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This air fryer Huli Huli chicken recipe is a wonderful and easy option for dinner tonight!
This Hawaiian chicken dish is delicious served over rice or noodles and is a wonderful way to keep chicken from getting boring. The flavor tastes like a true Hawaiian flavor with accents of pineapple with a great dose of protein.
What is Huli Huli Chicken?
Huli huli chicken is a grilled chicken dish in Hawaiian cuisine, prepared by barbecuing a chicken over mesquite wood, and basting it with a sweet huli huli sauce.
What Type Of Chicken Should You Use For Huli Huli Chicken?
While you can use chicken breasts or even chicken legs, chicken thighs work best, particularly in an air fryer.
How To Use The Sauce
Because this is an air fryer recipe, you don’t want to put the chicken into the air fryer with a ton of sauce. The photos here have extra sauce on them so you can easily see it in the photos. But don’t put that much sauce on. Marinate your chicken in half of the sauce, and keep the other half separate. Don’t let it touch the raw chicken.
You’ll put the chicken into the air fryer somewhat dry (you want sauce on it, but you don’t want it dripping off the chicken), cook it, and then use the second half of the sauce (the stuff that never touched the raw chicken), to pour over the cooked chicken.
Marinating The Chicken
At a minimum, you want to let the chicken marinate the chicken for 3 hours. But if you need to prep this ahead of time, you can marinate this overnight. Just make sure you wrap it well. The easiest way is with a dish that has a tight fitting lid or use a zipper-top bag.
The Cooking Time
The goal is to get the chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Use a meat thermometer or instant read thermometer. You’ll want to cook this for 9 minutes on each side, for a total time of 18 minutes, so don’t forget to flip this halfway through. This is important for even cooking.
Gluten-Free Huli Huli Chicken
If you need this to be gluten free, then you’ll need to make sure the soy sauce you use is gluten-free. The rest of the ingredients should be gluten-free. Although, you may want to double check to be sure. We are not gluten-free, so please don’t take our word for it! Double check your ingredients!
Other Ways To Cook This
You can cook this on a grill, on skewers works great, or you can just put it directly on the grill top. Just use the sauce the same way you would use bbq sauce. Though you may want to whisk in a small amount of cornstarch to help it really glaze the chicken. Keep the barbecue to a medium heat to medium-high heat for best results.
What You’ll Need To Make This Huli Huli Chicken
3 lbs. skinless chicken thighs – You can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer. But thighs work best.
1 cup brown sugar – For a healthier option, try Sucanat, coconut sugar, honey or monk fruit.
¾ cup soy sauce – Opt for low sodium soy sauce to make this healthier. You can also use tamari if you prefer.
¾ cup ketchup – Use a sugar free ketchup to make this healthier.
½ cup pineapple purée – Most people buy this, but to make your own, simply blend some fresh pineapple (canned pineapple chunks works too) in a blender with a little sweetener until smooth.
3 tablespoons ground ginger
3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic – You can use 2 tbsp. garlic powder or garlic granules instead if you prefer.
1 tablespoon chili flakes
Measure out all the ingredients.
Add soy sauce, ketchup, pineapple purée, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes to a blender cup.
Blend until smooth.
Marinate your chicken thighs in this sauce mixture for at least three hours if not overnight. Remember to only use half the sauce and reserve the other half (untouched by the raw chicken), for basting after cooking.
Add your chicken thighs to your air fryer basket. 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° F. for 18 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165° F. Flip after 9 minutes.
Brush on the reserved sauce and garnish Serve your chicken thighs over rice, noodles, or vegetables.
What To Serve With Air Fryer Huli Huli Chicken
There are a lot of things you can serve with this.
- Veggies like broccoli
- Macaroni salad
- Corn on the cop
- Baked beans
- Barbecue beans
- Pretty much any dish you would serve with barbecue
How To Store Huli Huli Chicken
Once cooked, pack this in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Can You Freeze Huli Huli Chicken?
You absolutely can! If packed well, this will last in the freezer for up to 4 months.
How To Reheat Huli Huli Chicken
The easiest way to reheat this is in the microwave. 1 to 1 ½ minutes at most is all you need. But you can also reheat this in an air fryer if it has a reheat option. If not, you can set this to cook at 325 F. for up to 3 minutes without it getting too overcooked.
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Air Fryer Huli Huli Chicken Recipe
Air fryer Huli Huli Chicken
- Air Fryer
- 3 lbs. chicken thighs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ½ cup pineapple purée
- 3 tbsp. ground ginger
- 3 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. chili flakes
- Measure out all the ingredients.
- Add soy sauce, ketchup, pineapple purée, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes to a blender cup.
- Blend until smooth.
- Marinate your chicken thighs in this sauce mixture for at least three hours if not overnight. Remember to only use half the sauce and reserve the other half (untouched by the raw chicken), for basting after cooking.
- 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.
- Brush on the reserved sauce and garnish Serve your chicken thighs over rice, noodles, or vegetables.