Shoyu Chicken

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This Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken recipe is so flavorful. Chicken thighs are cooked with lots of fresh ginger, shoyu soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic. A big bonus is that it’s super easy to make–it’s the perfect weeknight meal!

Shoyu Chicken with Hawaiian Mac Salad

Today we are discussing this gorgeous Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken with Hawaiian Mac Salad! But first, have you ever been to a cookbook pot lucky party? I have to say, I think they’re brilliant.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a cookbook potluck where each attendee made a dish from a chosen book. I’ve seen a few on the Instagram and I’ve always been like, “hmm, that’s a good idea!!” What made it even better was all the recipes were supposed to be made from Alana Kysar’s new book Aloha Kitchen!

This book is so breathtakingly beautiful, from the photos of beautiful Hawaii to the food and recipes and the history lesson, it’s really amazing. Last year was the first time I had ever visited Hawaii and the minute I landed and was told we were having dinner on a former plantation, I had A LOT OF QUESTIONS.

What is Shoyu Chicken?

I honestly knew very little about Hawaii. So I did my usual quick history lesson on the car ride to the hotel and I didn’t learn nearly as much as I wanted to.

Alana teaches the history seamlessly, interweaving it with food and how the cuisine and all of its vastness came about. I wanted to try SO many of the recipes, but I settled on this Shoyu Chicken with Hawaiian Mac Salad. And I’ve made it nearly five times since making it for these photos.

Shoyu Chicken is a dish that came from Japanese settlers. It’s made using shoyu soy sauce mixed with brown sugar, ginger and lots of garlic. The sauce is what the chicken is braised in, giving it a delicious depth of flavor.

Shoyu Chicken with Hawaiian Mac Salad

Shoyu Chicken Instant Pot

I’ve made this recipe OVER AND OVER. I’ve made it in the kitchen AND I’ve made it in the Instant Pot with amazing results. It cooks up in about 10 minutes on the high pressure setting. 

Shoyu Chicken with Hawaiian Mac Salad

How to Make Shoyu Chicken

  1. Let’s start with the sauce. In a medium Dutch oven pot, you combine the shoyu soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar, ginger and garlic.
  2. Add the chicken thighs. You really want to use bone-in chicken thighs because, as a result, you’ll get FLAVOR from them.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer. You want the chicken thighs to be submerged into the sauce.
  4. Then add the onion and green onion and turn the heat to medium-low. We want to cook the chicken low and slow.
  5. Cook for one hour total! But at the 30 minute mark, we’re going to flip the chicken to ensure even cooking. As a result, we’re gonna end up with fall-off-the-bone chicken.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and place it on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. Turn on that broiler! As a result, we’re gonna get some crispy skin!
  8. Put the chicken under the broiler. The broiler is tricky so you really want to stay close by.
  9. Add a cornstarch slurry to the sauce and cook it until it’s thickened.
  10. Serve the chicken with mac salad and rice. YUM.

What to Serve with Shoyu Chicken

I like to serve this with Hawaiian mac salad, calrose rice and a side salad. Simple, easy and delicious. Truly the perfect lunch plate and/or dinner.

5 from 27 votes

Shoyu Chicken Recipe

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Shoyu Chicken is a chicken dish with shoyu soy sauce, ginger and scallions; served over rice with a side of Hawaiian Mac Salad.

Equipment

  • 1 (4-quart or 5-quart) Dutch oven or medium pot

Ingredients 

Shoyu Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup shoyu soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 (2-inch knob) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 Maui onion (or yellow onion) , peeled and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 3 whole green onions, white and green parts, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups steamed rice, for serving

Instructions 

  • In a heavy Dutch oven or pot, mix the soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic together. Nestle the chicken thighs in the sauce, skin side up, submerging the meat as much as possible. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. When the sauce comes to a boil, add the Maui or yellow onion wedges and green onion pieces and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 30 minutes. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, gently turn all the chicken pieces over. Cover the pot again and simmer for another 30 minutes. 
  • Check the tenderness of the meat with a fork; if you can easily insert the fork into the meat, the chicken is done. Remove the cooked thighs from the sauce, reserving it, and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. 
  • Preheat the broiler. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the sauce until smooth, then add the cornstarch mixture back to the pot with the remaining sauce and cook over medium-low for 4 to 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Broil the chicken thighs for a minute or two, watching carefully to make sure you do not burn the skin. The goal is to just quickly brown the skin. 
  • Serve the chicken with the thickened sauce and rice. 

Notes

Instant Pot Instructions: 
I’ve made this two times in the Instant Pot and it couldn’t be easier. I added all of the sauce ingredients to the Instant Pot, along with the chicken. I sealed the Instant Pot and put it to high pressure and cooked it for 8 minutes. I did a “quick release” and then proceeded with the recipe, creating the thickened sauce and broiling the chicken. 
Equipment: 
Le Creuset Dutch Oven | Baking Sheet | Instant Pot | Stainless Steel Bowls

Nutrition

Serving: 6g | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.6g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 11.3g | Saturated Fat: 3.1g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 19544mg | Potassium: 502mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 18.6g | Calcium: 490mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: hawaiian, Japanese
Like this Recipe? Please Rate & comment below!

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31 Comments

  1. Can’t wait to make this and will surely return to leave a rating but hoping you can tell me what the green salad in the photos is?! Looks delicious, thanks!

  2. Great recipe! I grew up on Maui eating Shoyu Chicken and have been looking for that familiar taste. By far this is the best one I’ve tried. I followed the pressure cooker instrctions and it was right on.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this awesome recipe. I made this in my Instant Pot today and it was delicious. The flavor of the sauce was amazing and the chicken thighs came out perfect. Putting the chicken under the broiler made the skin of the chicken perfectly browned. I did put the chicken back into the sauce afterwards. Also, I doubled the recipe since I had to feed 5 adults and 1 teen. This recipe is a keeper! Thanks again.

  4. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Also, where did you get the dinner plate from? Or could you tell me what kind of material it is?

    Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    So tried this the regular way and the Instant Pot way. I liked the regular way a lot better! It’s like the flavors just really oozed in the regular way. Thanks for the recipe!