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Baked Hawaiian Chicken

Baked Hawaiian chicken is an easy main dish that only requires 10 minutes of preparation. The cooked chicken is tender and juicy leaving you with even more delicious leftovers!

Part of what makes this recipe so great is its simplicity and short prep time. My recipe does not call for marinating the chicken. All you need to do is mix the sauce in a baking dish, place the chicken and pineapple into the sauce, and let it bake for 35 minutes. The result will be a super flavorful sweet and sour sauce with tender, juicy chicken with a crispy skin.

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There are many Hawaiian chicken recipes out there, but this is my favorite one. I choose to use skin-on, bone-in thighs so that the sauce and the chicken will be extra flavorful and you also get the crispy chicken skin (a real delight!).

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How to Make Hawaiian Chicken

Here is a brief overview of how this baked chicken comes together. For the full recipe including all measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Make the sauce. Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, garlic, and ginger in a large baking dish. Stir to mix well.
  2. Add the chicken. Put the onion slices in the pan followed by the chicken thighs, not overlapping the chicken pieces. Then place the pineapple pieces in between the chicken.
  3. Bake the chicken. Bake for about 15 minutes and briefly remove the dish to baste the chicken with the sauce. Immediately continue to bake until the skin is crispy and a thermometer inserted near the bone reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Let it rest. Once you take the baking dish out of the oven, let it sit for 5-10 minutes for the juices to settle and to give the chicken more time to absorb the flavors from the sauce. Enjoy!

Hawaiian Chicken Sauce

This recipe’s sauce is a beautiful blend of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors that perfectly complements the chicken. Here’s a closer look at each ingredient:

  • Pineapple and pineapple juice: The star of the show! Pineapple juice adds a touch of sweetness and tropical flair to the sauce. It also helps tenderize the chicken slightly as it cooks. Using canned pineapple in juice is a convenient way to get both for this recipe.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce provides a savory backbone to the sauce. Use gluten free soy sauce if you are cooking for someone who can’t have gluten.
  • Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar adds a touch of tanginess and acidity that balances the sweetness of the pineapple juice and brown sugar.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar brings rich sweetness and a hint of molasses depth to the sauce.
  • Tomato Paste or Ketchup: Tomato paste adds flavor and helps thicken the sauce slightly. Ketchup can be used as a substitute, but it will add a bit more tanginess and sweetness compared to tomato paste.
  • Garlic: Freshly grated garlic is essential for adding a pungent and aromatic kick to the sauce.
  • Ginger: Ginger adds a warm, slightly spicy depth of flavor that complements the other ingredients beautifully. You can peel and grate a fresh piece of ginger root, or use pre-grated ginger that can be kept in the refrigerator.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use skin-on chicken thighs. Skin-on chicken thighs provide extra flavor from the crispy skin which I highly recommend for this recipe. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs. If you prefer leaner meat, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been cut into cutlets. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly (thicker breasts will take longer).
  • Add some crunch. Use a slightly larger baking dish and throw in some diced red bell pepper to add a crunchy vegetable to the dish.
  • Use a meat thermometer. This is the best way to know exactly when your chicken is done, without overcooking it. Chicken is considered fully cooked at 165 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety purposes. Check multiple chicken thighs at their thickest point before removing them from the oven.
  • Serve as is or with rice. This chicken is delicious with a simple vegetable like Roasted Broccoli or a side of rice.

Making Ahead of Time

If you want to prepare the dish ahead of time and serve it later, that is even better. You can put the dish together, cover it with aluminum foil, and store it in the fridge for up to one day in advance. Uncover and bake according to the recipe card, or until the internal temperature of the chicken thighs reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The recipe will generate extra sauce so you will end up with enough to serve over pasta or steamed rice.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Store any leftover pineapple chicken with sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat the portion you plan to eat in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Other Great Chicken Recipes

  • Parmesan Crusted Chicken
  • Baked Teriyaki Chicken
  • Easy Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

If you make this baked Hawaiian chicken recipe, I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it. Happy cooking!

Baked Hawaiian chicken

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Baked Hawaiian Chicken

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Baked Hawaiian chicken is an easy main dish that only requires 10 minutes of preparation. The cooked chicken is tender and juicy leaving you with even more delicious leftovers!

Course Main CourseKeyword chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 35 minutes Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 pounds chicken thighs Can use bone-in skin-on or boneless skinless
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 1 onion chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit convection.
  • Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, garlic, and ginger in a large baking dish. Stir to mix well. Place onion into the baking dish and chicken on top without the pieces overlapping. Add pineapple chunks between (not on top of) the chicken pieces.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes and briefly remove the dish to baste the chicken with the sauce. Immediately continue to bake until the skin is crispy and a thermometer inserted near the bone reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit (another 15 minutes).
  • Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!
baked hawaiian chicken 1

Recipe adapted from
Bare Feet in the Kitchen

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