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Pineapple chicken stir-fry with sweet bell peppers in a tart, sweet and spicy sauce. Wake up all your taste buds with this fast and easy recipe! You can substitute shrimp, pork or tofu for a vegetarian dish.
I recently got a request from one of my readers. They wanted a boneless, skinless chicken thigh recipe for a quick weeknight dinner that was healthful, gluten-free and super-tasty.
This hot and sour pineapple chicken stir-fry is what I came up with after a few days of testing and tweaking flavors. I’m really happy with the way the recipe turned out — it’s fantastic!
I love the way the stir-fry sauce hits all the taste spots in your mouth — sweet, sour, hot and salty.
It’s so bright and delicious. I’m pretty sure this dish will become one you’re going to be craving over and over.
I’ve already cooked it four times in two weeks and each time it seems to taste better.
Pineapple in savory recipes
I have to admit that I’m not crazy about mixing fresh fruit with savory ingredients. If you feel the same, hear me out.
Pineapple is a classic partner in dishes that contain pork, shrimp and chicken.
The fruit often makes an appearance in certain sweet and sour Chinese takeout-style dishes, Southeast Asian or other cuisines that rely on a bold flavor base of spicy-salty ingredients.
The natural sugar in pineapple contrasts beautifully with strong flavors, creating a tasty balance. It actually makes your mouth water!
Pineapple also contains enzymes that tenderize proteins.
If you don’t have fresh pineapple on hand, this recipe works perfectly with frozen pineapple chunks. We always seem to have those on hand for smoothies. Maybe you do too!
Pantry Ingredients in stir-fry sauce
This is a pantry-friendly recipe, and chances are you have most of the ingredients on hand.
Along with sliced boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can also substitute with breast meat if you prefer — or even use pork tenderloin, shrimp or extra-firm tofu instead). You’ll need:
- Tamari sauce (or soy sauce if you’re not gluten-free)
- Rice wine vinegar
- Orange marmalade, apricot jam or a half and half mixture of both if you have them on hand
- Cayenne pepper
- Water or low sodium broth
Fresh produce for pineapple chicken
Here’s a handy breakdown of the fresh ingredients to add to your shopping list:
- Green onions (scallions)
- Fresh pineapple or frozen pineapple chunks
- Green chili, such as serrano or jalapeno
- Sweet bell pepper — red, orange or yellow or a combo for a colorful dish
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh garlic and ginger root
Serve this savory dish over my Perfect Coconut Rice for a satisfying meal.
More weeknight chicken recipes
Stir-Fried Hot and Sour Pineapple Chicken
Hot and Sour Sauce
- ½ cup (160 g) orange marmalade or apricot jam
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water or low-sodium broth
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tamari sauce, or soy sauce if gluten isn't a concern
- ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper (or a mixture), sliced into strips
- 1 ½ cups (315 g) chopped pineapple, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, grated or pressed
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
- 1 ½ pounds (675 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast, sliced into ¼-inch strips
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons neutral high-heat vegetable oil, such as avocado or canola
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 3 green onions, green and white parts chopped
To make the stir-fry sauce
- Stir together all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Set aside.
For the chicken
- Put the bell pepper, pineapple, ginger, garlic and serrano pepper in a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the salt. Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles and immediately evaporates. Add the oil and the chicken. Cook 1 minute without disturbing, then stir the chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
- Stir in the pineapple mixture and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the sauce and cook until the sauce is bubbling and thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the cilantro and green onions. Serve hot over cooked rice or rice noodles.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- For a vegetarian option, stir-fry firm or extra firm tofu cubes until golden instead of the chicken.
- Shrimp or thinly sliced pork is also delicious!
- I don’t recommend canned pineapple in this recipe because it’s often very highly sweetened in syrup and has a tinny taste.