We do a lot of alternative recipes, because that’s what so many of you request. But I personally love celebrating naturally dairy-free dishes. There are so many of them, particularly in other cultures. Huli huli chicken, for example, is a Hawaiian favorite to enjoy throughout the grilling season. You can buy huli huli sauce, but homemade is so simple, tastier (in my opinion), and offers an easy way to control the ingredients. This naturally dairy-free huli huli chicken is made as skewers, but you can use the sauce on whole chicken thighs or breasts, other meat, or tofu.
Dairy-Free Huli Huli Chicken Skewers for the Grill or Oven
This recipe for huli huli chicken skewers was shared with us by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to help educated on their Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). Their DASH program focuses on reducing sodium and saturated fat, which includes limiting fatty meats, tropical oils, and dairy. Consequently, many of their recipes are dairy-free and quite versatile for different kitchens. I have some tips below in our FAQs for this recipe.
Can I Use this Huli Huli Sauce as a Marinade?
Yes, this huli huli sauce isn’t high in citrus, so you can marinade chicken in it for up to 12 hours. If you prefer, you can marinate the chicken in this dairy-free huli huli chicken recipe in advance with the first half of the sauce.
Can I Cook these Huli Huli Chicken Skewers Completely on the Grill?
You can. They like to finish them in the oven so they don’t dry out on the grill. You can help prevent this by marinating the chicken in advance, as mentioned above. Other options are to use brined chicken, or you can brush the chicken with a little heart-healthy oil.
Can I Just Bake Huli Huli Chicken?
Yes, you can. Preheat your oven to 425°F and arrange the basted or marinated skewers or boneless skinless chicken thighs in a single layer in a baking dish. Bake until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F, flipping about halfway through. The chicken skewers will take 15 to 20 minutes, while the chicken takes about 30 minutes total.
What Should I Serve Huli Huli Chicken With?
It’s typically served with rice, and it goes with a range of vegetables. If serving the vegetables on the side, we like steamed broccoli or bok choy, or even grilled corn on the cob. but you can also add vegetables to the skewers. Our favorite is red bell peppers, but mushrooms or cherry tomatoes also go well.
Special Diet Notes: Huli Huli Chicken
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, and peanut-free.
For soy-free dairy-free huli huli chicken, substitute regular coconut aminos for the soy sauce. Coconut aminos are a little less salty and a little sweeter than soy sauce.
For paleo huli huli chicken, use the soy-free option above and use a paleo ketchup.
- 8 skewers
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari, if needed)
- 2 tablespoons honey (can substitute brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons pineapple juice (from cutting the pineapple)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 15 minutes before using. Grease or prepare your grill surface.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, honey, juice, garlic, and ginger; mix well. Pour half of the sauce into another bowl.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Alternately thread the chicken cubes and pineapple chunks onto each skewer. You should have about three of each per skewer.
- Grill the skewers for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, while brushing the sauce from one bowl onto the chicken and pineapple every other minute. Once done, you can discard that sauce.
- To prevent the chicken from drying out, finish cooking the skewers in the oven until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Using a clean brush or spoon, coat the skewers with the sauce from the second bowl before serving.