This grilled pineapple chicken breast recipe is a perfect meal for busy weeknights. The chicken is marinated in a flavorful pineapple marinade and grilled alongside slices of pineapple. With only an hour of marinating time, this dish is quick and easy to make. Follow the simple instructions and tips to ensure juicy, tender grilled chicken every time.
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If you could use a little summery taste – regardless of the weather outside – you have to try this grilled pineapple chicken breast.
I grill a lot of chicken, from dijon grilled chicken breast, to wet-brined smoked chicken breast, and dry-brined grilled chicken breast. I even host a podcast about grilling! Suffice it to say, I am good friends with grilled chicken.
These pineapple-marinated chicken breasts turn out super juicy – and I’m giving you tips below that are going to help you make sure they stay moist. Because I know nobody wants to eat dry chicken.
Plus this pineapple marinade is free from gluten and soy and is naturally sweetened, so you can feel good about feeding it to your family. So read on to learn how to make this seriously tasty chicken!
Grab these ingredients!
(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.)
- Chicken breasts – use boneless skinless chicken breasts as you’ll need to pound them out.
- Canned pineapple rings – you’ll use both the rings themselves and the juice in the can.
- Coconut aminos – this fills in for the soy sauce that’s typically in a pineapple marinade. It provides a bit of additional sweetness and a bit of savoriness.
- Apple cider vinegar – this recipe calls for vinegar as canned pineapple juice is less acidic than fresh. You can substitute white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar if needed.
- Garlic – use two large cloves or three small to medium-sized ones. If you really like garlic you can use a couple more in the marinade.
- Ground ginger – make sure your ginger isn’t old, otherwise it won’t be as flavorful. You can also replace it with 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger if you prefer.
- Oil – you want an oil with a high smoke point for this recipe. I typically use avocado oil.
- Kosher salt – I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt in this recipe. If you have a different brand of kosher salt, use this salt conversion chart from Epicurious to determine how much salt to use.
TIRED OF DRY CHICKEN BREAST? TRY THESE TIPS!
1. Make your chicken breast the same width.
To ensure your meat cooks evenly, use a flat meat pounder or tenderizer and pound the thicker side of each breast until it’s the same thickness as the rest of it. Both breasts don’t need to be the same thickness as each other, but each piece of meat should be one width.
This helps keep your chicken from drying out since the entire breast should finish cooking at the same time.
2. Cook your chicken to no higher than 165 degrees F.
Chicken breast in particular dries out quickly. While marinating or brining your chicken helps with that, you still want to cook it to an internal temperature no higher than 165 degrees F.
Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature as you’re baking or grilling your chicken.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, we highly recommend a Thermapen. We have used and loved ours for years. The only place to get one is through Thermoworks, and it is well worth it!
Grilling pineapple chicken breast
There are a couple of steps to this recipe. They’re easy to do and I’m going to explain them in detail.
This may make it seem like this is a complicated recipe but really it’s not! I want you to see every step of the process and make sure I explain everything so you can get perfectly cooked pineapple chicken every time. The steps are as follows:
- Flatten the chicken.
- Marinate the chicken.
- Make a glaze.
- Start grilling the chicken.
- Prep the pineapple.
- Grill the pineapple & finish grilling the chicken.
Pound the boneless skinless chicken breast
In the yellow box above I mentioned why you should flatten your chicken breast (so it cooks evenly and doesn’t dry out), but here’s how you actually do it.
Marinate the pounded-out chicken breast
Next up is making the pineapple chicken marinade and covering the breasts in it.
Can you marinate chicken too long in pineapple juice?
Yes, you can marinate chicken too long in pineapple juice. When marinating with fresh pineapple juice, it has an enzyme called bromelain that will break down the meat if left for too long. Canned pineapple juice does not have this enzyme due to the high temperatures of the canning process.
Make the pineapple glaze
Wait, can you really reuse marinade?
In this case, yes, because we’re boiling it for at least 5 minutes before reusing it – which is what’s needed, according to the USDA.
I would not recommend reusing it to marinate other chicken breasts, but boiling it and turning it into a glaze is a great way to add flavor to your cooked chicken.
Get the marinated pineapple chicken on the grill
Now the chicken breast is prepped and ready to get onto the grill!
Prep the pineapple slices
While the chicken is grilling, let’s get the pineapple slices ready.
Get everything grilled up
Time to get the pineapple on the grill and finish grilling the chicken breasts.
Storing & reheating grilled chicken breast
To store this chicken, first let it cool completely then place the grilled chicken breast in an airtight container. Place the container in the fridge and the grilled chicken will keep for 3 to 4 days.
You can either reheat the chicken breast in the microwave (on a microwave-safe plate in 30-second increments until it’s warmed to your liking) or eat it cold. This pineapple chicken would be great atop a fresh green salad.
What to serve with grilled pineapple chicken breasts
This recipe goes with a variety of side dishes. Here are some of our favorites!
- A crunchy coleslaw, like this pineapple slaw!
- Grilled vegetables are always good – try some grilled zucchini with these!
- If you’re looking for a starch, try this Instant Pot potato salad.
There are lots of other options – check out this post on what to serve with grilled chicken to see more!
If you make and like this pineapple chicken breast recipe, then please leave a 5-star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!
Pineapple Grilled Chicken Breast
- Plastic wrap
- A meat mallet
- A sealable plastic bag
- A pair of grilling tongs
- A basting brush
- A large bowl or other container
For the grilled chicken and pineapple:
- 1.25-1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts thawed (2 breasts)
- 20 oz canned pineapple rings 10 pineapple rings
- 0.5 tbsp oil avocado or olive (for the pineapple rings)
- Place the raw chicken boneless skinless breasts on top of a cutting board and cover them with a piece of plastic wrap – this helps keep any juices from splattering. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound on the thicker portion of each chicken breast. You want forceful blows that can help thin the chicken out. Once each breast is about the same thickness (roughly one-third to one-half an inch), you can stop.
- Measure out the marinade ingredients and place them into a measuring cup or medium bowl. You'll need to open the canned pineapple rings to get the pineapple juice out of it – place the can of pineapple rings in the fridge when you've drained enough juice. Use a small whisk to mix until thoroughly combined. Set the marinade aside.
- Place the flattened raw chicken breasts in a sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade in, then press the air out of the plastic bag as best you can. Seal the bag then gently squish everything together with your hands to help cover the chicken with the marinade. Place the marinating chicken in the fridge for 40 minutes.
- After the 40 minutes are up, remove the bag with the chicken breasts from the fridge and place it on the counter to warm slightly for 10 minutes. After those 10 minutes, open the bag and pour the used marinade into a small saucepan, holding onto the marinated chicken breasts so they stay in the bag. Reseal the bag and let it warm for another 10 minutes on the counter.
- While the chicken finishes warming slightly, turn the used marinade into a glaze. Set the saucepan with the marinade in it on the stove and turn the burner to high heat. Let the marinade come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it cook at a low boil for at least 5 minutes while stirring it often with a small whisk to prevent burning. It should be starting to thicken but not so thick that it resembles the consistency of a caramel sauce. Remove it from the burner when done and set aside.
- Once the glaze is made it’s time to preheat your grill. Turn your grill on to a medium heat and let it get to a temperature of around 375 to 400 degrees F. After it’s reached temperature, use a pair of tongs to remove each chicken breast from the bag and place them on the grill grates. Close the lid and let the breasts cook for 5 minutes. You can discard the bag the chicken was in.
- While the chicken is cooking, prep the pineapple slices. Prep a bowl or large container with paper towels. Drain the remaining juice in the can of pineapple slices and place the slices on top of the paper towels. Remove the excess liquid as best you can, then discard the paper towels. Pour 0.5 tbsp of oil onto the pineapple rings and spread it around onto the rings with your hands to coat them as best you can.
- When the chicken breasts have cooked for 5 minutes on the grill, open the lid and add the pineapple slices onto the grill. Then flip the chicken breast over with a pair of tongs and use a basting brush to spread the glaze you made onto the surface of each chicken breast. You may not use all the glaze and that’s fine.
- Close the lid and continue cooking the chicken breasts and pineapple. Open the lid after 5 minutes and flip the pineapple slices over using tongs. Check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts at this point – you want to remove them once they reach an internal temp of 165 degrees F. They may need another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Once the breasts are done cooking, open the grill lid and use tongs to remove the meat from the grill. Let the pineapple slices cook another 5 minutes, (for a total of 5 minutes on each side), then remove them from the grill. Set the chicken breasts on a platter or cutting board and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve them with the grilled pineapple! You can also brush on a little additional of the reserved marinade if desired.
- To ensure your meat cooks evenly, use a flat meat pounder or tenderizer and pound the thicker side of each breast until it’s the same thickness as the rest of it. Both breasts don’t need to be the same thickness as each other, but each piece of meat should be one width. This helps keep your chicken from drying out since the entire breast should finish cooking at the same time.
- While marinating or brining your chicken helps keep it moise, you still want to cook it to an internal temperature no higher than 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature as you’re grilling your chicken. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, we highly recommend a Thermapen. We have used and loved ours for years. The only place to get one is through Thermoworks, and it is well worth it!