Huli Huli Chicken with Amazing Huli Huli Sauce

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken recipe with amazing homemade pineapple-ginger Huli Huli Sauce. Learn to grill chicken with same flavor as Maui's signature Huli Huli rotisserie chicken.

Huli Huli Chicken with Amazing Huli Huli Sauce
Diet Info: DF GF F LF Na LS VG V Fa

An easy and flavorful Huli Huli Chicken recipe with homemade pineapple-ginger Huli Huli Sauce and same Hawaiian grilled Huli Huli chicken flavor.  Huli Huli Chicken is a Hawaiian grilled chicken dish marinated in signature Huli Huli sauce. It is prepared by barbecuing chicken over wood, continuously turned (huli-ed) and basted with Huli Huli Sauce for moisture and flavor. 

My Huli Huli sauce recipe is versatile, lite, and delicious pineapple ginger sauce. Recipe needs only 15 minutes prep because same sauce works triple-duty: 1) As marinade for Huli Huli chicken 2) As mop sauce to baste chicken when grilling, and 3) As sauce to serve on side or drizzle over rice. Huli Huli Sauce is also perfect for stir-fry and as dipping sauce for pot stickers.  Special favorite among kids, sauce is Gluten Free. Stays good for up-to 2 weeks, and freeze up-to 6 months.  

Also sharing a simple trick to make huli huli chicken taste just like sold in Maui's rotisserie chicken shops. 

So, why wait? Let's grill some Huli Huli Chicken today!

Huli Huli Chicken with Rice and Grilled Pineapple

HULI-HULI CHICKEN:

Huli Huli chicken is Hawaiian grilled chicken dish which is prepared on outdoor wood-fired grills. Chicken is grilled rotisserie style, turned (huli-ed) frequently for extra-crispy charred grilled chicken flavor and basted with huli huli sauce for juicy and moist grilled chicken. 

Huli Huli means "turn turn". To capture the true flavor and texture of Huli Huli chicken, I like to grill chicken skewers instead of whole chicken breast/thigh. "Chicken Skewers" is my secret weapon to make the perfect Hawaiian Huli Huli chicken at home. The same texture, same flavor with the same mouth-watering aromatic grilled chicken aroma. Yumm!

Here is why chicken skewers are a better choice:

  1. Chicken Skewers are easy to turn multiple times to make perfect huli-ed chicken.
  2. These cook quickly and pick up nice char from the grill.
  3. Diced chicken marinates faster and has more surface area to absorb extra flavor from the amazing huli huli sauce.

That said, you can cook whole chicken breast, thigh or even a whole chicken if you prefer. Just don't forget to turn chicken a few times and baste generously with huli huli sauce for the delicious charred, sweet and umami huli chicken flavor.

Huli Huli!!! :-)

Huli Huli Chicken Sauce Marinade

HULI HULI SAUCE:

This recipe for Huli Huli Sauce is so amazingly flavorful, you will fall in love. Even the aroma of chicken grilled with sauce is outstanding. I clearly remember the day I made Huli Huli chicken on the grill.. My next door neighbors came knocking on our door to know what are we grilling. It is THAT good!

My husband's and I both felt like transported to Hawaiian BBQ Chicken stand of local count fair! 

Huli Huli sauce is like lightened-up pineapple flavored Teriyaki Sauce. It is not thick or too sweet sauce but has right balance of sweet, sour and heat. The thin consistency and pineapple flavor make this the perfect stir-fry sauce and marinade. I also love to use it for yakisoba noodles stir-fry, and as sauce over rice. For all these useful ways to use sauce, I always make a big batch of Huli Huli marinade. Make once, use many times!! Sauce is good in refrigerator for up-to 2 weeks.

The ingredients for Huli Huli Sauce are easy to find pantry-ingredients. Pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, mustard, sherry vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and sriracha. It is amazing how much depth of flavor these simple ingredients add to marinating chicken. I bet if you try once, you will not prefer to buy the store bought Huli Huli sauce ever again. Make at home, guys! It is easy and also budget-friendly. 

To make Hawaiian Huli Huli sauce, I mix together pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, mustard, sherry vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and sriracha. For more bold flavor, it is important to use grated ginger and garlic instead of crushed. I also use low-sodium gluten free Tamari Soy Sauce instead of regular soy sauce. Tamari is my personal preference. You can, by all means, use regular soy sauce. Only note that regular soy sauce may not be gluten free and adjust additional salt in sauce as per taste.

Tip: Huli-Huli Sauce is also a perfect Stir-Fry Sauce. I often use it for Yakisoba Noodles Stir-Fry, or Rice Stir-fry.

Thick Glistening Dipping Sauce: You can also transform extra reserved sauce to a glistening thick dipping sauce. Also works great drizzled over rice, or fries.

  1. In sauce pan, add reserved huli huli sauce and simmer on low. 
  2. When sauce is warm, take out 2 tbsp in a small bowl, add 1 tsp corn starch. Mix well so there are no lumps. Add back to simmering sauce and mix well. 
  3. Heat until sauce is thick enough to coat back of a spoon. Let cool down before serving.

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

HOW LONG TO MARINATE HULI HULI CHICKEN?

  1. Whole Chicken Breast - I recommend to marinate whole chicken breasts or thighs for at-least 4 hours, up-to 8 hours (overnight).
  2. Skewer Chicken - Bit size chicken kabobs have more surface area to absorb marinade faster. So, I recommend to marinate for at-least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Whole Chicken - If you planning to grill a whole rotisserie chicken marinated in huli huli sauce. I recommend marinating a day before for more flavor throughout.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH HULI HULI CHICKEN?

I love to serve Huli Huli Chicken with:

  1. Seasoned White Rice
  2. Grilled pineapple
  3. Coleslaw
  4. Grilled vegetables such as bell pepper, red onion, zucchini.

Note:You also serve Huli Huli Chicken with Sesame Chili Garlic Noodles and Fried Rice. (replace protein featured in the recipes with skewers of Huli Huli Chicken.)

Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken

MAKE-AHEAD HULI HULI CHICKEN:

Huli Huli sauce can be made 2 weeks in advance. A day before grilling, slice and marinate chicken (whole breast). For other cuts of chicken check the marinating time above in how long to marinate huli huli chicken section. 

This Huli Huli chicken recipe can also be frozen. When the chicken marinade is done, put the chicken and marinade together in a freezer-safe bag. Mix the two together. Freeze. When ready to grill, let defrost for at least an hour to let the marinade soak in. Grill/cook as normal.

Note: Huli Huli Chicken is great potluck dish. Prepare marinade, dice chicken. Add to a food-safe container with lid. Leave to marinate in a cooler. Grill fresh chicken when guest arrive. You can also grill whole chicken breasts instead of kabobs.  

More Grilled Chicken Recipe ideas to flavor your next Summer Barbecue:

The Best Grilled Chicken with Huli Huli Sauce Recipe

Friends, nothing says Summer like Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken grilling on an outdoor grill. In my humble opinion, the flavor of broiled or grilled Huli Huli Chicken with pineapple (grilled) and extra huli-huli sauce drizzled on the rice makes a tasty meal, any season of the year.

Even if you not planning to cook chicken tonight? I recommend making the sauce. Serve with snacks as dipping sauce. Don't forget to save some to make huli-huli chicken later.

Tip:Oh, when grilling chicken, don't forget to turn (huli huli) and baste chicken with sauce as much as possible.

Enjoy!

Watch Video

Huli Huli Chicken

Learn how to make Huli Huli Chicken grilled just like sold in Hawaiian Barbecue restaurants. This recipe makes Maui's signature Huli Huli rotisserie chicken perfect for home cooking. The delicious homemade pineapple-ginger Huli Huli Sauce works triple duty; 1) a marinade 2) mop sauce to yield moist grilled chicken 3) pour-over sauce to serve on the side of Huli-Huli Chicken.

Pairing Ideas:

Loaded Potato Salad with Best Ever Potato Salad Dressing Grilled Romaine Wedge Salad Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Huli Huli Chicken with Amazing Huli Huli Sauce

5 (17 reviews)
Huli Huli Chicken with Amazing Huli Huli Sauce
Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time: Cuisine: American () Difficulty: Easy
Yields: 3 lb chicken skewers - Serves: 4
Nutrition: 564 calories per serving (Sauce yields about 2.5 Cups before adding to chicken.)

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs Chicken (boneless thighs, sliced to 2" pieces to make kabobs)
  • 1 Cup Pineapple (juice)
  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce (Or 3/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce. See Note 1 for detail.)
  • 1/2 Cup Tomato Ketchup
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar (light brown or white sugar)
  • 2 tsp Ginger (grated, about 2 inch piece of ginger)
  • 1 tsp Garlic (grated, about 2-3 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Mustard (ground Dijon mustard)
  • 2 tbsp Sherry Vinegar (Or 4 tbsp Unseasoned Rice Vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (fresh fine cracked)
  • Salt (adjust to taste)
  • Oil Spray (for grilling)
  • 4 tbsp Fresh Herbs (parsley, for garnish)

Directions

  • 1. Prepare Ingredients Divide diced chicken into two seal-able food grade plastic bags or add all to a container with lid (large enough to hold chicken and marinade). Also, if using wooden skewers, soak 6-8 skewers in water. Set aside.
  • 2. Prepare Huli-Huli Marinade Sauce To make Huli-Huli marinade, in bowl add pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar, grated ginger, grated garlic, mustard, ketchup, sugar, sesame oil, sriracha, salt and black pepper. I use about 1/2 tsp of salt. Always adjust per taste. Whisk well until sugar is dissolved.
  • 3. Marinate Chicken Reserve 1 cup marinade and divide rest equally among two zip locks with chicken. Seal and mush to coat everything in marinade. Refrigerate to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • 4. Skew Chicken onto Skewers Preheat grill. Skew chicken on skewers (6-8 skewers). 6-7 small pieces of chicken per skewer. Discard the marinade used to marinate this chicken.
  • 5. Grill Huli-Huli Brush grill with oil or use oil spray. Grill chicken skewers turning (huli huli) often and basting with half of reserved marinade until chicken is fully cooked, 8-10 minutes. Additional Notes: Baste with marinade generously until chicken is no longer pink. Baste occasionally during the last 5 minutes.
  • 6. Serve Once cooked, transfer to serving platter. Garnish with scallions and chopped fresh parsley. Serve remaining Huli-Huli sauce on the side. (See Note 2) Serve with side of rice or noodles, grilled pineapple, grilled tomato/red onion rings. Enjoy!
Savita's Recipe Notes:
  1. Soy Sauce: I also use low-sodium gluten free Tamari Soy Sauce instead of regular soy sauce. Tamari is my personal preference. You can, by all means, use regular soy sauce. Only note that regular soy sauce may not be gluten free and adjust additional salt in sauce as per taste.
  2. Thick Sauce: Transform extra marinade to a glistening thick dipping sauce by following simple step:
    a. In sauce pan, add reserved huli-huli sauce and simmer on low. 
    b. When sauce is warm, take out 2 tbsp in a small bowl, add 1 tsp Corn Starch. Mix well so there are no lumps. Add back to simmering sauce and mix well. 
    c. Heat until sauce is thick enough to coat back of a spoon. Let cool down before serving.

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63 Responses

  1. Found this recipe from Pineterst. I'm so happy that I did! This came out so so delicious. My family asking for it every week!
  2. I live in a condo with no grill rules, barbaric I know, could I do this in the oven under the broiler and your recommendations for that process. Recipe sounds fantastic
    Hi Christopher, oven broiler works fine for indoor cooking. I use it all the time. My only recommendation are: 1) to use a raised-bed (like a rack) to place chicken over a rimmed baking sheet. Rack to ensure air circulation so that chicken does not braise in own juices but get good roasting. Rimmed Baking sheet to keep the oven clean. 2) turn chicken 1-2 times and baste with sauce for close-to-grill flavor. I hope it helps.
  3. I served this for dinner tonight and my family loved it. I served it with Pineapple Jasmin Rice and Brown Sugar and Bacon Geeen Beans. Thank you for the recipe.
  4. This looks and sounds so good! Could you make this into a foil packet meal? If so, could you break it down for me? What temperature and for how long? Thank you so much :D
    Hi Erica, I've never cooked Huli Huli Chicken in foil. Plus I think that the flavor of grill and caramelization will be missing if cooked in foil. If you try, let me know how it goes.
  5. This was amazing. I made this several times and it was devoured! Making it this weekend for a friends gathering.
    Thanks for letting me know.
  6. Omg this sauce was incredible! Now I'm gonna try it with pork chops & shrimp!
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you liked it.
  7. Hi, i only have an indoor grill but its like a panini press (it has the top and bottom grill plates that sandwich what you grill). Can I still use that? And if so, should i only grill them on the bottom plate or sandwich the kabobs between the two?
    I never used double grill for grilling chicken. But I suggest if you ever used it before cooking chicken then go ahead and use both grills (top and bottom). As chicken will grill from both sides at the same time, it will take less time. So please keep an eye. That said, if you have never used press for chicken, then just grill chicken on one plate. Don’t sandwich. I hope it helps.
  8. The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of mustard ground Dijon so does that mean ground mustard or Dijon mustard
    Hi Jen, it is Dijon mustard.
  9. yum this is so good
    Thanks.
  10. Hi, this is a WONDERFUL dish! I’ve made it now with the 2” chicken breast (kabobbed)-spelling?, shrimp (kabobbed) and with skin on chicken thighs. It works with everything! I left it off the veggies and seasoned them with a savory seasoning to get the sweetsavory to pop even more. Great recipe! Thank you so much! Living in New Orleans, we can grill all year long- even during our “winter” months! Brava!!
    Hi Penny, thanks for taking time to share your experience. 🙌Love that you included shrimp kabobs! Indeed, huli huli sauce works great with it. On a side note, our family is also big time grilled-food-fans.. big credit to sunny side of California. Love to visit New Orleans sometime. I have heard a lot about bold flavors of food and use of spices.
  11. I need to make this for a party but feel intimidated to grill it with all them. Can this be put in a crockpot instead?
    Hi Tanya, I never used crockpot for this recipe. Plus I think that the flavor of grill and caramelization will be missing if cooked in crockpot. I suggest bake-broil method. It works well when serving large gathering.
  12. Huge hit with the family! In the rotation now.
    Thanks for the feedback.
  13. I made this for dinner tonight!! It was so good everyone loved it. Its heading into summer and i can tell you this will definitely be on the grill! Thank you so much for another delicious recipe :)
    Hi Diana, thanks for sweet feedback. I appreciate it. I'm glad you like my recipes :)
  14. could i use ground ginger instead of fresh?
    Hi Sharon, in my opinion ground ginger will be stronger and will not give the same flavor to the sauce.
  15. What does "1 cup pineapple (juice)" mean? Is that pineapple chucks with juice? is it a cup of crushed pineapple which naturally has juice? or is it just pineapple juice?
    Hi Katie, its just pineapple juice.
  16. This is out of this world good! I used Swerve brown sugar as a swap and tasted amazing. I’m already looking forward to the leftovers.
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