Pineapple Chicken {Crockpot!}

If you opened my refrigerator right now, you’d likely be confused as to whether you were in a home kitchen or a fast food Chinese buffet. I’ve been testing different Asian-inspired recipes nonstop over the past two weeks, and this Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken recipe is ready for its debut!

Whenever I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner (a scene that I like to pretend is an episode Chopped but more accurately resembles me rifling around the top refrigerator shelf and opening/sniffing assorted Tupperware containers), stir fry-ish recipes are my default.

Recipes like Pineapple Chicken are the perfect way to use up odd bits of produce threatening to expire, hit every food group in a single pan, taste great leftover for lunch the next day, and best of all, never ever fail to satisfy.

Preparing stir fries in the slow cooker (a concept that I readily and unapologetically admit is a misnomer, since no actual stir frying is involved) has the added benefit of being flexible on timing. By the time a crock pot recipe is ready, you can have the kitchen clean, the table set, a load of laundry in the dryer, and a glass of wine in your hand. Cheers to you and your domestic prowess!

Unlike most restaurant stir fries, when you cook take out-style food at home, it can be good for you.

This Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken is healthy, packed with colorful fruits and veggies, and is a wholesome dinner you can feel excellent enjoying any night of the week.

Growing up, I considered Pineapple Chicken Chinese because our grocery store carried it in its Chinese take out case. Totally. Legit.

Looking back, while the grocery case wasn’t a reliable test of authenticity, it did make an impact on my culinary life (see Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, General Tso’s Tofu, Healthy Shrimp Pad Thai, Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli, and all of these healthy stir fry recipes).

I’ve seen similar recipes to this one titled Hawaiian chicken, so I attempted to research if pineapple chicken is actually Chinese or Hawaiian or merely the product of restaurants catering to pineapple-loving Americans. The research is… inconclusive.

In fact, if you’ve been looking to start a Wikipedia page, “Pineapple Chicken” doesn’t have an entry yet. First come, first served!

About this Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken Recipe

Let’s let history rest, pick up our forks (or chopsticks if you prefer), and dive in because whatever its lineage, this Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken is delicious.

The sauce is sweet and tangy, the chicken moist and juicy, and the water chestnuts add a delightful crunch. I made this slow cooker recipe with chicken thighs, but you can certainly turn it into a pineapple chicken breast recipe if that is what you or your family prefer.

For the fastest-possible prep, I opted for canned pineapple. If you have time, a ripe pineapple lounging on your counter, and are better at slicing pineapple that I am, you could certainly make this a fresh pineapple chicken recipe instead.

For those with dietary concerns, this is a slow cooker Whole30 chicken recipe and is Paleo-approved too, provided you swap coconut aminos for the soy sauce and arrowroot starch for the corn starch. (If that statement peaked your interest, see this list of Whole30 recipes, which includes both more Whole30 slow cooker and more Whole30 chicken options.) This Pineapple Chicken is dairy free and gluten free as well.

As far as the rest of my refrigerator, I’ll be sharing more healthy stir fry recipes soon! Easy and healthy is my mode of operation as of late, and this Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken fits that need perfectly.

Whether you are prepping for back to school, looking to return to a healthy groove after an indulgent weekend, or simply never run out of reasons to eat yummy, colorful food on top of rice (ME!), I know this Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken will hit the spot for you too.

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Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 30 mins
Moist and juicy Pineapple Chicken, made in the crock pot! Easy, healthy, and packed with fresh veggies. This Hawaiian chicken will be a family favorite!

Ingredients

  • pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) — cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in natural juice (not syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons  cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes — plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 small red bell peppers — cored seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 5-ounce can water chestnuts
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • Prepared brown rice — quinoa, or cauliflower rice

Instructions

  1. Lightly coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with baking spray and arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer on top. Drain the pineapple juice from the can into a large liquid measuring cup or mixing bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch. Once smooth, stir in the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Pour over the chicken. Add the pineapple chunks and red pepper.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or HIGH for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until cooked through.
  3. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and vegetable mixture to a plate. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan. Simmer over high until it reduces by half, about 4-5 minutes, stirring very frequently. Add back to the slow cooker with the chicken mixture. Add the water chestnuts and green onion. Stir to combine. Serve hot with cauliflower rice, brown rice, or quinoa.

Recipe Notes

  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stove top.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken, Healthy Crock Pot Recipe

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 6), heaping 1 cup stir fry with 1/2 cup prepared brown rice) — Calories: 383, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 536mg, Carbohydrates: 38g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 20g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken. Easy, healthy and PACKED with flavor! This slow cooker version of Hawaiian chicken is perfect for busy weeknights and will be a family favorite. #wellplated #slowcooker #crockpot #slowcooker

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

20 comments

  1. What a great easy meal! I do love a crockpot recipe. I’ve never actually heard of pineapple chicken, but I can see that it looks delicious. Because pineapple, YUM. Great recipe!

  2. I love pineapple in Asian food! I love pineapple in all food actually! Can’t wait to try this recipe, and thanks for inspiring me to dig out the crockpot Erin!

  3. Pineapple was growing in large fields on the Big Island of Hawaii when we visited in 1982. What an intriguing sight that was!

  4. “On top” of what vegetables? There is mention of a vegetable mixture that I assume goes under the chicken, but I do not know what vegetables you mean. I have plenty of vegetables to throw in first, it is just that I like to be clear what you meant.

  5. Who needs takeout when you have this delish dinner?!

  6. Nancy, that is a swap you can make if you’d like the recipe to be Whole30/Paleo. I apologize for the confusion!

  7. Ok. You mean I can make stir-fry without even standing over the stove?! LOVE THIS!!! :)

  8. This was so tasty!  it was the perfect easy, weeknight meal for our family.  Thank you.

  9. I just made this for dinner tonight! It turned out great. I threw in some onions slices because, why not!? I also took the chicken out to give a quick sear before plating. 10/10 will make again. I love your website and can’t wait for the book!

    • Sid, thank you so much for leaving this review! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe, and I’m thrilled to hear you’re excited for my cookbook too!

  10. This looks good. Any excuse to eat pineapple is good for me. Can this recipe be converted to Instant Pot? I’m new to the IP and want to start using it more.

  11. Would adding rice wine vinegar make it too acidic?

    • Hi Steven, I haven’t tried the recipe with rice wine vinegar, but adding it would make the dish more acidic. I enjoyed the dish as-is, but you’re welcome to experiment.

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