recipe

Hawaiian Chicken: a tasty sweet, tangy chicken dish the whole family will adore

Total time: 1H20 + Marinating time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 10 people
By Cookist
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This summer, treat your loved ones to homemade Hawaiian chicken. With its sticky, spicy, sweet, and slightly tangy homemade pineapple barbecue sauce and ultra-tender, juicy chicken thighs, this is one dish everyone will absolutely love.

Hawaiian chicken is made by marinating chicken thighs (although you can use chicken breasts instead) in a mouthwatering mixture of coconut milk, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. The chicken is then grilled to perfection and generously slathered in a sensational pineapple barbecue sauce – the ultimate tropical dish to serve this summer.

Enjoy your easy grilled Hawaiian chicken with a side of rice. It's one delicious dish you'll make again and again.

Hawaiian Chicken Ingredients

You can use chicken thighs or chicken breasts for your Hawaiian chicken.

To make the marinade, you'll need soy sauce, water, coconut milk, sugar, garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame seed oil. Ginger gives the marinade a spicy kick, while sugar and coconut milk give the marinade a tantalized sweetness. Soy sauce gives it a perfect level of savoriness.

For the pineapple barbecue sauce, you'll need pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and sriracha hot sauce. You can use other types of hot sauce if you prefer. Brown sugar is the best option as it gives a richer flavor.

How to Make Hawaiian Chicken

To make the best easy Hawaiian chicken, start by mixing the soy sauce, water, coconut milk, sugar, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil in a medium-sized bowl. Place the chicken into the marinade bowl. Stir to coat, then cover and pop the chicken in the fridge to marinate.

Now it's time to make the sauce. Put all of the ingredients for the sauce into a medium-sized pot. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer until it has reduced to one cup. This should take about 25 minutes or so.

Finally, it's time to get cooking! Heat your grill on high and close the lid. Oil the grate, then arrange the chicken on the grill. Close the lid, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 120F. Flip the chicken and cook it for another 15 to 20 minutes. It should reach an internal temperature of 165 to 170F.

Arrange the chicken on a plate and brush it generously with half the barbecue sauce. Sprinkle the green onions over the top. Serve your Hawaiian chicken with the remaining pineapple barbecue sauce and enjoy!

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How Long to Marinate the Chicken

Marinate the chicken for at least one hour up to overnight. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more juicy, succulent, and flavorful it will be. Longer marination will also help prevent the chicken from drying out on the grill.

How Long to Grill Hawaiian Chicken Without Drying it Out

You should grill your chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes on each side. Keep an instant-read meat thermometer handy so you can tell when the chicken has finished cooking. It should read 165 to 170F.

Tips for Making Easy Hawaiian Chicken

If you prefer white meat, use skin-on boneless chicken breasts.

Feeding a big crowd? You can easily double or triple the barbecue sauce recipe or even make it in advance and store it in your fridge for later use.

Make sure to let your chicken marinate for at least a few hours – this will help it stay juicy while grilling it.

What to Serve with Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian chicken goes great with a side of steamed or fried rice. Coconut rice also plays well with the savory and tropical flavors of the pineapple barbecue sauce.

For a keto option, serve your Hawaiian chicken with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles. A side salad and grilled veggies paired with Hawaiian sweet rolls are the perfect way to round out this dish.

How to Store and Reheat Hawaiian Chicken

Keep any leftover grilled Hawaiian chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat it, pop it in an oven heated to 325F and cook it for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.

Can You Freeze Hawaiian Chicken?

You can definitely freeze Hawaiian chicken. It'll last up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Thaw it in the fridge overnight when you're ready to eat again.

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Ingredients
for the marinade
chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
6 pounds
Soy sauce
2 cups
Water
8 cups
Coconut milk
1 13.5 oz can
Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup
Garlic, minced
6 cloves
fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp
sesame seed oil
1 tsp
for the sauce
Pineapple juice
2 1/4 cup
Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 cup
Ketchup
1/4 cup
Soy sauce
1/4 cup
Rice vinegar
1/4 cup
Garlic, minced
3 cloves
freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp
sriracha chili sauce
2 tsp
for garnish
green onions, sliced thin

Instructions

Place the chicken in a large bowl.

Whisk the soy sauce, water, sugar, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil in a bowl.

Add the coconut milk. Mix.

Add the chicken into the marinade bowl, then cover the bowl with cling film.

Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour up to overnight.

Pour the pineapple juice, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and sriracha into a pot.

Whisk to combine, then bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, then simmer for 25 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to about 1 cup. Transfer it into a bowl.

Preheat your grill on high and close the lid. Grease the grate with oil. Put the chicken on the grill and close the lid. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 120F.

Turn over the chicken. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 to 170F.

Put the chicken on a serving plate. Brush half the barbecue sauce over the chicken, then garnish with green onions. Serve with the remaining sauce.

Notes

If you're concerned about your salt intake, use low sodium soy sauce.

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