Tropical Grilled Pineapple Chicken is heaven from the BBQ! Make it for an easy dinner or cook it at the game or barbecue.
I love grilled pineapple. It's pretty dreamy — the juicy, smokey flavor and the caramelized bits.
It's so versatile as well, great for savory meals like this tropical chicken or sweet desserts like my Grilled Pineapple with Praline Caramel.
This grilled tropical chicken and pineapple is so easy! It's great to pack up and cook when tailgating, make for a party, or even a simple weeknight dinner when you need to get out of a rut.
A tropical chicken marinade using soy sauce and ginger makes this grilled pineapple chicken recipe extra delicious. It's the perfect tropical dinner idea that takes you right to the beach!
Bonus: the chicken can be added to the marinade ahead of time, so you can prep the meal now and enjoy it later! That makes it nice for meal planning (Get my Meal Planning Starter Kit)
Grilled Pineapple Chicken Ingredients
This is an incredibly easy pineapple chicken recipe that requires few ingredients. You'll need bone-in, skin-on chicken as well as fresh pineapple.
The marinade is made with soy sauce, garlic, fresh ginger, lemon juice, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. It can be whisked together in just a few minutes!
How To Make Grilled Pineapple Chicken
The tropical chicken recipe is simple. I mince some garlic (try this garlic press!) and grate fresh ginger on a Microplane grater to get all the juice and pulp, then mix them with soy sauce, lemon juice, and brown sugar.
I add some red pepper flakes for a little kick. It's really the best chicken marinade around!
Let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least 3 hours, then throw on the grill and cook over medium heat for roughly 12 minutes.
The pineapple gets sliced into rings and grilled alongside the chicken, but only for 3 minutes.
Should I Use Boneless Or Bone-In Chicken?
Bone-in chicken is best here. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are one of the easiest ingredients to pull out of the freezer, season, and cook up for dinner. But sometimes those lean breasts are dry and get overcooked quickly on the grill.
Unlike boneless breasts, the bone-in chicken won't dry out quickly. Legs, wings, thighs, and even breasts with the skin and bones actually come out really perfect on the grill.
As the chicken cooks over the flame, the bones inside heat up and help cook the chicken evenly from the inside.
Tips For Making Grilled Chicken And Pineapple
- Grill the chicken over medium (not high) heat for the juiciest results.
- You can buy your pineapple peeled and cored to save time. The slices cook quickly and are the perfect side to this tropical chicken.
- Use skin-on chicken. The result is juicy chicken and flavorful, crisped skin. You can eat the skin or discard it and still have moist, tender chicken. The skin simply adds moisture and protects the lean meat from drying out over the hot coals.
Grilled Pineapple Chicken Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Make the tropical chicken marinade ahead of time and add the chicken so it's ready to grill when you are!
Or, throw the marinating chicken in the cooler and head to the game or backyard party. It needs time to soak up all the great flavors and you'll be ready to grill when you get there.
Be sure to use bone-in chicken breasts and thighs to prevent the chicken from drying out. The bones help to distribute the heat more evenly when cooking allowing moisture to remain in the meat.
Also, buy skin-on chicken, the skin helps the meat retain moisture and is quite delicious too!
Lastly, grill the chicken over medium heat, not high heat. This allow the chicken to cook slowly keeping it nice and juicy.
Grilling pineapple is incredible because the heat caramelizes the natural sugars in the the fruit and also infuses the pineapple with a smoky flavor. The final grilled pineapple has an amazing smoky and sweet flavor.
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Tropical Grilled Pineapple Chicken
- 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken (breasts, legs, and thighs)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 peeled pineapple
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- In a zip-top bag or a nonreactive bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, grated ginger, lemon juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and canola oil. Marinate chicken in the mixture in the fridge for 3 to 8 hours.
- Heat grill to medium and discard marinade; grill chicken skin-side down over direct heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn and cook 6 to 8 minutes more until internal temperature of chicken is 170ºF on an instant read meat thermometer.
- Slice pineapple into ½-inch rings and sprinkle each with ½ teaspoon sugar. Grill, turning once, until marked and just soft, about 3 minutes; serve alongside chicken.
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Recipe by Tara Teaspoon. Photography Peter Ardito. Food styling Cyd Raftus McDowell. Prop styling Paige Hicks. Originally published in LHJ 6/10. Updated June 2023.