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Pineapple Chicken

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
Calories 489kcal
Author Chelsea


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)


  • 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!



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.


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