There are few things as delicious as sweet and savory and oh-so-meaty Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken. Infused with the flavors of the islands, you can taste the pineapple juice, garlic, and ginger in this amazing dish that gets its flavor from marinating and grilling meaty chicken thighs.

a plate of chicken and rice with green onions

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I love teriyaki chicken, and sure, you can take a shortcut and use the bottled sauce, but making your own teriyaki sauce is so easy and much more flavorful. Plus, you can control the garlic and ginger, adding more if you like it a bit punchier.

Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken

There’s something so delicious about teriyaki chicken. Not only is the meat flavored from the marinade and super tender and juicy, but when you grill the chicken, the sugars in the sauce caramelize, creating even more flavor. The result is sticky, sweet and savory, and oh-so-delicious.

taking a bite of chicken

The best part about making this family-friendly dish is how easy it is to make! I love getting the chicken marinating the night before, and then as soon as the grill is heated up, we’re ready to cook. 

baked Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken

What is teriyaki?

Teriyaki is a Japanese sauce that’s rich, bold, and both sweet and savory. Teriyaki chicken, salmon, and beef are all common proteins to get the teriyaki treatment, which involves marinating the meat or fish and then grilling it so the glaze becomes glossy and caramelized.

moist Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken

Why I love this recipe

  • This recipe puts a Hawaiian spin on traditional teriyaki, and it’s so good!
  • You can marinate the meat the night before so it’s ready to grill.
  • It’s easy to double if you need to feed a crowd.
  • This OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Bladed Meat Tenderizer is a game changer for tender meat.

ingredients to make Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken

Gather these ingredients

  • Chicken thighs – Boneless and skinless.
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar – Packed.
  • Pineapple juice
  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves; chopped.
  • Ginger – Fresh ginger; minced.
  • Green onions – White and green parts; sliced.

how to marinate chicken

How to make Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken

This grilled teriyaki chicken really is quite simple to make. Here’s how:

  1. Tenderize the chicken thighs with your favorite meat tenderizer. Be sure to get both sides.
  2. Add the tenderized chicken thighs to a gallon-sized zipper-top bag.
  3. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, sesame oil, chopped garlic, and minced ginger in a bowl. Transfer the marinade to the bag with the chicken, mix the chicken around, press the air out of the bag and seal it. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat your grill to medium and remove the chicken from the marinade and set it aside.
  5. Transfer the marinade to a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over low heat. Simmer the marinade for 5-10 minutes or until thick and glossy.
  6. Place the chicken on the grill and brush some of the reduced marinade over the top of the chicken and grill the chicken until it is cooked to 165-F. Do not put the brush back into the marinade if it has touched the raw chicken.
  7. Place the cooked chicken into a baking dish and drizzle the teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

how to bake Hawaiian chicken

Tips & substitutions

  • No grill? No problem? You can cook this chicken under the broiler for a similar taste or even just pan-fry it until it is cooked.
  • You shouldn’t need to add extra salt to this recipe because the soy sauce is plenty salty. 
  • For a bit of a spicy kick, sprinkle some red chili flakes over the top of the chicken before serving. 
  • Don’t be shy with the garlic! It seems like a lot, but the flavor mellows when it cooks.
  • Use fresh ginger, now powdered ginger. 
  • To speed things up, add the ginger and garlic to a food processor and pulse it until it is finely chopped. 
  • This OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Bladed Meat Tenderizer makes all the difference with tender chicken!

serving Teriyaki chicken

Serving suggestions

This Hawaiian chicken recipe is super flavorful, so make sure that the side dishes you pair with it don’t compete with it in terms of flavor. I love serving this dish with simple sticky rice, or you could pair it with brown rice. Keep the vegetables simpler, too, with picks like oven-roasted broccoli and cauliflower or a quick carrot salad on the side.

chicken and rice


Store any leftover Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Pack any leftover marinade in a separate container.

Check out these awesome Hawaiian-inspired recipes while you’re here

a plate of chicken and rice with green onions
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Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken

Sweet and savory Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken is so easy to make and is delicious! Marinate the meat the night before for even easier cooking!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
marinate: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 10
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 3 pounds chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 1 ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 8 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon ginger fresh, minced
  • Green onions, finely chopped
  • 5 cups cooked white sticky rice


  • 1 OXO meat tenderizer
  • 1 Ziplock gallon bag


  • Tenderize the chicken thighs with your favorite meat tenderizer (see mine in the post), on both sides.
  • Place chicken thighs in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, set aside.
  • Combine marinade ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk together until sugar dissolves.
  • Pour marinade over chicken, press air out of the bag, and seal tightly. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours).
  • Remove the chicken from the bag and place in a bowl; set aside.
  • Pour the marinade into a medium saucepan, bring marinade to a simmer and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Place chicken on a medium-high grill and brush some of the hot marinade over the top (do not place brush back in marinade after brushing the chicken).
  • Continue to grill chicken until done (165 degrees internal temp) on both sides. TIP: If the chicken is really thick, you will want to grill it on medium heat.
  • Place cooked chicken in a baking dish and pour some (or all) of the hot teriyaki marinade over the top. Sprinkle with finely chopped green onions. Serve immediately on white sticky rice.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Calories: 595kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 133mg, Sodium: 2060mg, Potassium: 486mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 108IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 2mg
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Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken