Air Fryer Hawaiian BBQ

Published Date: April 30, 2022

If you love tender, juicy chicken thighs and tropical vibes and want the taste of a bbq right off the grill but without all the fuss, this Air Fryer Hawaiian BBQ recipe was made for you! Just when I thought I had tried everything in my air fryer, this idea popped into my head and now it’s all I can think about!

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Try Some of My Other Favorite Air Fryer Recipes

Chicken is such a versatile meat to use in recipes and if you like this bbq chicken recipe I’m almost certain you will love this simple Air Fryer Monterey Chicken. Or maybe try my Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Pineapples or Air Fryer Nachos recipe!

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Hawaiian bbq chicken thighs are the perfect combination of sweet and savory!
  • Perfect for summertime grilling and a way to get the whole family outside!
  • Everyone is going to love it!

Ingredients

All you need are a handful of ingredients to make this Hawaiian bbq chicken recipe!

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  • Boneless chicken thighs
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Pineapple juice
  • Pineapple slices
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic powder and ground ginger

*see recipe card for detailed measurements

Kitchen Supplies You’ll Need

  • Grill or Air Fryer 
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Pastry Brush

How to Make Hawaiian BBQ in the Air Fryer

Step 1: In a large saucepan, whisk together bbq sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic powder until fully combined and the sugar is slightly dissolved.

Step 2: Bring sauce to a boil, cooking for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it reduces. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, the sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.

Step 3: Place your chicken thighs on a tray and use a pastry brush to coat all sides of the chicken thighs evenly. 

Step 4: Place half of the thighs into the air fryer basket (cook in two batches to avoid crowding) and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Pull out the basket, flip the thighs and brush on more sauce, add the pineapples to the basket and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Then, repeat with the second half of the batch.

Step 6: Sprinkle diced green onions over the top if desired and serve with a scoop of rice and Hawaiian macaroni salad.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Be sure to baste the chicken thighs while they are cooking! This extra step goes a long way in adding more great flavor!
  • When cooking in the air fryer be sure not to crowd the pieces of meat. Give them space so they can cook properly. You may need to cook in batches.
  • Cooking the sauce thickens it so it will stick to the chicken when brushed on. Plus this step intensifies the flavor of the bbq sauce.
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Substitutions and Variations

  • Chicken thighs: You can also make this recipe with boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken pieces for an assortment of white and dark meat. If cooking with bone-in chicken, you may need to extend the cooking time.
  • Soy sauce: You can also use tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free soy option.
  • Garlic powder: Use fresh instead.
  • Ground garlic: Swap out with finely grated fresh ginger.
  • Want spicy chicken? Add some red chili flakes to the bbq sauce while it’s cooking.

Storage Notes

Store in a ziplock baggie or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you make Hawaiian chicken in large batches, it may also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw out the frozen chicken before reheating. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes.

FAQs

Should I marinate the Hawaiian-style bbq chicken overnight?

You can. I found that it didn’t really make any difference to marinate these ahead of time versus brushing on the sauce while cooking. But if you want to, I recommend doubling the sauce recipe. Then marinate the chicken in half the sauce and brush on the other half as you grill.

Do I really need to cook the sauce on the stovetop?

Yes, you do. The sauce is very thin and runny and doesn’t really stick to and glaze the chicken unless you reduce it first and allow it to thicken.

What does Hawaiian BBQ taste like?

It is a delicious combination of sweet and savory, but in many ways is similar to a traditional bbq sauce. The pineapple juice, soy sauce, and ginger infuse the sauce with the unique flavors found in many Hawaiian recipes.

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If you’ve made this recipe or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how they turned out. We love hearing from you! You can also follow along with me on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM to see more colorful recipes!

Air fryer hawaiian bbq.
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Air Fryer Hawaiian BBQ

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Air Fryer
Cuisine: American, Hawaiian
Keyword: hawaiian bbq, hawaiian bbq chicken
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 950kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs Chicken Thighs about 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar packed
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, whisk together bbq sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic powder until fully combined and the sugar is slightly dissolved.
  • Bring sauce to a boil, cooking for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it reduces. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, the sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.
  • Place your chicken thighs on a tray and use a pastry brush to coat all sides of the chicken thighs evenly.
  • Place half of the thighs into the air fryer basket (cook in two batches to avoid crowding) and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • Pull out the basket, flip the thighs and brush on more sauce, add the pineapples to the basket and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Then, repeat with the second half of the batch.
  • Sprinkle diced green onions over the top if desired and serve with a scoop of rice and Hawaiian macaroni salad.

Notes

Storage Notes

Store in a ziplock baggie or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you make Hawaiian chicken in large batches, it may also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw out the frozen chicken before reheating. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes.

FAQs

Should I marinate the Hawaiian-style bbq chicken overnight?
You can. I found that it didn’t really make any difference to marinate these ahead of time versus brushing on the sauce while cooking. But if you want to, I recommend doubling the sauce recipe. Then marinate the chicken in half the sauce and brush on the other half as you grill.
Do I really need to cook the sauce on the stovetop?
Yes, you do. The sauce is very thin and runny and doesn’t really stick to and glaze the chicken unless you reduce it first and allow it to thicken.
What does Hawaiian BBQ taste like?
It is a delicious combination of sweet and savory, but in many ways is similar to a traditional bbq sauce. The pineapple juice, soy sauce, and ginger infuse the sauce with the unique flavors found in many Hawaiian recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 950kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 333mg | Sodium: 1636mg | Potassium: 846mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 268IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @sweettea_and_sprinkles or tag #sweetteaandsprinkles
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