If you've been to any of the Hawaiian Islands, you've probably eaten Shoyu chicken. One of the most popular Hawaiian chicken recipes, Shoyu Chicken can be found in fine dining restaurants and drive-in burger joints. There are 100s of Shoyu chicken recipes out there, but mine beats any I have tried. My Aloha Shoyu Chicken Recipe is salty, sweet, fall off the bone tender, with the best part being the crispy chicken skin.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- I got my love of Hawaiian food from my husband who grew up on Oahu. In is youth, he was a self-described surf bum, always looking for a good burger or a hot plate lunch with an extra scoop of Hawaiian mac salad. If this is your first time trying Hawaiian food, you are in for a treat.
- If you love easy meals this is the recipe for you. No large pot on the stove, no Instant Pot, no slow cooker, just one baking dish in the oven and a small pot of sauce on the stovetop. The oven roasting gives the chicken time to soak up all the goodness of the sauce and get a golden skin.
- This dish is a flavor bomb that transports you to the islands without leaving home.
- Next time try my Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad to go with this for a genuine plate lunch (or dinner).
For the full recipe with quantities, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs yield the best result. You can use boneless chicken thighs, but you will need to reduce the cooking time. If you choose to use chicken pieces or chicken breasts, make sure the internal temperature of your chicken reaches 165 degrees. If you can find air chilled chicken, buy it! (see note below in FAQ section)
- Aloha Shoyu is the best choice for this Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken Recipe. Substitute normal soy sauce, but try to find a low sodium version.
- Apple Cider Vinegar if you have it, but rice vinegar is a nice substitute.
- Garlic, fresh minced garlic is best for this recipe.
- Fresh Ginger I like just a hint of ginger. Use more if you prefer a strong ginger taste, and omit if you don't like ginger.
- Brown Sugar works better than granulated sugar in my version of Shoyu chicken because it helps get that crispy mahogany colored skin.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Cornstarch, is optional. You can just use the pan drippings to pour over the chicken when serving and skip the step of thickening the remaining sauce.
- Optional spices for sauce ingredients. You can drop a piece of star anise into the liquid before heating. If you don't have fresh ginger try adding just a pinch of ground ginger.
Trim the chicken of extra fat. Pat dry with paper towels. Do not rinse. Skin side up.
Add the brown sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper, and vinegar to a sauce pan.
Add the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Cook on the stove top, low heat.
Pour half the sauce over the chicken in with the skin side up chicken in pan.
Use a brush to make sure the top of the thighs are covered with sauce.
Add green onion pieces to the pan. Bake in 350 degree oven uncovered.
Mix cornstarch with water to form a slurry.
Heat sauce and slowly add slurry until desired consistency is met.
Remove cooked chicken from oven and pour the drippings off and set aside.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken tableside side or serve separately.
- Using a lower sodium Shoyu or soy sauce is a good substitution for people watching their salt intake.
- Using good brown sugar substitute is an option for those cutting down in sugars and carbs.
Shoyu refers to Japanese-style soy sauce. Shoyu chicken is made by simmering chicken in a sweet and salty broth of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Shoyu chicken is similar in taste to teriyaki chicken, but a bit sweeter without the fruity taste of teriyaki. The most predominant flavor is of soy sauce.
Shoyu is the term broadly given to Japanese style soy sauces that are made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt and water. In Hawaii people use the term soy sauce and the Japanese word shoyu interchangeably.
Aloha Shoyu Company's signature Soy Sauce which is the most popular. It carries a smooth and simple taste with a low acidity flavor. Tradition, local roots, and flavor make Aloha Shoyu products a favorite among Hawaiian islanders and visitors alike, so serve up your next favorite dish with a little Aloha.
Aloha Hawaiian Style Gluten-Free Soy Sauce has no MSG added and is wheat free. Most store-bought shoyu sauces are not gluten-free because as they usually contain wheat.
It is available at many grocery stores and online. If you are lucky enough to have an Asian market near you, they usually carry many Aloha products, including Shoyu.
The answer is a resounding YES. Per Whole Foods: During air-chilling, each bird is individually chilled over the course of about three hours. Birds are moved into carefully monitored temperature-controlled chambers where purified air cools them. The air-chilling process results in several standout benefits — namely great-tasting chicken.
Air chilled chicken is nothing like the stuff you get at the grocery store. The water in water-chilled chicken evaporates as it cooks. This results in shrunken, rubbery chicken, especially when grilling or barbecuing. Air-chilled chicken cooks faster, absorbs marinades, seasonings, and sauces and seasonings much better. Again, the best part is crispier skin after cooking!
The short answer is…NO. check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic explaining why you should never wash raw chicken. Any bacteria will be eliminated by fully cooking chicken to the recommended internal temperature of 165 degrees.
More Chicken and Rice Recipes
- Pair of kitchen tongs
- Baking pan or heavy Dutch oven (no lid needed)
- Small pot
Food Storage Tips
Cooked chicken can be stored on an upper shelf of the refrigerator for up to three or four days. The refrigerator temperature must be 40 degrees or lower. Store leftover chicken in shallow containers with tight fitting lids. If leftovers are not going to be used within a couple of days, they can be frozen and stored for up to three or four months.
- Tip #1 would be to use air-chilled chicken to draw in all the flavors of the sauce.
- Don't overcook the chicken! Once it hits an internal temper of 165 degrees take it out of the oven.
- Thicken the reserved sauce for serving at the table. It is great on the rice.
- Grill green onions until you get a good char on them and serve them with the chicken. They are delicious.
In Hawaii, Aloha Shoyu Chicken Recipe is served with rice and macaroni salad. My Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad is the perfect accompaniment to this chicken dish.
Aloha Shoyu Chicken Recipe
- Pair of kitchen tongs
- Baking pan or heavy Dutch oven (no lid needed)
- Small pot
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- ½ cup Aloha shoyu
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ ounce peeled ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pat the chicken dry without rinsing with water. Trim any excess fat or stuff tucked under the chicken by the packer to increase the weight.
- Place the chicken in a heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven or a ceramic oven-safe baking dish.
- Finely mince the garlic and break off a small knob of ginger. No need to peel, just slice it in half to increase the surface area.
- In a small pot add the brown sugar, ginger, pepper, vinegar.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to the pan and stir to combine. Heat the sauce over low heat on the stovetop until it is bubbly and begins to thicken. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour half the sauce over the skin side up chicken in pan. Brush to make sure the tops of the chicken pieces are coated with sauce.
- Add green onion pieces if desired. Bake in 350 degree oven uncovered.
- Once or twice during the baking time brush the pan drippings over the chicken. Do not baste during the last 15 minutes of cooking or you risk messing up the crispy skin.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the oven.
- Pour off the juices from the bottom of the pan. I use a turkey baster to suction off the rich sauce at the bottom, discarding the fat on the top.
Making a thicker sauce to serve with the chicken at the table.
- Mix the cornstarch with the water in a small dish. Make sure you get all the lumps out.
- Place the reserved sauce (not the pan drippings) in the small pot onto the stovetop over medium heat. Slowly drizzle in the cornstarch mixer, stopping and cooking a few seconds to check for thickness, then pouring in a little more. You do not want a thick sauce. You want it to pour off the spoon like pancake syrup.
- Serve the roasted chicken over white rice. Pour some of the reserved pan drippings over the rice to add extra flavor.
- Serve the thickened sauce at the table for slathering on your chicken.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.
We take every effort to ensure that the estimated meal cost per serving is accurate. We use a meal cost analysis application that estimates the cost of a recipe based on groceries purchased at a Walmart store in my geographical area, northern California.
Lay the cooked Shoyu chicken over white rice. Pour the pan drippings over the top. Serve with grilled green onions and the thickened sauce.