Creamy Hawaiian Haystacks From Scratch

Raise your hand if you've heard of Hawaiian Haystacks. Those of you with your hand raised, I'm betting a good percentage of you are from Utah. Am I right? I've lived in other areas of the country and never run across a single Hawaiian haystack, but since I've been in Utah I've had them on several occasions. In fact, sweet people from church brought me meals after the birth of each of my daughters and both times, different people brought Hawaiian haystacks. I've started joking that I have babies just to get someone to make them for me. It's only partially a joke. (The other reason I have babies? So my mom comes for a week and cleans my house. Totally worth the labor and delivery. If you think I'm joking, you should see my mom in action.)

One reason I think this dish has caught on so well here is that it is so simple, fast and easy. You can easily adjust it to feed as many or as few people as you like, and the toppings can be added according to individual tastes, making this a great meal for picky eaters. And what is exactly are Hawaiian haystacks? Imagine a silky, creamy gravy with chunks of chicken, served over rice and topped with black olives, sweet coconut, chunks of pineapple and green onions. With a few of those tasty, naughty-delicious chow mien noodles on top for added crunch. It's a delicious combination of flavors and textures.

Everyone has their own way of making the chicken and gravy to go on top of the Hawaiian haystacks, but most of them use cream of chicken soup. I have nothing against these recipes and they're usually pretty tasty and also easy. In my quest to reduce the amount of processed foods I make for my family (and yes, I recognize how hypocritical it is to say this considering the amount of Peeps I ate on Easter) I decided to come up with a chicken gravy recipe from scratch. I ended up with a simple sauce thickened with flour and butter, with onions and garlic for flavor and Greek yogurt for some creaminess and tanginess. It is nearly as easy as the condensed soup version and I think it is even tastier. It is a thick sauce, which is how I prefer it, but you could thin it out with some milk or broth if you prefer. I serve mine over brown rice to be a little healthier, but white rice is delicious, or you could go crazy and use any favorite grain.

Creamy Hawaiian Haystacks From Scratch

Heat Oven To 350 Published 04/22/2014
Healthier Hawaiian Haystacks


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2-1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 4-5 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • cooked brown (or white) rice
  • toppings - pineapple, coconut, shredded cheese, black olives, green onions, red bell pepper, chow mien noodles, etc.


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, stirring to incorporate completely after each addition. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is bubbly and thickened.
  2. Stir in 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and cooked chicken and cook until chicken is heated through. Add more Greek yogurt to taste, if desired, and salt and pepper. (You will need a fair amount of salt here, especially if you use low-sodium chicken broth. If the sauce is too thick for your taste at this point, add some milk or additional broth and season again with salt to taste.) 
  3. Serve chicken sauce over warm brown rice, and top with your choice of toppings.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook time: 10 mins.
Total time: 20 mins.
Recipe Source: Heat Oven To 350

4 Click For Comments:

YUM. This looks like a fantastic recipe. Cannot wait to try this one.

Awesome! Cade loves Hawaiian Haystacks...and yup, I have found that unless you have some kind of Utah roots or connection these are a foreign food. Tyler looked at me like I was crazy the first time I said I was making these for dinner. Your version looks great, can't wait to try it!

I can honestly say, this is the first time I have ever seen or heard of this dish, but I can totally see how it could work!! I mean, I love Hawaiian pizza, so why not Hawaiian haystacks? I wonder if they know of these in Hawaii?!

I've never heard of Hawaiian haystacks, and by the looks of this dish, I've been missing out! There are so many wonderful ingredients in here, and I would definitely do a homemade gravy. This looks so delicious, Nicole! :)

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