Monday, March 2, 2015

Huli Huli Chicken

Huli Huli Chicken recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Tangy, sweet, Huli Huli Chicken is Hawaii's version of barbecue chicken. The chicken is marinated and then glazed as it cooks, it is loaded with flavor from pineapple, ginger, brown sugar and soy sauce. I ran across this recipe over a year ago and pinned it to try someday. I'm not sure how "someday" became a year and a half later, but I'm glad it was finally made.

I've made this chicken twice in two weeks and each time, the whole family raved about it. Served with Cilantro and Lime Pineapple Rice or with Simple Asian Rice and Roasted Green Beans, Huli Huli Chicken is great meal that is guaranteed to be made over and over again in my house.

COOK'S NOTE: This chicken can be made in the oven or on the grill. The directions below are for oven-broiling. If you are using bone-in chicken with skin, I recommend grilling it so that the skin will be crispy. The grilled bone-in chicken thighs were our favorite, but the broiled boneless skinless ones were a very close second. Traditional Huli Huli Chicken is smoked or cooked on a rotisserie. If you have those methods available to you, definitely use them!

Huli Huli Chicken
recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated via Forks Knives and Spades
Yield: 6 servings
(printable recipe)

Marinade Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
6 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (I grated my frozen ginger on a microplane.)
2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (any kind of chicken will work, adjust times and methods accordingly)

Glaze Ingredients:
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garlic chili paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice vinegar

Combine all of the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken in an airtight container or gallon size ziploc bag. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. I typically marinate this chicken for 3-4 hours.

When ready to cook the chicken, allow it to rest on the counter while you prepare the glaze. Place all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until it has reduced and thickened. (If you are short on time, you can whisk 2 teaspoons cornstarch with a couple tablespoons water and then pour into the glaze. Simmer for just a couple minutes and then remove from the heat when it has thickened.)

GRILLING DIRECTIONS: Preheat the grill to high and then reduce to medium low when ready to grill. Grill the chicken covered for about 20-30 minutes, until chicken is slightly browned on the bottom. Turn the chicken over and cover grill again.  The skin will crisp up and brown.  You want the thigh meat to register 170-175 degrees. Remove from the grill and brush generously with half of the glaze. Let rest for at least 5 minutes and then serve along with the rest of the glaze.

OVEN DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to broil. Set aside 1/2 cup of the glaze for serving. Place the chicken on a wire rack over a large baking sheet. Brush the chicken generously with the glaze and then broil for 5 minutes. Turn each piece over and brush with glaze again. Broil 5 more minutes and then turn each piece over again. Brush with glaze once more and broil 1-3 minutes longer. Test the meat to make sure it is fully cooked before removing from the oven. Let rest a few minutes before serving along with the remaining glaze. Enjoy!

Tangy, sweet, Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken - Get the recipe at Barefeet In The Kitchen!

{originally published 2-25-13 - photos and recipe notes updated 3-2-15}

ONE YEAR AGO: How To Make Yogurt
TWO YEARS AGO: Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bites
THREE YEARS AGO: Coconut Cashew Chocolate Chip Blondies


  1. I don't know what else to say other than... YUM!!!!!

  2. Great timing Mary. We just decided this Sat to have a luau theme for this years blogger party and huli huli chicken was discussed as a likely dish - recipe saved.

  3. Mouthwatering indeed! I am ready to get the grill going again - this will be on the list!

  4. ummm this looks fab and that rice!??!? Gah so good!

  5. Bookmarked! What a fantastic looking meal!

  6. Perfect timing, I was just about to email you and ask for suggestions for an easy glaze for salmon, and then I saw this. Do you think it would work on fish?

  7. I made this glaze for my salmon tonight and it was AMAZING! Thanks Mary :)

  8. This is one that I had on my list to do for the luau party. The Cooks Illustrated version was the first one I am testing. I want to try it on half chickens as written and also just breasts or thighs, since those would probably be faster and easier.

  9. This is really delicious. Had it on the bbq earlier in the summer and will make it again!

  10. I've made this, it's very good and easy

  11. I liked your site this morning and I've already made this chicken. So good

  12. My grandkids' favorite chicken!! In fact, everyone's favorite!! It's about time to make it again.

  13. I made this for lunch with chicken breasts. So good!

  14. what is garlic chili paste?? Is it available in Canada? Thanks for your help.

    1. Here's a link to the chili paste I buy: You can often find a garlic version in the stores. If you can't find the garlic chili paste, just add a minced clove of garlic to each teaspoon of plain chili paste that you use. I hope that helps!

    2. Is there a difference between chili paste and chili sauce or can one be substituted for the other if unable to find?

    3. There is a difference. However, if you simply can't find the chili paste, Sriracha or another hot sauce can be used in it's place.

  15. Mouth-watering and delicious. I made it last night. That glaze is an amazing combination and for lunch my son ate leftovers and poured the glaze over his rice, then declared it one of his 3 favorite dishes ever! Having lived in Hawaii for 3 years, I also think you hit the nail on the head. THANKS!!!