This Hawaiian teriyaki chicken recipe is made right on the griddle with a PERFECT teriyaki sauce! Serve the grilled Hawaiian chicken breasts on a brioche bun with grilled pineapple and red onion for a restaurant-quality sandwich on the griddle!
A while back, we made an authentic Hawaiian teriyaki sauce that put all other bottled teriyaki sauces to shame. A family from Hawaii had shared their authentic teriyaki recipe with us, and we made this awesome Hawaiian beef teriyaki on the griddle.
We loved the homemade sauce so much that we decided to make a few small tweaks and try it with griddle chicken breasts, and the result was flavor-packed perfection! Whether you just serve the teriyaki chicken breasts over a bed of rice or alongside some griddle broccoli, or you add the glazed chicken to a brioche bun, you won’t be disappointed!
So don your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready for an AMAZING twist on the classic teriyaki chicken sandwich:
Ingredients for the Best Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich
Here’s what you need to replicate this awesome griddle sandwich recipe:
The Chicken and Sandwich Toppings
I used boneless skinless chicken breasts for my teriyaki sandwich, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. The thighs are much more forgiving if you’re new to griddle cooking, because they have a higher fat content and are much less prone to drying out if you accidentally overcook them.
You will also need fresh pineapple slices and slices of raw onion. I used red onion for a pop of color, but yellow or white onion would work as well. When you cook the onion on the griddle, the natural sweetness comes out, so no need to use a sweet onion variety like Vidalia.
Here are some other topping ideas for your Hawaiian teriyaki chicken sandwich:
- thinly sliced purple cabbage
- leaf lettuce
- siracha or other hot sauce
The Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Before I give you the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce, keep in mind that this is an authentic recipe from a family in Hawaii… Hawaiian teriyaki was actually created before pineapples were brought to the islands, so you’ll notice that this recipe does not include those typical ingredients that many people would assume go into a teriyaki sauce. No pineapple juice or brown sugar in sight.
Here’s what you need:
- soy sauce
- mirin – A Japanese cooking wine with a sweet and tangy flavor.
- granulated sugar
- minced ginger – I prefer to use this squeeze bottle of ginger for most of my Asian-inspired recipes. This prepped ginger is super convenient, and it’s one of my “staple ingredients” that I always have in my fridge.
- minced garlic
- hot sauce – I prefer to use siracha for this teriyaki sauce recipe.
How to Make Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches on the Griddle
Making the Teriyaki Sauce
The first step to crafting this delicious sandwich is to start cooking the teriyaki sauce. The ingredients will need time to reduce to a glaze consistency, so the sauce can be cooking while you prepare the other teriyaki sandwich ingredients.
Just place a large skillet on the heated griddle surface (or on the stovetop), and add all of the teriyaki sauce ingredients like this:
Continue to cook the sauce on the hotter side of the griddle, stirring occasionally. Just keep an eye on it… You don’t want the sauce to get away from you and start reducing too quickly. After about 5-7 minutes, depending on the temp of your griddle surface, the sauce will start to foam up a bit like this:
Once the teriyaki sauce starts to bubble up a lot like this, continue to cook for a few more minutes, and then move the skillet to a cooler side of the griddle, or remove it from the heat completely.
Remember, your teriyaki will thicken up as it cools down.
Grilling the Pineapple and Onion
While the teriyaki sauce is reducing, go ahead and start cooking the red onion slices. The onions will take longer to grill than the pineapple slices, so place them on the griddle first.
I left the red onion slices whole (see the photo above) instead of breaking them up into individual rings, because I wanted more of a “bite” to balance out the sweetness from the teriyaki and pineapple. It may seem like a lot of onion to add to one sandwich, but the flavor is mellowed down quite a bit when you cook it. Of course, if you prefer, you can sauté sliced or diced onions instead.
Just add a squirt of your favorite cooking oil to the griddle surface, and spread it around a bit with your spatula. Place the onion “medallions” in the oil and season with a little salt. I wanted my onions to get a good char on them, so I added a weighted press on top of the slices as well. When the onions have developed a nice color on the first side, carefully flip them to the second side and continue to cook until done.
For the pineapple rings, just add a sprinkle of sugar on one side of each ring, and then place the rings down on the griddle to caramelize. Once the first side has some good color, flip to the second side and cook another few minutes until done.
CHEF’S TIP – Immediately after you remove the pineapple from the griddle, clean that area of the griddle. Scrape the griddle top down with your bench scraper to remove the excess sugars. If you don’t, the sugar will continue to caramelize and burn on the hot surface, and it will be a pain to clean later.
Cooking the Chicken Breasts on the Griddle
Cooking griddle chicken breasts is incredibly easy to do, as long as you have an instant read probe thermometer.
Just cut the boneless skinless chicken breasts in half and pound out any thicker areas so that the breasts cook evenly on the griddle. I prefer to cut the breasts in half instead of butterflying them and cutting them in half lengthwise, because then the chicken is the perfect size to fit on a sandwich bun.
Then, just sprinkle both sides of the breasts with a bit of salt and pepper, add about 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil to the heated griddle surface, and place the chicken on the flat top grill to cook like this:
Allow the chicken breasts to cook on the first side untouched for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the temperature of your griddle and how thin your pieces are. Then, flip to the second side and cook an additional 3-5 minutes before you start temping each breast to check for doneness.
Remember, the chicken breasts will cook at different times on the griddle based on their sizes and the temperature zones of your particular flat top grill, so be sure to insert the probe thermometer into the thickest part of each piece of chicken. As the chicken pieces reach 165 degrees F, remove them from the griddle to rest.
As the chicken is cooking, go ahead and toast the brioche buns on the griddle as well.
Building the Ultimate Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich
While the cooked chicken is still hot, immediately add the breasts to the skillet with the teriyaki sauce and coat them in that Hawaiian goodness like this:
Then it’s time to build your Hawaiian teriyaki chicken sandwich!
Add the teriyaki chicken breast to the bottom side of the toasted bun, top with the grilled pineapple and onion slices and the top bun, and then you’re ready to enjoy this awesome griddle chicken sandwich! You can also add a bit of siracha for a little spice to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients.
If you are looking for an excellent Hawaiian teriyaki sauce, this is it right here! Even just with the chicken and the teriyaki glaze… no bun or sandwich toppings needed! In fact, my wife couldn’t stop dipping the chicken breasts directly in the skillet with the sauce and eating it just like that.
Other Teriyaki Griddle Recipes
If you loved this teriyaki chicken sandwich, then be sure to check out some of our other recipes that use a homemade teriyaki sauce:
- Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki on the Griddle (Authentic and Easy!) – This Hawaiian beef is packed full of flavor and super easy to make on your griddle!
- Hibachi Chicken on the Griddle (Easy Blackstone Hibachi Recipe) – This chicken teriyaki recipe is very similar to the griddle chicken that you get from your favorite Japanese steakhouse… another great version of a teriyaki sauce that you can make right on the Blackstone grill!
Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 large garlic cloves)
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3-4 tablespoons cooking oil (we prefer avocado oil)
- salt and pepper
- 4 fresh pineapple rings
- 4 red onion slices (with all rings together)
- 4 brioche style hamburger buns
- siracha (optional)
- Cut the chicken breasts in half and pound out any fatter areas so the breasts are uniform in thickness.
- Heat griddle until it reaches about 375 degrees F. As griddle is heating up, add a skillet to the top to warm.
- Add soy sauce, mirin, granulated sugar, garlic and ginger to the warm skillet. Stir all ingredients together and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When sauce begins to get foamy and bubbly (after about 5-7 minutes), move the skillet to a cooler zone on the griddle and continue to reduce until the teriyaki reaches a glaze-like consistency. Then, remove the skillet from the griddle to cool a bit. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- While sauce is cooking, add about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil to the heated griddle surface and spread it around with your spatula. Place the onion slices in the oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and cook the onions on the first side until a nice char develops, about 3-5 minutes. Flip to the second side and continue to cook until done. Then remove the cooked onions from the griddle. *Be careful when handling the onions so that the rings don't separate.
- Place the pineapple rings on the griddle and cook on the first side until lightly golden brown and caramelized. Flip pineapple slices to the second side and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Then remove from the griddle.
- While the onion and pineapple slices are cooking, add about 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a clear spot on the griddle. Place the chicken breasts in the oiled area and cook on the first side untouched for about 3-5 minutes, or until a light golden char develops. Flip the chicken breasts to the second side and continue to cook until the internal temp of each breast is 165 degrees F. *Depending on your chicken thickness and griddle temp, you may need to flip the chicken breasts a few times so they cook evenly. Then, remove the chicken from the griddle.
- While chicken is still hot, immediately add the breasts to the skillet with the teriyaki sauce and toss to coat.
- Build the Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches. Add the teriyaki chicken breasts to the bottom toasted bun, and top with one slice of grilled pineapple and one grilled onion medallion. Add siracha if you wish, and top with the top bun. Enjoy!