This Huli Huli Chicken is delicious and tastes just like your favorite Hawaiian version. Pineapple juice, soy sauce and ginger make a flavorful pulled chicken the family will scarf down. Usually Huli Huli Chicken is cooked on a grill but this recipe uses a stove – no grilling required!
Jon and I both went to OSU in Corvallis, OR and have many great memories of eating at Local Boyz Hawaiian Cafe on campus. It is an icon and the food really is wonderful. Now that we live in Idaho I make my own version of our favorite dishes at home. Huli Huli Chicken is served at Local Boyz under the name Sweet Shoyu Chicken and it is a really easy dinner to make at home. Bonus it is kid friendly!
What is Huli Huli Chicken?
Huli Huli Chicken is a popular Hawaiian chicken recipe you would find on Maui and other HI Islands. It is usually served as part of an Hawaiian Style Plate Lunch.
Huli Huli Chicken and Shoyu chicken are both versions of Hawaiian chicken that have sweet hints of brown sugar and pineapple with Asian undertones of ginger and soy sauce. The chicken is succulent and surprisingly easy to prepare!
How To Make Huli Huli Chicken
Traditionally Huli Huli Chicken is made by grilling marinated chicken thighs outside. I love to grill but sometimes we all need an indoor cooking option that makes life a little simpler. My huli huli chicken recipe is made on the stove.
The process is really simple:
- Brown the chicken
- Add everything else
- Simmer until tender
What to Serve With Huli Huli Chicken
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad – they creamy, flavorful salad is the perfect pair to the ginger / soy sauce flavor of the chicken! This is an authentic version of the Local Boyz Mac Salad and it gets RAVE reviews.
- “Da Sauce” – Local Boyz fans will love this easy copycat sauce just like the restaurant! It is great on the Mac Salad and the Huli Huli Chicken
- Steamed White Rice – the classic you would expect under a steaming pile of huli huli chicken. Get this rice maker to make rice an easy side dish!
- Seamed Broccoli or other steamed veggies – a nice vegetable side dish rounds out the plate and gives it a pop of color
- Tempura Shrimp – We love making a few tempura shrimp to round out the plate
- Sweet Chili Sauce or Sriracha – if you like a little more spice plan on some zesty condiments!
Hawaiian Shoyu or Huli Huli Chicken (Local Boyz Copycat)
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce (regular sodium will be WAY salty!)
- 1 large onion cut in half and sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper coursely ground
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes optional
- In a large dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot, heat canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken to the oil. Cook 1-2 minutes until there is a nice golden brown crust and then flip to the other side. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until the 2nd side is golden.
- Add the pineapple juice and low sodium soy sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer while you add everything else.
- Peel onion, slice it in half and thinly slice both halves. Add to the pot.
- Peel the ginger and grate it using a microplane or other grater. (Alternately using refrigerated ginger in a tube works well!) Add the ginger to the pot.
- Add the brown sugar, granulated garlic, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir. Turn the heat down to medium to maintain a simmer. Cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes until the meat can be shredded easily into chunks with a fork.
- Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the meat from the juices and shred with two forks. Return to the sauce and serve with tongs or slotted spoon.
- Serve the chicken with any or all of the following: rice, mac salad, broccoli, soy sauce, Yoshida Gourmet Sauce, sweet chili sauce or fresh pineapple slices.
This recipe was originally posted in December of 2014. I’ve updated it with new photos and content in May of 2020. This was one of the original images for the post!
Where do you get your pineapple juice? Do you buy it just like you would grapefruit juice, etc, or do you take it from the cans of pineapple chunks or pineapple tidbits, or whatever?
I usually use a can of juice but the juice from a can of pineapple would work too as long as it is the fruit canned in juice. I also love the fresh pineapple juice available in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s but it is more expensive.
I’m making this for the second time today. It doesn’t taste quite as strong as the Schwindt recipe, and I like the flavor with the pineapple and ginger. I confess, I just load up a crock pot with the ingredients and let it go – maybe it’s not quite as good that way, but it’s easy and I think it tastes great!
I’m so glad you like it that much! You are the second reader who has said they make this in the crock pot so I did a few test batches and found that the chicken texture was often problematic. It seemed to be a bit hit and miss in my crock pot which was a bummer. It should be the perfect crock pot recipe!
I did use frozen pieces of chicken without thawing first. Maybe that would affect the texture? Or maybe I just don’t know what good texture is. 😉
Using frozen chicken could make the chicken cook slower and maybe that meant you cooked it less time. I think I need to try it again and see if I can come up with something consistent. If it tastes good to you than the texture is fine!
We live in Corvallis and came across this recipe while I was looking for a Huli Huli chicken similar to Local Boyz. I was ecstatic to find this!!! My family of 7 LOVED this! My kids (ages 3-13) said it was better than Local Boyz. My husband who is very particular, said it was a 99% match to Local Boyz. AMAZING!!! Thank you!
I’m cracking up! Your husband is a wise man 😉 I think the recipe is darn good but not quite perfect! And if the kiddos all love it that is a huge win!
Courtney I have been looking for a Local Boyz recipe since moving from Corvallis!!!! Thanks for the confirmation. I haven’t been back to Corvallis since 2009!
Oh Ed! You are going to love this one! And make sure you try the Mac Salad too!!!!! That one just makes me happy every time! Good luck.
Ooooooh I shall, I shall!!!!
I used half the amount of ginger and it is so strong, I can’t eat it. It’s burning my throat. I added more brown sugar and pineapple juice, still the ginger is so strong.
Hi Angie, I’m sorry the recipe did not work out for you. We make this all the time and feed even to small kids. Different people experience spices differently and you might be extra sensitive to something in here. The other thing I wondered about is the pepper. Black pepper comes in many sizes of grinds. If yours is very powdery – almost like dust – it could be the problem. I use a more course grind which is less strong. Be aware that the smaller your grind of black pepper the more strong it will be. It is also possible that the garlic powder or red pepper flakes are what is bothering you. I know how frustrating it is to cook something and not be able to eat it. I’m sorry you had this experience!
I made this, Da sauce, and the macaroni salad recipes and it nails Local Boyz. This will not be understood by anyone that hasn’t actually been there but, you even get the Local Boyz “hangover” after over indulging because it is so good you eat way too much. Great recipe and any time I’m longing for a memory of Corvallis I’ll definitely make this. Great on an overcast day 😉
Thanks, Eric! You made our day. Happy Eating!
Too funny, we live in Corvallis and this was exactly the recipe I was looking for on Pinterest because of Local Boyz ! Thanks for sharing !
Lucky girl! I love it here in Boise but I miss my hometown. Enjoy!
So I just made it last night and the mac salad as well and it was EXACTLY like Local Boyz ! My husband and kids raved !!!! Thank you !!
I grew up in Corvallis and have sadly lived away from there for about a dozen years. Every trip back makes me salivate at the thought of a run to Local Boyz. Well, I made this last night. It was perfection. So wonderfully delicious and exactly what I didn’t dare to hope it would be. My whole family loved it. Thank you so so so much!
Anne that is SO good to hear! We live in Boise, ID now but do get back to Corvallis now and again. Local Boyz is almost always on the menu when we do. So many good memories there and of course the food! I’m so glad this hit the spot for you – it is a treasure in our family for sure!
As an OSU alum who has tried SEVERAL versions of all of the Local Boyz recipes you posted, yours are FAR and AWAY the best. You’re totally right about the texture of the chicken in the slow cooker being off (too mushy). Your mac salad is spot on, and I now have a full bottle of Da Sauce in my fridge. This was the happiest dinner has made me in years 🙂
Thank you so much for perfecting and posting!
Stephanie that makes me so happy!!! I love those recipes so much and have so many wonderful memories from the restaurant. Making Mac salad this Sunday! Thanks so much for letting me know and happy cooking! Long live Local Boys!
I live in Corvallis, my kids love the chicken from local boyz. I am going to try first time. Hope comes out well. Do you have mac salad recipe too
Wonderful! I’m so excited for your kiddos to give this a shot! I do have a Mac Salad Recipe too. I just put the picture in the post with the link so it is easy to find. You can grab it here too: https://www.mirlandraskitchen.com/hawaiian_macaroni_salad/ Enjoy!
This may be a silly comment but I am wondering if I just toss the chicken bouillon cube in or if I make the broth.
Hi Nikole, It is not a silly comment at all! You can put the cube right into the sauce. However, I made it this weekend and thought that it came out a bit salty. I was going to make a note this week to update the recipe. I suggest leaving out the bouillon and using low sodium soy sauce. Hope that helps!
Both my husband and I went to OSU and were there when Local Boyz first opened! I myself being from Southern California and spending lots of time in Hawaii was so impressed how authentic it was!! I have been trying to create this forever! But hats off to you! You nailed it!! Three things I changed because of what ingredients I had on hand.
1) used huge chicken tenders
2)no pineapple juice but I had frozen pineapple chunks from Trader Joe’s. I put all the “sauce” ingredients in our blender. It worked out great!
3) as I was reading through the comments I saw somebody say something about chicken bullion and adding a cube or two to it. But I just read through the actual original ingredients and I don’t see bullion as listed. Which makes much more sense than you saying that it could be very very salty. Well long story short I didn’t put any chicken bullion in there because I didn’t know it needed it and mine was not salty at all use low sodium Korean style soy sauce and it came out to mouthwatering perfection!
Again thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful recipes from one of our most favorite places to eat in Corvallis.
Hi Sherrie – Thank you so much for sharing this with me! I love that you have been a Local Boyz customer from the beginning. And what a great idea using the pineapple you had on hand! I raided a can of pineapple canned in juice last time I made this – for whatever reason I totally forgot to buy pineapple juice!
I used to call for chicken bullion in the recipe but I’ve removed that ingredient. I felt like it was not important with all the other flavors and it just added salt which creates problems depending on what soy sauce you use.
Happy cooking and I hope to see you here again soon 🙂 Go Beavers!
Amazing recipe!! My husband and I met at OSU and loved Local Boyz. I made this with the Mac salad and da sauce and it was amazing. My husband said it tasted JUST like Local Boyz, and helped himself to thirds of everything 😂 thank you so much for posting these recipes!
Hi Steph! You made my day – so glad you got a taste of OSU! These remain some of my favorite recipes – it is just so neat to know we can all cook up that taste of our college days wherever we land!
I just came across this recipe. After reading how great it is, I can’t wait to try it.. I am from Mississippi and have no idea what Local Boyz is.. So please give me a little insight to this place. I might need to take a trip to go try it out.
Hi Michelle – Lots of great stuff to experience in Oregon for sure! Local Boyz is just an excellent Hawaiian food restaurant. Many friends tell me their food is better than what they have eaten in HI on trips. It is certainly the most flavorful and tasty Hawaiian food I have ever had. Good luck with your cooking at home!
Okay…Local Boyz is my FAV hawaiian place. I went to OSU and lived in Albany for years. My family also moved to Idaho. There’s a place that is close, but definitely not the same. I’m going to try this recipe this week. Do you have a Mac salad recipe that is similar to theirs? You know the best bite is a little mac salad and a little chicken. Thanks!
Absolutely!!! https://www.mirlandraskitchen.com/hawaiian_macaroni_salad/ Nothing else tastes like the meat with the mac salad for sure 🙂 Enjoy