Pineapple Chicken

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Delicious, marinated chicken with a simple cilantro-pineapple salsa. Pineapple Chicken is easy to make and mega flavorful!

Pair this with coconut rice or white rice for a complete meal.

Ready-to-eat Pineapple Chicken over rice, with avocado and lime on the side.

Why We Love This Pineapple Chicken

  1. Rich Taste: Combines sweet, zesty, and smoky flavors.
  2. Versatile: Pairs well with various sides.
  3. Easy: Straightforward and quick to prepare.
  4. Healthy: Focuses on fresh, nutritious ingredients.
  5. Flexible Cooking: Suitable for grilling, baking, or sautéing.

Pineapple that goes into this pineapple chicken recipe before and after it has been grilled.

Ingredients

  • Chicken: Main protein, marinated for flavor.
  • Oils (Olive & Vegetable): Enhance pineapple chicken marinade adherence and prevent grill sticking.
  • Marinade (Lime, Garlic, Honey, Cumin, Coriander): Infuses chicken with a zesty, sweet, and aromatic flavor.
  • Salsa (Pineapple, Lime Juice, Cilantro, Jalapeno, Red Onion, Avocado): Adds sweetness, acidity, spice, and creaminess for contrast.

Marinade with chicken in it.

How To Make Pineapple Chicken 

  1. Marinate: Combine olive oil, lime, garlic, honey, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper; marinate chicken for 30 mins to 3 hrs.
  2. Grill: Oil grill, grill pineapple until charred, then grill chicken to 165°F, basting with marinade.
  3. Salsa: Mix diced pineapple, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, lime juice, cumin, avocado.
  4. Serve: Place chicken on rice/quinoa, top with salsa.

All the ingredients that go into the salsa for this recipe.

Tips For Pineapple Chicken

  • Use Jarred Garlic: Nearly as good as fresh for marinades, speeding up prep.
  • Buy Pre-cut Pineapple: Saves time without significant cost increase.
  • Get a Juicer: Streamlines lime juice extraction.
  • Even Chicken Thickness: Slice or pound for uniform cooking and better flavor absorption.
  • Oil Grill Grates: Prevents sticking and improves sear.
  • Baste with Marinade: Boosts flavor while grilling.
  • Rest Chicken: Allows juices to redistribute, enhancing tenderness.

Salsa mixed and ready to eat for this healthy Pineapple Chicken.

Variations

  • Healthier Option: Serve over quinoa, brown rice, or whole grains.
  • Baking Method: Preheat oven to 425°F, bake chicken on parchment paper for 18 mins, flipping once. Rest before serving with salsa.
  • Sautéing Method: Cook pineapple chicken in oil over medium-high heat for 4-6 mins per side, baste with marinade, rest, then serve with salsa.
  • Slow Cooker: Slow cook chicken, shred, and top with salsa. Follow this Salsa Chicken Crockpot recipe.

Ready-to-eat dinner in a bowl.

STORAGE

  • Chicken: Refrigerate pineapple chicken in airtight container, use within 3-4 days.
  • Salsa: Keep refrigerated, best used within 1-2 days.
  • Leftovers: Store combined or separately; reheat gently, consume within 3-4 days.

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Pineapple Chicken

4.93 from 14 votes
Delicious marinated chicken with a simple cilantro-pineapple salsa. Pineapple Chicken is easy to make and mega flavorful!
Ready-to-eat Pineapple Chicken over rice, with avocado and lime on the side.
Print Recipe

Pineapple Chicken

Ready-to-eat Pineapple Chicken over rice, with avocado and lime on the side.
4.93 from 14 votes
Delicious marinated chicken with a simple cilantro-pineapple salsa. Pineapple Chicken is easy to make and mega flavorful!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword pineapple chicken
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 489kcal

Ingredients

Grilled Chicken

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice + 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • vegetable oil for greasing grill/grill pan

Pineapple Salsa

  • 3 cups diced pineapple (~18 ounces/most of 1 pineapple; Note 1)
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro diced (measure loosely packed and then finely dice)
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large avocado finely sliced or diced (Note 2)
  • Optional: serve over rice or quinoa (we like to make coconut or cilantro lime rice for this dish; check blogpost for recipe links)

Instructions

  • Trim the chicken breasts of fat and then slice large breasts evenly in half, widthwise. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of your fry pan, pound breasts to even thickness (you don't want the meat super-flat, just even in thickness). Place the prepared chicken in a large sealable plastic bag and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, minced garlic, honey, cumin, coriander, and salt and pepper (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of each; add to your preference). Once the mixture is well combined, remove 3 tablespoons of the mixture and reserve for later.
  • Add the rest of the marinade to the bag with the chicken. Seal the bag and then knead with your hands to ensure all of the chicken is well coated. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 30 minutes and preferably 2-3 hours. Don't marinate longer than 6 hours. (Acid from lime begins to "cook" the chicken.)
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees F.). Generously oil the grill (I drench a roll-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates. Don't skip this step.) Start by grilling the pineapple (See Note 1) so you can work on the salsa while the chicken cooks. Rub about 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil over all sides of the pineapple. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly charred (or grilled to your liking). Remove to a plate to allow to slightly cool before dicing.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and discard any remaining marinade. Grill the chicken, turning halfway through grilling, about 4-6 minutes per side (until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F and juices run clear). Baste the chicken with the reserved marinade as you grill and after flipping. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil, so the juices can re-distribute. Slice thinly or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  • While the chicken cooks, prepare the salsa. Dice the pineapple, cilantro, jalapeno, and red onion. Toss everything together in a large bowl with the freshly squeezed lime juice, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. I add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, but add to preference. Gently toss together, taste, and then adjust seasoning if needed. Serve spooned generously over the grilled chicken.
  • We like to serve Pineapple Chicken with coconut rice or cilantro-lime rice. If you'd like those recipes, check for the links to those recipes right above this recipe card!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: You don't have to grill the pineapple, but it does add an amazing sweetness (it caramelizes as it grills) to the dish. Check pictures in the post for the size of pineapple to grill. (I cut the cored and peeled the pineapple and cut into about 9 or 10 long strips.) Once grilled, I slice each pineapple strip in 3 long strips and then dice those long strips into small pieces for the salsa. Use a sharp knife here! You will likely have more pineapple salsa than needed to top chicken, but we like a lot--or finish the rest off with chips. You can halve the pineapple salsa recipe, but I like it as written, so I don't waste the rest of the veggies.
Note 2: A good, ripe avocado adds a delicious creamy element to this dish. If you don't add avocado and want a creamy element, I'd recommend the jalapeno sauce from this recipe. (<click on "recipe")
Nutritional information does not include rice.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 489kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 1077mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 212IU | Vitamin C: 75mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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4.93 from 14 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




34 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was great! I did not have a grill, so I pan-fried the diced pineapple in vegetable oil and they were so good! Salsa was a perfect combination over the chicken. I probably would salt and pepper the chicken first before adding a marinade.

  2. 5 stars
    This was a big hit. I had to sub shallots for red onions because that was all I had on hand and it was still great! I had never made grilled pineapple before but will certainly be making it again. Great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Used canned pineapple bc it’s what i had and still… amaaaaazing! Hubby grilled the chicken after a 30 min. marinade and everything was delicious. Served with pineapple jalapeno margaritas and it was a hit. Will make again for sure!

  4. Trying this tonight. I don’t grill and the hubby isn’t home so I am doing it on the stove top. I think the stove top method repeats the chicken steps twice or maybe the word chicken is used instead of pineapple. I can’t wait to eat this!!

    1. Hey Chris, I’m not sure where you’re seeing that! Is that on this recipe? “Pineapple chicken”? Thanks!

  5. Made this vegetarian by subbing extra firm tofu for the chicken and baking after it marinated. Served over cilantro lime quinoa. It was really good!

  6. 5 stars
    Great summer meal! I made the coconut rice with it and my family loved it. Will add this as a regular on my summer meal planning!

  7. Just made this for the first time tonight. I’ll definitely add it to my healthy dinner repertoire. I subbed a packet of stevia for the honey and grilled the pineapple as suggested. Reduced the cumin to 1.5 teaspoons for the marinade and just a dash in the salsa because it’s not my favorite spice. Delicious! The whole family liked it.

    1. you can use the leftover pineapple juice instead of honey. I thought it was ok but only adding cumin…..it needed something else. Also, I think grilling the red onion before adding the salsa might be good. I’ll try it next time.

  8. 4 stars
    This is a very good base recipe, adjustable to anyone’s preferences/dietary needs.
    I made the recipe as listedthe 1st time, yet I may have had more than 1.5lbs chicken thighs (I bought bone in, skin on bc of price & removed the parts myself).
    I marinated about 2hrs using the original amt of ingredients, knowing I prob had more chicken than listed (so I didnt have extra marinade to reserve). The flavor is good, and next time I’ll tweak the seasoning amts more to my liking – jalapeño & cumin, yo be exact. The Salt & Pepper are hard to determine if using grinders, but one can always add more.
    I like a bit of heat to my food, so I’d probably add more jalapeño next time.
    I grilled the fresh pineapple & would do it again bc it’s easy enough.
    Baeed on my experience, this recipe is a keeper & I rec folks try it as written 1st, then tweak to your liking.
    I’m sire it would alsobe good with almost any fresh fish, wsp a white, mild fish.
    Ty for posting this recipe. =)

  9. 5 stars
    I don’t usually comment on recipes but I had to come back and say how fantastic and fresh this meal is! Made it exactly as your recipe (minus avocado) and served over your coconut lime rice and it was amazingly full of flavor!

    1. We’re getting 26g of fat from the oil in the marinade, and while we don’t actually eat all the marinade as only a little adheres, it’s hard to calculate the nutrition facts without considering how much oil is in the marinade. I hope this helps!

  10. 5 stars
    I made this recipe-as written-along with the coconut lime rice (I used brown rice) and the
    family loved it! Very flavorful! Will make again. 😃

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