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Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

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This easy Hawaiian chicken recipe starts with an overnight pineapple and coconut marinade then grilled to perfection. The perfect grilling recipe for beginners or master grill chefs!

Bowl of Hawaiian chicken, pineapple, and rice with fresh cilantro and lime

Recipe Features

  • Quick and Easy– This recipe comes together quickly and takes around 20 minutes on the grill.
  • 6-Ingredients– That’s all you need for this easy weeknight dinner.
  • Great for a Crowd– Easily double or triple this recipe to feed a large group.
  • Rated 5 Stars– Will make again!

If you love tropical flavors, you will love this easy Hawaiian bbq chicken! It reminds me mildly of my Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, but with a more bold flavor, and has quickly become a favorite at our house. Slightly sweet, a little tang, and just a hint of garlic. You cannot go wrong with this easy dinner idea.

Chicken in a zip top bag with marinade

Hawaiian Chicken Marinade

This chicken recipe is made with a marinade and the marinade is the true star of the show. A combination of soy sauce, coconut milk, pineapple, and garlic soak with the chicken overnight giving your meat the most amazing flavor. Prepping the night before (seriously only 5 minutes!) means you can go about your day while all of the magic happens inside of your refrigerator! You can cook this chicken on the grill or in the oven when the time comes.

  • Chicken Breast OR Thighs- We have made this recipe using both and included cooking instructions for each.
  • Soy Sauce- I like to control the amount of seasoning in my dish and opt for low sodium soy sauce.
  • Coconut Milk- No need to get fancy, just pick up a can of your favorite coconut milk in the Asian food aisle.
  • Pineapple Juice- Canned, not fresh. See the note below.
  • Brown Sugar- The brown sugar is key to the balance of citrus!
  • Garlic Cloves- You can use either fresh minced or pre minced garlic in this recipe, but the fresh will deliver the flavor.

How Long Do You Marinade Chicken

For this recipe, and most of my marinated chicken, I recommend marinating for at least 4 hours, but up to 24 for the best flavor. Chicken breasts can be marinated for 8 hours and still have a great flavor, while chicken thighs tend to have more bold flavor if left for the full 24.

bowl of grilled chicken ready to serve

How to Make Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining the soy sauce, coconut milk, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and garlic in a large zip top bag or sealable container.
  2. Add the chicken and close tightly.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24.
  4. When you are ready to cook, preheat the grill to 400 degrees.
  5. Drain the marinade from the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken directly onto the grill grate.
  7. Close the grill lid and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  8. Optional: Add pineapple slices to the grill and heat 3 minutes per side, or until heated through.
Easy Hawaiian Grilled Chicken sliced and served in a bowl with rice, pineapple, and lime

Tips and FAQs

  • Avoid using fresh pineapple juice in this recipe. Canned is best. Canned pineapple juice does not contain bromelain, which can cause the chicken to become mushy.
  • Try using chicken thighs in place of the chicken breast. Thighs are more authentic and are an incredibly delicious option.
  • Be sure to slice or pound your chicken breast to an even thinner thickness before adding to the marinade. This will help your chicken cook through quickly without overcooking and becoming dry.
  • Let the chicken rest before serving. Ideally, you want to let the chicken sit for 5 to 10 minutes after cooking and before slicing. This gives the chicken time to reabsorb some of the juices that are seeping towards the outside, leaving you with a juicy and tender breast.

How Long Do You Grill Chicken Breast

The short answer? 20 to 30 minutes. Sometimes less. Sometimes more.

This is a tricky question to answer. No chicken breast is the same. I always recommend slicing the breasts in half lengthwise or pounding to an even thickness. This will ensure that all of the chicken cooks at the same rate and is finished at the same time. We have found that it takes us roughly 30 minute to cook a fairly thick breast that has been pounded to the same thickness.

What Sides Go With Hawaiian Chicken?

Side dishes can make or break a meal, so what do you serve with this chicken? We love to grill pineapple (see recipe for details) or add some of these fun side ideas:

How To Make This Recipe In The Oven

To make this recipe in the oven, follow these easy directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mist a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  3. Drain the marinade from the chicken. Place in a single layer into the prepared dish.
  4. Cook 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
sliced grilled chicken

Related Recipes

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Dinner

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Dinner

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Grill Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

This easy Hawaiian chicken recipe starts with an overnight pineapple and coconut marinade then grilled to perfection. The perfect grilling recipe for beginners or master grill chefs!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast, pounded thin or sliced in half lengthwise OR 1 lb chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice, from a can
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • Pineapple slices, optional

Instructions

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining the soy sauce, coconut milk, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and garlic in a large zip top bag or sealable container.
  2. Add the chicken and close tightly.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24.
  4. When you are ready to cook, preheat the grill to 400 degrees.
  5. Drain the marinade from the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken directly onto the grill grate.
  7. Close the grill lid and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  8. Optional: Add pineapple slices to the grill and heat 3 minutes per side, or until heated through.

Notes

How To Make This Recipe In The Oven

To make this recipe in the oven, follow these easy directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mist a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  3. Drain the marinade from the chicken. Place in a single layer into the prepared dish.
  4. Cook 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 579Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 242mgSodium: 1436mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 66g
This easy Hawaiian chicken recipe starts with an overnight pineapple and coconut marinade then grilled to perfection. The perfect grilling recipe for beginners or master grill chefs!

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