These Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Thighs are so tender and delicious and covered in the best sticky-sweet Pineapple Barbecue Sauce!

This recipe serves 12 people and costs about $12.52 to make. That’s just $1.05 per serving!

This Coconut Rice and Pineapple Salsa are the perfect pairings with this Hawaiian Chicken.

Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

This recipe is loosely based on Huli Huli Chicken. I changed the recipe by adding coconut milk to the marinade, using chicken thighs instead of split chicken halves, and I added pineapple juice to the sauce.

I will let you in on the secret of this recipe. It’s the marinade! The marinade is made with soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, and coconut milk.

Ingredients and Cost

Per Serving Cost: $1.05

Recipe Cost: $12.52

  • 6 pounds chicken thighs – $7.20
  • 2 cups soy sauce – $0.72
  • 8 cups water – $0.00
  • 1- 13.5 oz can coconut milk – $1.64
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar – $0.57
  • 6 garlic cloves – $0.30
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger – $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil – $0.06
  • 2 ¼ cup pineapple juice – $1.12
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar – $0.57
  • ¼ cup ketchup – $0.22
  • ¼ cup soy sauce – $0.09
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar – $0.24
  • 3 large garlic cloves – $0.15
  • 2 Tablespoons grated ginger – $0.04
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce – $0.01

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. 


  1. First, make the marinade. Place the chicken in the marinade and chill for 1-8 hours. 
  2. Next, make the pineapple barbecue sauce. Set it aside to thicken.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-low. Cook the chicken for about 15-20 minutes before flipping and grilling for another 15-20 minutes. 
  4. Finally, transfer the chicken to a serving platter and brush with half of the glaze. Serve with the extra pineapple barbecue sauce.

A picture collage of how to make these grilled chicken thighs.

Recipe Variations and Tips

  • Sometimes I mix things up and make this recipe using 8 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts.
  • I’ve also used a combination of pineapple and guava juice for the glaze, and it came out perfectly!
  • Sometimes I like to make double or triple the sauce recipe to use for later. The sauce will freeze up to 3 months, or chill in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container, for up to 2 weeks. I use this sauce on kabobs, steak tips, or my BBQ Chicken Pizza.
  • If you’re going to cook this chicken on a smoker like a Traeger, I suggest using mesquite or cherry wood chips.

Storage Tips

SERVE: You can keep the chicken thighs out for about an hour before they will need to be refrigerated.

STORE: Keep the chicken covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

FREEZE: Place the grilled chicken thighs in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag for up to 2 months.

REHEAT: Thaw the frozen chicken in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 3 hours. Reheat on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 325-degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

The BEST Hawaiian Chicken

Cook’s Tools

  • mixing bowls
  • measuring cup
  • whisk
  • large saucepan
  • grill tools
  • instant-read thermometer
  • pastry brush

Recipe FAQ’s

How do you grill chicken without drying it out?

My best tip for ensuring you do not have dry chicken is to marinate it. This helps the chicken stay juicy and tender while grilling it.

How long should you grill chicken on each side?

For this recipe, grill for 15-20 minutes on each side. Or until the internal temperature is about 175 degrees.

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce on a plate

More Grilling Recipes

4-year old chowing down on the Hawaiian Chicken.
My Little guy chowing down on the chicken. He is literally licking the Pineapple Barbecue Sauce bowl clean!
Hawaiian Chicken Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

Recipe Cost $ $12.52
Serving Cost $ $1.05
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
12 people
These Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Thighs are so tender and delicious and covered in the best sticky-sweet Pineapple Barbecue Sauce!



  • 6 pounds chicken thighs, bone in, skin on – about 12 thighs
  • cups soy sauce
  • cups water
  • 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil





  • In an extra-large bowl whisk together the soy sauce, water, coconut milk, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and sesame seed oil.
  • Add the chicken thighs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.


  • In a large saucepan whisk together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and Sriracha. Heat on high heat until boiling. Then, reduce to medium heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced and it has thickened (there should be about 1 cup of sauce), about 25 minutes.
  • Transfer the sauce to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap (the sauce will thicken even more as it cools).


  • 15 minutes before you’re ready to grill, turn all of the burners to high and cover the grill. Scrape the grill and lightly oil the grates with canola oil. Add the chicken, skin side up, cover the grill, and reduce the heat to medium-low (or around 325 degrees F). Cook until the meat registers 120 degrees F, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken so now the skin side is down. Cover and grill until the meat registers 170-175 degrees F, about another 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and brush with half of the glaze. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with extra pineapple barbecue sauce.


Serving: 1piece of chicken | Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 32g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 510mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1450IU | Vitamin C: 7.4mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.6mg

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This Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Recipe first appeared on FFF on August 23, 2011. I recently updated the recipe and pictures for this post.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Artsy Aut says:

    These seem like two dishes I should have down! Im especially excited to try that rice!!

  2. Autumn, the rice is my new favorite side dish…it’s a must try!

  3. Hollie - says:

    Looks and sounds amazing!

  4. Jane Saunders says:

    That sounds like a fantastic theme for a special celebration – who says kids have all the fun. The chicken looks amazing too.

  5. Bintu Hardy says:

    I totally need to borrow your idea of the murder mystery dinner and Hawaiian Chicken for my OH’s next birthday. Your mum is soooo lucky.

  6. Denisse | Le Petit Eats says:

    I don’t really eat poultry anymore, but this pineapple bbq sauce sounds like something I need to try!

  7. This chicken sounds delicious! I love cooking chicken thighs, they’re so yummy! Pinning this one to try!

    1. I agree, chicken thighs are nice and juicy.

  8. Pam Greer says:

    That murder mystery party sounds like such fun!! My family would love that! They would also love this chicken!

  9. Britt | Sweet Tea and Thyme says:

    There’s a Hawaiian party coming up and this NEEDS to be on the menu!

    1. Yes! I hope you enjoy!

  10. Jenni LeBaron says:

    I love all of these flavors, especially the pineapple and coconut. This recipe looks like an excellent way to dress chicken up for the summer!

  11. this looks absolutely delicious! and so so summery! i also love your party idea, looked like so much fun!

    1. Thank you! And the party was so much fun!

  12. YUM! These are the best! 🙂

  13. Yum! I like all the tropical flavors in this dish. So great for a summer dinner.

  14. Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    Oh my goodness that sauce sounds delicious! I’m going to make some for our next BBQ!

  15. That pineapple bbq sauce sounds amazing. I can’t wait to give this a try.

  16. Oh wow! This looks amazing and perfect for dinner! The sauce sounds amazing! Can’t wait to make this recipe!