In Hawaii a Luau is a feast so Thanksgiving is a very appropriate holiday to add touches of Hawaii to your Thanksgiving feast. Below are tips specific to adding a Hawaii theme to your Thanksgiving celebration including recipes using ingredients you should find in most grocery stores. We have additional luau tips and recipes featured here!



  • Send Hawaii theme Thanksgiving invitations.
  • Make Hawaii theme place setting cards and name tags for each guest with their English and Hawaiian first name.
  • Decorate your party location in silk flower leis and silk blooms
  • Adorn your guests in silk flower leis or shell leis.
  • Play fun Hawaii theme Games
  • Play Hawaiian theme music
  • Encourage your guests to wear festive Aloha shirts and attire to complement your Hawaii cuisine!
  • Click here for photographs of suggestions on How to Create Hawaii Theme Centerpieces and Table Decorations


  • Happy Thanksgiving ~ Hau’oli La Ho’omakika’i (pronounced how-oh-lee la ho-o-ma-key-kah-ee)
  • Thanksgiving Day ~ La Ho’omaika’i (pronounced la ho-o-my-ka-ee)
  • Thank you very much ~ Mahalo nui loa (pronounced ma-ha-low new-ee low-a)
  • Thankful ~ Ho’omakika’i (pronounced ho-o-ma-key-kah-ee)
  • Celebration ~ Ho’olaule’a (pronounced ho-o-lau-lay-a)
  • Holiday ~ Lanui (pronounced la-new-ee)
  • Hospitality ~ Ho’okipa (pronounced ho-o-key-pa)
  • Reserved For ~ Malu No (pronounced ma-loo no) This is ideal for place card settings.
  • With my love ~ Me ke Aloha (pronounced may kay a-low-ha)
  • Family ~ Ohana
  • Hoa Pili ~ Close Friend
  • Hale Aikane ~ Friend as close as relative and is treated as such



Tropical Fruit Salad

Pineapple Salsa with Tortilla Chips and Pretzels

Salmon Party Spread with Toasted Pita Wedges


Main Course

Grilled Pineapple-Mustard Glazed Turkey

Macadamia Nut Stuffing

Mashed Sweet Potatoes


Gingered Carrots

Pineapple Upside Down Biscuits



Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie

Chocolate Coconut Pie

Grilled Pineapple with Island Crumble Topping



Tropical Thanksgiving Punch


Tropical Fruit Salad

2 Kiwi

2 Bananas

1 Papaya, peeled and diced

1 Mango, peeled and diced

1 fresh Pineapple, peeled and diced  or 1 can pineapple chunks drained

1/4 cup Lime juice

1 tablespoon Sugar

1 cup fresh grated Coconut or dried, unsweetened shredded coconut

Slice ends off oranges and stand upright. Cut away the skin and membrane, exposing fruit. Cut between the membranes to remove the sections and place in a large bowl. Remove and discard any seeds. Add mangoes, pineapple, papaya, lime juice, sugar, and coconut to bowl and stir to combine. To serve salad, place lettuce leaves on individual chilled plates or a serving platter, and spoon fruit on top.

Pineapple Salsa with Tortilla Chips and Pretzels

1 12 ounce Crushed Pineapple, drain juice and reserve 1 tablespoons of the juice

1 small Red Onion, chopped

½ cup Red Pepper, seeded and chopped

¼ cup fresh Cilantro, chopped

¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Pineapple juice

1 tablespoon

Lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill for 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips and pretzels.

Salmon Party Spread  with Toasted Pita Wedges

1 15 1/2 oz can Red Salmon

1 8 oz pkg Cream Cheese

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

1 teaspoon prepared Horseradish

2 teaspoons Onion, grated

1/4 teaspoon Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Pinch of Paprika

Pinch of Parsley

Drain and flake salmon, removing skin and bones. In small bowl beat cream cheese with lemon juice, liquid smoke, horseradish, grated onion, salt, and pepper until fluffy. Stir in salmon. Chill thoroughly and shape into a log or use a mold or cookie cutter for festive shapes. Chill several more hours before serving. Sprinkle log with paprika and garnish with parsley sprigs. Serve with pita wedges. Makes 1 log.

Pita Wedges

8-10 Pita Breads



Oregano or Garlic Powder or Onion Powder

Cut 8-10 pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Drizzle 6 tablespoons of olive oil over the pita wedges. Toss and spread out the wedges on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herb. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve the toasted pita warm along side the salmon party spread.


Pineapple-Mustard Glazed Turkey for use to baste an entire turkey while it is baking in an oven or use on turkey breasts as you cook them on the grill!


1 cup Chicken Broth

6 tablespoons Pineapple Juice Concentrate, thawed

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon Mustard Powder

pinch of Red Pepper

1 tablespoon Honey


In a small saucepan boil the chicken broth over a medium heat until it is reduced to a ¼ cup. Add the remaining ingredients to the reduced chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minute or until thickens. Stir occasionally.  Use right away or refrigerate.

For use on Grilled Turkey breasts: reserve ¼ of glaze in a separate bowl and set aside. Brush 12 ounces boneless skinless Turkey Breasts with glaze. Heat up grill for 10 minutes. Grill each side for 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of breast. Each time you flip brush on more glaze. Once cooked through remove from grill, apply a final glaze with the reserve glaze you set aside and serve.

For use on Whole Turkey being cooked in an oven. Double the recipe above to ensure you have enough glaze for many basting applications during the roasting process. Roast the turkey in your oven as you normally would but apply the pineapple-mustard glaze 1-2 times per hour of cooking.

Macadamia Nut Stuffing


1 cup Macadamia Nuts chopped

5 cups fresh Breadcrumbs

2 Onion, grated

2 clove Garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon Italian Spices

1/2 teaspoon Oregano

2 Eggs beaten

2/3 cup Milk


Preheat oven to 350

Place chopped macadamia nuts on a cookie sheet and brown 15-20 minutes in 350 degree oven until golden brown. Set aside browned macadamia nuts to cool. In a bowl combine breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, spices, and cooled browned macadamia nuts. Add eggs and milk to the mix. Wash, drain, and dry the outside of the turkey thoroughly with paper towels. Stuff the turkey and either stitch up cavity vents or pin with poultry pins.

Glaze the turkey with the pineapple-mustard glaze or if not using a glaze rub the outside of the turkey with oil. Baste with glaze or oil 1-2 times each hour. Makes 8-10 servings of stuffing which is ideal for stuffing a 10lb turkey. A stuffed 10 lb turkey cooks in a preheated 350 degree oven for 3 ¼ - 4 ½ hours.

Smashed Sweet Potatoes

3 lbs Sweet Potatoes

2 tablespoons Butter

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 cup Pineapple Juice or Orange Juice

2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

2 tablespoons Chicken Broth warmed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Peel the sweet potatoes while still hot. Combine the potatoes, butter, salt, juice, maple syrup, and chicken broth in a large bowl. Smash with a potato masher until the potatoes are smooth. Serve immediately. This can be prepared a day ahead and reheated.  Serves 8-10.

Pineapple Upside Down Biscuits

1 ten ounce can Crushed Pineapple

½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar

¼ cup Butter, softened at room temperature

8-12 Maraschino Cherries

1 package refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits with 8-12 biscuits


Spray a muffing pan with non stick spray. Strain the can of crushed pineapple, reserve the juice for later. Combine the pineapple, brown sugar, and butter. Divide the pineapple mixture among the muffing cups. Place a cherry in the center of each cup.  Place 1 biscuit in each cup on top of the pineapple mixture. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the reserved pineapple juice over each biscuit. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes then flip pan onto a plate to release the biscuits. Serve warm.


Poi is the traditional mashed taro served with Hawaiian meals and at luaus. You can make your own by mashing taro if available in your local grocery. Powdered poi mix is a easy way to create fresh poi without all the hard work, just add water!


Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie

1 9-Inch Macadamia Nut Graham Cracker Crust (Recipe follows)

1/2 C. Boiling Water

1 Envelope Gelatin

1/2 C. Sugar

1/2 C. Pineapple Juice

1 8-oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese

Cool Whip

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir until completely dissolved. Add sugar and pineapple juice; cool mixture. Soften cream cheese and stir gelatin mixture in gradually until well blended. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate until firmly set. Top with cool whip before serving.

Macadamia Nut Graham Cracker Crust

1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

¼ cup Macadamia Nuts, chopped fine

1/4 cup Sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, macadamia nuts, and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the butter and mix well. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until browned, about 25 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 1 9-inch crust.

Grilled Pineapple with optional Island Crumble Topping

1 fresh Pineapple

1 Lemon, juiced


Remove the top, bottom and skin of the pineapple with a sharp knife. Slice the pineapple into 1 inch thick slices. Heat up your grill or broiler for 10 minutes. Brush pineapple with lemon juice and grill or cook each side for about 5-8 minutes each side or until the pineapple turns a nice golden caramel color.

Optional Island Crumble Topping for grilled pineapple:

1 cup ginger snaps crumbled

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

4 Tablespoons dark rum

1 can sweetened condensed milk


Mix dark rum and sweetened condensed milk and set aside.
In a frying pan mix ginger snap crumble, coconut flakes and macadamia nuts and toast on medium heat until coconut flakes have browned but not burned.
Arrange a grilled pineapple slice  in a serving bowl, drizzle with rum mixture, then sprinkle with warm coconut mixture and top with another drizzle of rum mixture.

Chocolate Coconut Pie

1 9 inch graham cracker crust (recipe follows)

1 cup milk

1 14 ounce can coconut milk

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup cornstarch

7/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whipped Cream or Cool Whip

Toasted coconut flakes for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan whisk together milk, coconut milk and 1 cup sugar. In a separate bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Bring coconut mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and slowly whisk in the cornstarch. Continue stirring mixture over low heat until thickened, about 3 minutes.

In a glass bowl, microwave chocolate chips for 1 minute or until melted. Divide the coconut pudding evenly into two bowls. Mix chocolate into one portion. Spread on the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the remaining portion of pudding on top of the chocolate and spread smooth. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Generously top with whipped cream or cool whip and garnish with toasted coconut flakes before serving.


Tropical Thanksgiving Punch

12 ounces frozen Cranberry Juice thawed

12 ounces frozen Orange Juice thawed

48oz can Pineapple Juice

½ cup Lime Juice

1 liter bottle Ginger Ale

1 can Pineapple Slices or 1 Fresh Pineapple cut into slices

1 Orange sliced in quarters

Juice from 1 can Pineapple Slices (reserved)

2 cups Water

3 cups Sugar

Vodka (optional)


Combine the cranberry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and lime juice and stir well. Bring 2 cups water, 1cup reserved pineapple juice from canned pineapple slices and the sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and boil until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Add the pineapple syrup to the mixed fruit juices. When ready to serve, pour the fruit juice into a punch bowl and add the ginger ale. Float the pineapple slices in the punch. Add Vodka if you wish the punch to be alcoholic. Serves approx 20 punch glasses. Note: If you make both an alcoholic punch and a non alcoholic punch also float orange slices in addition to the pineapple slices in the non alcoholic punch so your guests can distinguish between the two.

Wine & Mead from Hawaii

If you would like some delicious wine or mead made in Hawaii for your Thanksgiving luau you are able to order wine directly from the wineries and meadery! They carry traditional white and red wines as well as island specialty wines made with items like guava, pineapple, and macadamia nuts.

Volcano Winery

Maui Wines

Island Mana Wines
Nani Moon Meadery

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All content on the website was written by Mike or Kim Crinella. All photographs on the website were taken by Mike or Kim Crinella, were submitted to A Friend in the Islands by a website user, or were Public Domain Fair Use at the time of publication.