Simple Luau Recipes

Normally, for a party, you’ll make painstaking efforts to prepare the perfect feast but food for a luau is so simple! Fresh ingredients as well as easy cooking methods make Hawaiian cuisine a breeze to prepare. Plus, the effortless fare will make guests feel like they are at a real luau instead of a commercialized version of one. So do less cooking (and more relaxing) with these simple food recipes for a luau:


Although kabobs originate from the Middle East, this dish like many others was brought to Hawaii by immigrants. Hawaiians adapted this recipe by skewering chicken, pork, and seafood along with local produce. The Hawaiians lack their own seasonings, so they also incorporated those of the incoming Polynesians to spice up their cuisine. Kabobs are a fine example of Hawaii’s not only delicious but multi-cultural approach to food.

Cubed chicken or pork, or whole shrimp

Sliced onions and peppers

Pineapple chunks

Polynesian dressing

Skewer chicken, pork, or seafood with onions, peppers, and pineapples in an alternating pattern. Marinate with Polynesian dressing in the refrigerator overnight. Grill kabobs half an hour before meal.


Many foods were introduced to Hawaiian cuisine from other cultures, but sweet potatoes are actually native to Hawaii. Traditionally, the Hawaiians baked them without the usual trappings – butter, cinnamon, sugar – but you should provide these add-ons for your guests in case they desire more flavor. Either way, sweet potatoes represent the bounty of Hawaii’s unique cornucopia.

Washed sweet potatoes

Preset the oven to 400 degrees. Place washed sweet potatoes in the oven for half an hour before meal.


Called Bok l’hong in Cambodia, green papaya salad is a common dish in Hawaiian cuisine. There are many different versions, but they always include green papaya. The julienned strips of green papaya make the salad because they are crisp and tangy and the other ingredients only add more texture and taste to the dish. Green papaya salad is especially refreshing if you’re hosting an outdoor summer luau.

Julienned green papaya strips

Roasted peanuts, halved

Long beans

Diced tomatoes

Shredded Carrots

Combine and stir all of the ingredients above, then refrigerate till mealtime. 


Kulolo is a traditional Hawaiian pudding that consists primarily of, what else, coconut. It is similar to tapioca pudding in texture and has a caramel taste. Instead of making it from scratch with mashed taro corn and condensed coconut milk, though, you pull a “semi-homemade” with tapioca pudding and other ingredients from your grocery store.

Tapioca pudding

Coconut flavoring

Shredded coconut

Caramel sauce

Combine and stir all of the ingredients above, then refrigerate till mealtime. 

This simple food recipes will help your guests get into the mood for your luau. The kabobs, baked sweet potatoes, green papaya salad, and kulolo will make them feel like they are at an authentic luau. And you will feel ready to shake your grass skirt because you didn’t slave away in the kitchen!