Sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy, this Air Fryer Huli Huli Chicken brings all your favorite Hawaiian flavors straight to your plate! The marinade seeps deep into the chicken giving you rich tropical flavors with every bite. It’s the perfect way to add a little pizzazz to your dinner meal plan.
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What is Huli Huli Chicken?
Huli Huli Chicken is a sweet and savory Hawaiian dish. Huli literally means “turn” in Hawaiian. Traditional Hawaiian BBQ is made over a fire pit where it gets turned constantly so that it cooks evenly. Thus, this recipe quite literally means turned chicken.
Since it is a Hawaiian dish, the Huli Huli sauce has all the tropical flavors that you would expect. Its sweet and tangy from the pineapple, rich and savory from the soy sauce, and a bit spicy from the chili flakes making it a delicious combination of flavors.
Huli Huli Chicken Ingredients
Although this recipe is bursting with a variety of complex tropical flavors, you won’t need any crazy ingredients. Everything you need is right at your local grocery store.
- Chicken– Chicken thighs work best in the air fryer, but you could also use legs or breasts.
- Brown sugar– Use your measuring cup to scoop and pack the brown sugar down.
- Soy sauce– If you want to make sure this recipe is gluten free, be sure to get gluten-free soy sauce. Soy sauce is sweet and salty, but also helps to tenderize the chicken.
- Ketchup– Ketchup is acidic so it helps to break down the proteins in your meat and tenderize it. Use your favorite brand here.
- Pineapple puree– I usually buy this from my local grocery store, but you can use fresh pineapple, 2 tablespoons of water, and a blender to make your own fresh puree.
- Spices– To add even more flavor to your marinade, you’ll need ground ginger, minced garlic and chili flakes.
Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for full list of exact ingredients!
How to Make Air Fryer Huli Huli Chicken
Huli Huli chicken is a Hawaiin dish that you’ll want to plan for ahead of time. This is because it has the best flavor when marinated overnight. Follow the steps below, and don’t skip any of the steps!
Step 1: Make the Marinade
First, mix the soy sauce, ketchup, pineapple puree, ginger, garlic and chili flakes together to make your marinade. Use a blender to blend it all together.
Step 2: Marinade the Chicken
Next, place your chicken thighs in a bowl with a lid. Pour 1/2 of the marinade over the chicken. Make sure it fully coats the chicken. Then, put the lid on the bowl and place the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 3-hours.
Step 3: Air Fry Your Huli Huli Chicken
After you’ve allowed the chicken to marinate, add the chicken thighs to your air fryer. Cook at 380° F for 18-minutes, flipping the chicken half way through.
Pour more sauce on your chicken. Serve and Enjoy!
Tips for the Best Huli Huli Chicken
- Use half the marinade-I only use half of the sauce when marinating the chicken. The rest of the sauce I put in a container to pour over the chicken after it is done cooking.
- Marinate overnight– For the most flavorful Hawaiian chicken, I recommend allowing it to marinate overnight.
- Don’t overcrowd the chicken-You may have to do several batches of chicken depending how many chicken thighs you use. Overcrowding will result in less appetizing huli huli chicken.
- Check the chicken with a thermometer– To ensure your chicken is cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer to check it. The internal temperature should be 165° F.
Should I Add Sauce While Cooking?
In the oven, broiler, or on the grill, you would baste your chicken with sauce to make it even more flavorful. However, when using the Air Fryer, basing doesn’t work as well. You will put the chicken into the air fryer with sauce, but you don’t want it dripping off the chicken. It should be somewhat dry. Cook the chicken, and then use the second half of the sauce and pour it over the cooked chicken.
How to Store Leftovers
Once cooked, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3-days. Additionally, you can place it in a Ziploc freezer bag and store your leftover chicken in the freezer for up to 4-months.
How to Serve Huli Huli Chicken
Huli huli chicken is a delicious main course that is traditionally served over rice, noodles, or vegetables. You can also serve this chicken with a variety of healthy sides such as:
- 3 lbs. of Chicken thighs
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup pineapple purée
- 3 tbsp of ground ginger
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp chili flakes
- Mix together your soy sauce, ketchup, pineapple purée, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes. Marinade your chicken thighs in this sauce mixture for at least three hours if not overnight.
- Add your chicken thighs to your air fryer. Depending on how many thighs you’re cooking you may need to do a couple of batches. Do not overcrowd your thighs.
- Cook at 380° for 18 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165°. Flip after 9 minutes
- Serve your chicken thighs over rice, noodles, or vegetables. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1009Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 435mgSodium: 3642mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 2gSugar: 56gProtein: 85g
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About Angela MilnesAngela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and adults. Angela has also taught cooking classes and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Instant Pot Table. Follow her on Pinterest!