This recipe for Hawaiian BBQ chicken is so easy. It’s a delicious combination of chicken, BBQ sauce, pineapple, and more. Chicken is a neutral tasting option and suits all kinds of flavours, so pairing it up with Hawaiian ingredients works perfectly. This dish is a great idea if you’re having a party and want to make something guaranteed to get everyone excited! It really is a winning combo.
Perfectly tender chicken is always a winning option and you can’t go wrong with this simple, eight ingredient grilled chicken recipe. This chicken and pineapple recipe offers such wonderful tropical flavors, as well as blending the sweet, tangy and savoury elements for a mouthwatering result.
Why You’ll Love This
Delicious: Do you ever get tired of tropical chicken dishes? Nope, nobody ever does, and that’s because it tastes so good when prepared with pineapple juice, soy sauce and other popular Hawaiian ingredients. This perfect Hawaiian BBQ chicken at its finger-lickin’ best and every mouthful is a delight!
Versatile: This recipe goes with all kinds of tasty side dishes, such as rice, potato salad, macaroni or pasta salad, steamed veggies, or you can serve a large bowl of it as part of a buffet or party spread. Rest assured, it will disappear alarmingly fast once people realize how juicy it is!
Easy to make: It’s an easy recipe as well as a delicious one. To make Hawaiian BBQ chicken, you need to combine some ingredients for the sauce, grill the chicken, add the sauce and serve hot! The prep time is short too.
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Ingredients
Although chicken breasts would work in this Hawaiian BBQ chicken recipe, chicken thighs do offer more in the way of flavour and succulence. With cooked chicken thighs usually stay more juicy.
The tropical flavours in this Hawaiian chicken recipe come from the addition of BBQ sauce (and you can use any kind you like – sweety, smoky, spicy – anything!) plus pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, ginger, and sesame oil.
Grilling some canned or fresh pineapple to serve on the side is optional but highly recommended. It’s just so good with boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
How to Make Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
Make the sauce: Whisk all the ingredients except the chicken together and boil for a few minutes or until thick. If you want, you can let the chicken marinate in this mixture.
Grill chicken: The next step in this Hawaiian barbecue chicken is to brush sauce over the skinless chicken thighs and grill for a few minutes over medium heat.
The finishing touches: Flip the chicken over, add extra marinade or reserved sauce and put some pineapple rings on the grill too, then close the lid and cook until done.
Serve: Serve the Hawaiian BBQ chicken hot, paired with your favorite sides.
Substitutions and Variations
You can use either boneless thighs or skinless chicken breasts if you prefer or even turkey or pork. As for the flavours, feel free to add some chilli if you want to spice the chicken up a bit.
Fresh pineapple on the grill gives the chicken an elegant accompaniment but canned pineapple slices taste pretty good too. Sliced pineapple isn’t essential here but it’s so good with the chicken!
What to Serve with Grilled Hawaiian Chicken
You might like to serve Hawaiian BBQ chicken with coconut rice instead of potato or pasta or maybe with a simple salad recipe. Green onions add a splash of colour to the main dish cuisine, and mixed sautéed bell peppers are amazing here too.
How to Store Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
Store: Leftovers will keep fresh for up to a week if you keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. If you’ve had it at room temperature at a buffet or family BBQ though, it’s safer to toss the chicken. It might not be good to eat after more than an hour or so at room temperature.
Freeze: Freeze the chicken in freezer-safe bags or containers and use within 3 months. Don’t freeze the grilled pineapple though, or else it will get mushy.
Thaw: The best way to thaw this Hawaiian BBQ chicken recipe is overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat: Chicken thighs aren’t as easy to dry out as chicken breast but you still don’t want to run that risk, so warm the chicken back up in the oven or cut it into smaller pieces and microwave it for 15 second increments.
Grilled Hawaiian BBQ Chicken FAQs
Sometimes the weather does its own thing regardless of what the forecast has promised. If that’s the case, don’t worry. This recipe can be baked in the oven. It will take around 40 minutes to cook them through in a 400 degrees F oven. Make sure you baste it a few times during the cooking time to lock in the flavour and help keep the chicken moist too.
Pineapple juice from a can, powdered garlic and ground ginger make things quick and easy. But if you’re out to impress (and love pineapple), you might prefer to use fresh pineapple for the juice (and the grilled pineapple rings) as well as fresh garlic and fresh ginger. If you’re doing this, it’s best to sauté the fresh garlic and ginger briefly before adding the remaining sauce ingredients to the pan, so they can soften a bit.
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Recipe
Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
- 3 Pounds chicken thighs about 8 pieces
- ½ Cup BBQ sauce
- 1 Cup pineapple juice
- ¼ Cup soy sauce
- ¼ Cup brown sugar packed
- 2 Teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ Teaspoon ground ginger
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together BBQ sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic powder until fully combined.
- Bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it reduces. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, the sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.
- Place your chicken thighs on a tray and use a pastry brush to coat all sides of the chicken thighs evenly.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat then place the chicken thighs on the grill, brush on more of the BBQ sauce and cook for 7 minutes.
- Next, flip each piece, brush more sauce on and add the pineapples to the grill. Close and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Serve with rice and Hawaiian macaroni salad.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Hawaiian style BBQ chicken is ideal for a summer BBQ but equally tasty any other time of the year. Juicy chicken thighs team with ginger, garlic, pineapple, BBQ sauce and more, for an amazing result. You’ll be so impressed how juicy and absolutely delicious this is. This will be one of your favourite Hawaiian recipes.
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Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.