Sweet & Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

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I’ve got a delicious Hawaiian Chicken dish to share with you that is great for summer dining, and for serving at a tropical themed party or Hawaiian luau party!

Made with chicken thighs, brown sugar, spices, and pineapple, this grilled chicken dish is a tropical delight!

I’ve got lots more Luau Party Food recipes for you to try out – right-click and open them in a new tab to read next!

Sweet and Spicy Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple

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Sweet & Spicy Hawaiian Chicken

I love summer, and I love it when we are able to cook on the grill outside. Dining al fresco on warm summer evenings is heavenly, and while we may not always have the best weather in the UK, I make the most of the hot, sunny days that we do have!

A cuisine I gravitate towards (as well as my own Mediterranean, Greek-Cypriot cuisine) is tropical – be it Hawaiian, Polynesian, or the Caribbean. There is something about the sweet, and spicy flavor profile, dishes from this region has, that I just enjoy. And this Hawaiian chicken recipe fits the bill perfectly.

How Do I Make This Hawaiian Chicken?

Chicken thighs are covered with a sweet and spicy marinade, which needs a minimum of 6 hours marinating time – although if you can give it 24 hours, even better!

Make sure you plan ahead – get it prepped in the morning for dinner that evening; or the night before giving you maximum marinating time!

For my UK readers: This recipe uses American cup measurements. Since I use this type of measurement often, I find it handy to have a set of these cups in the kitchen.

The Marinade

Make the marinade by combining all the ingredients – soy sauce, Sriracha Sauce, light brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and pineapple juice.

Save half of the marinade for basting during cooking. Add the chicken thighs to the other half of the marinade, and mix everything together. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 6 – 24 hours. You can score the chicken before marinading – I completely forgot to do it when I was making this recipe, and taking photos!

What is Sriracha Sauce?

If you have never heard of this sauce before, you are probably wondering:

  1. How you even say “Sriracha”.
  2. What Sriracha Sauce is.

In answer to question number one – it’s actually really easy, just leave out the first ‘r’ and pronounce it: See-Rah-Cha.

Sriracha Sauce in the Marinade

Sriracha is a red chilli sauce or hot sauce, made from a paste of chilli peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. The sauce is hot, tangy, and slightly sweet and has a multitude of uses! It can be used straight from the bottle, squeezed over your food for a chilli kick; added to mayo, sour cream, or cream cheese for a creamy, spicy dip; or added to a marinade like this Hawaiian chicken recipe.

If you want even more ideas, check out 50 Things to Do with Sriracha!

And yes, this can be bought in the UK in supermarkets!

Step by step images of marinating and cooking hawaiian chicken

I’ve got more 50+ Easy Chicken Recipes for you to enjoy – right click and open these other recipes in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!

Cooking the Chicken

Hawaiian chicken can be cooked in three different ways: baking in the oven; broiling (grilling in the UK); or grilling on the barbecue (gas or charcoal). Choose whichever method suits you at the time of cooking! If dining al fresco, then grill the chicken over coals. Making it for a family dinner? Put it in the oven and forget out about it for half an hour while it cooks.

Remember that marinade we saved? We need to reduce it for basting, so before starting to cook the chicken, put the reserved marinade into a pan on the stove. Bring to the boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the marinade becomes thick and sticky.

Full details of each cooking method is in the printable recipe card below. With all cooking methods, baste the chicken with reduced marinade during cooking.

You will find my Hawaiian chicken recipe video on my YouTube Channel – save it to your Playlists for future reference! Don’t forget to subscribe while you are there!

Serving Hawaiian Chicken

Always ensure that chicken is thoroughly cooked through before serving – juices will run clear when pierced in the thickest part with a skewer or knife. The safe internal temperature of chicken is 165F/75C – measure with a meat thermometer.

Serve with lime wedges, and sprinkled with chopped spring/green onions, and/or jalapeños (all optional!) I’ve suggested some side dishes below, that I think would go great with this chicken.

Oh, and remember at the start I said this would be a great dish for a party? Instead of chicken thighs, use chicken wings, or chicken drumsticks, and cook as above (adjusting time as necessary for the different sized portions).

You could also skewer cubes of marinated chicken breast onto [soaked in water] bamboo skewers, and make kebabs (kabobs). Actually, why not skewer pineapple chunks between each piece of chicken? Or you could grill plain chicken kebabs, make and reduce the marinade, and use it as a dipping sauce.

Close up of grilled Hawaiian chicken with pineapple rings.
A skillet with Hawaiian Chicken topped with pineapple rings

Hawaiian Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 50 minutes

This sweet and spicy Hawaiian Chicken recipe is full of delicious flavor and great for family meals, or made with chicken wings or drumsticks for a party.


  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 8 pineapple slices/rings (fresh or canned)
  • chopped spring/green onions (for garnish, optional)
  • sliced jalapeños (for garnish, optional)
  • lime wedges (for garnish, optional)


    1. To make the marinade, add soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and pineapple juice, to a bowl. Whisk to combine. Reserve half the marinade.
    2. Score the chicken and add to marinade bowl, and turn to coat.
    3. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate for 6-24 hours. (The longer you give it, the more flavor!)
    4. Before cooking the chicken, put the reserved marinade in a pan on the stove. Bring to the boil, and reduce marinade till thick and sticky. With all methods, baste chicken with reduced marinade during cooking.
    5. To grill on barbecue: Remove chicken from marinade and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Turn and baste with reduced marinade as required. Add pineapple rings to grill, and cook on both sides. Serve with pineapple on top of chicken, and garnish with onions, jalapeños, and lime wedges if desired.
    6. To cook in oven (200C/400F/Gas 6): Transfer chicken and marinade to a roasting pan/ovenproof dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 5 minutes before end of cooking time, add pineapple slices and pour over any remaining marinade. Garnish with onions, jalapeños, and lime wedges if desired.
    7. To broil: Remove chicken from marinade and broil for 6-8 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Turn and baste with reduced marinade as required. Transfer chicken to a heatproof dish and add pineapple rings and rest of reduced marinade. Broil for a further 5-6 minutes. When serving, garnish with onions, jalapeños, and lime wedges if desired.

    Recipe Card images for Hawaiian Chicken showing marinade, chicken pieces in marinade, and finished dish.


This chicken dish can be cooked by baking in the oven, broiling (grilling in the UK), or grilling on the barbecue.
Whichever way you choose to cook it, ensure that chicken is cooked through, and juices run clear. Safe internal temperature of chicken is 165F/75C - measure with meat thermometer.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 748Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 333mgSodium: 1748mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 3gSugar: 36gProtein: 64g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself. This data was provided and calculated by Nutritonix on 7/7/2019

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What Side Dishes Can I Serve With Hawaiian Chicken?

Two of the easiest side dishes to serve with this chicken dish are boiled rice and coleslaw.

But what if you want something else? Here are some options that would work really well.

  • Potato salad – you could make this potato salad that I found on the Polynesian Cultural Center website.
  • Baked sweet potato – or sweet potato fries – or sweet potato wedges
  • Creamy mashed potatoes
  • Corn on the cob
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Hawaiian macaroni salad – this recipe says it’s authentic!
  • Tropical Island Rice – continue the tropical food vibe!
  • Mixed green salad
  • Stir-fried noodles with vegetables
  • French fries
  • In the US they have a bread product – King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls – which I LOVE, but can’t buy here in the UK, sadly. The closest I guess would be brioche buns. I found a copycat recipe that I plan to try out and feedback on!
Grilled chicken in a skillet topped with pineapple rings

Make It A Meal!

Looking for some mealtime inspiration to go with Hawaiian Chicken? I’ve got you covered!

There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.

Hawaiian Chicken with pineapple rings and chopped green onions

More Recipes Using Pineapple as an Ingredient

Hawaiian chicken in a skillet with pineapple rings on top.

More Chicken Recipes

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