Hui Hui Chicken Recipe – Yummy Chicken Recipe to Die For!

Published Categorized as Journal

Hui hui chicken is a dish that is native to Hawaii yet loved by many. That’s why we’re pleased to offer you our own Hui Hui Chicken recipe that’s so yummy we’re sure you’ll make it over and over again. Hui hui chicken has a sweet pineapple-y flavor that makes it unique but its similarities to other sauces (such as Teriyaki sauce and brown garlic stir fry sauce) make it universally appealing. Ready to learn more about this irresistible Hawaiian chicken dish? Let’s get into the details about how you can make it, as well as learn about what side dishes pair best with it.

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Table of Contents

Hui Hui Chicken Recipe – Yummy Chicken Recipe To Die For!

What Is Hui Hui Chicken?

Hui Hui chicken (aka huli-huli bbq chicken) is a dish that was first trademarked by Ernest Morgado in 1967. The name for the chicken came about because as it was cooked on the grill over a makeshift spit. People that were watching would shout “Huli!” which means “to turn”. 

Huli Huli chicken is a barbecue-style chicken that is traditionally made on the grill. Though these days, it can be made using several different cooking methods. Today, Huli Huli chicken can be found being sold roadside in Hawaii and also in many Hawaiian restaurants. 

Though not as popular in other countries around the world, we have made an attempt to replicate authentic Huli Huli Chicken so that you can experience its unique and delicious flavor right from the comfort of your own home. 

Hui Hui Chicken Marinade

Before deciding on your method for Hui Hui chicken, we want you to know that Hui Hui Chicken is best when allowed to sit in a marinade

By marinating your meat, you allow the spices to seep in and tenderize it, yielding a more intensely flavorful and all-encompassing sauce. Just be careful to carefully look over any recipe before proceeding with your marinade, as some recipes require that you save a little marinade for basting the chicken later… and trust us, you don’t want to miss out on that!

Note: Though Huli Huli Chicken is amazing when allowed to marinate, we do not recommend allowing your chicken to sit in a marinade for more than 24 hours. By allowing the meat to sit for too long in a marinade, you risk changing the texture of the meat, and the meat may eventually turn to mush. 

bbq chicken

It is important to remember that though most Hui Hui chicken recipes come out having the same sweet and somewhat spicy taste, not all recipes are created equal.

There are various ingredients you may see listed for making Hui Hui chicken, with many of them being contingent on the mode of cooking you choose. Cooking in an Instant Pot or Crock Pot, for example, may call for chicken broth, while a recipe that utilizes a grill may not.

The following are the most common ingredients you’ll find in a Hui Hui chicken recipe. Though, as you’ll see in the next few segments, many Huli Huli chicken recipes can vary significantly:

  • Pineapple Juice
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Soy Sauce
  • Ketchup 
  • Chicken Broth
  • Brown Sugar
  • Green Onions
  • Sesame Seeds
Hui Hui Chicken Recipe – Yummy Chicken Recipe To Die For!

Hui Hui Chicken: On the Grill

Ready to get cooking? We thought so.

The following Hui Hui chicken recipe re-creates the cooking method traditionally used to cook Huli Huli chicken, by using the grill. The final result is irresistibly sticky and sweet Hawaiian chicken cooked and smoked to tender perfection.

Give it a go and see what you think! 

Hui Hui Grilled Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root grated
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, provides additional heat)
  • sesame seeds (optional, for serving)
  • green onions, sliced (optional, for serving)
  • sesame oil (optional, for oiling grill)

Hui Hui Sauce and Chicken Instructions

  1. Begin by preparing the sauce for the marinade. To do so, combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, grated ginger root, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Stir until combined. 
  2. Reserve 1 cup of the marinade and store it in the refrigerator for later use. 
  3. Clean and pat dry your chicken thighs. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the chicken to allow the marinade to seep deep into the meat. 
  4. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour the previously made marinade over the chicken. Close the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken with your hands from the outside of the bag. 
  5. Allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably, overnight. 
  6. Once the chicken has sat in the marinade, preheat a grill on medium heat. 
  7. Brush the grill with oil (preferably sesame oil) then carefully use tongs to arrange your marinated chicken on the grill. 
  8. Grill chicken for about 8 minutes on both sides or until the chicken is cooked through. Internal temperatures should reach at least 165 ºF to be considered safe for consumption. 
  9. Brush reserved marinade on top of cooked chicken for even more flavor. 
  10. Sprinkle it with sesame seeds and green onions before serving. Delicious! 

Hui Hui Chicken Recipe: In the Oven

If you are eager to try Hui Hui chicken but don’t have a grill on hand, no worries.

You can bake Huli Huli chicken thighs in the oven for comparable flavor! You can even try a marinated whole chicken using this method if you wanted to.

Check out the following way to prepare delicious Huli Huli chicken using the same ingredients with your standard oven. 

Baked Hui Hui Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, provides additional heat)
  • sesame seeds (optional, for serving)
  • green onions, sliced (optional, for serving)
  • sesame oil (optional)

Baked Huli Huli Instructions

  1. Begin by preparing the sauce for the marinade. To do so, combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, grated ginger root, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Stir until combined. 
  2. Reserve 1 cup of the marinade and store it in the refrigerator for later use. 
  3. Clean and pat dry your chicken thighs. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the chicken to allow the marinade to seep deep into the meat. 
  4. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour the previously made marinade over the chicken. Close the bag and massage the marinade into the chicken with your hands from the outside of the bag. 
  5. Allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably, overnight. 
  6. Once the chicken has sat in the marinade, preheat your oven on 350F.
  7. Place a bit of sesame oil in a frying pan on the stove on medium-high heat.
  8. Once the sesame oil has gotten warm, carefully place your marinated chicken in the oil. Sear the chicken until it has developed color before removing the chicken and placing it on a baking sheet. Note: The purpose of searing the chicken on the stove first isn’t to cook it all the way through. It is simply to give the chicken a bit of color before moving it to the oven.
  9. Once you’ve seared all pieces of chicken on both sides, place them onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes before removing them from the oven. 
  10.  Brush on 1 cup of the reserved marinade.
  11. Place chicken back in the oven and continue cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes. 

Pro Tip: For a bold charred flavor, consider broiling your chicken for 2-5 minutes after cooking before brushing with reserved marinade. 

Hui Hui Chicken Recipe – Yummy Chicken Recipe To Die For!

Hui Hui Chicken: In the Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 Tbsp ketchup
  • ⅓ cup Chicken Broth
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp crushed pepper flakes (optional for heat)
  • chopped green onions (for serving)

Instant Pot Huli Huli Instructions

  1. Combine ketchup, chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger paste, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and mix.
  2. Add chicken thighs that have been cleaned and patted dry to your Instant Pot. 
  3. Pour stirred marinade over the chicken.
  4. Secure the lid onto the instant pot. Make sure that the valve is set to seal. Pressure cook your chicken for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Let the pot cool for 18 minutes before switching the valve to vent.
  6. Remove the lid.
  7. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate.
  8. Set your Instant Pot to boiling and boil the sauce for at least 7 minutes to kill off any germs and bacteria. 
  9. Spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with chopped green onions. 
  10. Serve.

What to Serve With Huli Huli Chicken

Looking for some delicious options to serve with Hui Hui Chicken recipe? Try these on for size:

hawaiian fried rice

How to Store Hui Hui Chicken

Once you’ve made up your Hui Hui Chicken you may come to realize that you’ve got leftovers (if that’s even possible!).

If you’ve got leftover chicken that you need to store, place it in an airtight container for about 3-4 days.

To reheat, simply place the chicken in the microwave for about 60 seconds or until warmed through, or pop it into the oven at 400 degrees F until the chicken has warmed through.

In case you are wondering, you may also freeze Hui Hui Chicken. For best results, you may wish to freeze the reserved marinade and chicken separately from one another in separate freezer bags or freezer-safe containers.

If you’ve already sauced your meat, don’t worry. It will still freeze just fine. Simply place your sauced chicken in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and store for up to three months at the best quality.

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Hui Hui Chicken Recipe? We’ve Got the Goods!

As you can see, making Hui Hui Chicken isn’t difficult, and you can be sure that your tastebuds will thank you. This is an easy dinner to pull together on a busy weeknight or on a lazy Saturday when you don’t feel like cooking anything complicated. Simply whip together the sauce, allow your chicken to marinate, and throw it on the grill, oven, or Instant Pot. So simple!

FAQ

What does “Huli Huli” mean? What does “Huli Huli” mean? 

The term “huli” means “to turn”. As tradition goes, Huli Huli chicken is called such because as the chicken was being roasted, basted, and grilled, the onlookers would shout “Huli!” Thus, it was named Huli Huli Chicken, and is sometimes also referred to as “Hui Hui” chicken as a variation. 

How do you make Huli Huli sauce?

Huli Huli sauce is usually made by combining pineapple juice with brown sugar, ketchup, soy, and other flavorings and spices. The recipe may change depending on your cooking method. Instant Pot and Crock Pot recipes, for example, usually call for more liquid sometimes in the form of chicken broth. 

Is Huli Huli chicken spicy?

Huli Huli Chicken isn’t usually spicy, but in our recipe, we offer a little kick through the means of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper. If you’d rather leave it out, that is totally up to you. The taste will still be insanely good. Some may also consider the ginger in the recipe somewhat spicy, but that would depend on your taste and personal preference. 

Is Huli Huli chicken the same as Teriyaki chicken? 

No, Huli Huli chicken isn’t the same as Teriyaki chicken, but the taste may be comparable. Both sauces are thick, dark, and sticky sweet. If you like Teriyaki chicken, we recommend giving our Hui Hui chicken a try… you just might love it!

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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