With influences from a recent trip to Hawaii and reading about the Caribbean in a magazine, I figured I’d keep the vacation memories alive with this Tropical Pineapple Chicken Recipe. It all starts with a marinade reminiscent of a jerk sauce. Super flavors and a kiss of heat to surprise the senses.
I’m sharing with you two versions of my Pineapple Chicken Recipe today; one baked and the other grilled. Both are outstanding in tenderness, flavor, and after three attempts, I feel this is the version I wanted to share with you guys.
Originally I made this as a baked dish for our dinner, then I had to attend a meeting and Dave invited some friends over and the meal needed to be doubled. I like this one for the tropical flavors and slow, baked chicken thighs are always a comfort food to me.
So with news of more people coming to dinner I opted to quickly do a grilled version using boneless chicken breasts that I had sliced horizontally. The baked version of this Tropical Pineapple Chicken Recipe uses bone in chicken thighs and takes a little longer to make cooking wise. You choose, but both are delish depending if you’re a white meat or dark meat chicken fan.
I simply purée some fresh (or canned) pineapple, green onions, ground cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, ginger and brown sugar. Oh and a Scotch Bonnet pepper (or a jalapeño), did I forget that? Need a little heat friends. Pour that over the chicken to marinate and also use to baste as it bakes for a fall apart, tender Tropical Pineapple Chicken Recipe.
Beware this Tropical Pineapple Chicken Recipe is hot stuff if using the Scotch Bonnet peppers, not for the faint of heart with weak tastebuds! Feel free to substitute jalapeño peppers if you like. Lot’s of flavor in this dish, but you can always cut the amount of peppers to suit your tastes and lower the heat factor. I would try this and scale back if need be.
I wrote about the Scotch Bonnet peppers in my Jamican Jerk Pork Ribs, but my tamer One Pan Jerk Chicken and Rice with Oranges is another good one and this Jamaican Pepper Sauce is always welcomed as a condiment, too. This Pineapple Chicken Recipe takes the flavors of jerk seasoning for the marinade and with the grilled pineapples makes one killer dinner.
I had 2 fresh pineapples on hand and made sure I used one as part of the marinade puréed, and while the baked version has pineapple chunks baked in the sauce with the chicken thighs, the grilled chicken breast version has grilled pineapple slices right alongside. LOVE that flavor!
TIP: Did you know that pineapple doesn’t ripen after being picked? So pick one with a rich, sweet fragrance. The produce manager once told me that you need to pick pineapples with green and fresh-looking leaves obviously, but that if you can pull one from the center of the top stem with a little resistance, you’ll know it’s ripe.
Tropical Pineapple Chicken
- 2 lbs chicken (See Note 1)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp cornstarch
For Grilling Pineapple
- 3 cups pineapple (See Note 2)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 green onions ends trimmed, cut half
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Scotch Bonnet pepper (See Note 3)
- 2 green onions tops only, chopped
- In a blender add the Marinade/Jerk Sauce ingredients and purée. Add to a large container you can seal. Add the chicken and marinate 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Prior to baking, bring chicken to room temperature. To a large cast iron pan or skillet add oil over medium high heat. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess marinade. Reserve marinade and whisk in the chicken stock and cornstarch, set aside. Sear chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until slightly browned.
- Add 3 cups of pineapple chunks over chicken and pour remaining marinade on top. Place skillet in oven and bake, uncovered for 35 minutes. Baste chicken several times. Chicken is done at 165°F. Garnish with green onions.
- Heat grill to 400°F. Prior to grilling bring chicken to room temperature. Sprinkle pineapple rings with brown sugar (See Note 2). Clean the grill. Shake off excess marinade from chicken. Reserve marinade and whisk in the cornstarch, set aside. Grill the chicken and pineapple for 4 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through depending on thickness (See Notes 4 and 5).
- Add the chicken stock and cornstarch to the reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and whisk until thickened. Brush grilled chicken with glaze and garnish with green onions.
- Large boneless chicken breasts sliced half horizontally (for Grilling, optional) or chicken thighs bone and skin on (for Baking).
- You will need 3 cups of pineapple chunks for baking with chicken and 1 cup for marinade. If using canned you will need 4 cups total. Cut off top and bottom of pineapple, and cut/remove outer skin. Cut fresh pineapple in half vertically and cut out core. slice one half into 1-inch thick pieces. Again you will need 3 cups of pineapple chunks for baking with chicken and 1 cup for marinade. Slice the other pineapple half into 3/4” thick crescent shape slices, sprinkle with brown sugar and grill for 4 minutes on each side.
- Of course you can alter the number of peppers for your desired heat. Just use gloves when slicing and wash hands after. The Scotch Bonnet pepper is HOT. Substitute jalapeño peppers if you like less heat.
- An inserted meat thermometer should read 165°F when chicken is done.
- Turn each piece every 2 minutes slightly 45° to get cross grill marks. Completely optional.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
Would you have a recommendation for a sugar substitute for this recipe? I’m thinking date syrup?
Not too sure on that one Cabud, let me know what you end of using and how it turns out.
Amazing Recipe Tropical Pineapple Chicken.Among one baked and the other grilled,baked is better.Thank you very much
So happy you enjoyed this one Arturo! Thanks! 🙂
Hawaiin food is my favourite, and this recipe, too. Thanks for sharing, Kevin. The tip for choosing pineapples is great and useful for me. Have a nice weekend.
Thanks so much Sabrina, you as well. I love the sauce on this one, enjoy!
I was belike ” what? chicken and pineapple? how could it happen?” . and you know, Kevin, after tried this out, I must say this is the greatest combination ever. xD the flavor is strange a little bit but tasty, my kids really love it. thanks for sharing this.
Hi Pat, so glad you and your kids loved it. I think that pineapple pairs so well with chicken, especially grilled. Thanks for stopping by the site.
So nice of you: “What? People coming over? Let me whip up another batch of that.” Me, I’d start with a string of swear words, folllowed by several how-could-you’s, and then I’d claim I couldn’t possibly stretch this meal any further before finally busting out another package of breasts.
LOL. Well, I try to be flexible and if there’s another excuse to assist in a post I’m in! Hence the quick, go to chicken breast on da grill. BAM! Have a great weekend Jeff!
Well I am ALL for keeping vacation vibes alive! I have been DYING to go on another vacation, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for us… I mean there are only 2 weeks of summer left. womp womp. So I say GIMME ALL THE TROPICAL FLAVORS! Love this chicken, Kevin! And I LOVE that you made this two ways! I’m a huge chicken thigh fan, but Boy is crazy and really only likes white meat, so this is winning for both of us! YAY! Plus you added heat, which makes my heart skip a beat! This is… Read more »
Making this two ways ended up being even a surprise to me, but I love the baked with thighs, and now when I did the impromptu grilled breasts, it’s a tough one which I like better. The jerk influenced sauce and pineapple is so darn tasty! Thanks Chey and for the shares on this one. 🙂
Good tip about picking pineapples! I usually do the leaf pull trick, but I didn’t know that they stopped ripening when picked. Man, now I want some fresh pineapple. I should swing by the store and grab one today…and then use some of it to create this tasty chicken. I love the tropical + spicy combo, so I think this one would be right up my alley. Looks delicious!
Definitely the sweet, tangy, spicy and kiss of heat all add up to a killer glaze and chicken Dave. Pineapples are so good and I love them in different dishes, hot or cold, sweet or savory. Just don’t waste three pineapples trying to make a panna cotta like I did once. You can read about that and why here. 🙂
Hey Kevin! This is such a lovely dish! I am a big fan of pineapple (especially grilled). I know you are a spicy guy, but I’m afraid I go on the milder side. Now Gary would dive right into your version! Speaking of Hawaii, are you contemplating something with macadamia nuts? 🙂
You could always leave the pepper of choice out or just a pinch of red pepper flakes. It’s the combination of spices, pineapple and heat that makes this so tasty. Macadamia nuts are in a upcoming holiday tart pastry for dessert. You mind reader Dorothy!
Kevin! Can you come cook for me 😉 ? This looks AMAZING, as usual! Mouth is watering over here! I’ve always picked chicken breasts over thighs, but lately I’ve preferred thighs. Just so much more moist and flavourful, in my opinion. Scotch Bonnet peppers? YES! Both myself and hubby love spicy food (especially hubby), so this would be fantastic. Love that your jerk sauce is actually spicy. I find a lot of times it isn’t spicy at all. Hubby and I had jerk wings a little while ago to a local restaurant and there was not one peck of spice… Read more »
I would love to come cook for you. I think a dream would be to set up a trip and tour around the world, visit with my food blogger friends and cook or bake together. How fun would that be to actually meet up in person and share food? Thighs are juicier and more flavor, but I’m still a chicken breast fan because of texture of the meat. Although that never stops me from digging into either! Yeah for spice and heat, many think they are the same, but they are not. This one is that combo!
BTW, Dave and I were talking about Newfoundland this morning as I was looking at the globe we have. I said, “Oh Dawn lives there.” 🙂
That’s too funny, Kevin 🙂 All the way over here in Newfoundland (as I digitally wave at you 😉 ) A trip around the world visiting food blogger friends sounds like a wonderful plan! Now, that would be super fun! Imagine all the different cuisines and dishes you could try!
Kevin, your marinade sounds wonderful! I love using pineapple juice in marinades that involve baked/grilled chicken, but I’ve never pureed pineapple into the marinade (so cannot wait to try this) – and adding that Scotch Bonnet pepper along with the spices must make this chicken a feast – for ALL the senses!
Thanks Shashi! That tangy flavor is heavenly paired with the pepper! A match made in heaven for the tastebuds. 🙂
My first batch of these I was a little heavy handed with the clove, but this marinade is just right in my book now. Enjoy – baked or grilled!