Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

Easy grilled pineapple teriyaki chicken that cooks in just 15 minutes is a simple mix of chicken thighs and a juicy, sticky-sweet teriyaki sauce with pineapple chunks, bell peppers, and green onions.

With this recipe from food blogger and photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, the only thing standing between you and a satisfying, sweet-and-sour chicken teriyaki dinner is your willpower and less than 25 minutes of effort. Her delectable recipe breaks down the stages for getting a restaurant-worthy plate onto your table in less than half an hour, so you no longer have to rely on sub-par delivery.

Teriyaki never used to make that many appearances in Japanese cooking, but it became immensely popular in the US during the 1960s, after Japanese immigrants in Hawaii began blending soy sauce with local products like pineapple juice and brown sugar. With this grilled pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe, the result is a gooey, sticky, and delicious mix of Hawaiian and Japanese flavors.

Gather the ingredients

The first step to making this easy chicken dish is assembling the ingredients. Because we'll be making our own pineapple teriyaki sauce from scratch, the ingredient list might seem long. But don't let it fool you into thinking this recipe isn't easy!

From the pantry, you will need to grab vegetable oil, salt, pepper, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch. The protein in our dish will be boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced Into ¾-inch cubes.

From the produce section, we have garlic, bell pepper, a diced small pineapple (or a 15-ounce can of pineapple chunks), fresh ginger, and pineapple juice. If you're feeling up for it (or if you don't know where to get pineapple juice), you can even make your own pineapple juice by blending equal amounts of pineapple chunks and water, Prints says. For the amount of pineapple juice you'll need for this recipe, blend ⅛ cup (or 1 ½ tablespoons) each of pineapple chunks and water. It might be easier to make a bit extra of the pineapple juice and just drink the remainder!

And for serving the dish, you'll want some cooked rice, sesame seeds, and green onions.

Prep the ingredients

After gathering all the ingredients, the best thing to do would be to get all the chopping work done and out of the way. This will serve as your mise en place, and will make the rest of the cooking process a breeze.

Dice the bell peppers into 1-inch pieces. If you're using a fresh pineapple, cut the pineapple into chunks. You want your pineapple and bell pepper chunks to be about equal in size.

Grate the ginger and mince the garlic finely. Slice the scallions — diagonal slices are the prettiest.

Finally, measure out all the rest of the ingredients and arrange them around the cooking area.

Sauté the chicken, pineapple, and peppers

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan — you want to use a neutral cooking oil like canola or vegetable oil for sautéing, Prints recommends.

Add the diced chicken thighs to the pan. Season them with salt and pepper and sauté them for five minutes, turning all the pieces over once, until they are beginning to brown. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Don't worry about cooking your chicken fully now, as it'll cook a bit longer in the sauce and with the rest of the vegetables.

Now add the peppers and pineapple chunks to the pan and sauté for five minutes more.

Prepare the sauce for the teriyaki chicken

While the chicken and vegetables are cooking in the pan, mix your sweet teriyaki sauce. Traditionally, teriyaki sauce is made by combining and heating sugar, soy sauce, and sake, or in some versions, mirin, which is a kind of Japanese cooking wine. This Hawaiian-Japanese pineapple teriyaki sauce variation skips the traditional sake or mirin, and adds pineapple juice. 

So to make this  sauce, whisk together your soy sauce, brown sugar, fresh or canned pineapple juice, ginger, and sesame oil. Stir everything well to combine.

Add the sauce to the chicken and veggies

Now add the pineapple teriyaki sauce to the pan with the chicken, pineapple, and bell peppers and mix thoroughly. Continue cooking the dish on a simmer.

In the same bowl you used for the teriyaki sauce, mix together the water and cornstarch and whisk them vigorously. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan — this will thicken the pineapple teriyaki sauce and give the dish a characteristic gloss.

Continue cooking for another two minutes.

Serve your grilled pineapple teriyaki chicken

Congratulations! After about 15 minutes of cooking, your grilled pineapple teriyaki chicken is ready to be served! It's best eaten hot, straight out of the pan, so let's hurry up and get it plated.

Serve your grilled pineapple teriyaki chicken with rice and garnished with sesame seeds and green onions. We recommend pairing it with a cold beer, or a refreshing Mai Tai or pineapple margarita, though even just a tall glass of pineapple juice would highlight the sweet, sour, and fragrant notes of this dish!

If you have leftovers, they should keep in a well-sealed container for four days.

Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
A mix of chicken thighs and sticky-sweet teriyaki sauce with pineapple chunks, this easy grilled pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe cooks in just 15 minutes.
Prep Time
8
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
6
servings
two plates of teriyaki chicken with sesame seeds
Total time: 23 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced Into ¾-inch cubes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • ½ small pineapple, cut into chunks, or 1 (15-ounce) can pineapple chunks
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 cups cooked rice, for serving
Optional Ingredients
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
Directions
  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the oil followed by the diced chicken thighs.
  2. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, turning all the pieces over once, until they are beginning to brown.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Add the peppers and pineapple chunks and sauté for 5 minutes more.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, ginger, and sesame oil.
  6. Stir the sauce into the pan with the chicken.
  7. In a bowl, mix together the water and cornstarch and add it to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes. The sauce should be glossy.
  8. Serve with rice, garnishing the chicken with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 277
Total Fat 8.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 71.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 31.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Total Sugars 12.0 g
Sodium 659.3 mg
Protein 17.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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