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Easy Hawaiian Haystacks: Customizable Party Dish

Aloha, fellow food enthusiasts! Today we delve into the delightful realm of Hawaiian Haystacks. This dish is a splendid symphony of flavors, expertly blending creamy, savory, and sweet notes to create a culinary masterpiece. Perfect for gatherings, it offers the opportunity for customization according to individual preferences.


How To Make Hawaiian Haystacks

Starting with the Basics: The Foundation of Rice

Our journey begins with 4 cups of cooked rice. This is going to form the base of our Hawaiian haystacks. Once the rice is cooked, simply set it aside while we prepare the rest of the components.

Crafting the Creamy Chicken Gravy: A Step Above Canned Varieties

The next step involves creating a delectable creamy chicken gravy. This one promises to be superior to any canned version you may have encountered. Start with a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 0.5 cup of salted butter to the skillet. Follow this by sprinkling in 0.5 cup of all-purpose flour. Stir these ingredients together and cook for approximately three minutes.

Understanding Roux: The Backbone of Our Gravy

This butter and flour mixture forms what is known as a roux. The desired outcome for the roux is a darker color, accompanied by a subtle nutty aroma. The roux is the backbone of our gravy, and the key to its velvety texture.

Gradual Addition: Milk and Chicken Broth

Next, gradually stir in 2 cups of milk, along with 2 cups of chicken broth. Constant stirring is essential at this stage to avoid lumps in the gravy.

Amplifying Flavor: Sour Cream and Spices

Now we add some additional flavors to our gravy. Stir in 1 cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder, 0.5 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Whisk all these ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

Introducing Protein: Shredded Chicken

To this, we add 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. You can also use cubed chicken if you prefer. Lower the heat and let the gravy simmer for about five minutes.

A Myriad of Toppings: A Personal Touch

While our gravy simmers, let’s explore the toppings that make Hawaiian Haystacks so special. There are some essentials – shredded cheese, Chow Mein noodles, and green onions. For those seeking a touch of freshness, consider adding cubed tomatoes, sliced olives, and chopped bell peppers.

A Dash of Hawaiian Flair: Pineapple, Mandarin Oranges, and Coconut

To infuse our dish with a unique Hawaiian flair, we’ll include pineapple, Mandarin oranges, and shredded coconut. These tropical ingredients elevate the dish and encapsulate the essence of Hawaiian cuisine.


The Art of Assembly: Creating Your Own Masterpiece

With the rice, sauce, and toppings prepared, it’s time to assemble our Hawaiian Haystacks. My personal favorite combination starts with the rice, followed by the sauce. I then sprinkle on the shredded cheese, Chow Mein noodles, and vibrant green onions. A touch of tomatoes and pineapple are added next, with a garnish of coconut to finish it off.

Remember, the assembly is entirely up to you. Have fun with it!

Required Kitchen Tools and Equipment:

  1. Large Skillet
  2. Whisk
  3. Measuring cups
  4. Measuring spoons
  5. Wooden Spoon/Stirring utensil
  6. Rice cooker or pot for cooking rice
  7. Bowls for various toppings

Tips and Variations:

  1. Experiment with different types of cheese: Try cheddar, mozzarella, or even a pepper jack for a bit of a kick.
  2. For those who prefer a vegetarian option, you can substitute the chicken with tofu or chickpeas.
  3. If you’re gluten-free, use cornstarch instead of flour for the roux and gluten-free noodles instead of Chow Mein noodles.
  4. Add heat with some chopped jalapenos or a dash of hot sauce.
  5. Try adding different fruits like diced mangoes or peaches for a unique flavor twist.
  6. Consider using brown rice or quinoa for a healthier grain option.
  7. For a creamier sauce, you can add a bit of cream cheese or use heavy cream instead of milk.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can I make this dish ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the sauce and toppings in advance. However, the rice is best cooked fresh. Assemble the dish when you’re ready to serve it.
  2. What can I substitute for the sour cream? Greek yogurt is a great alternative to sour cream if you’re looking for a healthier option.
  3. Can I use canned chicken? Yes, you can use canned chicken for convenience. Just be sure to drain it well before adding to the sauce.
  4. Is it possible to make this dish vegan? Yes, you can substitute the chicken with tofu or chickpeas, use a plant-based milk for the sauce, and omit the cheese or use a vegan cheese substitute.
  5. How can I store leftovers? Store the rice, sauce, and toppings separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This will keep the ingredients fresh and prevent the rice from getting soggy.
  6. Can I freeze the sauce? Yes, the sauce can be frozen in an airtight container. Just thaw and reheat on the stove when ready to use.
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Hawaiian Haystacks

Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe

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  • Total Time: 25 minutes


Aloha foodies! Today, we’re making Hawaiian haystacks – a party in your mouth with the perfect blend of creamy, savory, and sweet. This customizable dish is perfect for gatherings and sure to delight your guests with its tropical flair.



4 cups of cooked rice

1/2 cup of salted butter

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

2 cups of milk

2 cups of chicken broth

1 cup of sour cream

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of onion powder

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of black pepper

2 cups of cooked shredded chicken (or cubed chicken)

Shredded cheese, for topping

Chow Mein noodles, for topping

Green onions, for topping

Cubed tomatoes, for topping (optional)

Sliced olives, for topping (optional)

Chopped bell peppers, for topping (optional)

Pineapple, for topping (optional)

Mandarin oranges, for topping (optional)

Shredded coconut, for topping (optional)


  1. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the butter.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and stir it together with the butter, cooking for about 3 minutes. This mixture, called a roux, should darken in color and give off a slightly nutty smell.
  3. Gradually stir in the milk, followed by the chicken broth. Constantly stir to avoid lumps.
  4. Add the sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk everything together until it is smooth.
  5. Add the cooked shredded chicken, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and stir. Let this simmer together for about 5 minutes.
  6. While your gravy simmers, prepare your toppings.
  7. To assemble your Hawaiian haystack, start with a base of cooked rice, followed by the creamy chicken gravy.
  8. Top it with shredded cheese, Chow Mein noodles, green onions, and any additional toppings of your choice.
  9. Enjoy your Hawaiian haystack however you choose to assemble it!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian/American


  • Serving Size: 6-8 people
  • Calories: 400
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Cholesterol: 60mg

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