Grilled Huli Huli Chicken marinates chicken thighs in a sweet, savory sauce that delivers tender, juicy meat after just 10 minutes of cooking! Prep it the night before for an easy dinner option the next day!
Set out that patio furniture, heat up your grill, and cook up this flavor-packed Huli Huli Chicken! Friends and family will come running the instant they smell it grilling!
This popular Hawaiian dish is guaranteed to please everyone’s taste buds thanks to the homemade savory, sweet marinade! Your only job is to prep it in 10 minutes, marinate the chicken, and then grill it up to perfection!
What I Love About This Recipe!
- Choose The Cut! Use what you have on hand or grab your favorite cut! Chicken breasts, thighs, or drumsticks all work with this easy-to-make recipe!
- Stovetop/Baking Option! Rainy day or just don’t have a grill? No worries, you can sear the chicken on the stove and then just pop it in the oven to bake!
- Pair It With A Side! Serve this up with white, brown, or cauliflower rice, quinoa, stir fry veggies, grilled pineapple, or an Asian salad!
- Prep Ahead! This is a recipe that you can prepare the night before for an easy BBQ prep!
This recipe begins with preparing the Homemade Huli Huli Chicken Marinade. Once it’s made, it will combine with the chicken in a Ziploc bag and marinate in the fridge.
To make the marinade recipe you’ll need ketchup, soy sauce, chicken broth, minced ginger root, minced garlic, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Then light brown sugar is mixed in to bring out the sweet side of this delicious marinade!
I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe! I just find the meat is much more tender and juicy! However, you can also use bone-in chicken thighs, drum sticks, or even chicken breasts!
How To Make Huli Huli Chicken
- Whisk together the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Then mix in the minced ginger root, garlic, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.
- Divide this marinade, placing some in the fridge to use for basting the chicken while it’s cooking.
- Combine the chicken thighs and remaining marinade into a large freezer bag. Place the bag of chicken into the fridge to marinate.
- Grill the chicken on lightly oiled grates. Brush the marinade that you set aside earlier onto the chicken as it cooks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know The Chicken Has Cooked All The Way Through?
The chicken is safe to eat once the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 165 degrees. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.
For drumsticks, you want an internal temperature of 170 degrees which means you’ll have to increase the cooking time slightly. For chicken breasts, you’ll need an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Can I Just Use The Marinade That Was Used On The Chicken For Basting Instead Of Setting Some Aside?
Unfortunately, no, doing that wouldn’t be safe. The meat is constantly basted while grilling so the used marinade wouldn’t cook long enough.
It’s important to throw out the marinade that was in the bag and use the fresh, set-aside, marinade.
How Do I Store Huli Huli Chicken?
Place the cooked Huli Huli Chicken into an airtight container. Then store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. The leftovers can also be frozen and enjoyed for up to 3 months.
How Do I Cook This Recipe Without A Grill?
First, sear the chicken in a skillet with a tablespoon of oil. Then brush it with the set-aside marinade and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Huli Huli Chicken is one delicious reason why summertime cooking is best when done outdoors! Here are more tasty recipes to try on the grill or even a smoker!
- Warm & Spicy Smoked Turkey Breast – Tender, juicy meat that’s coated in a spicy dry rub!
- Grilled Chicken Salad – Served with a homemade creamy dressing that’s absolutely delicious!
- Smoked Queso Dip – A popular TikTok recipe that’s had mouths watering ever since it went viral!
- BBQ Baby Back Ribs – Fall-off-the-bone tender meat that starts in the oven and finishes to perfection on the grill!
- Smoked Mac and Cheese – A dish that all Mac and cheese lovers will be drooling over!
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Huli Huli Chicken
- Medium bowl
- Garlic press
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring spoons
- Large freezer bag
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup soy sauce preferably reduced sodium
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs about 3 pounds
- green onions for garnish
- pineapple slices for garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Then stir in the minced ginger root, garlic, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside 1 cup of this marinade, cover it, and keep it in the fridge to use for basting the chicken while it is cooking.
- Place the remaining marinade into a large freezer bag with the chicken thighs. Move the chicken around to spread the marinade evenly. Place this in the fridge to marinate overnight (or at least 8 hours).
- When you are ready to grill the chicken, make sure to lightly oil the grill. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade (throw out the marinade that the chicken was in). Place the chicken on the grill and let it cook for about 3 minutes on one side, brush some of the set-aside marinade on. Flip it and cook for another 3 minutes, again brush the marinade on. Repeat this process until the chicken is fully cooked. (It may take about 10 minutes depending on the heat of your grill.) Be sure to cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Storage Instructions: Leftover Huli Huli chicken may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Or you may freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Can I use the marinade that was on the chicken for basting it? No. It is important to throw out the marinade that was on the chicken. Do not use this to baste the chicken as this will not cook it enough to make it safe to eat.
- How can I be sure the chicken is fully cooked? Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
- I don’t have a grill – could I still make this chicken? Yes, you could sear the chicken in a skillet (with 1 Tablespoon of oil). Brush it with the set-aside marinade, then bake it in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
What could I serve this with? I like to serve Huli Huli chicken with white or brown rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, stir fry veggies, Asian salad, or grilled pineapple.
- Can I use other pieces of chicken? Yes, but you will need to adjust the cooking time to achieve doneness. If you choose to use bone-in chicken thighs (165 degrees) or drumsticks (170 degrees), you will have to increase the cooking time slightly. If you use chicken breasts (165 degrees), you will need to decrease the cooking time or the meat may be dry.