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.


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


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


  • 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. 


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. 
Le Creuset Dutch Oven | Baking Sheet | Instant Pot | Stainless Steel Bowls


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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Hi! I'm Adrianna and this is my cozy space on the internet that is super-charged by butter, flour and copious amounts of pasta. Stay awhile, will you!

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  1. After this post and all the raves, I’m convinced to gift this cookbook to my friends who got married in Hawaii this year. My real question is, where did you get that super cute TV dinner-inspired plate/tray?!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for my weekly meal prep last week, and it was sooooo good. I never got sick of it.

    I made a double batch of chicken and froze the leftovers. Love it, and love finding a new cook to follow! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Eeeeep! Thank you so much for such a fun and beautiful post!!! HUGE HUGS!!! Also, I wanna try this in the IP!!

    1. yasss i’m doing it again tonight haha. josh hasn’t tried the potato mac salad so i’m making it for him as a surprise. i’m giving!!! lol.

  4. 5 stars
    Aloha! What you have prepared here is the makings of a typical Hawaiian Plate Lunch. I attended the University of Hawaii and after graduation taught Home Economics in a high school on Oahu. The other teachers taught me a lot of local recipes, including a recipe for the very typical Potato Mac Salad. I used to make it all the time but somehow I have forgotten all about it until now. Thanks for the reminder, for as odd as it sounds, using 2 starches in one salad, it is a delicious combo. I’ll have to try the chicken recipe too!

  5. This looks like a perfect meal prep recipe! What is that delicious looking green salad you served with it? And seconded for IP directions!

      1. I also love the look of the green salad, can you please tell us where to find the recipe for that? Thanks in advance!

  6. So for making it in the Instant Pot, did you just add all of the ingredients and cook on HP for 10 minutes? Natural release 0r quick release?

    1. Yep, I just mixed everything together and then set it to high pressure for 10 minutes. You can do either natural release or quick release. I did quick!

  7. And only make mac salad with Best Foods mayo. That’s local style, tried & true! Thanks Adrianna for sharing these wonderful recipes. I’m excited to check out her book.

  8. 5 stars
    I will have to try this! My Hawaiian neighbor has always said that no Hawaiian makes the same Hawaiian Potato Mac Salad :-). She wouldn’t put in sweet pickle relish but adds peas and either ham (cubed) or crab or shrimp. The Shoyu Chicken looks good, too!

    1. I think this is 100% true. I’ve had a lot of mac salad in my day and have never had it with peas and ham but I think it’s different depending on the family!

  9. I love the idea of a cookbook pot luck party!! I like to buy friends and family cookbooks as holiday presents…and, since I usually buy each person the same book, I should organize one of these parties! lol.