When you want to bring take-out home, this Pineapple Chicken is a great family friendly recipe! Chicken breasts or thighs are mixed with bell pepper and pineapple in a sweet and savory sauce.
Easy Pineapple Chicken
I love a homemade stir fry recipe, like my Beef Teriyaki, and a popular flavor profile to use is a pineapple!
This recipe is so incredibly easy and delicious!
It reminds me of a sweeter homemade teriyaki and the chunks of pineapple in the mix bring a great sweet and savory balance.
Where Did Pineapple Chicken Come From?
There seem to be a few versions of Pineapple Chicken out there, including one from the Philippines made with coconut milk.
This version resembles more of a stir fry and is inspired by Chinese cuisine.
What Does Pineapple do for Chicken?
Does pineapple juice make chicken tender? The use of pineapple, especially juice, in chicken works great as a way to tenderize the meat.
Bromelain, an acid enzyme in pineapple, breaks down the chicken, making it more tender.
Does Pineapple Dissolve Meat?
It will not dissolve.
The breaking down process of the acid just allows it to tenderize.
We are not marinating in this recipe, but you could if desired. However chicken should not be in an acidic marinade for more than 6 hours as it will start to feel mealy and unpleasant from the tenderization going too far.
What is in Pineapple Chicken?
Here is what you need to make this recipe:
- Chicken Breasts (or boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
- Pineapple Chunks
- Pineapple Juice
- Red Bell Pepper
- Green Onions
- Soy Sauce
- Chicken Broth
- Garlic Powder
- Ground Ginger
- Brown Sugar
- Sesame Seeds
- Vegetable Oil
You could also add other vegetables that you like, such as snow peas, snap peas, water chestnuts, or broccoli.
Want to give it a sweet and spicy flavor? Add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the sauce!
What is Hoisin?
Hoisin is a dark and thick Chinese sauce made of fermented soy beans and spices.
It sounds strange, but is similar to a thick soy sauce.
When I smell it, it smells similar to teriyaki.
It is a salty flavor with a very slight sweet note to it.
I find it is worth buying and having on hand as many Chinese inspired recipes call for it. You can find it in the Asian or International section of your grocery store as well as online.
How Do You Make Pineapple Chicken?
First cut your chicken into large chunks (they shrink a little when cooking).
Also cut up your bell pepper and pineapple chunks.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook the chicken until cooked through, approximately 6-8 minutes. Try not to stir too much to help it develop some color and flavor.
Add the bell pepper and pineapple and cook until just starting to soften, approximately 2-3 minutes.
Make your sauce by combining the chicken stock, hoisin, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce.
Mix the cornstarch with a Tablespoon of the sauce mixture and whisk until smooth, then add back into the sauce mixture. (It works much better this way than adding it to all of the sauce where it will clump up).
Add the garlic and ginger powders to the chicken until fragrant. I like to cook spices dry to open up the flavors!
Add the sauce to the skillet and cook until thickening, about 3 minutes.
Serve warm. I love to serve it over rice!
- Large Skillet
- Small Bowl
- 1 pound chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh is best, see note)
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup hoisin
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
- 3 green onions for garnish
- Cut your chicken into large bite sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and cut into large chunks. Set aside.
- If using fresh pineapple, trim off the skin and core and cut into large chunks.If using canned, drain and rinse.If using frozen, thaw and drain.Set the pineapple aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat on the stove.
- When hot, add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Let the chicken stick for 2-3 minutes to develop color.
- Flip or stir the chicken until cooked through completely, approximately 6-7 minutes total.
- Add the bell pepper and pineapple to the chicken and cook until starting to get color and starting to soften, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking (or before cooking), make the sauce.In a small bowl, mix together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, chicken stock, hoisin, and brown sugar.
- In a very small bowl/cup, mix the cornstarch with a Tablespoon of the sauce mixture. Whisk until smooth and add back into the sauce.This works much better than just adding it to all of the sauce, where it will clump up.
- Add the garlic and ginger powders to the chicken mixture when it is cooked through, stir, and cook briefly until fragrant, approximately 30-60 seconds.
- Add the sauce to the skillet with the chicken mixture and cook until thickened, approximately 3 minutes.
- Serve with sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Serving over rice is recommended!