Hawaiian shoyu chicken

Hawaiian shoyu chicken recipe - new 1Hawaiian-style shoyu chicken 2Hawaiian-style shoyu chicken 1Hawaiian shoyu chicken recipe - new 4Hawaiian shoyu chicken recipe - new 3
  • Servings : 6
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 45m

Chicken in a pot Hawaiian-style

Shoyu chicken is the the traditional Hawaiian recipe for teriyaki chicken.  Shoyu chicken is cooked in a pot, not on a grill or in the oven, and results in ginger-fragrent, fork-tender chicken with a deep mahogany skin.  Shoyu means “soy sauce,” and is the one ingredient that is always included in shoyu chicken recipes.  After soy sauce, everyone has their own variations.  Most commonly locals just throw in whatever is in the fridge, including: rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, catsup, sugar, brown sugar, honey, chicken broth, beer, saki, guava juice, ginger, garlic, cilantro, Chinese Five Spice and star anise.  Shoyu chicken is kind of hard to mess up.  The only thing you don’t want to do is over cook the chicken or it will be tough.

Sam Choy’s Shoyu Chicken Recipe

I use Sam Choy’s recipe, which he finishes with a glaze made from the shoyu broth the chicken cooks in.  It takes a couple extra minutes, but is a beautiful finishing touch.  Mirin and Chinese Five Spice are available in many grocery markets.  Chinese  Five Spice is a powdered combination of anise pepper, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and star anise.  Before preparing, check out my tip for peeling fresh ginger.

Kids love this Hawaiian chicken recipe

This is the dish my daughter Lauren always requested for her birthday dinner and is always a hit with kids.

Serve with:

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Puamana coconut rice

Hawaiian chocolate bread pudding

Hawaiian shoyu chicken

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

45 minutes

Yield: 6

Hawaiian shoyu chicken

Ginger-scented and fork-tender, traditional shoyu chicken is a Hawaiian indulgence you won't want to miss.


  • 3 cups shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1.5 cups mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 T ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 T garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 t Chinese Five Spice
  • 3 T cilantro, finely chopped
  • 12 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 T water
  • Whole cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a pot large enough to hold all the chicken. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and return to a boil. Reduce heat an cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Don't over cook.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pot and put it on a serving platter. Keep warm.
  3. Remove one cup of shoyu broth from the cooking pot and skim off fat from the top. Discard the remaining sauce, or better yet, serve it with a big bowl of steamed rice. Return the defatted shoyu broth to the cooking pot. Bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water and whisk into boiling broth. Reduce heat and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. It just takes a minute or two. Brush glaze over chicken and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Recipe Comments

  1. Posted by Brooke on December 19, 2013

    Made this last night – flavors were amazing but 20 min cook time for the chicken was not enough.

    • Posted by Kim on December 23, 2013

      Hi Brooke -
      I am glad you enjoyed the flavor. The cooking time can vary a little bit depending on the size of your chicken thighs and how high your flame is. You should be able to cook them within 30 minutes no matter how big they are. Thank you for mentioning as this may help others.

  2. Posted by Crystin on January 30, 2014

    What does T stand for ?

    • Posted by Kim on January 30, 2014

      HI Crystin,

      “T” stands for Tablespoon. And “t” stands for teaspoon.

      Enjoy the shoyu chicken!


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