This crispy, saucy chicken is every pineapple lover’s dream! Pineapple chicken is the best mix of sweet and savory. It’s a quick and easy dinner that your family will go crazy over!
Using fruit in a savory recipe is a great way to balance flavors! Honey orange glazed chicken, Greek lemon chicken, and pineapple teriyaki chicken are just a few more recipes where adding fruit makes the whole dish come together!
Quick and Easy Pineapple Chicken Recipe
Temperatures in Utah have been going up little by little, so I’ve been breaking out recipes that remind me of warm weather. What better way to pull you out of the winter blues than with a bright, savory chicken dish that you can make in a snap!? Pineapple chicken is tossed in cornstarch for that perfectly crispy outer layer, then cooked in the most amazing sticky-sweet pineapple glaze. Each bite is full of so much flavor! My kids are obsessed with this chicken and have told me it tastes better than takeout. I wholeheartedly agree!
The other great thing about this pineapple chicken is that it comes together in 30 minutes total. No need to slave away in the kitchen to make something absolutely delicious! With this recipe, you get all the bright, zesty flavor without the hassle. Pineapple chicken tastes great just served on top of white rice, but if you really want to impress your family, pair it with my tried and true fried rice and some air fryer egg rolls for a complete meal! Once you start making these recipes at home, you won’t want takeout again. Let’s get cooking!
All Ingredients Needed
It’s always a good thing when you have all the ingredients to make a tasty new recipe. You bring the pineapple, and I’m sure your pantry has the rest! This pineapple chicken is so delicious, you won’t believe that it took such simple ingredients to make it. As always, measurements for each of these ingredients can be found below in the printable recipe card!
- Chicken Breasts: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts here because it speeds up preparation.
- Garlic Salt: No savory dish is complete without a little garlic!
- Cornstarch: This is first used as a batter for the chicken. It gives your pineapple chicken that perfect crispy but saucy effect.
- Canola or Vegetable Oil: Either works! You’ll need this for pan frying your chicken pieces.
- Light Brown Sugar: If you haven’t tried adding brown sugar to your sauces and marinades, you need to! It upgrades every dish with a little smoky-sweet flavor.
- Pineapple Juice: This adds moisture to your sauce and flavor, too!
- Soy Sauce: A splash of Kikkoman soy sauce gives this dish a little Asian flair.
- White Vinegar: Adds the tastiest hint of tang.
- Cornstarch: In the sauce, this is used to adjust consistency.
- Pineapple Chunks: You can use either fresh or canned!
- Sesame Seeds and Green Onion: I add these both on top for that picture-perfect garnish.
How to Make Pineapple Chicken
Once you’ve prepared each of the ingredients, it only takes 15 minutes to cook up this tasty chicken! This has been one of my go-to recipes because of how easy it is to make. Plus, I love pineapple. Making this for dinner is a no-brainer!
- Batter: Season the chicken with garlic salt, and place the cubed chicken into a bowl or zip lock bag. Add the cornstarch, and toss or shake to coat the chicken well.
- Pan Fry: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook the chicken on both sides for 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally until chicken is browned and mostly cooked through. It will continue to cook for additional time while it simmers in the sauce.
Preparing the Pineapple Sauce
- Whisk Ingredients: Add the brown sugar, pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch to a medium sized bowl, and whisk until incorporated. Make sure the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Pour Over Chicken: Next, pour it over the browned chicken in the pan.
- Add Pineapple Chunks: Add the pineapple chunks, and toss the sauce to coat the chicken in the pan.
- Simmer: Continue to simmer and cook on low, and occasionally stir the sauce and chicken. Cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through. This should take about 15 minutes.
- Enjoy: Serve over rice, and garnish with sesame seeds and diced green onion.
Tips and Variations
Pineapple lovers will love this chicken! Tender chicken tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce, and juicy pineapple chunks in every bite. It’s an easy weeknight meal that tastes better than takeout. You’ll love it!
- Adding in Vegetables: Any vegetables can be sautéed and added in for extra nutritional value. Any sweet pepper, broccoli, snap peas, snow peas, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, red onion, whatever you prefer!
- Don’t Skip the Breading: For that amazing crispy outer layer à la Chinese takeout, make sure you toss your chicken pieces in cornstarch before cooking. That yummy texture makes all the difference!
- Serve With: I love serving pineapple chicken with other “homemade takeout” dishes. Garlic beef and broccoli lo mein, cream cheese wontons, and shrimp spring rolls just to name a few!
Storing Leftover Pineapple Chicken
Just like Chinese leftovers, this pineapple chicken is amazing for heating up the next day! It honestly tastes just as good. Here’s how to store it for the best results!
- In the Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- In the Freezer: Store in an airtight container, or lay flat in a ziplock back for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- Reheating: To reheat, microwave or warm pineapple chicken on the stove until heated through.
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil (for frying)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)
- sesame seeds and green onion for garnish
- Season the chicken with garlic salt, and place the cubed chicken into a bowl or zip lock bag. Add the cornstarch, and toss or shake to coat the chicken well.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook the chicken on both sides for 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally until chicken is browned and mostly cooked through. It will continue to cook for additional time while it simmers in the sauce.
- Add the brown sugar, pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch to a medium sized bowl, and whisk until incorporated. Make sure the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Pour over the browned chicken in the pan.
- Add the pineapple chunks, and toss the sauce to coat the chicken in the pan.
- Continue to simmer and cook on low, and occasionally stir the sauce and chicken. Cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through. This should take about 15 minutes.
- Serve over rice, and garnish with sesame seeds and diced green onion.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
This was great & soooooo easy ! Yum!
Love this recipe!
This is the first time I ever made a pineapple chicken recipe. My best friend and her husband loved it! I followed the recipe exactly. I used fresh pineapple and I sliced a red bell pepper to add into it. Definitely adding this recipe to my cook book.
This was awful. The chicken was bland and tasteless and the sauce was way too thick and gooey. I followed the recipe exactly.
I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t like it! Thanks so much for trying it out.
Just as good, if not better, than my favorite Chinese restaurant and I know exactly what is in it. I do agree with the reviewer that suggested to start with less brown sugar and add more as desired. You can add onions, peppers, and carrots, as my favorite Chinese restaurant does, to get some veggies and color in. Thank you!
Thank you for the suggestions for this recipe. When do you recommend adding the onions and peppers?
It’s delicious but to future readers–I suggest you start with a 1/4 c. of brown sugar not 3/4 c. Ours turned out very very sweet, almost like a pineapple upside down cake level of sweetness, and we think it would have been perfect with just a 1/4-1/2 c. instead! You can always add the rest if you’d prefer it sweeter!
I was looking for recipes that used pineapple juice since I had some leftover from making Pineapple Casserole, where you drain the cans. I picked this one since I had most ingredients on hand except for two. This is amazing and quite easy. I used fresh pineapple. I omitted the sesame seeds and green onion, but it did not matter.
We love this Pineapple Chicken! It’s the best!