Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken Recipe (Perfect For Your 4th Of July Feast)



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Cooking time




Marinating Time



What You’ll Need For Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Recipe Instructions For Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken

  • To make the Hawaiian chicken marinade. Whisk together in a bowl the soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, grated ginger, minced garlic, sesame oil, salt, and black pepper to make the marinade.
  • Put the chicken thighs in a spacious plastic bag that can be sealed or in a shallow container. Pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure each piece is coated.
    Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, ideally 4 hours, to let the flavors infuse into the meat.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 375°F to 400°F (190°C to 205°C).
  • Take out the chicken from the marinade and allow any extra liquid to drip away. Reserve the marinade for basting.
  • Grill the chicken for about 8-10 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade while grilling, every couple of minutes, to keep it moist and enhance the flavor.
  • Once fully cooked, transfer the Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken to a serving platter and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds for an extra burst of flavor.

Attention all you fabulous foodie adventurers.

Are you ready to take a scrumptious trip to the tropics this 4th of July with me?

Fasten your seatbelts and get those palates prepped because you’re about to dive headfirst into the mouthwatering world of a great 4th of July recipe.

The Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken Recipe.

I’m talking golden beaches, swaying palm trees, and the warm Hawaiian sun caressing your skin.

That’s the paradise I found myself in during my unforgettable island escapade.

And let me tell you, the culinary highlight of my journey was none other than the legendary Hawaiian chicken dish. 

The name itself is enough to get you drooling, right? (But wait, it gets better)

This finger-lickin chicken is marinated in a heavenly blend of soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and more.

(Can you feel those taste buds dancing the hula already?) 

But the real magic happens on the grill, where this chicken masterpiece gets its smoky, charred goodness. Trust me, it’s like a flavor explosion in every bite. 

And when you’re surrounded by your favorite people, sharing laughter, and grilling this delectable dish together. (Oh, the joy)

But hold on, I’ve got more in store for you. I’ve handpicked some healthy snack ideas that pair well with the Hawaiian huli-huli chicken.

I’m talking watermelon pizza, grilled mahi mahi with pineapple salsa, and apple walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette. (a feast fit for the gods of the Pacific)

So, let’s not keep paradise waiting any longer. Join me and let’s embark on a flavor-packed journey to the land of aloha.

Where every bite of this Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe is pure tropical bliss.

Aloha, food adventurers. Let’s get grillin’!

What is the history of Huli Huli chicken?

Whole chickens that are cut in half on top of the grill

Let’s rewind the clock and journey back to the roots of the Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe.

A mouthwatering dish with a rich history that has won hearts across the world. 

Legend has it that back in the 1950s, a man named Ernest Morgado from the beautiful island of Hawaii was the mastermind behind this succulent creation.

In the tiny town of Kahuku, Ernest, and his buddies were brainstorming ways to raise funds for their local youth group.

(And that’s when inspiration struck like a bolt of lightning)

Ernest came up with the genius idea of cooking BBQ whole chickens on large spits.

Then “huli”-ing (which means to turn) them over the hot coals, ensuring an even and delectable cooking process.

The result? A heavenly, smoky flavor that infused the chicken, leaving everyone craving for more.

Word quickly spread about this culinary marvel, and soon, Huli Huli chicken became a hit at fundraisers and community events across the islands.

(But it didn’t stop there)

This delightful dish caught the attention of the legendary Rotary Club of Honolulu, who recognized its potential and granted Ernest the trademark for “Huli Huli” in 1958. 

Today, huli huli chicken has become an iconic part of Hawaiian cuisine, and its fame has spread far beyond the Pacific shores.

It’s a well-known family meal prep recipe that embodies the essence of Hawaii.

A true culinary treasure that continues to bring joy and delight to every gathering, making memories that last a lifetime. 

3 Pairing Ideas That Complements this Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

Elevate this Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe with these perfect pairing ideas.

These dishes complement the smoky goodness of the chicken, creating a delightful culinary symphony.

1. Sweet Watermelon Pizza

The vibrant and juicy watermelon pizza is the perfect accompaniment to this Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe.

Its refreshing taste and light sweetness provide a delightful contrast to the rich and smoky flavors of the grilled chicken.

The coolness of the watermelon slices, combined with the fresh fruit toppings, act as a palate cleanser between every bite of the savory chicken.

This pairing brings a burst of summer to your taste buds. (creating a harmonious balance that leaves you feeling refreshed and satisfied)

2. Grilled Mahi Mahi With Pineapple Salsa

This tropical masterpiece is a flavor explosion that complements the Hawaiian huli huli chicken in the most delightful way.

The tender and flaky Mahi Mahi, infused with zesty lime and garlic, mirrors the succulent flavors of the grilled chicken.

The star of this pairing is the tangy and sweet pineapple salsa, which echoes the pineapple notes in the Huli Huli marinade.

And when you serve the grilled mahi mahi with pineapple salsa together with the huli huli chicken.

You’ll create a symphony of tropical tastes that transport you straight to the sandy beaches of Hawaii.

(Making your 4th of July feast a true island adventure)

3. Delicious Apple Walnut Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette

This mouthwatering apple walnut salad is the perfect refreshing and crunchy side to complement the robust flavors of this Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe.

The crispness of the mixed greens and sliced apples provides a delightful contrast to the tender and juicy chicken.

And the candied walnuts add a delightful crunch and a hint of sweetness, enhancing the savory notes of the grilled chicken.

While the balsamic vinaigrette ties it all together with its tangy and slightly sweet profile, elevating the overall dining experience.

This pairing brings a balance of textures and flavors, making your meal prep for healthy eating a satisfying affair.

Each of these pairing ideas enhances the Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe, creating a symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing in delight.

And there you have it, my fellow foodie adventurers. Your Hawaiian huli huli chicken escapade has reached its delicious conclusion. 

You’ve explored the roots of this legendary dish, traced its history back to its humble beginnings.

And learned how it became a symbol of Hawaiian hospitality and the spirit of aloha. 

But the real magic happened when you tasted the succulent Hawaiian chicken, marinated in the heavenly blend of flavors, and grilled to perfection.

It’s like a flavor explosion in every bite, that transports you straight to the sunny shores of Hawaii. 

And don’t forget those perfect pairings. Watermelon pizza, grilled mahi mahi with pineapple salsa.

And apple walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette took your taste buds on a tropical adventure they’ll never forget. 

So, my friends, this 4th of July, fire up the grill, prepare this for your loved ones, and embark on a culinary journey filled with laughter, and memories,

Relish the incredible flavors of this Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe.

Aloha and happy grilling! 

Ready To Take Charge Of Your Family’s 4th of July Celebrations?

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This adorable planner will be your sidekick, helping you create delicious meals, create your favorite recipes, and conquer your grocery shopping like a pro.

From brunches to dinners or even your 4th of July feast, embrace the joy of planning and savor every bite with ease.

So, why wait? Grab your free meal planner now, and let’s unleash your inner culinary prowess, one delicious dish at a time.


What is “huli huli” in Hawaiian?

“Huli Huli” in Hawaiian means “turn turn” or “flip flip.” It refers to the grilling method used for Hawaiian huli huli chicken.

Where the chicken is cooked on a spit and constantly turned or flipped over the hot coals for even cooking and maximum flavor infusion.

What are the benefits of grilling chicken thighs?

Grilling chicken thighs has several benefits.

First, they have a higher fat content than chicken breasts, making them more flavorful and juicy when grilled.

The direct heat from the grill sears the outside, creating a delightful crispy skin, while the inside remains tender and succulent.

Additionally, grilling chicken thighs is a healthier option as the excess fat drips off during cooking, resulting in a leaner and tastier meal.

Is This Huli Huli chicken Recipe can be made gluten-free?

Yes, this Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe can be made gluten-free.

The traditional marinade ingredients, such as soy sauce and pineapple juice, may contain gluten.

However, you can easily make a gluten-free version by using gluten-free soy sauce or tamari and ensuring all other ingredients are gluten-free.

With a few simple swaps, everyone can enjoy the lip-smacking flavors of this Hawaiian huli huli chicken recipe without worry.

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