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This pineapple chicken stir fry recipe has a deliciously sweet and tangy sauce that perfectly coats the tender chicken, pineapple, and veggies. It costs less than takeout!

You may also like this Ground Pork Stir Fry with a pineapple ginger sauce or my crispy Easy Orange Chicken

a bowl of pineapple chicken over rice

Why you’ll love it

This Chinese-style chicken stir fry is a really fantastic option for picky eaters. There’s a bright, sticky, sweet, and savory pineapple sauce along with golden, crisp chicken bites. It’s ready in just over half an hour, meaning it’s faster than picking up takeout and fresher too!

This sticky pineapple chicken is one of those takeout fakeout type recipes that is genuinely comparable to the real deal, and it’s far more affordable. You can also control exactly what goes into it, so you can feel good about serving this for your family any weeknight.

What you’ll need

For the stir fry

  • Chicken – we’re using two boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Garlic powder and pepper – to infuse the chicken directly with flavor
  • Cornstarch – it’s what gives the chicken that browned, crispy exterior and tender inside when pan seared
  • Olive oil – for stir frying
  • Pineapple – we’re using unsweetened canned pineapple tidbits packed in juice
  • Red bell pepper and onion – for some added crunch. I like using sweet (Vidalia) onions, and you can use any color of pepper

For the sauce

  • Pineapple juice – it comes in the cans of pineapple and forms the base of the sauce
  • Honey – for a hint of sweetness and balance
  • Soy sauce – we’re using regular, but you can use low sodium if that’s a consideration
  • Rice vinegar – for a little tang and acidity. Apple cider vinegar works fine too.
  • Ginger – fresh ginger adds a zip and whole other layer to the sauce
  • Garlic – for more savory flavor
  • Cornstarch – it thickens up the sauce
ingredients for pineapple chicken in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

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How to make pineapple chicken

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

whisking sauce in a bowl and coating chicken pieces in cornstarch for stir frying

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, then set aside. Chop the veggies. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and coat them in the garlic powder, pepper, and cornstarch.

pan frying chicken in a skillet then stir frying pineapple

Pan fry the chicken in olive oil in two batches in a skillet. That way it’ll brown up nicely and won’t steam by being too crowded. Transfer to a plate once cooked to 165F. In the skillet, stir fry the pineapple.

adding vegetables to a skillet with pineapple chicken and cooking through

Add in the veggies, and cook until tender-crisp. Return the chicken back to the pan. Pour in the sauce, and let it bubble until thickened. Garnish with scallions if desired.

Pro tips

  • As with any stir fry, I highly recommend prepping everything before you even turn on the stove, including making the sauce and chopping all the veggies. The cooking part goes quickly, so you don’t want to be caught scrambling!
  • Love tons of sauce? Go ahead and double the sauce ingredients.
  • It’s important to keep a pretty high heat to get a good sear on the chicken and veggies when cooking this stir fry.

Some notes on the pineapple

  • This recipe does have a fair bit of pineapple, so feel free to use a bit less if you want. The pineapple juice in the sauce is from the cans of pineapple. Two 8-ounce cans or one 20-ounce can should have enough juice, but if it isn’t enough, just top it up with water until you reach the 3/4 cup needed for the recipe.
  • You can use fresh pineapple, but you’ll likely need to buy pineapple juice separately for the sauce if you go that route. The good news is that it comes in convenient cartons you’ll find at your grocery store too.

Substitutions and variations

  • You can definitely play around with this one. Use your favorite veggies! Just make sure they’re cut roughly the same size. Readers have added in everything from broccoli to sugar snap peas to cashews.
  • Add in some crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha for heat.
  • Feel free to swap the chicken breasts with chicken thighs.
  • If you want the sauce to be a little less sweet, cut the honey down from the 3 tablespoons to 1.5 to 2 tbsp. 

What to serve with pineapple chicken

  • I love serving it over a bed of long grain white rice, specifically jasmine rice. It’s just so tasty with that sticky sweet sauce. Brown rice would be great as well.
  • Noodles work too! Use your favorite stir fry noodle. I like Udon, but the kind you get in those instant ramen noodles (without the seasoning packet) are good too.
  • If you’re not feeling the carbs, go ahead and serve this on lettuce wraps.

Leftovers and storage

  • Store this pineapple chicken for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat in a saucepan until warmed through. I’d make fresh rice or noodles to serve with any leftovers.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this one. The texture, especially the veggies, will change.
closeup of pineapple chicken bites

If you made this easy pineapple chicken recipe, leave a star rating and review below! You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you made this or any of my recipes.

a bowl of pineapple chicken over rice
4.88 from 31 votes

Pineapple Chicken (Asian Style)

This pineapple chicken stir fry recipe has a deliciously sweet and tangy sauce that perfectly coats the tender chicken, pineapple, and veggies. It costs less than takeout!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans pineapple tidbits or chunks drained (but reserve 3/4 cup juice for the sauce)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion sliced or cut into bite-size pieces

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice (from the canned pineapple)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions 

  • Add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl. If you don't have quite enough pineapple juice to make 3/4 cup, just top the rest up with water. Whisk until smooth.
  • Prep your veggies.
  • Cut the chicken into 1" pieces and add them to a bowl. Toss them with the garlic powder and some pepper. Add the cornstarch and toss until coated.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Let the pan heat up for a few minutes. Cook the chicken in two batches (don't crowd the pan). Cook the chicken for 4 minutes and then flip (I use tongs to do this quickly) and cook for another 3-4 minutes or so. Chicken should be browned and cooked through (165F). For the second batch, I add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Transfer each batch of the chicken to a plate when it's done.
  • If the pan is dry, add a small splash of olive oil (a teaspoon or so), and then add the pineapple. Let it cook without stirring it for about a minute.
  • Stir in the peppers and onions and cook for another 3 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Veggies will be tender-crisp. You can cook for a little longer if you wish.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan and then stir in the sauce. Let it bubble until it's thickened (about 1-2 minutes), then take the pan off the heat and serve immediately over rice or noodles.

Notes

  • I buy the canned pineapple that’s unsweetened (packed in its own juice).

Nutrition

Calories: 407kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 639mg, Potassium: 655mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 91IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on July 4, 2020. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!


Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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4.88 from 31 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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79 Comments

  1. Susan says:

    5 stars
    Really enjoyed this recipe served it with lettuce leaves
    Definitely be making it again
    Thanks for sharing πŸ‘

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Susan!! Thanks for your review!

  2. Linda Stone says:

    I made this for dinner tonight. Easy to make and was delicious! Thank you for a wonderful recipe that I will use often.
    Linda S.

    1. Natasha says:

      You are very welcome, Linda! πŸ˜€

  3. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe and I’ve made it several times! I’m a pescetarian so I make it tofu pineapple instead of chicken pineapple. Very good and craveable! One time I even ate it 4 times in a row and I hate leftovers! πŸ˜‚ Obviously not the case here. Last time I just blended the pineapple rings left I my Vitamix. I just needed to add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to make it 3/4 cup. Very forgiving recipe! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome, Michelle!! πŸ˜€

  4. Mary says:

    I made the recipe and while the final result tasted good, I had several problems with the recipe as written. First, the chicken stuck to the pan so badly that I had to switch to another pan for the second batch, and then to another pan to do the rest of the recipe. The vegetables should have been separated and the onions cooked first and longer instead of cooking them altogether. I ended up having to take the pineapple and vegetables out of the pan forkful by forkful (what a pain that was!) and put the onions back in to cook longer before I could put everything else back in. I chose to cook my sauce in the pan before putting all the veggies, pineapple, and chicken back in the pan, and that worked well.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! Did you get the pan to a hot enough temperature? That usually helps chicken not stick.

  5. Peter Robbins says:

    Sorry. Most of the recipes I have tried are awesome. This chicken is the dodgiest recipe I have tried. Chicken had no flavor, sauce was not inspiring Chicken was dry and lifeless vegetables were crisp, but I will never use it again. Followed the recipe exactly and did not find the garlic overwhelming. Fortunately I had everything on hand. Do yourself a favor and make something else. Chicken Parmesan is to die for.

  6. Nancy says:

    5 stars
    Restaurant quality! Love this recipe!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you, Nancy!

  7. Laura says:

    5 stars
    My family and I enjoyed this for dinner last night. Absolutely going in the β€œmake that again” file!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great to hear, Laura! πŸ˜€ Thanks for your 5-star review!

  8. Tamara says:

    5 stars
    Fantastic! I’ve made this recipe twice already. The only thing I did differently was use half the amount of honey. So yummy!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy it’s a favorite, Tamara!! πŸ˜€ Thanks for your review!