Shoyu Chicken recipe from the kitchen of the Polynesian Cultural Center

CLICK HERE to view our video version of our Shoyu Chicken recipe

Named after a local brand of soy sauce, this chicken dish is a favorite island plate, especially when you and your neighbors are having a luau (potluck) or you just need to please picky eaters. This version comes straight from the Food and Beverage Department of The Polynesian Cultural Center. It may be easy, but that’s part of the beauty of this simple little recipe. It literally fulfills the popular saying “winner, winner, chicken dinner!”

And it’s versatile! A can of pineapple can really add that local Hawaii flavor. Fresh garlic and ginger will give it some ZING. But ask around the North Shore of Oahu and you will find that most people just use the basic ingredients shown below, because in Hawaii, simplicity is a part of ‘living the life’.


Large stew pot

Large spoon for stirring

Ingredients for Shoyu Chicken Recipe from the Polynesian Cultural Center

Ingredients for Shoyu Chicken


  • 4 pounds chicken thighs (about 10 thighs). Other parts can be substituted, if you prefer.
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown or white sugar

Optional ingredients:

Add any or all of the following:

  • 1 piece ginger, crushed (1 tablespoon for mild, up to 2 or more if you like it to have a bit more ‘bite’)
  • Crushed garlic, to taste (suggest 1 – 2 tablespoons)
  • Chopped green onion, to taste (suggest 1/4 cup)


  • Add 1 can unsweetened pineapple chunks, with liquid. Reduce soy sauce to ¾ cup.
  • Substitute ¾ cup honey for sugar


for Shoyu Chicken Recipe:

Place soy sauce, sugar and any optional ingredients into a stew pot and bring to a boil.

Bringing the ingredients to a boil in our Shoyu Chicken recipe

Time to boil the chicken!

Add chicken, and cover with a lid

Reduce temperature to simmer, cooking until chicken is nice and tender (usually 45 – 60 minutes). A good sign that the meat is done is that it will separate from the bone easily.

Cooking Shoyu Chicken in a pot

Cook Shoyu Chicken until tender

Serve over rice – 6-8 servings

Optional: Garnish with chopped green onions, macadamia nuts, and/or pineapple slices

Did you try this recipe?

We’d love to hear how it came out and see a picture of your dish! Use the comment section at the bottom of this page.

#eatpolynesia    #polynesianculturalcenter   #shoyuchicken


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Nina S Jones

Nina S Jones



Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 40+ years, she loves working at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of this amazing world.