This Easy Huli Huli Chicken recipe is so full of flavor and makes a fast and easy dinner using chicken thighs!
What is Huli Huli Chicken?
You might be familiar with Huli Huli chicken from your favorite Hawaiian restaurant. Huli Huli Chicken originated in Hawaii in 1955 when Ernest Morgado barbequed whole chickens in a sauce inspired by his mother’s teriyaki sauce. The name “Huli Huli” was coined because “huli” means “turn” in Hawaiian and so the people would shout “huli” every time the chicken needed to be turned.
What I love about this chicken recipe is the marinade can (and should) be made ahead of time, so it makes dinner time super fast and easy. The longer you marinate it, the better it tastes. I call for an hour of marinating but that is really the minimum. The flavor is so amazing when you marinate it overnight! Also be sure to reserve part of the marinade before adding the chicken so you can use it to baste the chicken as it cooks.
What is the best cut of chicken to use for this recipe?
The original Huli Huli Chicken recipe uses whole chickens cooked over a fire or grill. I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs which cook quickly and stay moist and juicy. You can use any cut of chicken you prefer, but keep in mind that will change the cooking time.
Ingredients for Huli Huli Chicken
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs -however, you can use whatever cut of chicken you prefer. Keep in mind a different cut of chicken such as chicken breasts will have a different cooking time.
- 1/2 cup ketchup – Trust me! I was very skeptical about using ketchup in a recipe but it adds an umami layer of flavor you can’t beat!
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce – I always use LOW SODIUM soy sauce. Be sure to check the label, the recipe may be too salty if you use regular soy sauce.
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar – adds a tanginess to balance out the sweet and salty flavors
- 1/2 cup brown sugar – adds the sweetness to make these taste so good!
- 4 garlic cloves minced – I use a garlic press to make mincing garlic super easy!
- 1 TBSP ginger root grated – ginger gives an unmistakable flavor you can’t get anywhere else! I use a microplane to grate whole ginger root.
What to serve with Huli Huli Chicken
I served this with grilled pineapple and white rice. It would be great with my coconut rice and stir fried vegetables. You could also try coleslaw, macaroni salad or potato salad as a side dish!
- Whisk together ingredients for huli huli sauce until sugar is dissolved. Reserve 1/2 a cup of the sauce for brushing and dipping.
- Add chicken and turn pieces until they are all coated in sauce. Allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour, or overnight.
- When ready to cook, heat grill to medium high. Cook chicken for five minutes, flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Towards the end of cooking, brush with reserved sauce.
- Pre heat oven to 375degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and fit with a rack. Place chicken on top of rack and bake 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F . Brush with reserved sauce, place under the broiler for a few minutes until chicken is starting to brown and caramelize.
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