Say Aloha to Our Best Hawaiian Recipes

Chef John's Loco Moco
Loco Moco. Photo: Chef John

Aloha means hello and goodbye, and its also a special feeling that you get from those tropical islands known as Hawaii. We're super excited that the melting pot style of cuisine from the 50th state is starting to heat up as a trend on the mainland and beyond. Think about sitting on the beach with some ahi poke, Spam musubi, lau lau, loco moco, and grilled teriyaki. Then, all you need to make for a perfect luau-inspired party is a round of Tiki Drinks.

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Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi

Appetizers are known as pupus in Hawaii, and while some dishes seem familiar, there's still a fun twist -- like Spam-topped sushi, for instance. "Spam Musubi is a popular snack in Hawaii," says Rashad Maiden, who submitted the recipe. "It is a type of sushi that has marinated cooked spam in sushi. I got this recipe from a local Hawaiian friend when I was living there."

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Lomi Lomi

close up of a plate of lomi lomi

"It's just not a luau without the lomi!," says SAXONY. "Smoked salmon, tomato and onion make up this tantalizing Hawaiian salad."

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Chef John's Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon
Crab Rangoon | Photo by Chef John.

"These crispy crab and cream cheese wontons are one of the most addictive, delicious, and crowd-pleasing appetizers ever created," says Chef John. "That is, if the filling has enough crab in it. I'm using a 1 to 1 ratio of crab to cream cheese."

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Sweet Teriyaki Beef Skewers

looking at a plate of sweet teriyaki beef skewers and other sides on a plate

The cookout culture is strong in Hawaii, with Pacific Islanders firing up the barbecue year-round. "These grilled teriyaki beef skewers are an easy way to prepare a delightful appetizer or main meat dish!" says sheilago7. "Kids love the tenderness and sweetness, as do the adults."

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Ahi Poke Salad

Ahi Poke Salad
Ahi Poke Salad. Fleetsailor

"You can find this raw tuna salad appetizer all over Hawaii," says SKYELIGHT. "During the hot summer months, it is especially refreshing as a mini entree! Cold, tasty and good for you!"

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Grilled Pineapple

slices grilled pineapple
Diane Boggs Colbert

"These are SO easy and really good," says GREEGI. "The hot sauce gives it an extra kick and cuts the sweetness. They can help with patience while the rest of the grilled feast comes together, but be warned, they go quickly!"

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Shoyu Chicken

Shoyu Chicken
Steve Tims

Shoyu Chicken is Hawaii's answer to teriyaki chicken. Chicken thighs are marinated in a sweet, spicy soy sauce marinade, then grilled, and served with rice. "Shoyu Chicken is a popular Hawaiian dish," says The Big E. "The word shoyu is Japanese for soy sauce. Let the chicken soak in the marinade for at least an hour, the longer the better."

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Huli Huli Pineapple Chicken

close up of huli huli pineapple chicken
Kim's Cooking Now

For this Hawaiian barbeque chicken, crushed pineapple and brown sugar create a delicious marinade that caramelizes beautifully on the grill. "This Hawaiian BBQ is commonly found at roadside fundraisers," says Mark Bender. "This recipe uses crushed pineapple and brown sugar for caramelized texture and wonderful flavor. And, if you are wondering, 'huli' is the Hawaiian term for 'turn.'"

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Kalbi Ribs

high angle looking down at a plate full of kalbi ribs
Soup Loving Nicole

In this Hawaiian-inspired version of kalbi ribs, beef short ribs are marinated in a soy sauce-based marinade. "This is a very tasty marinade that my aunt brought to the family from Hawaii," says DeenaMae. "It has a teriyaki flavor. We marinate the meat and then grill it on a gas grill."

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Hawaiian Beach Shrimp

shrimp skewer with fluffy rice
Hawaiian Beach Shrimp.

"This recipe is great for hibachi on the beach or in your backyard," says Nancy LY. "If you're not in Hawaii or near a beach, you can also broil it in your oven. It's a easy way to prepare a shrimp dish that's 'ono' (delicious) and moist! You can serve this either as an appetizer (pupu) or entree. I prepare it either with or without the shells on -- depending on how fast I want people to eat 'um up! Aloha from Hawaii! Enjoy!"

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Sesame Crusted Mahi Mahi with Soy Shiso Ginger Butter Sauce

Sesame Crusted Mahi Mahi with Soy Shiso Ginger Butter Sauce
Leah B.

"Mahi mahi fillets are encrusted with black and white sesame seeds, and pan seared," says Ryan Nomura. "The sauce is rich and creamy, and flavored with soy, ginger, shallots, and shiso (a Japanese herb related to basil and mint)."

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Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker

Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker
Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker. DIZ

The key to this recipe is a simple rub of Hawaiian sea salt and a little liquid smoke. The meat comes out of the slow cooker so tender and with the smoky flavor you get from a real Hawaiian pig roast. "This is a simple way of making traditional Hawaiian kalua pig without having to dig a hole in your back yard," says KIKUKAT.

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Chef John's Loco Moco

Chef John's Loco Moco
Loco Moco. Chef John

"This amazing Hawaiian comfort food classic is made by topping rice with a fried burger, which is then smothered with a rich, brown gravy and finished with a fried egg," says Chef John. "Seriously, how did it take until 1949 for someone to think of this combination? We all get hangry sometimes, so whether you're a broke student or an older professional who just wishes you were, this cheap, filling bowl of goodness is the perfect solution. Garnish with green onions."

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Chicken Katsu

Chicken Katsu

"This is my family recipe for Chicken Katsu, the Japanese-style fried chicken," says sakuraiiko. "Can also be used to make Tonkatsu, just use pork cutlets instead of chicken. Serve with white rice and tonkatsu sauce."

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Island-Style Fried Rice

fried rice with cubes of Spam and sliced green onions
Angela F.

Fried rice with pineapple and Spam is a tasty island-style dish. "Everyone in Hawaii has their own version of fried rice," says chen. "This is my own version that the locals ate in Hawaii."

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Hawaii Chicken

Crushed pineapple and thinly sliced bell pepper in a thick, sweet soy sauce make a tasty glaze for baked chicken. "A delicious taste of the islands!" says NIBLETS. "I like to serve this over rice or, better yet, chow mein noodles. Aloha!"

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Hawaiian Bruddah Potato Mac (Macaroni) Salad

looking down at a large bowl of Hawaiian bruddah potato mac salad
Chez Don

"Aloha Bruddah! It's a local Hawaiian mixplate side favorite," says Tuihalalalala. "I think people make it differently, just like potato salad can be made in 101 Da Kine ways. This is my own easy and favorite version of ONO (tasty) potato mac. Umm, 2 scoop potato mac for me, pleeze!"

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Jo's Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

Jo's Hawaiian Chicken Burgers
Jo's Hawaiian Chicken Burgers | Photo by Kim. Kim

These ground chicken burgers boast big Hawaiian-inspired flavors like ginger, teriyaki, and pineapple.

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This Hawaiian dish features soba noodles, SPAM(R), and a flavorful broth topped with soft-cooked eggs. "Saimin is a popular Hawaiian dish that has vibes reminiscent of ramen, not surprising given the Japanese influence on food and culture in Hawaii," says thymeforpineapple. "The quick, yet flavorful broth sets the stage for this comforting soup."

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Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki Stir-Fry Bowl

Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki Stir-Fry Bowl
Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki Stir-Fry Bowl. thedailygourmet

The key to this simple teriyaki bowl is the Hawaiian-inspired marinade, which combines pineapple juice, brown sugar, tamari, garlic, ginger paste, and onion powder. You'll cook slices of marinated sirloin and strips of bell peppers, onions, and carrots in the Instant Pot, adding refrigerated chow mein noodles at the end. "This beef teriyaki bowl is not only easy to fix, but has a taste of the islands," says thedailygourmet.

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Lau Lau

Lau Lau.

Salt butterfish, pork, and chicken are wrapped in layers of taro leaves and ti leaves, and then steamed. "This is an authentic taste of real Hawai'i just like Momma used to make," says foodelicious. "Puts a tear in my eye."

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More Regional Recipes

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