    I’ve been waiting a long time to try this recipe. I pulled out some thighs and found I had all the ingredients to toss it together. My husband and I found this amazing and super easy to make. The reason I gave it a 4* instead of a 5 (which it deserves) is for the carbs. I’m low carb but took a chance on this. Thank you for posting this recipe!!! Really good.

  23. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this. We, as your friends did lived in Hawaii the first few years we were married. Had huli huli chicken for many occasions. Always with a side of macaroni salad.
    I lost my recipe a few years back & could not replicate it, of course could not remember exactly what ingredients I had used. Your recipe looks just like what I used to make. Brings back many fond memories of great places and great friends. Thank you

  24. 5 stars
    This chicken is so yummy! It’s full of flavor, tender and juicy! My family loved it!!