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Grilled Huli Huli chicken is the juiciest and most delicious Hawaiian chicken you’ll ever try! Serve it alone or 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 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 1950s 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. We love grilling in the summertime, especially chicken! You’ll love this tasty main dish!

Marinade whisked in a glass bowl.

Just Marinade and Grill!

This Huli Huli sauce only requires a handful of easy ingredients and all you do is mix them together! Grilling this Huli Huli chicken recipe is just as simple.

MARINADE. 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.

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. Serve warm. ENJOY!

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

Marinating chicken in a ziploc bag.

Variations

Add some flavor to this Huli Huli with any of these suggestions.

Grill up some pineapple. If you have a pineapple, peel the skin off and cut it into 1-inch thick slices. Whisk a bit of olive oil, honey, and lime juice together and brush it on the pineapple slices. Grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Serve with the Huli Huli chicken. 

Garnish the chicken with green onions.

Add a little heat by sprinkling on red pepper flakes or sriracha.

Chicken Tips

This yummy Huli Huli chicken can be made with various cuts of meat!

Chicken. I prefer boneless skinless chicken thighs because they stay moist when cooked on the grill better than breasts and without the bone they are easier to eat. However, you can use the Huli Huli sauce to marinate any cut of chicken to grill. 

  • Boneless chicken thighs. Grill at 400°F for about 8 minutes, flipping halfway. 
  • Bone-in chicken thighs. Grill at 450°F for about 10-13 minutes. Flipping halfway. Check the internal temperature. If it needs more time, move the thigh to indirect heat and cook until done. 
  • Boneless chicken breast. Preheat grill to 400°F. Grill over direct heat for 8-10 minutes. Flip and grill for another 3-5 minutes before moving the chicken to indirect heat (don’t flip). Allow the chicken to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. 
  • Bone in chicken breast. Preheat grill to 450°F. Grill over direct heat for 9-10 minutes. Flip and grill for another 9-10 minutes before moving the chicken to indirect heat. Allow the chicken to cook for an additional 10-20 minutes 
  • Drumsticks. Grill chicken at 350-400°F for about 25 minutes. Rotate them every 5 minutes.

Chicken is done when the internal temp is 165°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a good indicator is that the juices run clear and the center is no longer pink. Take chicken off the grill at 160°F and allow it to rest. The temperature will rise another 5-10 degrees bringing it to a safe 165°F.

Marinated chicken grilling on a grill pan.

Serving Ideas

I think I need to cook this recipe for Huli Huli chicken 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:

Basting grilled chicken while cooking on a grill pan.

Store for Later!

Make a 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.

STORE. Leftover authentic Huli Huli chicken recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

FREEZE 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.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use the Huli Huli chicken sauce to grill other meats?

Absolutely! Not only can you grill other parts of the chicken like breasts and legs, but you can use the sauce to make Huli Huli pork chops.

What temperature should the grill be when making Huli Huli chicken?

When cooking chicken thighs I like to heat the grill to 400-425°F and grill each side for about 8 minutes. See above for more grilling info.

Can I bake Huli Huli chicken in the oven?

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

For More Favorite Chicken Recipes, Check Out:

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5 from 68 votes

Huli Huli Chicken

By: Lil’ Luna
Grilled huli huli chicken is the juiciest and most delicious Hawaiian-style chicken you'll ever try! Serve it alone or on rice or noodles!! 
Servings: 6
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Marinade: 1 day
Total: 1 day 21 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Save This Recipe!
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Instructions 

  • 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!

Video

Notes

Make a freezer meal. Freeze 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. To use, thaw the bag overnight in the fridge. The chicken will continue to marinate as it thaws and be ready to throw on the grill.
STORE. Leftover authentic huli huli chicken recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
FREEZE in a freezer-safe airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat in the microwave or oven. 

Nutrition

Calories: 461kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 45g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 214mg, Sodium: 1593mg, Potassium: 764mg, Sugar: 42g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Vitamin C: 2.5mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 2.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

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




81 Comments

  1. Jamie Harkness says:

    5 stars
    Our favorite chicken EVER!

  2. Tiffany says:

    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.

  3. Brenda Exwards says:

    5 stars
    We made this this past summer and yummy!!! Brought me back to Hawaii!!

  4. Angela Dye says:

    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.

  5. Annalisa says:

    5 stars
    My kids love this one!

  6. NGON says:

    5 stars
    Made it tonight and was a huge hit! Easy and delicious. Thanks

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      Happy it was a hit!! Thank you for trying it & for letting me know 🙂

  7. Kristina says:

    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!

  8. Olivia says:

    5 stars
    This chicken is incredible. Such an amazing taSte. Everyone loves it.

  9. Misty says:

    5 stars
    This is such a great moist chicken. The flavor is AMAZING and reminds me of Hawaii!

  10. Becca says:

    5 stars
    So juicy and delicious!