Easy-To-Make Hawaiian Haystacks

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Today, I’m sharing my easy-to-make Hawaiian Haystacks recipe. It’s a fun recipe for a party, or even Sunday dinner. I like to make this with leftover chicken or Costco rotisserie chicken! Did you know they sell the rotisserie chicken cut up and in bags ready to use? That’s a game changer for me.

Do you have days you can’t think of anything that sounds good for dinner? This recipe may be the solution for those last-minute dinners! Every Hawaiian Haystack plate will have a little rice, chicken with gravy, Chinese crispy noodles, and whatever each person wants to add to their plate. I like the cheese, added the pineapple, the coconut, well I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Easy-To-Make Hawaiian Haystacks

Easy-To-Make Hawaiian Haystacks

Kitchen Items You May Need:

Easy-To-Make Hawaiian Haystacks

Step One: Gather Ingredients

Gather the ingredients you decide you want. If you can think of others I will add them to this list:

  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup or equivalent of leftover gravy
  • 1 can milk (use the chicken soup can to measure)
  • 2-3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 large package of crispy Chinese noodles
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper: red, green, or yellow
  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup cooked regular white rice
  • 1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup rinsed frozen peas
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup Mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup Trail Mix
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup sliced black olives

Grab a saucepan and add two cans of cream of chicken soup with one can of milk to make a gravy mixture. Add the cooked chicken to the cream of chicken gravy and heat through. This is where I use a Danish Whisk.

Step Two: Put Ingredients In Bowls

Here’s what the “spread” looks like. It looks so cheery with all the bright colors and makes everyone smile. Everyone will choose the toppings they want to eat.

Easy To Make Hawaiian Haystacks

Step Three: Make Rice, Add Noodles & Gravy

Make a base for the Hawaiian Haystacks using the cooked rice, topped with the Chinese crispy noodles. Now, add a scoop of the chicken gravy mixture.

Make a base for the Hawaiian Haystacks using the cooked rice, topped with the Chinese crispy noodles. Now, add a scoop of the chicken gravy mixture.

Step Four: Serve Each Person

Now, each person adds what they want on top of their Hawaiian Haystacks! Life is so good!

Easy To Make Hawaiian Haystacks

Final Product

I love the variety of everything available to add on top of my haystack. It has a little sweetness from the Mandarin oranges, the crunch from the almonds, and then the peas and black olives to wrap it up for a meal.

Easy To Make Hawaiian Haystacks

Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Easy To Make Hawaiian Haystacks
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Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup or equivalent of leftover gravy.
  • 1 can milk (use the chicken soup can to measure)
  • 2-3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 large package of crispy Chinese noodles
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper: red, yellow or green
  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup cooked regular white rice
  • 1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup rinsed frozen peas
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup Mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup Trail Mix
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  1. 1. Grab a saucepan and add two cans of cream of chicken soup with one can of milk to make a gravy mixture.

    2. Add the cooked chicken to the cream of chicken gravy and heat through.

    3. Make a base for the Hawaiian Haystacks using the cooked rice, topped with the Chinese crispy noodles. Now, add a scoop of the chicken gravy mixture.

    4. Continue adding any or all of the ingredients listed. Enjoy.

How do I store the leftovers?

I recommend storing the leftovers in individual containers to keep them tasting fresh and crisp.

Can I stack the Hawaiian haystacks in a different order?

You are welcome to stack the Hawaiian haystacks in a different order. I recommend stacking them as suggested to allow the rice to absorb the flavor of the gravy mixture and then add the additional items from there.

Can I use a protein other than chicken?

I have always used chicken when making these Hawaiian haystacks because the chicken adds a very mild flavor compared to other proteins. I do believe they would taste good with shredded beef, pork, or steamed or fried tofu.

Would a haystack taste good if it was pre-made and then refrigerated?

I highly recommend making the haystacks just before serving. The crispy Chinese noodles may get soggy if pre-made. The crispness of the noodles really brings a lot to this dish.

Could I use a base other than rice?

I have always used white rice, but I think these Hawaiian haystacks would taste delicious using brown rice or quinoa as a base to add variety.

Could I use a different type of noodle instead of the crispy Chinese noodles?

Using a different type of noodle may taste delicious! I do recommend the crispy Chinese noodles due to the added crunch they give. But using rice noodles might be a fun and interesting variety to use when making these Hawaiian haystacks.

Would the recipe still taste good using an alternate type of milk?

I have always used regular milk due to the mild flavor. Using coconut, almond, or rice milk may give it a slightly different flavor, but it would still taste really good! Be adventurous and give the other milk choices a try.

Can I use a soup other than Cream of Chicken?

I generally only use cream of chicken soup to make the Hawaiian haystacks. I do feel that using the cream of mushroom soup would add a welcome variety if your family likes the taste of that soup instead.

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Where did Hawaiian Haystacks originate?

They didn’t originate in Hawaii, evidently. The recipe really started out as a potluck dish at a neighborhood or church party in the 1950s. If you have never heard of them, you’re probably not from Utah. It’s a popular dish almost every family makes.

Why is it called Haystacks?

It’s my understanding that the Haystacks are basically a dish that starts with a base of rice, lentils, or quinoa. Then you add a protein, some gravy, and anything you have leftover in your refrigerator that would add texture and flavor to the base. Of course, pineapple chunks are a must in Utah.

What can I serve with these Hawaiian Haystacks?

In case you missed this post:

How To Cook White Rice

The type of rice you’re using has a lot to do with making sure it comes out perfectly. When you’re at the grocery store, and you’re looking at different bags of rice, you might notice that some of the bags say “medium-grain” and others say “extra long grain.” If you’re using medium grain rice, use an equal amount of water and rice in the pot.

So, if you’re planning to cook two cups of rice, you’d add two cups to your pot. If you’re using extra long grain rice, you’d need to use two cups of water for each cup of rice. Keep this in mind when you’re selecting the size of the rice you’re going to prepare.

The brand of the rice isn’t too important. While some people may argue that they like one brand better than the other, it’s not that big of a deal. You can use what is available to you and what you feel comfortable using.

What is a Danish Whisk?

A Danish Whisk is a tool you can use to easily mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients. I use them to make my sourdough starters, pancake batter, salad dressings, muffins, and even small batches of bread dough. It has a sturdy handle with a twirly metal head to mix things together when you want to make a smooth batter.

How to Shred the Cooked Chicken

If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer (I have the 6 quarts model), place a few pieces of cooked chicken in the KitchenAid Mixer bowl and use the wire whip to shred the meat. Please be careful not to put too much meat in the bowl or you may overheat the unit.

KitchenAid Shredding the chicken

Final Word

Is your mouth watering like mine? After reading all of the different ingredients you can add to make these Hawaiian Haystacks, you realize how absolutely amazing they can be. I also like the fact that they are pretty healthy for you based on the amount of veggie and fruit toppings used, and that chicken tends to be more fat-free than other meat choices.

What are some of the combinations that stood out to you? I’m excited to hear what combination(s) you and your family like best! May God Bless this World, Linda!

8 thoughts on “Easy-To-Make Hawaiian Haystacks

  • August 1, 2022 at 9:28 am

    5 stars
    I forgot how fun these are!
    My whole family enjoyed having them as a meal!

    • August 1, 2022 at 10:34 am

      Hi Heidi, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! I love hearing your family enjoyed the recipe! Linda

  • August 1, 2022 at 10:17 am

    5 stars
    Definitely will be adding this to my binder. The grandson will love it. He can make it, too. He loves to cook. He’s leaving for Boys Camp in 2 days and signed up to be the cook’s helper. Hopefully he can still get in some fun…hahaha. I’m not from Utah so yup, never heard of this but I’m going to try it for sure. I’ve been buying the Costco rotisserie chicken in a bag since they started doing that. I love that it’s all precooked but better than that is the roasting taste. Yum.

    • August 1, 2022 at 10:36 am

      Hi Robbie, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! How fun that your grandson is going to Boys Camp and will be the cook’s helper! I LOVE this! That Costco rotisserie chicken is the best! I break it up and freeze it in portions I use. Then when I need some precooked chicken, I grab a bag. Linda

  • August 1, 2022 at 10:20 am

    This reminds me of a rice version of my mom’s ” Soup du Jour” She saved up all the bits of leftovers for a few days, and then using a can of campbells condensed soupmixed with water, threw them all in. It never tasted the same twice, but it was always delicious. They type of soup was determined by what leftovers there were. Most of the time it was cream of mushroom , cream of chicken, or chicken noodle. I never tasted any of them on their own until I moved out. Lol!
    Cream of mushroom with gravy, bits of roast beef, carrots, peas and maybe left over mac and cheese might show up for Tuesday lunch. 🙂 Yum!

    • August 1, 2022 at 10:38 am

      Hi Diana, oh I love this, ” Soup du Jour”!!!! Life is so good with leftovers!! I LOVE your comment! Linda

  • August 1, 2022 at 10:25 am

    5 stars
    This is one of our family’s favorite meals. It is especially great when you have company for dinner as everyone can customize it to suite their tastes and it is not hard to prepare. My version uses a cup of chicken broth instead of milk added to the chicken soup plus a teaspoon of dried parsley and basil. They give the gravy a great flavor! It is always interesting to see a list of what people put in their haystacks as it varies so much. We have always put the chow mein noodles on the very bottom and top the whole thing off with coconut. I’ll have to try a few of the toppings you mentioned we don’t use.

    • August 1, 2022 at 10:39 am

      Hi Kay, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! It’s for sure a Utah recipe I think. It’s so versatile because you can add whatever you want to the haystack!! Linda


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