Sweet and Saucy Pineapple Chicken
Count on this easy pineapple chicken recipe when you need a terrific family meal ready in 30 minutes or less. It’s a simple stir fry of chicken, pineapple, and vegetables, all coated in a sweet and flavorful sauce. A great alternative to takeout!
If you’re always looking for more easy chicken recipes, well, you’re in good company! I’ve been experimenting more with takeout- and Asian-inspired dishes this year, and love how it’s adding some variety to our dinner routine.
This particular dish is one we’ve already enjoyed several times, which is a sure sign it’s a winner. The sauce is irresistible, and I love the simplicity of making a one-pan meal after a long day. Make some rice or a steamed veggie and you’re good to go!
Why you’ll love this pineapple chicken recipe
- Quick and easy. This is ready in 30 minutes or less, and all cooks up right in one pan — protein, fruit, and veggies included.
- Lip-smacking, kid-friendly sauce. Pineapple juice naturally sweetens things up, so it’s an appealing meal for the whole family — always a win!
- Terrific leftovers or make-ahead lunches. You might not be lucky enough to have any extra, but if you do, this pineapple chicken is quick and easy to reheat, and the flavors only get better as it sits.
How to make pineapple chicken
Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for the full recipe!
- Brown chicken in a large skillet.
- Add pineapple, peppers, garlic, and ginger. This adds amazing flavor!
- Pour in the sauce, then let it simmer to thicken things up. You can adjust the cooking time to make the sauce as thick or as runny as you like.
- Add finishing touches and serve! We love cashews, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and green onions.
Tips and tricks
- Chicken breasts vs. thighs. I’ve written this recipe using chicken breasts, because they cook very quickly and are what most people most often seem to have on hand. You can absolutely swap in chicken thighs if you prefer — they’re often more flavorful and tender! — just increase the cooking time to be sure they’re done. Both chicken breasts and thighs should hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before serving.
- Use fresh or canned pineapple. Either works well. Avoid frozen pineapple, however; the water content is too high and will make the sauce runny.
- Thicken with a cold water cornstarch slurry. Cornstarch works wonders to quickly thicken the sauce. It’s important, however, to mix the cornstarch with cold water as a first step. Adding it directly, or even mixing it with hot or warm water can lead to clumps or a gritty texture.
You can serve pineapple chicken with white or brown rice. Often I just use microwave rice (so easy!) but the timing also works well if you start rice on the stovetop or Instant Pot just before starting to cook the chicken.
Quinoa, noodles, or an additional steamed vegetable are all great options to round out the meal, as well.
If you want to make this feel a bit more fancy, serve the chicken in the bowl of a hollowed-out pineapple — it definitely makes this easy dish look impressive and fun!
If you try this pineapple chicken, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Sweet and Saucy Pineapple Chicken
- 1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into 1-inch pieces
- kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce preferably low-sodium
- 1/3 cup chicken broth preferably low-sodium
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1-2 bell peppers any color, seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup pineapple chunks fresh or canned
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- sesame seeds and sliced green onions optional garnish
- Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping at least once, until lightly browned on the outside and nearly cooked through.
- While chicken cooks, whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, chicken broth, hoisin sauce, and brown sugar in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Set aside. (I find it easiest to add ingredients in this order, so you can simply proceed up the measuring cup markings without using extra dishes.)
- Add chopped peppers and pineapple to the skillet with the chicken. Cook another 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and ginger. Cook 30-60 seconds more, just until fragrant. Pour in the sauce, and bring liquid to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water. Stir with a fork until smooth, then add this to the skillet and stir well.
- Continue to let the sauce simmer until it’s thickened to your desired consistency; we like it medium-thick, enough to coat the back of a spoon, which usually takes 4-5 minutes. Stir in cashews near the end, so they are coated in the sauce.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and/or green onions, and serve with rice or additional veggies, as desired.
- Chicken swap. Chicken thighs work well in place of breasts if you prefer. Increase the cooking time and be sure they also hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before serving.
- What kind of pineapple? Fresh or canned pineapple works well. Avoid frozen; the water content is too high and will make the sauce runny.
- Storage/reheating. Any leftovers keep well tightly-covered in the fridge for 3-4 days; reheat in the microwave and enjoy. I often like to add a few extra cashews to get the fresh crunch!