Quick and Easy Lau Lau in a Crockpot

Quick and Easy Lau Lau in a Crockpot? Yes, why not! It is a staple at many tables in Hawai’i, but ensure it’s thoroughly cooked to eliminate the needle-like crystals of oxalate that can burn your throat.

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Easy Lau Lau
Food with many colors is healthy for you. Can’t wait for you to try our Easy Lau Lau recipe

What is Lau Lau?

A hearty meal made with meat and fish (such as pork or salmon) wrapped in taro leaves, ti leaf, then baked or steamed.

I was never a big fan of Lau Lau when I was a kid, but as I grew older, I came to learn how it’s relatively healthy if you lay off fatty pork.  

So today, I will show you how to make Easy Lau Lau in a crockpot!

A Brief History of Lau Lau: A Favored Dish Throughout Polynesia

Rukau – A mix of cooked taro leaves and coconut cream, a staple at many island tables throughout the Cook Islands.

It truly is the most simple, easy Hawaiian main dish to make if you don’t know how to cook or, in my case, you’re craving it. This dish is known throughout Polynesia but called Lū in Tonga, Palusami in Fiji and Samoa, and Rukau in the Cook Islands. All are similar but vary in taste and ingredients. It is widely eaten in Hawaiian households and by locals who grew up in Hawaii.  

How Cooking Easy Lau Lau Has Evolved Over Time

In Hawaiian, Lau Lau means “wrapping or wrapped package”; most traditionally served with pork with salted fish for flavor and wrapped in kalo (taro) leaves, wrapped again in ti leaves, then baked or steamed.

In the traditional Hawaiian way, Lau Lau is cooked in an imu, an underground pit that uses lava rocks to steam food under layers of ti leaf, banana leaves, burlap, and covered with soil. This process usually takes days to prepare and involves the entire ohana, so most of the time, do an imu when there’s a celebration or significant event.  

My mom taught me how to make smaller batches, using foil instead of ti leaf to steam the Lau Lau in a pot. As technology improved, we moved from pot to crockpot, and now making and eating Lau Lau isn’t a twice-a-year thing.

I cook this super easy recipe for my family almost every other week; I change the ingredients, sometimes using chicken and ‘ulu (breadfruit), corned beef and coconut milk, or pork and ‘uala (sweet potato). My family loves it.  

I suggest keeping it simple, don’t overthink it. The most important part of the recipe is ensuring you fully cook the leaves (better to overcook than undercook luau leaves). Raw or partially cooked taro leaves will make your throat itchy and uncomfortable. 

Today, I’m sharing our family’s favorite recipe; pork with ‘uala (sweet potato). Let’s get started!

Pork and Sweet Potato Lau Lau Recipe

This simple crockpot recipe for Lau Lau is may be hands-off, but results in a delicious weeknight meal for the family!

Keyword Hawaiian Food, Lau Lau, Luau, Palusami, Rukau
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Servings 4
Author Wendy Awai-Dakroub


  • 1 lb Cleaned taro leaves (washed and stems removed)
  • 2 lbs Pork butt (cut into 2 in. chunks)
  • 1 large Sweet potato (washed and cut into chunks)
  • 1 tsp Of Hawaiian Salt or Kosher Salt a pinch
  • Foil for wrapping


  1. Wash and prep lu'au leaves as mentioned above.

  2. Place 2 lu'au leaves on a flat surface in an X pattern.

  3. In the center of the top leaf, place equal parts of the pork butt and sweet potato in a mound. Add a pinch of salt.

  4. Wrap the lu'au leaves around the meat mixture into a tight bundle.

  5. Place the bundle in the center of a long piece of foil and wrap lu'au.

  6. Finish the other 4-5 Lau Lau.

  7. Place each Lau Lau into the crockpot upside down so water will not enter the foil, and fill the bottom with 1 inch of water.

  8. Turn the crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 5.

  9. Remove Lau Lau from crockpot with tongs and serve.

Here’s the Process in Pictures…

Easy Lau Lau
Prep your ingredients
Use two leaves and equal parts for cooking evenly, don’t forget to add salt before wrapping
Fold like a burrito 🙂
Place foiled laulau into crockpot, don’t forget to add 1/2 cup water

This goes by so much faster if your family helps out! Enjoy your easy Lau Lau meal!

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