Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs threaded with juicy, flavorful chicken, caramelized pineapple and crunchy veggies then slathered with sweet and tangy Hawaiian Sauce that is out of this world!
These Chicken Kabobs need to make it to you “Must Make List” now! They are so tantalizing delicious, I’ve included instructions for both grilling and broiling so you can make them year round. These sizzling chicken kabobs are wonderfully easy to make with a marinade that doubles as the glaze but deliver a huge explosion of flavor in each paradisaical bite.
CHICKEN KABOBS RECIPE VIDEO
Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs Recipe
These Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs were actually inspired by my Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. With hundreds of positive reviews, many saying it is the “best sweet and sour chicken ever,” I knew that with just a few adjustments, that sweet and sour sauce would lend itself beautifully to sweet and tangy Hawaiian Sauce.
And I was right. Patrick devoured six Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs in one sitting and I was transported to sweet and tangy island perfection.
Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Kabobs Ingredients
The ingredients needed for these chicken pineapple kabobs are simple!
- Chicken breasts: Be sure to cut the chicken into even-sized cubes so it cooks at the same rate.
- Fresh pineapple: Fresh pineapple is a must. Do not use canned, as it’s too soft to grill.
- Bell peppers: I used a red and a green bell pepper. Use whatever you’d like.
- Onion: Any variety of onion can be used to make these grilled chicken kabobs.
- Olive oil: Olive oil prevents the kabobs from sticking to the grill.
- Cornstarch: Helps thicken the reserved marinade and transforms it into a sweet and sour glaze that gets brushed onto the chicken shish kabobs just before serving them.
And here’s what you’ll need for the Hawaiian chicken kabob marinade:
- Canned pineapple juice: DO NOT USE fresh pineapple juice as it contains the enzyme bromelain, which will leave your chicken mushy. In CANNED pineapple, however, the bromelain is extracted so the juice will infuse your chicken with flavor without becoming mushy.
- Red wine vinegar: Adds the fruity tang which works with the pineapple juice to create the “sour” effect.
- Sugar: Granulated (plain white sugar) sugar provides the balancing “sweet” to the sour.
- Ketchup: Try to get your hands on an organic ketchup or one that hasn’t been sweetened with corn syrup.
- Soy sauce: Use reduced sodium soy sauce so we can control the salt.
- Salt: You need a little salt to balance out the sweetness of the sauce.
- Spices: Garlic powder, ginger powder, and red pepper flakes kick up the flavor without adding heat.
These chicken pineapple kabobs are a breeze to make! Here are the basic steps:
- Whisk together the sweet and tangy marinade ingredients.
- Add ¼ cup of this marinade to a large freezer bag along with chicken and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Toss to evenly coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 1-4 hours.
- Add 2 tablespoons Marinade to a large bowl along with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add pineapple and veggies and toss to coat. Refrigerate.
- When ready to cook, drain marinade from chicken and thread chicken, peppers and onions onto skewers.
- Grill or oven broil the chicken kabobs until done (I’ve given detailed instructions for both cooking methods in the recipe card below).
- Add reserved marinade to a small saucepan and whisk in 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Bring to a boil and simmer until slightly thickened.
- Brush thickened glaze over cooked kabobs. Enjoy!
How Long to Cook Chicken Kabobs
When you’re ready to grill, take care to grease the surface of the grill with vegetable oil using a grilling brush immediately before adding your kabobs – other wise they will stick.
Heat grill to medium-high heat and make sure it is nice and hot — you should hear a “sizzle” when you add your chicken kebabs. Grill chicken kabobs for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally until lightly charred and chicken is cooked through and you have juicy, tender, flavorful chicken, sweet, caramelized pineapple, crisp-tender peppers and charred onions.
Tips for Making Chicken Shish Kabobs
Chicken Kabobs are pretty straight forward, but there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
- Skewers. You can use metal or wood skewers but just take care you soak your wood skewers for at least 30 minutes otherwise they can catch fire! For this chicken kabob recipe, I recommend soaking your skewers when you start marinating your chicken.
- Chopping: Cut your chicken into 1 ½ inch cubes in order to keep them juicy. Avoid cutting the chicken too small or it can easily overcook. Try and chop the chicken roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
- Marinate Chicken: The difference between a great chicken kabob and an okay chicken kabob is marinating. Marinating not only tenderizes the chicken but helps it stay juicy and moist while cooking and infuses it with flavor all at the same time. The best part about these Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs is the glaze, so they are get a double dose of it both in the marinade that also doubles as the glaze.
- Marinate veggies and pineapple: We also want extra flavorful veggies and pineapple so we toss them with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons marinade. This easy, simple step elevates these chicken kabobs to a whole new level by adding moisture, flavor and helps keep them from sticking to the grill – winning!
- Thread chicken kabobs: Thread the chicken, fresh pineapple, peppers and onions onto your in alternating fashion. If you don’t want to worry about alternating the ingredients, you can make all chicken skewers, all pineapple skewers, all bell pepper skewers and all pineapple skewers.
- How much space? As far as spacing, there are two schools of thought. Some like to leave a little space in between the items so heat can circulate evenly while they cook. Others, me included, like to pack everything pretty close together – not smashed together, but touching. With the cubes this close, the kabobs will take longer to cook because the heat isn’t reaching all sides of the food at once which can prevent overcooking and promote juicier chicken kabobs.
Hawaiian Chicken Kabob Variations
- Chicken. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts but you are also welcome to use chicken thighs, just keep in mind that light meat will cook faster than dark meat so it isn’t a good idea to combine on one skewer. Chicken breasts have a bad reputation for being dry but with our marinade, cutting the chicken into 1 1/2″ cubes and not overcooking, you have a winner winner chicken dinner.
- Veggies. You’re welcome to mix and match the veggies on these grilled chicken kabobs as you see fit. Zucchini, mushrooms, and more would all be tasty additions!
- Oven Broiled. You can grill these chicken kabobs or broil them in the oven. The flavor is very similar, so use whichever cooking method is best for you!
Can I Prep Chicken Kabobs in Advance?
The only thing you can prep in advance is the sweet and tangy glaze. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Everything else needs to be prepped day of.
How to Store Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
Leftover kabobs should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll last up to 4 days.
How to Reheat Chicken Shish Kabobs
You can gently reheat these chicken pineapple kabobs on the grill, or you can remove the chicken and veggies from the skewers and reheat leftovers in a skillet (like a stir-fry!).
What to Serve with Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
Chicken shish kabobs are best with all your favorite potluck foods! You can go as simple as chips and watermelon or amp it up with pasta salad, fruit salad and grilled corn. Here are some of our favorite sides to serve with kabobs:
- Potluck Favorites. Million Dollar Baked Mac and Cheese, Stove Top Mac and Cheese, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Corn Casserole, Elote (Mexican Street Corn), Grilled Corn on the Cob and Baked Fingerling Potato Fries.
- Salad. Wedge Salad, Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad, Strawberry Salad, Spinach Berry Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Southwest Salad and Corn Salad.
- Pasta Salad. Italian Tortellini Salad, Greek Pasta Salad, BLT Pasta Salad, Cowboy Pasta Salad Bacon and Pea Pasta Salad and Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad.
- Fruit. Grilled Pineapple, Creamy Grape Salad, Summer Fruit Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Tropical Fruit Salad or Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone.
- Veggies. Roasted Parmesan Asparagus, Roasted Broccoli Roasted Carrots, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Root Vegetables or Roasted Squash.
Looking for More Kabob Recipes?
- BBQ Chicken Kebabs
- Peanut Pineapple Thai Chicken Satay
- Greek Beef Kabobs
- Brazilian Steak Kabobs
- Tandoori Chicken Kabobs
- Steak Kabobs
- Garlic Butter Shrimp Kabobs
- Al Pastor Kabobs
- Grilled Beef and Broccoli Kebabs
- Buffalo Chicken Fajita Kabobs
You might also like these summer recipes:
- Cajun Honey Mustard Chicken
- Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
- Grilled Caprese Chicken Salad
- Caramelized Grilled Pineapple
- Best Carne Asada
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Tools Used in This Recipe
Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
- Note: If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 30 minutes in water before grilling or broiling.
- In a medium bowl, whisk Sweet and Tangy Marinade/Glaze ingredients together. Add ¼ cup of this Marinade to a large freezer bag along with chicken and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Toss to evenly coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 1-4 hours.
- Add 2 tablespoons Marinade to a large bowl along with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add pineapple and veggies and toss to coat. Refrigerate. Refrigerate remaining Glaze separately (“Reserved Glaze”).
- When ready to cook, drain marinade from chicken and thread chicken, peppers and onions onto skewers.
- Add reserved Sweet and Tangy Glaze to a small saucepan and whisk in 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Bring to a boil (either on grill or stovetop) and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes (it will continue to thicken upon standing). Set aside.
- TO GRILL: Generously grease grill and heat to medium-high heat. Grill chicken kabobs for approximately 12-15 minutes, rotating every couple minutes until nicely browned and slightly charred on each side and chicken is cooked through. Brush kabobs with Sweet and Tangy Glaze.
- TO OVEN BROIL: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the chicken kabobs in a single layer and broil, turning every 5 minutes until cooked through, about 10- 15 minutes depending on thickness of chicken. Brush cooked chicken with Sweet and Tangy Glaze.
- Serve with rice.
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