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Hawaiian Grilled Chicken and Pineapple

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Hawaiian Grilled Chicken and Pineapple is an easy and delicious recipe that makes you feel like you are on a relaxing, tropical island. The sweet and savory marinade infuses the chicken with flavor that caramelizes on the grill alongside the sweet pineapple slices.

A whole grilled chicken on a wood board surrounded by grilled pineapple slices.

I have to tell you, the flavor of this chicken is insane!! I took the sauce recipe from my favorite Hawaiian Pulled Pork recipe to see how the flavors would work with chicken, and boy was not disappointed! It adds the perfect amount of salty sweetness to the chicken and the heat from the grill turns it into a sticky, delicious shell that is finger licking good.

A close-up image of the right leg on a grilled whole chicken with sliced pineapple on a cutting board.

Can you seriously tell me that you are not drooling over that delicious looking chicken leg? Grab the napkins and let’s get cooking.

Ingredients needed

Ingredients to make Hawaiian Grilled Whole Chicken and Pineapple.
  • I chose to go with a whole chicken that I “spatchcocked” to make it cook faster. That is just a fancy term for removing the backbone and flattening it out. You can also use chicken thighs, legs, or breasts but your cooking times will vary.
  • The flavor-packed marinade is made with pineapple juice, tamari/soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic, chili-garlic paste for a tingle of heat, fish sauce to add some unami flavor and a bit of brown sugar to bring all of the flavors together.
  • Olive oil helps to keep the chicken and fresh pineapple slices from sticking to the hot grill.

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

Looking down on Hawaiian Grilled Whole Chicken and Pineapple slices on a wooden cutting board.

How to make pineapple chicken on the grill

How to spatchcock or “butterfly” a whole chicken

Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting mat, with the drumsticks pointing towards you.

a raw, whole chicken laying on a blue plastic cutting mat with a white baking dish, two lemons, and two packages of herbs in the background

Using sharp poultry shears, cut down one side of the backbone from tail to neck, then repeat on the other side.

my hand holding the backbone of a raw, whole chicken that is being cut out while sitting on a blue plastic cutting mat

Completely remove and discard the backbone.

Backbone cut out of a whole chicken on a cutting board.

Flip the chicken over, breast side up, and press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten.

Mix the pineapple juice, soy sauce/coconut aminos, brown sugar/honey, ginger, garlic, Chinese five spice, fish sauce, and chili-garlic paste together in a large zipper-top bag.

Place the chicken inside the bag and squish around the chicken to evenly coat with the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinade in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.

Whole raw chicken in a bag with Hawaiian marinade.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring up to room temperature.

For a 3-burner gas grill, light the right and left burners set at medium-high heat. Close the lid and allow the grill to heat up for at least 10 minutes. Oil the grates and the chicken skin-side down in the center (where the burner is off).

Raw marinated whole chicken on a barbecue grill.

Close the cover and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, until the juices between the leg and the thigh run clear or an instant-read thermometer reads 165F degrees.

Whole chicken cooked breast side up on a gas grill.

Carefully flip the chicken skin-side down over the hot side of the grill. Cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and crisp.

Cooked whole chicken flipped over breast side down on a gas grill.

Remove from grill and transfer to a large cutting board, skin-side up. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Core and slice fresh pineapple into rings, then cut them in half.

A fresh pineapple sliced and cored with a tool on a cutting board.

Brush with olive oil and grill until charred, about 2 minutes per side.

Pineapple slices on a gas grill.

Transfer to a serving bowl or platter.

To turn the marinade into a sauce for serving

Pour the marinade into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Slice chicken and serve with grilled pineapple, additional sauce, Steamed Rice and Hawaiian Potato-Mac Salad.

Whole chicken on a cutting board with two slices out of the breast.

Take your meal to the next level with a Mai Tai or Pina Colada cocktail!

Is Hawaiian Chicken the same as Huli-huli Chicken?

No, Huli-huli Chicken is a Hawaiian dish prepared by barbecuing a whole chicken over mesquite wood, turning it on a spit while basting it with a sweet huli-huli sauce. The sauce usually contains ketchup and sesame oil, while some recipes also include vinegar, Sherry, and Worcestershire sauce.

Tools used to create this recipe

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More grilled Hawaiian-style recipes

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Komo i ka!!

A whole grilled chicken on a wood board surrounded by grilled pineapple slices.

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken and Pineapple

Pineapple Grilled Chicken is an easy and delicious recipe that takes you back to the Hawaiian islands with its tropical Polynesian flavors
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilled whole chicken with pineapple
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Chilling Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 553kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Equipment

  • Barbecue Grill

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 0.5 cup pineapple juice canned or fresh
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili-garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
  • 0.5 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 pound whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil as needed on the grill
  • 1 fresh pineapple cored and cut into slices

Instructions

How to spatchcock or "butterfly" a whole chicken 

  • Place the chicken breast side down on a cutting mat, with the drumsticks pointing towards you. Using sharp poultry shears, cut down one side of the backbone from tail to neck, then repeat on the other side. Completely remove and discard the backbone. Flip the chicken over, breast side up, and press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten.

Marinade

  • Mix the pineapple juice, soy sauce/coconut aminos, brown sugar/honey, ginger, garlic, Chinese five spice, fish sauce, and chili-garlic paste together in a large zipper-top bag.
  • Place the chicken inside the bag and squish around the chicken to evenly coat with the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinade in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.
  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring up to room temperature.
  • For a 3-burner gas grill, light the right and left burners set at medium-high heat. Close the lid and allow the grill to heat up for at least 10 minutes. Oil the grates and the chicken skin-side down in the center (where the burner is off).
  • Close the cover and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, until the juices between the leg and the thigh run clear or an instant-read thermometer reads 165F degrees. Carefully flip the chicken skin-side down over the hot side of the grill. Cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and crisp.
  • Remove from grill and transfer to a large cutting board, skin-side up. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Core and slice fresh pineapple into rings, then cut them in half. Brush with olive oil and grill until charred, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter.

Serving Sauce

  • Pour the marinade into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Notes

  • For a larger grill, use half of the burners and cook the chicken on the cool side.
  • For a charcoal grill – spread the lit charcoal evenly over one side. Cover grill and heat for 10 minutes. Oil grates and lay chicken skin-side down on the cool side (where there is no charcoal). Flip and char the chicken over the hot side for 5 minutes.
  • I do not recommend canned pineapple slices, they are too soft and will break apart on the grill….but I will not stop you from trying if that is the only pineapple available.
  • If you have small children or family members that do not like any spice that tingles their tongue, cut the chili-garlic paste down to 0.5 tablespoon. It is not overpowering, but it is noticeable.

Nutrition

Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 903mg | Potassium: 594mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Vitamin C: 78mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg

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