Aloha! Let’s take a  mouthwatering journey through a vibrant and delectable world of Hawaiian Appetizers. Indulge in the tantalizing tastes of traditional Hawaiian pupus (snack, finger food, or appetizer), where fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and aromatic spices blend harmoniously to create delightful bites that transport you straight to the island paradise. Discover the art of crafting irresistible poke bowls, huli huli chicken, crispy coconut shrimp, and so much more, each dish offering a glimpse into the island’s soul.

Huli Chicken
Photo credit Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
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Whether you’re planning a luau-themed party or simply craving a taste of the aloha spirit, these Hawaiian appetizers will ignite your taste buds and leave you yearning for more. So, grab your apron and prepare to embark on an exotic culinary adventure that will awaken your senses and leave you utterly enchanted with the enchanting world of Hawaiian cuisine.

1. Hawaiian Appetizer Pizza Dip

This Hawaiian pizza dip isn’t a traditional Hawaiian appetizer, but it does make use of delicious Hawaiian flavors. It’s creamy, meaty, cheesy, and sweet – absolutely delicious. You only need 5 ingredients, so if you’re looking for a super easy app, this is it. You can serve it with chips or freshly chopped veggies. 

2. Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs

There’s nothing better for a game day party than a crockpot full of saucy meatballs. This Hawaiian appetizer is an amazing mixture of BBQ sauce and pineapples, so you get a bit of tangy sauce mixed with the sweet pineapple. Serving these with some Hawaiian rolls would be so tasty! 

3. Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

Grilling pineapple caramelizes the sugar in it and gives it a fantastic, crispy texture. It pairs perfectly with chicken and bell peppers. Kabobs can be made ahead of time and grilled when you’re ready for them, so they’re a great Hawaiian appetizer for entertaining. They’re healthy too which is always a bonus. 

4. Best Ever Hawaiian Appetizer Beef Skewers

Another variation of the Hawaiian kabob is this beef skewer. These are also made with pineapples and bell peppers but they are marinated and glazed with a brown sugar/soy sauce. The homemade teriyaki sauce is sweet, sticky, and amazing with the beef cuts! The good thing about kabobs is you can make them with whatever vegetables you like, or no veggies at all. 

5. Grilled Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp Kabobs

Grilled kabobs are just such an easy Hawaiian appetizer, we had to have all the variations! Garlic shrimp kabobs will be your new go-to whether you’re cooking for a party, or just want a delicious, healthy dinner. You can make these in under 20 minutes, so they’re fantastic if you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. 

6. Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken Wings

Huli means “turn” in Hawaiian, so these chicken wings are basically like mini rotisserie chickens. Glazed with a sweet homemade teriyaki sauce, these grilled huli huli chicken wings are amazing for a cookout party. Don’t let the grilling season end without making these for your Hawaiian appetizer! They’ll be gone in a flash. 

7. Hawaiian Spam Musubi

Hawaiian Spam Musubi is a carmelized slice of spam on a bed of sushi rice. Sounds simple, but makes a fantastic, handheld Hawaiian appetizer. The crispy seaweed on the outside just brings the whole bite together. It’s easy to customize Hawaiian spam musubi to your liking, but the traditional way of making it is simple and delicious. 

8. Shoyu Ahi Poke

This traditional ahi poke bowl is topped with sweet onions and macadamia nuts. You can make it into a Hawaiian appetizer by making a large bowl of it and allowing people to use their own “dippers” for it instead of serving it over rice. Using a water cracker or rice cracker will allow the flavors of the Shoyu ahi poke to shine through. 

9. Ahi Tuna Poke Wonton Nachos – The perfect Hawaiian Appetizer

Your guests will absolutely love these Ahi Tuna Poke Wonton Nachos during cocktail hour. For a Hawaiian theme, you could serve them alongside homemade pineapple moscow mules or a Hawaiian martini. Group appetizers like this make the party more fun, as people can stand around and talk while munching away. 

10. Hawaiian Appetizer Chicken Sliders with Pineapple Mango Salsa

You can pack all the Hawaiian flavors into these little chicken sliders. They make great heavy apps for a gathering and will have people asking you for the recipe. All of the components can be made ahead of time and assembled on the day of the party. This is one thing we love about an appetizer – no one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen while guests are there. 

11. The Best Ever Hawaiian Mac Salad

Hawaiian Mac Salad is an affordable option if you don’t want to spend a ton on making appetizers. It also makes a great side dish. But for the appetizer version, you can serve these in little cups with an umbrella for a cute presentation. Hawaiian Macaroni Salad has a sweet mayo base that pairs well with the crunchy veggies and al dente macaroni. 

12. Coconut Shrimp and Pineapple Dipping Sauce

Coconut shrimp is, of course, an amazing Hawaiian appetizer, but with this pineapple dipping sauce, it is unreal. It’s super easy to make – only 4 ingredients – and can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. You could even serve this with chicken skewers or shrimp kabobs. It’s a great sauce to have on hand. 

13. Hawaiian Pizza with Caramelized Pineapple

Little Hawaiian pizza squares for a Hawaiian-themed party? Yes, please! Have these available for your guests, to pair with a light beer, while you grill those huli huli chicken wings, and everyone will be happy. The caramelized pineapple really makes this pizza – this isn’t just any old pineapple pizza. It’s got a great flavor that will be a huge hit. 

14. Slow Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Pork Wonton Tacos

This Hawaiian appetizer is one of those foods that look incredibly hard to make, but it’s really so easy. Your guests will be wowed by the presentation and the flavor. BBQ pork is cooked in the slow cooker until it’s falling apart and tender. The pork is then wrapped up in a wonton wrapper and cooked until it’s crispy. It makes the perfect bite-size taco. 

15. Easy Baked Manapua – an amazing Hawaiian Appetizer

Baked Manapua is Hawaiian-Style Char Siu Bao. If you want a Hawaiian appetizer that feels very traditional, this is the one to try. These dinner rolls are filled with savory bits of saucy pork. There are even ways to make them ahead of time, which I’ve said before is what we want in an appetizer! 

16. Pineapple and Ham Hawaiian Appetizer Sliders

These sliders are Pinterest famous for good reason. They taste amazing, are simple to make, and can please a crowd. The ham and pineapple are the perfect combination of sweet and savory and really play off of each other’s flavors. The butter sauce and the melty cheese are just the icing on the cake! 

17. Refreshing Pohole Salad

Pohole (fiddlehead fern) is a plant in Hawaii. Combined with tomatoes, onion, cuttlefish, shrimp, and some sauces, it makes a refreshing salad. Little cups of this salad can be served during a summer BBQ luau, and it’ll whet everyone’s appetites for the dinner to come. 

18. Hawaiian Appetizer Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts are a traditional, local snack for Hawaii, but would make a great appetizer as well. They are unique in the way that they are seasoned. A mixture of Hawaiian salt, sliced ginger, star anise, and black peppercorns coat the peanuts before they are boiled. You can use even use an instant pot to speed the process up. 

19. Pineapple Mango Salsa

I love a mango salsa, and this one is no exception. It’s bright and fresh and goes so well with tortilla chips. Sweet, spicy and so flavorful, it’s a refreshing change from tomato salsa. You can pair it with any kind of meat that you’re serving, or keep it as a dip for a Hawaiian appetizer. 

20. Easy Hawaiian Style Malasadas

I had to add at least one sweet appetizer! Malasadas are deep-fried donuts that are rolled in sugar for a deliciously sweet crunch. These are traditionally served the day before Ash Wednesday, but you could add them to a Saturday morning brunch for a sweet treat. You can make them as is, or add a creamy filling. It’s up to you. 

21. Hawaiian Appetizer Luau Meatballs

You only need three ingredients to make this yummy Hawaiian appetizer. Meatballs, Hawaiian sweet and sour sauce, and pineapple. The presentation is so cute, and the pineapple is the perfect contrast for the flavor of the meatballs. You can make these fancy by serving them on a platter with a toothpick, or leave them in a crockpot for gameday. 

22. Pineapple Cream Cheese Hawaiian Appetizer Dip

Cream cheese makes a great base for this Hawaiian dip. The addition of the pineapple brings together the Hawaiian flavors we’re going for and pairs really well with the creamy cheese and the chopped ham. Serve these with any type of cracker or chip that you like. It goes with everything! 

Save this list for your next Luau-themed party. These Hawaiian appetizers will round out the party, and make you a great host!

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About Meag

Health and Wellness Writer. B.S. Dietetics. Le Cordon Bleu Graduate. 10+ years of experience in the fitness and nutrition industry!

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