The Best Hawaiian Haystack Recipe
The Best Hawaiian Haystack Recipe

The Best Hawaiian Haystack Recipe

Now I know I am a little biased but one bite and I am pretty sure you will agree, this Hawaiian Haystack recipe is way better than that canned imitation you’ve had before.

Hawaiian Haystacks is a meal that I honestly never knew existed until I got married and had it at a family dinner with the in-laws. It seemed everyone in Arizona has known about this recipe and apparently those of us East Coasters have been missing out. Over the past 20 years I have had many variations and because of that I have taken my favorite parts from each version and combined and improved them into what I call “The Best Hawaiian Haystack Recipe” hands down.

A “traditional” Hawaiian Haystack is made with a bed of rice, gravy (from a can of cream of chicken soup plus extra chicken and sometimes sour cream), a layer of cheese, and usually a mix of pineapple, tomatoes, green onions, olives, and crunchy chow mein noodles.

But I personally really like more variety in my veggies so we beef it up and add in a few things others don’t that have plus start with a homemade cream of chicken soup that once you try (and see how easy it is) you won’t want to go back to using the yucky canned stuff ever again.

We also have a lot of gluten and milk allergies in our families so this is a recipe that you can make dairy and gluten free if you choose. Can’t get that from a can.

So here you go! Enjoy this recipe with beefed up veggie toppings and our way better chicken gravy!

The Best Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe

Serves 8 (unless you have teenage boys and then it is closer to 6!)

  • 6 cups of cooked rice – we like the sticky and flavorful Jasmine rice variety.
  • Homemade Gravy*
  • Toppings**


*Homemade Chicken Gravy Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth (I love the better than bullion flavoring and make my own a little stronger than it suggests using 2-3 heaping tablespoons mixed with water)
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk (any kind will do – I use almond milk)
  • 3/4 cup of white flour or 1/2 cup of gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of onion pwd.
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic pwd.
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd.
  • 1-2 breasts of roasted chicken, shredded


In a larger sauce pan heat the broth, 1/2 c milk, and seasonings on medium heat and bring to a low boil.

While that is heating – Combine 1 cup of milk with the flour in a small blender or with a hand blender until all lumps are gone.

Once that is combined and broth mixture is at a low boil, pour milk and flour into broth over medium heat and stir with whisk until well combined and smooth. Continue low boil until mixture starts to thicken then add chicken and heat. Once warm, add a lid and remove from heat while you cut up your toppings. You can add 1 more thing to this – see instructions below regarding pineapple juice.

Hawaiian Haystacks Gravy Recipe

**Hawaiian Haystacks Toppings

Hawaiian Haystacks toppings are a bit of personal preference. Have a milk allergy? Leave off the cheese. Don’t like pineapple? No problem. Pick your favorites, and if you combine them all they are amazingly delicious together.

  • Pineapple canned or fresh is amazing too! If using canned reserve about 1/4-1/2 cup of the juice and add it to the gravy – so good!
  • Fresh Diced Bell Pepper
  • Fresh Diced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Celery
  • Sliced Olives
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Sliced Almonds or Cashews (cashews are actually my preferred but often I have almonds on hand)
  • Diced Avocado – yes you read that right – this puts the taste over the top for avocado lovers and is delicious.
  • Shredded cheese


To Serve:

Start with a serving of rice as your base for Hawaiian Haystacks. Put a scoop of gravy over the top. Then cheese if you are having it and then layer your favorite veggies and pineapple on top! Enjoy this refreshing meal anytime of year but summertime is a great time for this easy to make meal.


Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

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Comments (4)

  • Have not heard of this before… but you had me at dairy free gravy!

    • User Avatar

      Haha! Homemade gravy is one of the few ways to get it this way and it tastes so much better than canned stuff! Hope you enjoy!

  • I’m in Arizona and had not heard of this! Can’t wait to try it!

    • User Avatar

      Hello from Mesa! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


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