No Hawaiian party is complete without an assortment of delicious luau party food. Hawaiian luau food has a unique tropical taste with many Asian cuisine influences but an island attitude all its own.
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Luaus first became popular in the middle of the 1900s after World War II. Americans spent time in the South Pacific during the war, and soldiers brought home stories about the luaus they had experienced. Now, you can make the most of this fun Hawaiian tradition with the best luau party foods.
Food for a Hawaiian luau usually incorporates the flavor of pineapple. However, there’s a lot more to luau food ideas than just throwing pineapple into the mix.
Many food ideas for a luau also involve grilled dishes, as grilling is a very popular cooking method on the islands.
Below, we’ve listed 15 of some of the very best Hawaiian luau party food ideas you can make at home for your next luau celebration.
1. Hawaiian Salsa
One of the things I love about luaus is how many foods are served out of pineapples. There’s just something special about this presentation that adds to the party spirit. And this Hawaiian salsa recipe doesn’t disappoint.
For this recipe, you’ll only need a few simple ingredients: diced pineapple, diced orange pepper, diced red pepper, diced red onion, minced cilantro, lime zest, fresh lime juice, and salt.
And, of course, you’ll want to serve this sweet and spicy salsa out of a hollowed-out pineapple for the best presentation.
2. Pineapple Cream Popsicles
If there’s one thing people rave about when they go to Disney World, go on a Disney Cruise, or vacation at the Disney resort in Hawaii, it’s the sweet and insanely addictive Dole Whip dessert. While it’s usually served in a cup, this recipe delivers the same great taste in a popsicle form.
For this cool treat, the ingredients you’ll need include crushed pineapple, pineapple juice, and heavy whipping cream. Creating this fun recipe is super easy and they make for the perfect cool treat on a hot day.
3. Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Bites
In Hawaii, pork is a very popular meat, and like all Americans, they love their bacon. And when combining the two, what you get is a sweet, salty, spicy, meaty appetizer that will send your taste buds to seventh heaven!
The only ingredients you need for this recipe are bacon, Worcestershire sauce, fresh pineapple chunks, honey, fresh ginger, soy sauce, ketchup, pineapple juice, and sriracha or hot chili sauce.
You won’t believe the flavor explosion when all these ingredients come together! And don’t forget to keep that pineapple husk for your serving bowl!
4. Grilled Ham and Pineapple Kabobs
Another favorite pork and pineapple dish is this recipe for grilled pineapple and ham kabobs. They are super easy to put together, and you can throw them right on the grill for that authentic BBQ flavor.
The ingredients for this recipe include ham steak, red onion, orange or red pepper (or both), pineapple chunks, dijon mustard, honey, pineapple preserves, and pineapple juice.
The glaze for this recipe is absolutely to die for, and you can use it in so many other recipes!
5. Spam Musubi
Okay, let’s be honest, what list of luau party foods would be complete without Spam? While it’s not really considered a “high-quality” meat product, Hawaiians have found some pretty clever ways to make this humble canned meat taste absolutely marvelous!
One example is Spam Musubi, a dish that borrows from Hawaii’s heavy Japanese influence.
The ingredients for his recipe include Spam, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, Nori (roasted seaweed), and cooked sushi rice.
And we must emphasize you need “sushi rice,” as it has the stickiness you’ll need.
6. Aloha Burgers
There are just some burgers out there so big, delicious, and juicy they scare us a little. For example, looking at the above picture, you almost get the feeling this Aloha burger has a 50/50 chance of eating you for dinner!
This is truly a monstrous beef burger with savory and sweet homemade pineapple teriyaki sauce, melted cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion topped with spicy mayo, and a delicious golden grilled pineapple ring between two toasted Hawaiian buns.
You may want to break out the knife and fork for this one, folks.
7. Hawaiian Hot Dogs with Grilled Pineapple and Teriyaki Mayo
This recipe takes your average hotdog and gives it a delicious Hawaiian makeover to create one of the best hot dogs you’ll ever taste!
The ingredients for this recipe include sliced pineapple, grape seed oil, cayenne pepper, hot dogs, long potato rolls, mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce, lime juice, sea salt, thinly sliced red onions, cilantro, and jalapeno peppers.
I used Nathan’s all-beef hot dogs for this recipe, but you can use your favorite brand or type of meat, and it will still taste incredible!
8. Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes
Okay, folks, now this is one dessert I’m super excited to tell you about! Pineapple upside-down cake is my absolute favorite cake and is one of my top 10 desserts. This recipe creates individual cupcake-sized cakes topped with a ring of pineapple and a cherry.
You’ll need brown sugar, butter, sliced pineapple, maraschino cherries, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, white sugar, vanilla, eggs, and whole milk.
Biting into that tender vanilla cake and tasting the sweet burst of pineapple glazed in creamy caramel sauce is like biting into heaven.
9. Fruit Kabobs
A fun, healthy, and colorful dessert you can make for your next luau is fruit kabobs. The best thing about fruit kabobs is you can really sub in any fruit you desire.
But I love the combination here. They use fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwis, grapes, and blackberries to create a tasty and colorful treat.
You can also create your own yogurt dipping sauce or use something simple like honey for more flavor options. My wife loves sprinkling red pepper flakes and a hint of cinnamon on hers.
10. Grilled Pineapple Meatball Skewers
Is it really a party without meatballs, folks? I’m not sure, but this recipe makes a convincing argument with a savory combination of sweet grilled pineapples and juicy homemade beef meatballs. They are joined by grilled onions, peppers, and a sweet and sticky pineapple glaze that puts this appetizer over the top!
Plus, these kabobs are really easy to throw together and are ready to eat in just minutes; it’s the perfect appetizer to tide your guests over while your main dish is on the grill.
11. Hawaiian Fried Rice
We’ve talked about appetizers and desserts, but we’ve neglected to mention the incredible luau side dishes. Let’s fix that with this delicious recipe for Hawaiian fried rice that takes a classic dish found in most Chinese food restaurants and gives it a new flavorful twist.
And the homemade sweet and sour sauce is one you’ll want to try with other recipes.
The ingredients in this recipe include vegetable oil, onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, chestnut mushrooms, and cooked ham chunks (or you can use shredded ham).
12. Hawaiian Cheesecake Salad
Another deliciously fruity and creamy dessert is this recipe for Hawaiian Cheesecake Salad. This fruit salad pulls out all the stops with its creamy, sweet cream cheese sauce and a combination of island fruits such as pineapples, bananas, mangos, kiwis, strawberries, and mandarin oranges.
Now for this recipe, if you don’t have creamer, you can also use heavy cream, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and other ingredients to help create the cream cheese sauce.
13. Hawaiian Coleslaw
This recipe for Hawaiian Coleslaw is another side dish that blends cool and creamy coleslaw with a tropical island flavor. This slaw’s the perfect topper for your pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers, plus it makes a great side dish for other meals like fried chicken. But, the show’s star has to be the homemade lime-ginger soy vinaigrette dressing – yum!
14. Hawaiian Style Shoyu Chicken
One of my favorite traditional Hawaiian dishes is Shoyu chicken. It’s sweet, juicy, savory, and only takes about 30 minutes to make!
This salty-sweet dish also highlights Hawaii’s tradition of fusion. Shoyu is Japanese for “soy sauce,” and it’s also the name of a famous Hawaiian brand. The combination of soy sauce, ginger, pepper, brown sugar, garlic, and other spices is delicious beyond all reason!
15. Pina Colada Cupcakes
Finally, we end our luau party food journey on a sweet note with Pina Colada Cupcakes. These moist, soft, fluffy little cakes or bursting with the classic flavors we love in pina Coladas. These are the perfect dessert to top off a big meal or serve as sweet little appetizers. They are also great for birthday parties, baby showers, and Sunday brunch.
Hawaiian Luau parties are all about lighthearted fun while celebrating a one-of-kind culture that continues to fascinate the world. And Hawaiian party food reflects the spirit of fun and merriment found in every great luau.
We’ve had the pleasure of taking a look at 15 amazing examples of Hawaiian Luau food ideas, and while few of them are strictly “traditional,’ all these recipes embrace the spirit of Hawaiian culture in all the best ways.
But most importantly, luau party foods are about the spirit of “aloha”, which is more than just a greeting in Hawaiian culture but rather a lifestyle that welcomes everyone to join in their celebration of life.
You can also find more amazing Luau party food recipes in the video below.
Our 15+ BEST Luau Party Food Recipes (+Hawaiian Salsa)
- 3/4 cup each diced orange and red bell pepper
- 1 1/2 cups diced pineapple
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 Tbsp. cilantro
- 3 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- Combine all ingredients and stir well.
- Store for up to three days.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.
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