Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches Recipe

The Hawaiian barbecue chicken sandwiches are a wonderful summer meal!

One of the tough parts about heading back to school is that it’s usually still hot out, at least in this part of California it is. I can remember as a kid, heading back to school was all about autumn, sweaters and pumpkins starting to arrive in the stores. There’s just something about the nostalgia of being in school when the days are still slightly warm, the nights are chilly and the fall harvests are evident in every store you walk into.

Clean Eating Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Photo Credit: eMeals – Used with permission.

But these days, it seems like kids start back to school way before summer is even over. Summer produce is still thriving and you would still rather spend your days off at the beach or the pool. So there seems to be a whole new category for Back To School recipes that make dinner easy while still enjoying those summer-time foods.

I love this slow cooker recipe. You’re using the fresh pineapple of summer, a slow cooker to beat the heat in the kitchen, and it’s still a wonderfully hearty and filling meal. Especially served with the Fresh Pineapple Chunks and Crinkle-Cut Carrots. Yum!!! Talk about an easy, “it’s-still-summer-but-we’re-back-in-school” dinner!

Note: This recipe is courtesy of eMeals.

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Clean Eating Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Delicious sandwiches the whole family will love.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 379kcal


  • Slow cooker (minimum 5 quart)



  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lb. skinless bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 6 oz. canned tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch (or arrowroot powder
  • 6 standard whole grain hamburger buns (I like Alvarado Street Bakery buns from Whole Foods)


  • 1 medium cored, fresh pineapple (cut into chunks)
  • 16 oz. package, crinkle-cut carrots (or use baby carrots)


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken.
  • Brown chicken 3 to 4 minutes; place in slow cooker.
  • Top chicken with onion.
  • Whisk together pineapple juice, tomato paste, soy sauce and vinegar; pour over chicken.
  • Cover and cook on Low 5 to 6 hours; remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with 2 forks.
  • Stir cornstarch into sauce in slow cooker; increase slow cooker heat to High and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
  • Spoon chicken onto buns; top with sauce.Serve pineapple chunks and carrots with sandwiches if using.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 740mg | Potassium: 1217mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 14.2mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg

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  1. At what point – after shredding the chicken – do you return it to the sauce? After you add the cornstarch or after the sauce has thickened? Thanks for the recipe – it will go well with today’s cole slaw recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Karin T – This was the response from the eMeals team: “You pour all of the sauce over the chicken and let it cook. Then remove cooked chicken and shred it. And thicken that sauce that is left behind in the slow cooker; then pour it over the sandwiches. Hope this helps.”

  2. Can I use boneless breasts instead? Do I need to change the cook time? Thank you! Can’t wait to try this!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kristin – Yes, you can use boneless. The time should be about the same. But you should always check meat too be sure it’s the right temperature anyway. In this case, 165 F minimum.

  3. This sounds sooooo good! Will be making it tomorrow 4 sure:) Thank you for the recipe.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Barb – I hope you enjoy it! 🙂