These Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs are sweet and savory, loaded with tender chicken breast, pineapple chunks, bell peppers and an easy pineapple BBQ marinade! The perfect prep-ahead summer meal.
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If a tropical vacation isn’t on your horizon anytime soon, these Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs are the next best thing!
I don’t know what it is about kabobs, but there’s something about eating food off of skewers that makes everything taste even better. It’s also one of the rare occasions where eating with your hands is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged!
So what is it about these chicken skewers that gives them their Hawaiian twist?
The marinade is made from a combination of barbecue sauce, pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and generous chunks of pineapple are threaded directly onto the skewer.
In other words, it has plenty of fruity Island Flavor!
If you love all things Hawaiian, try my Hawaiian Chicken Burgers with Grilled Pineapple next!
Since these chicken skewers are such a summery dish I like to serve them with an equally summery side dish like my Best Homemade Coleslaw or Easy Potato Salad (this Easy Instant Pot Potato Salad is a great option for those Instant Pot lovers!).
Basically anything that my family loves and that doesn’t require turning on the oven!
How to make a Hawaiian Chicken Kabob Marinade:
- Barbecue sauce: I use a sweeter store bought or homemade BBQ sauce when I make these chicken kabobs. If I have any of my Pineapple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce handy it’s my go-to barbecue sauce for this recipe!
- Pineapple juice: Pineapple juice adds a distinct tropical taste and added sweetness.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce gives the marinade a bit of a salty kick without overwhelming the other ingredients.
- Fresh ginger and garlic: If you don’t have fresh ginger and garlic on hand you can always use the minced version from a jar, or substitute with much less of each in their dried versions.
Tips for making chicken skewers:
- Invest in stainless steel skewers or soak wooden skewers for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour before using, this will prevent them from burning on the grill.
- Try to cut your kabob ingredients into uniform pieces, this will help everything cook evenly on the grill.
- Thread chicken, veggies, and pineapple onto two parallel skewers (or, again, invest in steel ones that are flat!) if you’re worried about ingredients shifting around on the grill.
- Leave a small amount of space between each ingredient on the skewer for even heat circulation.
How to prep chicken kabobs ahead of time:
These Hawaiian chicken skewers can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to grill.
- Marinate the chicken breast chunks for at least 1 to 4 hours according to recipe directions.
- Refrigerate reserved marinade in a sealed container or jar.
- Assemble the skewers using chicken, vegetables, and pineapple.
- Store in the fridge on a large plate covered with plastic wrap or in a large resealable container for up to 24 hours before grilling.
- Remove the chicken kabobs and reserved marinade from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking to ensure even grilling.
Variations on these Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs:
- Use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts — they may need an extra minute or two to cook.
- Make steak kabobs by substituting a lean yet flavorful cut of steak (such as tri-tip or sirloin) for the chicken.
- Make pork kabobs by swapping out the chicken for cubed pork tenderloin.
- Get creative with fruits and veggies such as button mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, peaches, and cubed mango (or other tropical fruit).
More recipes for the grill to check out:
- Grilled Turkey Burgers
- Honey Balsamic Grilled Chicken
- Sweet and Spicy Coconut Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Pulled Pork Stuffed Peppers
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Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (I like to use one with sweetness)
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1.5lbs)
- 2 bell peppers cut into 1" pieces
- 1 pineapple cut into 1" pieces
- In a medium bowl, whisk together marinade: bbq sauce, pineapple juice, soy sauce, oil, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Cut chicken breasts into 1" cubes (ensuring they are an even size will get you the best results).
- Place chicken in a large Ziploc freezer bag or medium glass container with half of the marinade. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
- Cover remaining marinade and refrigerate until needed.
- Preheat the grill to medium high heat, around 375-400 degrees.
- If using wooden skewers, soak for 10 minutes before building kabobs.
- Build kabobs, alternating between chicken, peppers, and pineapple chunks as desired. Discard remaining marinade from the chicken.
- Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the thickest part, basting twice during the cook time with remaining marinade.
- Remove from grill and serve.
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