Hawaii is known by many names, including the Aloha State, the Islands of Aloha, and the Paradise of the Pacific.
The word ‘Aloha’ roughly translates to ‘breath of life’, and that’s exactly how we would describe this tropical US state’s cuisine.
If you would like to try out some Hawaiian recipes for yourself, you’re in luck, because we’ve chosen 29 delicious and easy Hawaiian recipes for you to make at home!
Whether you’re interested in elevating your usual cooking with some simple Hawaiian sides and beverages, or compiling a full three-course meal based around Hawaiian dishes, you’ll find a recipe here to expand your culinary horizons.
Be sure to stick around until the end for our FAQ section, where we’ll be answering them.
One of the best ways to give your usual menu a Hawaiian twist is to serve your main course with a simple Hawaiian side dish, like this Hawaiian fried rice!
If you love fried rice dishes, you’ll be obsessed with this pineapple and ham fried rice, which also features red bell peppers and eggs.
In addition to the sweet pineapple flavor, you’ll be able to taste soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot sauce (see also ‘10 Best Hot Sauce Subscription Boxes‘) all of which come together for a beautiful flavor experience.
2. Lomi Lomi
Lomi Lomi is a traditional Hawaiian dish based around 3 simple ingredients that work together to make a delicious salad that can be enjoyed on its own or as a side.
The ingredients in this Lomi Lomi recipe are smoked salmon, tomato, and onion. This specific recipe calls for a combination of green and white onion.
While these ingredients are delicious together, the recipe also recommends seasoning with some cayenne pepper (to taste) in order to give the dish some spice.
3. Kalua Pork
If you love pork, you should make trying this kalua pork recipe a priority.
Kalua pork is one of the most popular dishes in Hawaii, and if you have a slow-cooker (or a dutch oven to use as an alternative) it’s really easy to prepare.
In Hawaii, Kalua pork would typically be served at a luau (see also ‘13 Best Luau Finger Food Recipes‘).
The entire pig would traditionally be smoked in a sand pit, but in this case, you’ll simply put your pork into a crock pot, puncture it with a knife, and drizzle it with liquid mesquite smoke after seasoning with sea salt.
Another Hawaiian meat-based dish is Shoyu chicken.
This is the perfect taste of Hawaii for those who love sweet and sour chicken dishes because it’s sticky, sweet, and a little spicy, too!
While Shoyu chicken is originally a Japanese dish (see also ‘18 Homemade Hibachi Recipes You Need To Try!‘), it’s commonly served in Hawaii.
To make this chicken, you’ll need some chicken thighs, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, yellow onion, and red pepper flakes.
If you’ve never tried Haupia, you’re missing out! This coconut pudding is a traditional Hawaiian dessert and it’s the ideal way to finish a delicious meal.
You only need 4 ingredients to make your own Haupia at home: full-fat coconut milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and water. That’s it!
Once you have your ingredients, you’ll simply heat up the coconut milk, mix the other ingredients together, pour the mixture into a pan, and leave it to set in the refrigerator.
Pineapple is one of the central flavors of Hawaiian cuisine, and this grilled pineapple recipe is flavorsome enough to stand alone as a dessert or snack.
Alternatively, you can add it to other recipes as a topping or a side – it’s so versatile!
This recipe suggests grilling slices of pineapple in a marinade of hot sauce, butter, salt, and honey.
It only takes 2 or 3 minutes on each side to achieve the perfect texture.
7. Spam Musubi
Spam Musubi is a Hawaiian twist on Japanese cuisine.
This sushi recipe involves topping pressed rice with a slice of spam or luncheon meat and wrapping these layers with a sheet of nori.
The great thing about spam musubi is that it’s both versatile and bite-sized.
You can prepare these in advance and save them for when you want a tasty snack, or they can be served hot as a freshly prepared appetizer.
Another popular Hawaiian dish that demonstrates the Japanese influence over the island’s cuisine is saimin.
Much like ramen, this noodle and broth dish manages to be both comforting and packed with a vast array of flavors.
This particular saimin recipe calls for soba noodles, luncheon meat, fresh ginger, green onions, eggs, soy sauce, chicken stock, and kosher salt.
If you want to experience some of the freshest, most vibrant flavors of Hawaii without having to spend any time actually cooking, this Hawaiian fruit salad is the perfect choice.
Of course, you will be using a whole fresh pineapple, paired with mandarin oranges, strawberries, green grapes, shredded coconut, vanilla extract, and your choice of yogurt (we recommend either plain vanilla or pina colada flavored).
10. Spam Fried Rice
This recipe is similar to the Hawaiian fried rice we suggested earlier, but unlike the first recipe, it calls for actual luncheon meat or spam rather than diced ham.
We have recommended both because spam is not to everyone’s taste despite being so popular in Hawaii, but if you want to try truly authentic Hawaiian fried rice, this is the recipe you should follow.
In addition to the spam, the recipe involves sweetcorn, green peas, and diced carrots.
You’ll also get some extra flavor from the fish sauce, onions, sriracha, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
A Hawaiian haystack is a dice and gravy-based dish served with a variety of toppings.
It’s the perfect Hawaiian recipe for using up leftover food and putting together a delicious meal quickly.
Taking just 15 minutes to make from start to finish, this Hawaiian haystacks recipe uses sour cream, milk, shredded chicken, cream of chicken soup, and hot rice for the base.
Then, for the toppings, you’ll add pineapple, shredded cheese, shredded carrots, chow mein noodles, peas, green onions, tomatoes, and black olives.
12. Mai Tai
This amazing Hawaiian-inspired drink is made with dark rum, cointreau, orange juice, grenadine, aged rum, orgeat syrup, lime juice, and granulated sugar.
As you can probably tell from the list of ingredients, it’s quite strong. Mai Tai is typically garnished with a slice of orange, as is the case in this recipe.
Readers should be aware that this is a variation of the authentic Hawaiian beverage and not an exact replication.
Hawaii is known for its delicious seafood recipes, and this recipe for Hawaiian shrimp (see also ‘13 Recipes for Leftover Shrimp‘) is an excellent example.
To prepare these beach-themed delicacies, you’ll need some shrimp (fresh or frozen depending on what you prefer) and a few more ingredients for the marinade.
You’ll be using mayonnaise, oyster sauce, lemon pepper seasoning, fresh parsley, white sugar, and minced garlic.
You will also need some wooden skewers for threading the shrimp.
Furikake is a popular Hawaiian snack, so the next time you find yourself feeling hungry in the middle of the day, consider preparing yourself a bowl of Furikake Chex Mix.
While you can buy this cereal mix from certain places, it tastes even better if you make it yourself.
You’ll need to mix corn chex, wheat chex, bugles, fritos, honeycomb cereal, and pretzels with karo syrup, butter, vegetable oil, sugar, soy sauce, and nori goma furikake.
15. Oxtail Soup
Oxtail soup originally came from Java, which is an Indonesian island.
However, it’s a popular dish in Hawaii, and this Hawaiian-style oxtail soup recipe is phenomenal.
You don’t need many ingredients to make a delicious Hawaiian oxtail soup, but you will need some time on your hands because the process of slow-cooking the oxtail takes several hours.
To infuse the oxtail with Hawaiian flavors, you’ll cook it alongside chili, peanuts, star anise, cilantro, ginger, and orange peel.
16. Lau Lau
Lau Lau is one of the most authentically Hawaiian dishes out there, so if you really want to appreciate Hawaiian cuisine, this is a recipe you should definitely try.
This dish is a mixture of several proteins (salt butterfish, chicken and pork) steamed in ti leaves and taro leaves.
Again, this recipe takes 4 hours to cook, but it only takes 30 minutes to prepare the ingredients, and by the end of the process, you’ll have 4 delicious servings of Lau Lau.
17. Pineapple Salsa
A pineapple salsa doesn’t take much time and effort to make, so if you’re looking for ways to add a taste of Hawaii to an existing recipe without having to add too much cooking time, this is a great idea.
The only ingredients you need to make this pineapple salsa are pineapple, lime, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, salt, and chili powder.
This creates a powerful flavor experience that you’ll want to enjoy again and again!
For a sweet and satisfying dessert that will cleanse your palate after a meal, try this Hawaiian rice pudding recipe.
To make the rice pudding, you’ll cook long-grain white rice in a mixture of milk, cream cheese, vanilla extract, egg, sugar, and salt.
Then, you’ll make a pineapple sauce to go on top of the rice, which consists of pineapple chunks, cornstarch, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and some more salt.
Huli Huli pineapple chicken is a Hawaiian barbecue staple, so next time you’re having a cookout, follow this recipe to recreate a Hawaiian classic that your friends and family will love.
The chicken in this recipe is cooked in a blend of liquid smoke (see also ‘40 Of The Best Smoker Recipes That Are Perfect For Beginners‘), red wine, ketchup, brown sugar, pineapple, ginger, minced garlic, shoyu, and worcestershire sauce.
A lot of these are very strong flavors but the sweetness from the pineapple and sugar helps to bring some balance to the overall flavor.
Passion fruit bars, known as Liliko’i in Hawaii, are a very popular Hawaiian dessert.
The bars consist of a crust and tropical fruit filling, both of which can easily be made by hand.
The crust is made with unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, salt, and granulated sugar.
The filling consists of passion fruit puree, eggs, and more flour and granulated sugar.
You can prepare 16 delicious passionfruit bars in as little as 40 minutes, so this is an easy and relatively quick dessert to make on short notice.
Chicken kebabs are a cookout favorite in many areas of the world, and Hawaii is no exception.
These Hawaiian-style chicken kebabs are made of chicken, pineapple chunks, red onion, and bell peppers, but the real Hawaiian flavor comes from the delicious marinade!
To make the marinade, you will combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, olive oil, pineapple juice, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar.
Once you try this combination, you’ll add these chicken kebabs to your cookout menu on a permanent basis.
Bruddah potato macaroni salad is something you’ll find on many menus in Hawaii, but you can easily recreate this Hawaiian favorite yourself at home.
This salad is made using mostly simple ingredients such as eggs, macaroni, potatoes, mayonnaise, curry powder, celery seed, peas, sweet onion, and grated carrots.
You can also add sherry vinegar for an extra burst of flavor, but this is optional.
23. Ahi Poke Salad
Another traditional Hawaiian salad that you can serve as its own course or incorporate into a meal as a side is Ahi Poke.
Ahi Poke salad is a raw tuna salad prepared with minced onion, fresh ginger, green onions, roasted macadamia nuts, cilantro, iceberg lettuce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and wakame seaweed.
This recipe is a wonderful example of Hawaii’s excellent seafood-based cuisine, and if you’re not sure whether raw tuna is something you would enjoy, this is the best recipe to test the theory.
You can’t have a Hawaiian-style cookout without a side of Hawaiian coleslaw! Luckily, this is an easy dish to prepare if you follow this recipe.
The slaw itself consists of just 3 ingredients, which are pineapple, mango, and cabbage coleslaw mix.
Most of the preparation time goes into making the dressing, which is made up of honey, ginger, two types of vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
25. Kalbi Ribs
Perfectly cooked ribs are the centerpiece of any barbecue, but if you want to take your menu up a notch, try making these Kalbi ribs directly inspired by Hawaiian cuisine.
Kalbi ribs are ribs that have been coated in a marinade made from soy sauce, white sugar, minced garlic, ground ginger, and sesame oil.
The ribs are then grilled at a medium-to-high heat, turning after 3 or 4 minutes.
26. Butter Mochi
Butter mochi is one of the most indulgent Hawaiian desserts, so if you have a sweet tooth, we recommend adding this recipe to your list.
Butter mochi is made from coconut milk and a type of rice flour called mochiko.
The only other ingredients are unsalted butter, baking powder, evaporated milk, vanilla, granulated sugar, and eggs.
You literally just have to mix all the ingredients together and bake them in the oven, and you have a dessert that’s ready to serve!
We’ve seen the combination of pineapple and chicken a few times so far in these recipes, but we can’t get enough of it!
That’s why we’re also recommending that you try making these pineapple chicken tacos.
This recipe works best if you have a slow cooker because it really brings out the flavors and produces the perfect texture for the chicken.
Preparing the sauce for the chicken doesn’t take very long, but cooking the meat takes about 4 hours, so buy some ready-made tacos to speed up the process.
28. Loco Moco
Loco Moco is a traditional comfort food in Hawaii. It consists of a fried burger served on a bed of rice, with brown gravy and a fried egg on top.
You can make this recipe in just 30 minutes, and you don’t need too many ingredients.
Of course, you will need a ground beef patty (see also our favorite ground bison recipes), some rice, and an egg.
You’ll also need the ingredients for the gravy, which are beef stock, worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, ketchup, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, cornstarch, and unsalted butter.
Season with some green onions, and your Loco Moco is ready to enjoy!
Boiled peanuts are a simple and tasty Hawaiian snack you can prepare in no time using an instant pot.
You will need some raw peanuts that are still in their shells, star anise pods, sea salt, and fresh ginger.
Combine the ingredients, cover with water in your instant pot, and cook for 80 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Hawaiian Food Healthy?
While Hawaiian food can definitely be indulgent, the traditional Hawaiian diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world.
This is because it’s a balanced diet of proteins, fruit, vegetables, and grains, which is highly beneficial as well as delicious.
What Rice Is Used In Hawaii?
A few of our chosen Hawaiian recipes involve rice.
Most of the time, long grain rice is used to prepare Hawaiian rice dishes, although jasmine and basmati rice are acceptable substitutes.
Why Is Spam Popular In Hawaii?
Spam became a staple food in Hawaii during World War II and has remained part of the local food culture.
If one thing is clear about Hawaiian cuisine from this selection of recipes, it’s that Hawaiian food is supremely flavorful as well as healthy and nutritious.
Bear in mind that some traditional Hawaiian ingredients can be difficult to source elsewhere, so be prepared to purchase some of your ingredients online if you want to replicate these recipes exactly.