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The Best Ever Hawaiian Haystacks

Updated on March 6, 2018
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Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

5 stars from 1 rating of The Best Ever Hawaiian Haystacks

I bet you're asking yourself "What are Hawaiian Haystacks?" I did too when I first heard of them at my husband's grandmother's house. I first went to visit my husband's family in California over a decade ago. I had never been to California, so everything was new and exciting. I think my favorite part was all of the palm trees. I felt like I was in the old TV show 90210.

And his grandparents' backyard was amazing. It was three yards in one with a huge patio/deck off to one side with vines and fruit trees hanging over for shade. The first and third (front and back) being for lounging and playing games with the grandkids surrounded by beautiful flowers and even more fruit trees, and the middle being a series of pathways, archways and a birdbath in the dead center. It was like a tropical paradise.

Then to add even more to this already amazing trip, his grandmother made some of the best food, and most were dishes I had never even heard of before. Take Hawaiian Haystacks for instance. We ate out on the deck/patio for every meal because the weather was amazing and the yard was beautiful. I should preface this description by giving you the full picture.

My husband has a HUGE family and by that I mean he has 12 siblings, half who are married with kids, and four sets of grandparents, two sets being great grandparents. There are a lot of people to feed in that household when we all come together and it tends to take a number of people with trays full of food to set out dinner for everyone. For lunch one day out on the patio the first of the trays begin arriving. On the first is a huge pot of what looks and smells like chicken and dumplings. Yum! Chicken and dumplings is one of my favorite dishes.

And then tons of bowls of extra items start coming out: Chinese noodles, chives, tomatoes, pineapple chunks, raisins, tortilla chips, rice, shredded cheese and so much more. What?! What could those be for? When it was then time to start serving ourselves, I just simply had to sit back and watch. I had no idea what was going on. Everyone stared piling all of the extra goodies on top of their chicken and dumplings, so I tried it too.

You'd never believe it but it was absolutely amazing. It was like nachos with all of my favorite foods in one meal. That trip was an experience I will never forget, and I came home with some out of this world recipes to share with you.

This was a Van Ness family recipe but I have now inherited it and made my own! It has the base of chicken and dumplings, without the dumplings, and everyone has the option of adding whatever they want to the top to make their plate their own.

You know I love Chicken and Dumplings! I've even posted my own recipe! Now you can take this delicious dish and make it even better. You might just serve all of your dishes like this from here on out!

Palm trees above San Mateo, California
Palm trees above San Mateo, California | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Serves 6-8 people


  • 3 large chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • brown rice
  • tortilla chips
  • Chinese noodles
  • coconut
  • water chestnuts
  • celery
  • pineapple chunks
  • raisins
  • pecans, walnuts or almonds
  • shredded cheese
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • chives
  • black olives
  • salsa
  • pinto beans
  • shredded carrots
  • shredded lettuce
  • parsley, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped


  1. Cook the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and chicken breasts together, on the stove, at medium-high heat, for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Feel free to add more chicken broth if you need more liquid. (Buying a jar of chicken broth cubes will allow you to have as much chicken broth on hand as you need.)
  2. To serve to your family, cut up the chicken and serve it in its liquid. Then lay out any variety of sides in separate bowls or dishes for everyone to put on their own plate.
  3. This is like an amazing buffet with the chicken from your chicken and dumplings as a base. Yummy!

Nutritional Information

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup of chicken mixture with any # of toppings
Calories 130
Calories from Fat306
% Daily Value *
Fat 34 g52%
Saturated fat 9 g45%
Carbohydrates 94 g31%
Sugar 21 g
Fiber 6 g24%
Protein 27 g54%
Cholesterol 53 mg18%
Sodium 1125 mg47%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Sights, sounds, smells, and even emotions are all things that help create memories that last for a lifetime. Why not serve meals that help to create those same experiences for your guests? Of all the amazing recipes that make it to your lists of special dishes to serve to friends and family on those unique occasions, make this one of them and neither you nor your guests will regret it.

This can be served with any number of sides and can be just about anything you can imagine. I have named everything I could think of that has been served at our family gatherings. If you haven’t had this before, you are definitely in for a treat. It’s basically chicken and dumplings layered with rice and topped with all kinds of fun toppings as you can see. It’s great to serve when you’ve got a lot of people coming over, or your have a dinner party, so everyone can make their own style.

This dish made me really nervous when I first saw it and I didn't understand, but now that I'm familiar I love it like everyone else in my new family! I hope you and your family enjoy it too!

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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness


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