21 Best Hawaiian Appetizers and Easy Luau Pupus

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Hawaii has a rich history, with many different culinary influences. That’s why Hawaiian cuisine is so celebrated; and why we’re here today with these Hawaiian recipes for Hawaiian appetizers!

You can enjoy everything from North American to Japanese influences in Hawaiian food. Thanks to that, modern Hawaiian meals are so unique!

This list is for you whether you’re throwing a Hawaiian party or simply in the mood for island cuisine. Check out twenty-one amazing Hawaiian appetizers to get your next gathering started.

hawaiian appetizers

With so many finger foods worldwide, it’s tough to know which is the most popular in Hawaiian cooking.

In Hawaii, enjoying appetizers is all about gathering with friends and family while preparing for your main course.

That’s why ‘pupu,’ meaning bite-sized appetizers, are a staple. Hawaiian gatherings feature finger-food-style appetizers to keep guests well-fed and entertained before the main dish.

What Do You Serve at Hawaiian Party?

Pupu is the life of the party in Hawaii and Hawaiian cuisines. They reflect a vast range of different influences. Best of all, they’re simple finger food anyone can enjoy.

If you’re hosting a Hawaiian party, serving pupu is the way to go. Each of the recipes for party appetizers below has the potential to be a mind-blowing pupu dish your guests will love!

Just make sure to serve them along with a fresh tropical cocktail!

Best Hawaiian Appetizers

While hundreds of amazing Hawaiian appetizer recipes are out there, you’ve got to start somewhere! That’s where this list comes in.

Use it as a springboard to further explore Hawaiian cuisine for your luau party. Discover twenty-one tasty appetizers with delicious flavors that will have your guests’ appetites blazing in no time.

1. Air Fryer Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wings

Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Source: hawaiitravelwithkids.com

Break out the air fryer because it’s time for chicken wings!

I’m a fan of this recipe because you can whip it up in just thirty minutes. With tangy pineapple to tenderize the chicken and tasty soy sauce topped with fresh green onions, these wings are addictive.

2. Pineapple Dipping Sauce for Coconut Shrimp

Pineapple Dipping Sauce for Coconut Shrimp

Source: theshortordercook.com

Pineapple and coconut are a match made in heaven.

If you’re a coconut shrimp fan, you must learn how to make this dip for your next party! The pineapple dip is super sweet and tangy and would also make a sweet glaze.

This is a must-try shrimp appetizer for any party!

3. Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi

Source: hawaiitravelwithkids.com

Next is a dish that shows how Japanese and North American cuisines influenced Hawaii. Spam musubi is like sushi, but instead of the usual proteins, you use fried spam!

It’s wrapped like onigiri, so it’s nice and portable.

4. Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

Source: marginmakingmom.com

Try these Hawaiian-style boiled peanuts for a salty, sweet, tangy snack. Boiled peanuts are easy to make at home, and the results are well worth the effort.

This recipe uses a generous amount of star anise and ginger to make these peanuts feel warm and spicy.

5. Poke Nachos

Poke Nachos

Source: littleferrarokitchen.com

Poke is a traditional Hawaiian way of celebrating the very best seafood of the day. This clever fusion recipe takes that idea and adds a Mexican twist!

If you are hosting a luau soon this is the perfect finger food recipe to impress guests!

6. Honey Garlic and Pineapple Shrimp Skewers

Honey Garlic and Pineapple Shrimp Skewers

Source: madeinapinch.com

Preparing your skewers ahead of time will make them even better. In this case, the pineapple and shrimp are great companions.

The pineapple tenderizes the shrimp and adds a fantastic tanginess.

You’ll love this hot appetizer recipe for your next party or potluck!

7. Hawaiian Mac Salad with Tuna

Hawaiian Mac Salad with Tuna

Source: balancewithjess.com

Mac salad is a potluck staple. Enjoy it as an appetizer or as the main event! No matter what, this crowd-pleasing dish will satisfy everyone at the party.

All of that, and you won’t have to spend much time making it. Whip this up the day before, and serve when ready.

8. Shoyu Poke

Shoyu Poke

Source: littleferrarokitchen.com

Shoyu poke is a staple across Hawaii. It celebrates a super tasty duo: ahi (tuna) and shoyu (soy sauce). This is the recipe to reach for if you’re after a classic Hawaiian appetizer.

This authentic dish is light and refreshing and you can throw it together in no time.

9. Pizza Sliders

Pizza Sliders

Source: littlesunnykitchen.com

Hawaiian sweet rolls – also called Portuguese sweet bread – are some of the best rolls on the planet. That’s why this appetizer is so delicious! It uses these rolls as a base.

Enjoy all your favorite pizza ingredients in slider form. They’re tasty, portable, and great for enjoying outdoors.

10. Spam Musubi with Egg

Spam Musubi with Eggs

Source: urbanblisslife.com

The only thing that can make spam musubi better is a little bit of egg. Egg is a popular ingredient in Japanese sushi. It adds protein, flavor, and fluffiness.

I love how versatile this recipe is. Enjoy it as an appetizer, or send your kids to school with the leftovers!

11. Hawaiian Style Instant Pot Teriyaki Meatballs

Hawaiian Style Instant Pot Teriyaki Meatballs

Source: hawaiitravelwithkids.com

Having an Instant Pot meatball recipe up your sleeve is rule number one of being a home cook.

This simple teriyaki sauce recipe transforms frozen meatballs into tender, sweet, juicy little morsels.

Serve them on scoops of rice for a complete meal or toothpicks for an easy appetizer and fun recipe.

12. Grilled Hot Honey Hawaiian Wings

Grilled Honey Chicken Wings

Source: bonappeteach.com

Love the combination of spicy and sweet? Then you’re going to love these chicken pupus with Hawaiian sea salt!

The secret to these incredible wings is two levels of basting. First off, you use the Hawaiian pineapple marinade to flavor and tenderize. Then, brush on the hot honey for a final touch!

13. Chipotle-Pineapple Meatballs

Chipotle Pineapple Meatballs

Source: thismamaloves.com

These chipotle-pineapple meatballs are spicy, sweet, and smoky.

Each meatball is super tender and juicy. These come to life in a slow cooker, so they have hours to soak in all that flavor.

Love the smoky flavor? These smoked appetizers will make your mouth water!

14. Hawaiian Meatballs

Hawaiian Meatballs

Source: theforkedspoon.com

The next meatball recipe on our list highlights turkey as the main ingredient. Ground turkey is lean and great at absorbing flavor. That’s what makes it such a great meatball base!

If you want a simple appetizer, you can stick a toothpick in each meatball, and you’re done.

15. Tropical Hawaiian Pizza Dip

Tropical Hawaiian Pizza Dip

Source: 3boysandadog.com

If you’re a fan of Hawaiian pizza, have I got the game-day dip for you? This dip is insanely tasty, but all that flavor comes easily. You can have a dip ready to wow your guests in just thirty minutes.

Serve with some white bread to let the dip’s flavors shine!

16. Garlic Butter Shrimp Kabobs

Garlic Butter Shrimp Kabobs

Source: balancewithjess.com

Barbecued shrimp is one of the best ways to celebrate a summer day. This recipe is perfect for serving a large crowd in no time.

You can marinate the shrimp in brine before grilling them to add even more flavor! The real hero, however, is the browned butter and garlic glaze.

17. Ahi Tuna Salad

Ahi Tuna Salad

Source: noshingwiththenolands.com

Are you looking for something healthy and refreshing?

This ahi salad heroes seared tuna as the protein. The tuna is covered in sesame seeds to add crunch and flavor when searing. Pair that with a light dressing.

Looking for a unique cold appetizer recipe for your party? This is it!

18. Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

Source: forktospoon.com

It doesn’t get better than this. The bacon’s crunchy saltiness and the pineapple’s tangy sweetness are the ultimate combination!

The best part is that they’re so easy to make. Wrap pineapple chunks in bacon and air fry!

As they cook, the pineapple juice caramelizes the bacon. It’s crispy, fresh, and utterly satisfying.

19. Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Source: spoonforkbacon.com

This coconut shrimp recipe features a tasty mango salsa. The sweet salsa paired with the crunchy shrimp will quickly have you addicted!

If you’re uncomfortable with deep frying your shrimp, an air fryer would also work with this recipe. You could even bake them if you don’t have an air fryer.

20. Grilled Pineapple

Grilled Pineapple

Source: dinneratthezoo.com

Kick off your dinner with a super simple appetizer that everyone can enjoy.

Grilled pineapple rounds with brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon are the ultimate appetizer.

21. Crispy Garlic Butter Shrimp

Crispy Garlic Butter Shrimp

Source: spoonforkbacon.com

Our final recipe is possibly the crispiest shrimp I have ever seen. The secret? Twice-frying the shrimp!

The skin ends up coated in spices and crispy to the touch. It’s insanely good and makes for a fantastic appetizer or side dish, no matter the occasion.

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