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This easy pineapple fried rice is a delicious combination of sweet and savory with fresh pineapple, tender bites of chicken, lots of veggies, and Asian flavors. Ready in just 30 minutes, it's perfect for a healthier weeknight meal that beats getting takeout!
Ingredients in pineapple fried rice
Rice: You can use brown or white rice for this recipe. The key here is chilling the rice overnight to ensure it doesn't become mushy. Leftover rice cooked in water works great. Just make sure you let it cool completely before refrigerating it for at least four hours, ideally overnight. In the pictures, we've used brown rice. But here we show you how to cook basmati rice, which works wonderfully in this pineapple fried rice recipe.
Chicken: For a bit of protein, this pineapple fried rice recipe has bites of chicken. Chicken thighs are easiest to cook, as they won't dry up if you overcook them slightly. Use a sharp knife to cut each thigh into bite-sized pieces, about ½ inch each.
Pineapple: For the best flavor, use fresh pineapple! It may be daunting to break down a whole pineapple but it's actually very simple. Use a large, sharp knife to cut off the top leaves and the bottom, then slice it vertically to remove the tough outer skin. Then slice the pineapple into rounds and cube it up, make sure to throw away the core as it's very chewy.
Bell Peppers: We used a mix of green and red bell peppers, but feel free to use whatever combination you like.
Yellow Onion: Adds another savory element to the dish.
Garlic and Ginger: Again, make sure you use fresh aromatics for the best flavor.
Coconut oil: Other oils will work well too, but coconut oil adds a delicious flavor. It also has a high smoke point which means that it will stand up to the high heat needed to sear the chicken.
Peas: For convenience and taste, use frozen peas. No need to thaw, these will heat up quickly when added to the warm rice at the end of cooking.
Soy sauce: an essential part of pineapple fried rice, soy sauce adds a salty, umami flavor to the dish which pairs perfectly with the sweet pineapple. Feel free to use gluten-free soy sauce, if needed
Honey: Helps bring out the sweetness of the pineapple.
Lime Juice: A final squeeze of lime juice adds a pop of freshness to this pineapple fried rice.
How to Make Pineapple Fried Rice
- Prep. Start by cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Lay them out on a plate or cutting board and sprinkle them generously with salt. Let the chicken sit for about 10-15 minutes while you chop the other ingredients. The salt will displace some of the moisture in the chicken so you end up with flavorful, tender bites!
- Cook chicken. When you have all the vegetables and pineapple chopped and the chicken has had time to sit, heat a pot over medium heat. Fried rice is traditionally cooked over high heat in a wok, but any large skillet or pot will work just fine. Melt a couple of knobs of coconut oil until it begins to shimmer and then add the chicken. Depending on how big you cut the pieces of chicken, it may take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to cook through.
- Cook veggies. Remove the chicken from the pan but leave any fat that has rendered. If there are any brown bits stuck to the bottom, that's ok. Throw in the veggies and give those a quick sauté, followed by the aromatics. We don't want to overcook the veggies so a few minutes is all you need.
- Add rice and season. Now, dump your chilled rice into the pot along with the pineapple, a splash of soy sauce, and a drizzle of honey. Add the chicken back to the pot and stir it all together until combined. Reduce the heat to low and allow everything to warm through. This shouldn't take long, about 5 minutes or so. Finally, stir in those green peas and add a squeeze of lime juice. It's very easy to overcook the peas, so it's best to just turn off the heat and let them thaw naturally in the hot rice.
- Serve this pineapple fried rice with some chopped scallions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Full recipe in the recipe card below.
Tips and Substitutions
- To make this a vegan pineapple fried rice recipe, replace the chicken with cubed tofu, tempeh, edamame, or omit it entirely. Simply use three tablespoons of coconut oil to cook the vegetables and add your protein of choice with the rice and pineapple.
- If you cannot find fresh pineapple, canned works too. Make sure you use an unsweetened kind (packed in water, not syrup).
- This pineapple fried rice is best served fresh, but also tastes great reheated. When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it will keep for up to 4 days.
Learn more about how to cut a pineapple!
What to Serve with Pineapple Fried Rice
While you could easily serve pineapple fried rice and call it dinner, here are a few recipes that go really well with it:
- Spiced Lentil Salad Lettuce Wraps
- Chipotle BBQ Shrimp Tacos with Grilled Nectarine Salsa
- Cashew Chicken
- Chili Lime Shrimp
Can I use canned pineapple instead of fresh pineapple?
Sure! If you use canned pineapple, opt for pineapple chunks and only use the fruit – not the liquid in the can.
How can I make pineapple fried rice vegan?
Our recipe calls for chicken thighs, which obviously aren't vegan. You can omit them, or use cubed tofu instead.
How do I prevent pineapple fried rice from becoming mushy?
Make sure that you start with cold rice. Also, use a large enough pan that you can stir everything around easily.
What seasonings are typically used in pineapple fried rice?
Ginger, garlic, and soy sauce are the main seasonings used in pineapple fried rice.
Can I add eggs?
Absolutely! Fried rice is great with scrambled eggs. Once the fried rice is cooked, push everything to the edges of the pan, crack in 2 eggs, and scramble them before mixing them into the rice.
More pineapple dinner recipes
- 4 cups cooked brown or white rice, chilled (see notes)
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs ( cut into bite-sized pieces )
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (divided)
- ½ yellow onion (chopped)
- ½ green bell pepper ( chopped)
- ½ red bell pepper (chopped)
- 1 large garlic clove (minced)
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger (grated)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 ½ cups cubed pineapple
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 1 small lime (juiced)
- green onions and sesame seeds (to serve)
- Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and let them sit for 10-15 minutes while you prep the other ingredients. Blot dry with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture.1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When shimmering, add in the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer pink in the center, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.3 tablespoons coconut oil
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan and add the onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until just softened. Add the bell peppers, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the soy sauce then scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.½ yellow onion, ½ green bell pepper, ½ red bell pepper, 1 large garlic clove, 1 inch piece fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Stir in the rice, honey, cubed pineapple, and cooked chicken. Reduce the heat to low and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking stir in the frozen peas and lime juice.4 cups cooked brown or white rice, chilled, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 ½ cups cubed pineapple, ¾ cup frozen peas, 1 small lime
- Serve warm with fresh green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, if desired.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.