Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

June 15, 2019  ·  Published July 28, 2015

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Super satisfying Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs made with bright pineapple, red onion, bell pepper and the most delicious flavor packed, marinated chicken. After soaking up the seasoning of the marinade they’re perfectly grilled for a light char to get that final flavor enhancement.

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs on a white platter.

Easy Grilled Chicken Kebabs!

I first shared these chicken pineapple kebabs four years ago, but every summer they’re still a reader favorite so I decided to re-share them in case you’ve been missing out. Have you tried them yet?

I mean, who doesn’t love a tasty kebab recipe? And what better entree to serve on a warm summer day than these Hawaiian chicken kebabs? One bite of these will leave you craving more!

You will love the light sweetness and bright tang here paired with the pineapple, bell pepper and red onion. And the chicken turns out perfectly flavorful and tender thanks to the simple chicken kebab marinade.

Threading everything onto the kebabs may take a little effort, but it’s well worth it! These are so fun for summer parties or an exciting island-inspired weekend dinner.

It’s a flavorful chicken dinner to switch things up and one the whole family can agree on!

Chicken Skewers Ingredients

Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs Ingredients

You don’t need any special ingredients to make these chicken shish kebabs, just pantry staples!

Chicken kebab marinade :

  • Ketchup
  • Brown sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Pineapple juice
  • Olive oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sesame oil

Skewer ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Bell pepper
  • Pineapple
  • Red onion

Pineapple red onion and bell pepper pieces on a wooden cutting board.

How to Make Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

  • Stir together marinade ingredients: in a mixing bowl whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add marinade to chicken, rest: place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag. Reserve 1/2 cup of the chicken kebab marinade in refrigerator, then pour remaining marinade over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate 1 hour.
  • Preheat a grill over medium heat to 400°F (200°C).
  • Toss fruit and veggies with oil and season: drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over red onion, bell pepper and pineapple and toss, season with salt and pepper.
  • Thread ingredients onto skewers: thread red onion, bell pepper, pineapple and chicken onto skewers until all of the chicken has been used.
  • Cook through on grill: grill chicken on oiled grill grates 5 minutes then brush along tops with 1/4 cup of remaining marinade. Rotate to opposite side and brush remaining 1/4 cup of marinade on opposite side.
  • Allow to grill about 4 minutes longer, or until chicken registers 165°F (75°C) in center on an instant read thermometer.

Chicken kebabs with bell pepper red onion and pineapple. Shown before cooking.

Can I Bake Chicken Kebabs Instead of Grilling?

Some readers have mentioned they’ve had success baking these chicken pineapple kebabs as well (I haven’t yet tried myself because I love this grilled version). 400 degrees F on a well greased baking sheet about 15 – 20 minutes, rotating occasionally.

What to Serve with Chicken Skewers

These chicken shish kebabs pair nicely with any number of summer sides. A few of my favorite things to pair with kebabs are:

Can I Make Extra Sauce for Rice?

Yes, if you’d like some sauce to pair with a side of white rice then you can make 1 1/2 the chicken kebab marinade recipe then reserve 1/3 of it for topping. Thicken it with a teaspoon or two of cornstarch mixed with equal parts water in a saucepan, bring to a simmer.

You can never have too much sauce, right?

Marinated hawaiian chicken skewers on a white serving plate.

Can I Use Chicken Thighs Instead?

Yes, you could also use boneless skinless chicken thighs in place of chicken breasts they’ll just need to cook a bit longer, and reduce grill temperature as needed so they don’t burn.

Can I Prep Chicken Kebabs in Advance?

You can certainly marinate the chicken in advance and thread the veggies onto the skewers, but I don’t recommend cooking these chicken pineapple kebabs in advance and then reheating them. I worry that the chicken would become tough and dry that way.

Likewise, I don’t recommend assembling and then freezing these chicken shish kebabs. The vegetables would turn to mush and the texture of the chicken would also change.

Stack of chicken skewers on a plate.

Tips for the Best Chicken Kebabs

  • If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in cold water for at least 1 hour before using so they don’t burn while cooking.
  • For best results, don’t use canned pineapple in place of fresh. The flavor isn’t near as good and the canned cubes aren’t very large.
  • Don’t forget to baste the chicken skewers while grilling so they don’t dry out. This will also add extra flavor.

More Delicious Skewers Recipes To Try:

 

Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs

5 from 28 votes

Chicken pieces are soaked in a simple, flavorful, sweet and tangy marinade then threaded onto skewers along with fresh pineapple and colorful peppers and onions. Amazingly delicious and the perfect summertime dinner! 

Servings: 9 -10 kebabs
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup canned pineapple juice
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil , divided, plus more for brushing grill
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced (4 tsp)
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kebabs:

  • 1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast , chopped into 1 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 cups (heaping) fresh cubed pineapple (about 3/4 of 3 lb pineapple)
  • 1 1/2 large green peppers , diced into 1 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion , diced into 1 1/4-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Stir in 3/4 tsp pepper and season with salt if desired.

  2.  Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade in refrigerator then pour remaining marinade over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate 1 hour (meanwhile soak 10 wooden skewer sticks in water for 1 hour).
  3. Preheat a grill over medium heat to 400°F (200°C). Meanwhile, drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil over red onion, bell pepper and pineapple and toss. Season red onion and bell pepper with salt and pepper, then thread red onion, bell pepper, pineapple and chicken onto skewers until all of the chicken has been used. 

  4. Brush grill grates with olive oil then place skewers on grill. Grill 5 minutes then brush along tops with 1/4 cup of remaining marinade. Rotate to opposite side and brush remaining 1/4 cup of marinade on opposite side. 

  5. Allow to grill about 4 minutes longer, or until chicken registers 165°F (75°C) in center on an instant read thermometer. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

  • If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in cold water for at least 1 hour before using so they don't burn while cooking.
  • For best results, don't use canned pineapple in place of fresh. The flavor isn't near as good and the canned cubes aren't very large.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 262 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 55mg18%
Sodium 443mg19%
Potassium 512mg15%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Vitamin C 44.6mg54%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Kebabs, Kebabs
Author: Jaclyn

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169 Comments

  • Alyse Nursement

    Amazing. The whole family loved it. Even my picky eater who doesn’t even like chicken, he had seconds. Boyfriend said this recipe is a keeper.

  • Kelly Keane

    My whole family loves this recipe! A perfect summer grill night. I have left out the ginger when I don’t have any and it’s still amazing.

    My little girls loves shrimp and I’m wondering if this marinade would also work with shrimp??? Any advice?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes the marinade should work well fine for shrimp too but it will only need to soak for about 30 minutes.
      So glad you liked the recipe!

      • Caitlin

        Your Chef tip says to use fresh pineapple juice for best flavor though. Very confusing

        • Jaclyn

          Jaclyn Bell

          It’s saying not to use canned pineapple pieces not referring to juice, sorry for any confusion.

  • Nicole

    Who knew that the soy sauce and pineapple juice would make the chicken mushy. DO NOT USE fresh pineapple juice (canned juice is supposedly fine) as it contains the enzyme bromelain which will leave your chicken mushy :( I’ve learnt it the hard way, even though I’m an experienced chef, this outcome surprised me. Half of it went to the garbage. Soy sauce and fresh pineapple juice together on chicken never again.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      The recipe calls for canned not fresh pineapple juice. Sorry that happnened.

  • Lacey

    This recipe is amazing! I added thick cut bacon to the chicken when it was marinating. I didn’t have any skewers so ended up making this in my cast iron skillet and served it over sticky rice. Rave reviews from the family! My picky 3 year old ate it all! Thank you!

  • Clem

    I grilled these for supper last night, and they turned out fantastic! My two biggest food critics (wife and son), raved about how good they were! She told me “make sure that you bookmark that recipe”, so here I am. Thanks for the “keeper”. I’ll have to look into your other recipes now.