Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

11 comments

5 from 15 votes
Jump to RecipeJump to Video

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

This Huli Huli chicken is a Hawaiian twist on classic grilled chicken. Marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce, it cooks in just 10 minutes!

Love tasty chicken recipes? Try my tandoori chicken, Peruvian chicken, saffron chicken, and stuffed chicken breast next.

huli huli chicken.

A simple sauce or marinade can truly transform the humble chicken thigh, and my Huli Huli chicken recipe is proof of that!

What is huli huli chicken?

Huli Huli chicken is Hawaiian-style grilled chicken. Traditionally cooked over mesquite wood, the chicken is first marinated in ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. It’s then grilled on both sides, yielding the most flavorful meat. 

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make huli huli chicken
  4. Alternative cooking methods
  5. Arman’s recipe tips
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. What to serve with this
  9. Huli Huli Chicken (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Always juicy. The long marinating time of the chicken ensures juicy and tender meat every time. 
  • Full of flavor. Sweet, savory, spicy, and tangy elements all go into this dish. 
  • Great for meal prep. The chicken can sit in the marinade for up to 2 days. Once cooked, you can use this Hawaiian grilled chicken to prep easy lunches for busy days. 
  • Multiple cooking methods. I like to use a grill, but I’ve included skillet and oven instructions to make things easy for you!

Ingredients needed

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs. My preferred cut of chicken for this dish. I tested it with skin-on and bone-in chicken and while it worked well, I found there was less of the sauce left to baste the chicken with.

Huli Huli sauce:

  • Tomato ketchup. The base of the marinade. I like to use a ketchup that has minimal or no added sugar (because we are already adding brown sugar!).
  • Soy sauce. To create a rich umami flavor and balance out the sweetness.
  • Brown sugar. To provide the sweet characteristic of this dish. 
  • Rice vinegar. To balance out the bold flavors of the marinade and create a gorgeous glaze. 
  • Sriracha. Adds a spicy element to the dish. 
  • Garlic cloves and fresh ginger. Always fresh, not the dry kind.
  • Sesame oil. To add a mild nutty flavor to the marinade. 
  • Salt and pepper. To taste. 

How to make huli huli chicken

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Make the Huli Huli sauce. Mix the ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sriracha. Add salt and pepper and mix well. 

huli huli chicken marinade.

Step 2- Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs, making sure they are fully coated. Marinate the chicken for at least 10 minutes or up to 24 hours. 

marinated chicken thighs.

Step 3- Prep. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and reserve ½ cup of the marinade for basting. 

Step 4- Grill. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden, basting the chicken with the reserved marinade.

grilled huli huli chicken.

Alternative cooking methods

As mentioned above, I typically grill this chicken, but if you’d prefer to oven-bake it or cook it in a skillet, I’ve tested it both those ways, too!

Oven method: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping and basting halfway through.

Skillet method: Or grill pan. Add some oil to a large cast iron skillet or grill pan and place over high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 8-9 minutes, flipping halfway through. Baste the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Use an instant-read thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the cut. Chicken thighs are done if the thermometer reads 165 degrees. 
  • Allow the chicken thighs to rest when you remove them from the grill. This gives the juices time to redistribute and make the chicken more flavorful. 
  • Use other cuts of chicken, such as drumsticks, breasts, or quarters. Obviously, these are different cuts, and you’ll need to adjust the cooking time to compensate (use the meat thermometer).
  • For a sweeter marinade, you can swap out half the ketchup for equal parts fresh pineapple juice.
  • For an authentic dish, add some grilled pineapple on the side.

Storage instructions

To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to five days. 

To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled chicken in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Reheating: Microwave the chicken for 20-30 seconds or reheat it in the oven until warm. 

huli.

Frequently asked questions

Is this recipe gluten-free?

If you use gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free ketchup, this recipe is suitable for celiacs. No gluten-free soy? Try using tamari.

What does Huli Huli mean in Hawaiian?

‘Huli’ means turn, which refers to regularly turning the chicken as it cooks.

What to serve with this

huli huli chicken recipe.

Huli Huli Chicken

5 from 15 votes
This Huli Huli chicken is a Hawaiian twist on classic grilled chicken. Marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce, it cooks in just 10 minutes! Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

Video

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • In a glass bowl, whisk together the tomato ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, salt, and sesame oil.
  • Add the chicken and mix until fully coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the chicken for at least 10 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  • Set aside ½ cup of the marinade for basting, drain excess from the chicken, and place the chicken on the grill.
  • Cook each side for 2-3 min until golden. Baste generously with reserved marinade while cooking, then flip and repeat the process until the thighs are cooked through or reach an internal temperature of 165F.
  • Remove the chicken off the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

TO STORE: Place leftovers in a sealable container and store them in the freezer for up to five days. 
TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled chicken in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. 
TO REHEAT: Microwave the chicken for 20-30 seconds or reheat it in the oven until warm. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 248kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 21gFat: 18gSodium: 1125mgPotassium: 261mgFiber: 0.2gVitamin A: 135IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 5g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Hawaiian
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published November 2022, updated and republished May 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

You May Also Like

5 from 15 votes (12 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments