Tropical Island Chicken Recipe
Tropical Island Chicken Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Tropical Island Chicken Recipe

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The marinade makes a savory statement in this all-time-favorite chicken recipe that I served at our son's pirate-themed birthday party. It smelled so good on the grill that guests could hardly wait to try a piece! —Sharon Hanson, Franklin, Tennessee
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. + marinating Grill: 45 min.
MAKES:8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. + marinating Grill: 45 min.
MAKES: 8 servings


  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 broiler/fryer chickens (3 to 4 pounds each), quartered

Nutritional Facts

1 serving: 296 calories, 21g fat (4g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 1199mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 0 fiber), 23g protein.


  1. In a small bowl, combine first 10 ingredients. Set aside 1/3 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken; seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Place chicken over drip pan; grill, covered, over indirect medium heat 45-60 minutes or until a thermometer reads 170°-175°, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade during the last 20 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Tropical Island Chicken in Taste of Home August/September 2001, p37

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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mjlouk User ID: 1712085 231664
Reviewed Aug. 23, 2015

"Amazing! This is going into heavy rotation! Good enough for company. We loved it."

kibbeyhouse1 User ID: 5300358 228682
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2015

"I have chronic problems remembering to get things out of the freezer, let alone marinate overnight. Having said that, I had a couple of those huge boneless chicken breasts that hadn't made it to the freezer yet. This is WONDERFUL! I think my new plan will have to be to remember (again with the remembering) to put these in the marinade as soon as I come home from the store. A mega keeper! Oh, and we didn't grill. I put them in the oven 400 degrees about 30 minutes."

ReneeC___NCalif User ID: 106192 228623
Reviewed Jun. 27, 2015

"I'm going to try this with beef too!"

mmohler User ID: 2780522 125422
Reviewed Jul. 4, 2013

"Switched poppy seeds for the sesame seeds, and a teaspoon of freeze-dried garlic instead of garlic cloves, used boneless/skinless chicken thighs, marinated overnight, and grilled over direct heat. A hit with our entire family. Yummy!"

Gardener88 User ID: 7315785 31675
Reviewed Jun. 26, 2013

"I've been making this since i first saw it in 2001. EVERYONE LOVES IT!!! My whole family, extended family, friends... I use it with boneless chicken, but the marinade keeps it moist and juicy every time!"

sgronholz User ID: 1473861 80550
Reviewed May. 19, 2013

"My husband and I tried this recipe tonight with chicken breast halves and it was wonderful! We'll definitely make it again!"

HaleyBella User ID: 7256863 88840
Reviewed May. 9, 2013


kclementsdvm User ID: 1360203 125349
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2012

"We love trying different marinades, and this is a definite winner! We don't have a grill, so I marinated cut-up chicken breasts and then cooked them on the stove. Delicious!"

myndilori User ID: 2231701 31105
Reviewed Sep. 23, 2011

"I have always left out the sesame seeds because I never have them in my pantry but it is the easiest and best chicken marinade ever! Have used this since it was first published several years ago and it is always well received."

jmkasprak User ID: 2880256 204438
Reviewed Aug. 23, 2011

"The chicken had good flavor from the soy sauce, garlic and ginger. I'm not sure what makes it "tropical." Overall, a very good recipe."

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