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Grilled huli huli chicken is juicy, smoky Hawaiian perfection with a sweet-savory glaze.

Grilled huli huli chicken served on a white plate.

we Love Hawaiian 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.

We first had this at a neighbor’s house in Texas and fell in love! He was from Hawaii and shared the recipe and we’ve been making it every since.

This main dish is perfectly juicy and mostly savory, with a little bit of sweet for a favorite Hawaiian dinner.

We love these because:

  • Prepped in minutes. This huli huli sauce only requires a handful of easy ingredients and all you do is mix! Grilling this chicken recipe is just as simple.
  • For any meat. This yummy easy dinner idea can be made with various cuts of meat!
  • Aloha on your patio. With delicious Hawaiian flavors, you’ve got a taste of paradise on your own patio! It’s a backyard getaway with every delicious bite.
  • Serving variations. This can easily be served alone or on Crock Pot Rice or Garlic Noodles.
Marinade whisked in a glass bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed light or dark brown sugar 
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons ginger or 3-4 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs I prefer boneless skinless chicken thighs because they stay moist when cooked on the grill better than breasts. Without the bone, they are easier to eat. With that said, you can use any cut of chicken. The marinade also tastes great with pork.

How to Make Huli Huli Chicken

  1. Mix brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, broth, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl. Take out 1 cup and reserve for basting (and refrigerate).
  2. Place the rest of the marinade into a large Ziploc bag with the thighs. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. 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!
  4. MARINATE. Mix marinade 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.
  5. GRILL. Discard marinade from the chicken and grill thighs until no longer pink (about 8 minutes per side), basting with the extra marinade as you grill. Serve warm.

KRISTYN’S Chicken Tips

  • Chicken. Preheat the grill to 400-450°F and use the following as a grilling guide:
    • Boneless chicken thighs. Grill 5-7 minutes per side. 
    • Bone-in chicken thighs. Grill 7-10 minutes per side. If it needs more time, move the thigh to indirect heat and cook until done. 
    • Boneless chicken breast. Pound the chicken into an even thickness throughout and grill for 4-6 minutes per side.
    • Bone in chicken breast. Grill for 6-8 minutes per side. If needed, move the chicken to indirect heat and cook until done. 
    • Drumsticks. Grill the chicken for 20-25 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes or so.
  • Check for doneness. The internal temperature should read 165°F. 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.
    • If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a good indicator is that the juices run clear and the center is no longer pink.
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5 from 75 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
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Recipe FAQ

  • 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. Oil the grill grates and 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.
  • 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 reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • 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.
  • 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. 

For More Recipes:

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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5 from 75 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




89 Comments

  1. Maggie says:

    5 stars
    I made this and my adult kids said they loved my Teriyaki Chicken hahaha

  2. Angie Schlitzer says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is so good and very easy to make. My son loves Hawaiian Bros and he was so surprised when I made this that he said it was better!

  3. Wanda Stallings says:

    5 stars
    This sounds amazing!!

  4. Donelda says:

    5 stars
    I have made this many times and it SO good! Everyone loves it!

  5. Steve Toth says:

    5 stars
    Good recipe!

  6. Pat says:

    can you use skinless boneless chicken breasts?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Yes you could!

  7. Love says:

    5 stars
    My junior chef loved this recipe

  8. Dawn Archibald says:

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

  9. Roni Henriksen says:

    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
    P

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You’re welcome! I love that good food can bring us back to good memories and times!

  10. Gwen Paulhus says:

    5 stars
    this recipe looks delicious. Will definitely try it this summer