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Discover a irresistible combination of sweet pineapple and savory chicken in our Pineapple Chicken recipe. Even serve it in a pineapple!
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Discover the tantalizing flavors of Pineapple Chicken – succulent chicken, tangy pineapple, fresh lemon juice, aromatic garlic, and zesty ginger in every bite. Bursting with a perfect balance of sweetness and savory goodness, this recipe features juicy chicken coated in a light crispy texture. Create a restaurant-worthy dish right in your own kitchen!
Ingredients in Pineapple Chicken
- Chicken – use boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Thighs will yield a more tender chicken.
- Cornstarch – mixed with a little salt and pepper, the cornstarch is the coating that gives this pineapple chicken a light crispy texture. It is also used to thicken the sauce.
- Vegetable Oil – this is the best oil for frying because it has a neutral flavor
- Canned Pineapple – you can use canned or fresh, but make sure to save the juice from whichever one you use.
- Fresh Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest
- Rice Vinegar
- Soy Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Green Onion
- Optional – stir-fry some veggies like red bell peppers or snap peas to stir in to the cooked chicken and sauce. Or, add some cashews for extra crunch. For a healthy twist, serve over cauliflower rice.
Alternative Cooking Methods
If you are looking for a healthier alternative, then instead of frying, heat a little oil in a large skillet and cook chicken on each side for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through and THEN add the sauce. You can also just fry until the chicken is cooked on the outside and then place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees F). You will still get a little bit of a crispy texture and still have all the flavor!
Air Fryer Method
To fry your chicken in the air fryer, you just need to make sure you are coating your chicken with cooking spray before it cooks. All air fryers are different so check the correct temperatures and times for chicken pieces. We cook ours at 350 for about 10-12 minutes on each side, spraying any parts of the chicken with dry cornstarch with cooking spray while turning. Just make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F before serving.
Gluten Free Pineapple Chicken
Because we use a cornstarch coating for this recipe instead of flour, it is REALLY close to being gluten free. However, as you can see in the recipe below, we use soy sauce in the pineapple sauce, which contains gluten. The good news is, GF soy sauce is easy to find. Just replace regular soy sauce with a gluten-free brand and you should be good to go. As always, check labels on everything to make sure you’re working with gluten free ingredients.
We love to serve this pineapple chicken with sticky rice inside of a hollowed out pineapple half. It looks so pretty and it makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation! Cut the pineapple in half, score the core and pineapple flesh, and then scoop it out. You can use the juice and pineapple chunks in the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pineapple Chicken
It combines lightly breaded and fried chicken pieces with a sweet and tangy pineapple sauce.
It tastes similar to orange chicken but with pineapple flavor instead of orange.
While this recipe doesn’t use a marinade, pineapple juice is a great way to add flavor to chicken and to break down the fibers and make it really tender.
More Pineapple Recipes
How to Make Pineapple Chicken
- deep fryer or deep wok
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup FRESH lemon juice
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons green onion just the green parts, sliced
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- green onion sliced, for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Add to a large bowl with cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Deep fry chicken in batches at 375 in a deep frier or over medium high heat in a wok. The chicken will be done when it starts to turn lightly golden brown on the outside. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken pieces reaches 165 degrees. Remove chicken pieces from pan or fryer and allow to drain on paper towels.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 cup water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk ingredients together over medium heat for a few minutes.
- Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil. Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with ¼ cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens.
- Place fried chicken in a large bowl and pour sauce over the top. Add pineapple tidbits. Toss gently to coat.
- Serve with rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
- If you are serving the chicken in a hollowed out pineapple, then you can use fresh pineapple and pineapple juice instead of the canned stuff.
- Nutrition facts do not include rice.
- Add some red pepper flakes to the sauce if you like it a little spicy!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
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