This Grilled Pineapple Chicken is sweet, tender, and perfect for dinner. With a quick and flavorful marinade using canned pineapple juice, it’s a healthy gluten free and paleo meal that cooks up quickly. Prepare for this tropical chicken to become a summer staple!
If you’re looking for an easy grilled chicken recipe with simple ingredients that happens to be gluten free, paleo, or Whole30 compliant, then this is the chicken recipe for you.
It’s naturally sweetened with canned pineapple juice and coconut aminos in the marinade, which combine with garlic and ginger for a great flavor. Don’t rely on just barbecue sauce for your grilled chicken when you could be eating this juicy grilled pineapple chicken instead!
- boneless skinless chicken thighs
- coconut aminos
- pineapple juice
- apple cider vinegar
- avocado or olive oil
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- garlic cloves
- ground ginger
- canned pineapple rings
- green onions, for topping if desired
I’ve written condensed directions here including pictures so you can see how to make this recipe. The full set of instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Before you scroll through, there is important information throughout this post.
How to make grilled pineapple chicken
- Put the coconut aminos, pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, kosher salt, and some of the oil in a large bowl. Press or mince the garlic and stir everything together with a small whisk or other utensil.
- Remove the chicken thighs from their packaging, placing them in the bowl. Mix with the pineapple marinade then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
- After the 45 minutes are up, take the chicken out of the fridge and let rest on the counter to come up in temperature for 15 minutes. Fire up your outdoor grill to about 350 degrees F – medium heat – and prep the pineapple by removing the rings from the can & drying them off with paper towels. Pour oil over them and use your fingers to cover the rings.
- Once the grill is at temperature, place the pineapple on the grill first, then the chicken. Close the lid and cook for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, flip the pineapple and close the lid to cook everything another 2 minutes.
- Remove the pineapple from the grill and flip the chicken, cooking another 4 minutes.
- Check the temperature of the chicken thighs with a meat thermometer (affiliate link), removing them once they hit an internal temperature of 160-165F.
- Place everything on a platter and sprinkle chopped green onions on chicken if desired. Enjoy!
What to serve with pineapple chicken
Try any one of these side dishes as a great option to eat with this flavorful chicken dish.
- grilled veggies like grilled zucchini, grilled bell peppers, or grilled onions
- fruits like grilled peaches, mango, or papaya
- a starchy side like grilled potatoes or regular or sweet potato fries
- cauliflower rice, or white or brown rice if not paleo/Whole30
- simple additions like sliced avocado or pineapple salsa
Can I make this chicken as kabobs?
Yes, you can make grilled pineapple chicken as kabobs. Cut the chicken thighs into roughly 1 inch pieces and place on metal skewers. Cook them using the same method listed in the instructions, removing them once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160-165F.
How should I store leftover pineapple chicken?
Store leftover pineapple chicken in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will keep for 2-3 days.
Can you freeze pineapple chicken?
I would not recommended freezing grilled pineapple chicken, it would likely be very watery upon reheating.
Can I use fresh pineapple instead of canned?
Yes, you can use fresh pineapple instead of canned to make grilled pineapple chicken, but you’d need to buy a small can of pineapple juice to go in the marinade.
- Don’t try to make this with frozen chicken thighs – your thighs need to be fully defrosted otherwise they won’t cook evenly on the grill.
- You always want to preheat your grill. Turn it on 5 or so minutes before you’re ready to put your meat and fruit on so it can come up to temperature.
- In order to tell whether your meat is done you absolutely should check the internal temperature of the chicken. If you need tips on how to do that, check out this post I wrote about how to use a meat thermometer for grilling. If you don’t have a digital meat thermometer, we’ve used a Thermapen for years and love it – click here to check it out. (affiliate link)
- If you don’t have green onions you can also top this with chopped cilantro or parsley, some pineapple salsa, or a dollop of bbq sauce.
Need more dinner ideas? Check out some of my favorite grilling recipes.
- Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs (GF, DF, Paleo, Whole30)
- Grilled Flank Steak – Carne Asada (GF, DF, Paleo, Whole30)
- Dijon Chicken Thighs (GF, DF, Paleo, Whole30)
- Easy Grilled Shrimp (GF, DF, Paleo, Whole30)
- Ground Lamb Skewers (GF, DF, Paleo, Whole30)
If you make end up making this juicy Grilled Pineapple Chicken, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went in the comments below!
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Grilled Pineapple Chicken (GF, Paleo, Whole30)
- A garlic press
- A sharp knife
- Plastic wrap
- A serving platter
- A meat thermometer
- 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs about 4-5 thighs, thawed
- 1/4 c coconut aminos
- 3 tbsp pineapple juice
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp oil avocado or olive, divided
- 1/2 heaping tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 15 oz canned pineapple rings
- green onion for topping, if desired
- Open up the canned pineapple and pour out 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice into a large bowl. Set the rest of the can aside, then measure out the oil, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, and kosher salt with measuring spoons and place them into the bowl. Peel the skin off the garlic cloves and use a garlic press to squeeze the pressed garlic into the bowl with the rest of the marinade. Stir the marinade together with a small whisk or other utensil.
- Remove the chicken thighs from their packaging and, if desired, cut off any large clumps of fat with a sharp knife. Place the chicken thighs in the bowl and mix them up with the marinade until they’re well covered Place in the fridge for 45 minutes, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Be sure and wash your hands afterward!
- After the 45 minutes are up, take the chicken out of the fridge and let rest on the counter to come up in temperature for 15 minutes. Fire up your outdoor grill to about 350 degrees F – medium heat – and prep the pineapple. Remove the rings from the can, placing them in a medium bowl or other dish. Dry them off with paper towels and pour 1 tablespoon of oil over them, using your fingers to fully cover the rings.
- Once the grill is at temperature place the pineapple on the grill first with a pair of tongs, then place the chicken thighs on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 3 minutes, then open the lid and flip the pineapple slices over. Close the lid and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Open the lid again and remove the pineapple from the grill onto a platter. Flip the chicken thighs and close the lid again, cooking for another 4 minutes. Once the 4 minutes are up, open the lid and check the temperature of each chicken thigh with a meat thermometer. Remove them from the grill once they hit an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees F. Keep in mind smaller chicken thighs will be done sooner than larger ones!
- Sprinkle chopped green onions onto the grilled chicken and serve together with the pineapple rings.