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Sweet meets savory in this mouthwatering Pineapple Chicken recipe. An Asian-inspired stir fry that comes together in just 25 minutes, you’ll love the sticky sauce, juicy chicken, and the combination of tender bell pepper and crisp water chestnuts. So easy too!

at home pineapple chicken recipe on the stove

Why You’ll Love This Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

  • The Perfect Sticky Sauce. What makes Chinese takeout stir fries so great is that sticky sauce that coats each bite and clings to every grain of rice. This simple pineapple chicken recipe replicates that fantastic sticky consistency at home. (So does this General Tso Chicken!)
  • A Weeknight Winner. In under 30 minutes, you’ll have a satisfying restaurant-style meal on the table ready to eat! Like Kung Pao Shrimp and Sesame Chicken, it’s legitimately faster than ordering takeout—and healthier, too. 
  • Family-Friendly. The sweetness of the pineapple pairs perfectly with the savory chicken, making this recipe a crowd-pleaser for all ages. If you have picky eaters in your family, omit the red pepper flakes when you’re cooking and let everyone add their own at the table.
  • That Pineapple, Though. Whether it’s Sweet and Sour Chicken (or Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken) or this sticky pineapple chicken recipe, heating pineapple and pairing it with savory elements really makes that natural sweetness pop.
pineapple chicken with veggies in a wok for easy at home recipe

How to Make Pineapple Chicken

The Ingredients

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs. Pineapple chicken thighs will be a little juicer than pineapple chicken breasts (dark meat is juicier than white), but either way, the recipe will still be delish and come together fast.
  • Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper. Always essential.
  • Pineapple Chunks. Canned in juice, not syrup! We’ll put the juice to use (hey, it rhymes!) in the sauce. 
  • Low-Sodium Soy Sauce. Use tamari for a gluten-free pineapple chicken sauce.
  • Honey. For some natural sweetness that’s not cloying.
  • Cornstarch. The key to the sauce’s stickiness.
  • Garlic and Ginger. Fresh garlic and ginger bring lots of flavor to the table.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. Adjust the amount as needed!
  • Canola Oil. Or another neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point.
  • Red Bell Peppers. Orange or yellow are also fabulous; you can use a green pepper if you like for a slightly sharper flavor.
  • Water Chestnuts. Here for the crunch. A polarizing ingredient, so feel free to omit these if you’re not a fan! 

Market Swap

Want to take out the water chestnuts and replace them with something else? Try canned bamboo shoots—which, yes, are literally slices of tiny bamboo trees. If you’re not into the idea of feasting like a panda, sliced celery is another option.

  • Green Onions. A multitasker that adds flavor, texture, and a pop of color to our Chinese pineapple chicken.
  • Sesame Seeds. White sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, or a combination of both.
  • Brown Rice, Quinoa, or Cauliflower Rice. For serving.

The Directions

making pineapple chicken sticky sauce for recipe
  1. Prepare. Season the chicken, then whisk together the pineapple juice with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
chicken in wok for the easiest pineapple chicken recipe
  1. Cook the Chicken. Add oil to a hot wok set over medium-high heat, then cook the chicken until it’s golden brown on all sides.
pineapple and red pepper in a wok for pineapple chicken recipe
  1. Stir-Fry the Pineapple and Peppers. Cook until they’re blistered in a few places.
pineapple chicken with sticky chinese sauce for at home recipe
  1. Add Back the Chicken. Stir in the water chestnuts, too.
pineapple chicken sauce in a wok with chicken and veggies
  1. Pour in the Sauce. Stir and cook the pineapple chicken until the sauce reduces and has that nice sticky consistency.
pineapple chicken with sesame seeds and green onions
  1. Finish. Add the green onions and sesame seeds, then season to taste and serve over rice. ENJOY!
simple recipe for pineapple chicken

Recipe Variations

  • Use Another Protein. Pork, steak, or shrimp would all be delicious in place of the chicken. Keep in mind, though, that each of these proteins will have different cooking times.
  • Make It Vegetarian. To make this dish vegetarian, swap the chicken for pressed and drained extra-firm tofu. (For more tofu tips, see my post on How to Cook Tofu.) Or, take a cue from my General Tso’s Chickpeas and use chickpeas.
  • Switch Up the Veggies. Don’t like bell peppers? Feel free to swap them out for other veggies like snow peas or snap peas, carrots, or broccoli. 
  • Add Something Unexpected. Cashews or slivered almonds will add some crunch to the mix, as will crispy wonton strips. If you want to go really unexpected, thinly slice some kumquats (rind and all!) and add those with the pineapple and peppers. They add a little citrusy punch to stir fries—and let’s be real, how many opportunities do you have to use kumquats in your cooking?
  • Make it in the Slow Cooker. Check out my Crockpot Pineapple Chicken.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover pineapple chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave until heated through. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze pineapple chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.

Meal Prep Tip

Cut the green onions and bell peppers up to two days in advance and refrigerate them in an airtight container. You can also cut the chicken into pieces and whisk together the sauce ingredients the day before.

how to make stovetop pineapple chicken

What to Serve with Pineapple Stir Fry

  • Non-Stick Skillet. Because you want the sauce to stick to the chicken, not the pan!
  • Small Whisk. I like the size of this whisk for small jobs like mixing stir fry sauces.
  • Measuring Spoons. My absolute favorite because they’re double-sided and magnetic.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Start the Rice Before You Start the Pineapple Chicken. If you’re making brown rice, it needs about 50 minutes on the stovetop, so plan accordingly! (White rice, on the other hand, will take just about as long as the pineapple chicken, so start it before you begin prepping ingredients.)
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan. You want to give everything plenty of room to cook evenly and develop those delicious caramelized edges that make stir fries so irresistible.
  • Have All of Your Ingredients Ready to Go. Stir fries move quickly, so you don’t want to be scrambling to chop veggies or measure ingredients while your food is (over-)cooking. Having everything prepped and ready next to the stovetop will make the cooking process go much more smoothly.
the BEST pineapple chicken recipe for at home sticky pineapple chicken

Pineapple Chicken

4.87 from 37 votes
This easy pineapple chicken stir fry pairs tender chicken and pineapple with a sticky, sweet, and savory sauce. Ready in just 25 minutes!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice (not in syrup)
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce plus additional to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus additional to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral cooking oil, divided
  • 2 red bell peppers cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions about 2, plus additional for serving
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • Prepared brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice

Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with the salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Drain the juice from the pineapple cans into a large liquid measuring cup with a spout (you should have about 2/3 cup juice). Whisk in the soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Set near the stove.
  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot and shimmering, add the chicken. Cook on all sides until it’s light golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  • Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add the bell peppers and pineapple chunks from the cans. Cook until the peppers are crisp-tender and likely blistered in a few places, about 5 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the water chestnuts. Pour the sauce over the top and stir to coat. Let cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is reduced and everything is wonderfully coated and sticky—1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the green onions and sesame seeds. Taste and add additional salt or soy sauce, so that it is seasoned to your liking. Enjoy hot with rice and an additional sprinkle of green onions.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover pineapple chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave until heated through. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze pineapple chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 400kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 40gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 109mgPotassium: 1118mgFiber: 6gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 2071IUVitamin C: 92mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Trying this recipe tomorrow. It looks delicious. However, a word of warning. Never use fresh pineapple with chicken or ham. The enzymes break down the meat and it becomes mealy…and basically inedible. Unfortunately, I found this out with ham I fixed for Easter dinner. At another time, my son put some chicken breasts in a marinade with fresh pineapple. After 15 minutes, he remembered the ham experience and removed the breasts and washed them off. Just that small amount of exposure to the pineapple ruined the chicken breasts when they were cooked.

  2. Super tasty! I was craving pineapple and stir-fry and this meal was the perfect answer to that. Easy to put together and I enjoyed the red pepper in there too.5 stars

  3. Delicious! Didn’t have a couple ingredients, and forgot ginger, but it wasgreat regardless! My 4 year old really liked it. We had white rice and steamed broccoli to complete the meal. It was sweet, but not sickly like some recipes. Will definitely make this again and add to the meal plans! Thanks!5 stars

  4. Oh my, this was good. Just what I wanted. I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I used chicken tenders cut up, which I was careful not to overcook. I used fresh pineapple, which has been particularly good at my grocery store recently. I added a little extra chicken broth to ensure plenty of sauce. I served it over jasmine rice.5 stars

  5. I have quite literally 0 cooking skills and I was able to throw this together and my girlfriend and I loved it! I used just about 2 pounds of chicken but followed all of the ingredient measures the same and it still turned out amazing. Served over some rice and I will definitely be making again.5 stars

  6. This was delish. I wanted an asian dish with pineapple and this didn’t disappoint. It was quick, easy, very tasty, filling and satisfied all the taste buds. The smell was very good also as everyone kept drifting into the kitchen to see what was up. No left overs either. I wish there was more sauce. Maybe next time I’ll double the juice.5 stars

  7. Such a good recipe! I used fresh pineapple and just juiced it. I also added half a teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder and very little veggie broth to the raw bell pepper and raw broccoli to cook it quicker. As everything was simmering I added more honey than it called for as my pineapple wasn’t very sweet. And didn’t use cornstarch cause I had none. Turned out great!5 stars

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