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These Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Skewers are a delicious, easy, healthy summer dinner that is as flavorful as it is colorful! Made with a simple homemade teriyaki sauce recipe, red, green, and yellow peppers, red onions, sweet grilled pineapple, and tender, juicy chicken, everybody will be happy to have these kabobs for dinner!
Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
When it comes to grilling season, I’m a sucker for anything on a stick, grilled fruit (hello grilled peaches!), and all the fresh veggies (try these grilled summer veggie quesadillas! they are amazing!). These Hawaiian teriyaki chicken skewers check all the boxes.
My beef kabob marinade is one of my most popular recipes every summer, and I have a feeling these marinated chicken skewers are going to join them. The homemade teriyaki sauce is super easy to throw together, and the prep isn’t bad either since you are just chopping peppers, onions, pineapple, and chicken into large chunks and threading them onto skewers.
And the flavor is out of this world! The chicken is marinated in the teriyaki sauce, then brushed with even more teriyaki sauce after grilling, and the pineapple gets extra sweet and caramelized from being on the grill.
Is it just me or is this summer flying by? I need it to slow down! I have so much more grilling I want to do before it’s time to move on to soups and crock pot meals!
One of the weird things in my job as a food blogger is that we tend to think ahead by season, so I’m already feeling the need to move on to Fall content. I’m resisting that urge with these Hawaiian teriyaki chicken skewers since it’s only mid-July!
What’s the difference between teriyaki sauce and marinade?
Teriyaki is one of our favorite Asian-American flavors and making a teriyaki marinade or sauce is easy with ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. It’s a sweet and savory sauce made with soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and sesame.
I read an article claiming that teriyaki actually originated in Hawaii where it was created by Japanese immigrants. I’m not sure how true that is since you see teriyaki on almost every Japanese restaurant menu here in the U.S.A., but I’ve never been to Japan so I can’t say for sure. Regardless, this classic flavor needed to be part of my line-up of flavors that Hawaii is known for as part of my American Eats series where I am visiting the best known foods of each state, one at a time.
There are a couple of differences between teriyaki marinade and teriyaki sauce though. Teriyaki marinade is a thin liquid that is absorbed into meat better and is used to flavor food BEFORE cooking. Teriyaki sauce has been thickened with a cornstarch slurry and is used to flavor meat AFTER cooking.
We give our Hawaiian teriyaki chicken skewers a double hit of teriyaki flavor by mixing up the teriyaki sauce and setting aside part of it to use as a marinade, while thickening the remaining sauce to use as our glaze for brushing on the finished skewers after they come off the grill.
For this Hawaiian version, we are adding flavor and sweetness to the teriyaki sauce by using pineapple juice. You could just use water in place of the pineapple juice and still have a wonderful teriyaki marinade and sauce, but I highly recommend trying it. I like to buy the six-pack of small cans of pineapple juice so I only have to use one at a time instead of opening a large bottle of the stuff.
This teriyaki marinade and sauce recipe can be used in lots of ways beyond just these skewers.
- Chicken: Marinate chicken breasts in it for up to two days and grill them whole then top with slices of grilled pineapple and melted cheese for a teriyaki chicken burger.
- Beef: Make teriyaki beef by marinating for up to 24 hours.
- Fish: Fish shouldn’t marinate for longer than 30 minutes or it will start to break down, so I tend to prefer to just brush teriyaki sauce on fish after it’s done cooking. Grilled salmon brushed with teriyaki sauce is heavenly stuff, you guys!
- Stir Fry: Combine all of the sauce ingredients, including the cornstarch, in a bowl. Then add the teriyaki sauce to stir-fried meat and veggies and it will thicken as it cooks and flavors the rest of the dish, coating each piece of meat and vegetable.
How to Make Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
- Make the teriyaki sauce: Combine soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper and whisk together. Set aside 1/2 cup of the teriyaki sauce for marinating the chicken, then make a slurry with a little cornstarch and water to thicken up the rest of the sauce so it’s more like a glaze for brushing on the skewers after they are grilled.
- Marinate the chicken: I usually use chicken breasts for this skewers, but chicken thighs are awesome as well. Just cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and throw them in a ziploc bag with the reserved teriyaki marinade and let them sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Soak the skewers: If using wooden skewers, place them in a shallow pan and fill it with water. You might need to set a bowl on top of the skewers to keep them submerged. Soaking the skewers for an hour or more will help keep the exposed parts from burning up on the grill later.
- Prep the veggies and pineapple: Remove the stems, seeds, and cores of the peppers and chop them into 1-inch chunks. Cut the red onion into large chunks, then cut the pineapple into similar sized pieces as well. This tutorial for how to cut a pineapple is super helpful and exactly how I cut my pineapple every time.
- Thread the skewers: Alternate between adding veggies, pineapple, and chicken until all of the skewers have been filled. You might want to start preheating your grill if you plan to throw these on immediately after threading them, but you could also just cover the prepared skewers with plastic wrap and stick them back in the fridge to grill later when you are ready if you are prepping for a party.
- Grill the skewers: Make sure you grill grates are clean and hot, then brush them with a paper towel soaked in a little oil to help keep the skewers from sticking. Grill the skewers for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping partway through to make sure that they are evenly cooked and not burning on one side. You can test the chicken with a digital meat thermometer to see if the temperature is at 165 degrees F to know it is done, but I find it pretty easy to tell that the skewers are done just by the nice char around the edges of the chicken and vegetables.
Tips for Making the Best Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
- You could even make these Hawaiian teriyaki chicken skewers smaller by cutting your sticks in half to serve as an appetizer at a summer luau!
- Switch up the proteins by using beef instead of chicken, and add whatever vegetables you like.
- Bad weather got you down? You can make these skewers on an indoor grill or even in the oven under the broiler if you need to.
What to serve with Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
These skewers go great with so many grilling side dishes, but since they are already filled with veggies and protein, we tend to enjoy carby, filling sides with them. Hawaiian macaroni salad is a favorite. You could also serve them with coconut rice or just a loaf of french bread with butter.
More Summer Grilling Recipes
- Perfect Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet BBQ Pork Rub
- Grilled Chicken Shawarma Wraps
- Grilled Whole Fish
- Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Coconut Lime Peanut Sauce
- Grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip
- Rhubarb BBQ Sauce Grilled Chicken
- Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza
- And see all of my GRILLING RECIPES here!
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Metal or wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
- Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and sesame oil and seeds, if using. Whisk well, then transfer 1/2 cup to a large ziploc bag to use as a marinade.
- Pour the remaining sauce into a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, mixing with a fork to create a slurry, then pour into the boiling sauce, stirring and cooking for about 1 minute until thickened. Set aside to cool until ready to use.
- Add chicken to the bag containing the reserved marinade and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Thread chicken, peppers, onion, and pineapple onto soaked skewers, then grill over direct heat for 8 to 10 minutes, turning partway through to grill evenly on both sides, until chicken is cooked through and reaches 165 degrees F when tested with an instant read meat thermometer.
- Brush with the thickened teriyaki sauce and serve with any remaining sauce for dipping.
Adapted from The Recipe Critic.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 129mg Sodium: 1464mg Carbohydrates: 33g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 25g Protein: 50g
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