Pineapple Grilled Chicken Kebabs is a delicious sweet and salty combination of marinated chicken and fresh pineapple chunks cooked on a grill. Pineapple marinade has only a few easy ingredients and absolutely magic when chicken is marinated for a few hours. This fruity, slightly sweet combination of flavors will be a huge hit with everyone at your next barbecue.
Grilling chicken is a summer staple with my family and some of our favorites also include Greek Grilled Chicken, Garlic Chicken Drumsticks, and Jerk Chicken.
PINEAPPLE CHICKEN KEBABS
There is something about the sweet and salty flavor that tastes amazing. Fruit and chicken is a notoriously popular flavor combination in salads and main dish recipes. Peach Chicken may sound off to some because you are cooking fruit and chicken together but the flavors go together perfectly. The same goes for Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Salad.
It’s pleasant to our pallet to taste sweet and salty and the same time. Sweet pineapple juice, fresh pineapple, and soy sauce provides the perfect sweet, salty, and fruity flavors in the marinade and chicken kebabs.
This pineapple chicken marinade is very easy too and only has a few simple ingredients. Preparing the chicken and marinade will only take 10 minutes but marinating chicken should really be done for a few hours. It’s always best to marinade the chicken for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
You can cut the pineapple ahead of time too and store it in the refrigerator, in a container with a lid, while chicken is marinating.
HOW TO MAKE PINEAPPLE CHICKEN MARINADE
Pineapple chicken marinade is made with pineapple juice, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, garlic, onion, and brown sugar. I like to slice a small, long onion into rings for the marinade so that I can skewer it along with the chicken and pineapple.
Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, pressed garlic, sliced onion, and brown sugar in a bowl and whisk well. Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs in half and add it to a large zip-lock bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, close it well, and lay the bag in a large plate.
Place chicken into the refrigerator to marinade overnight (or for at least 2 hours).
HOW TO CUT A PINEAPPLE
If you’ve stared at the whole pineapple intensely, not knowing what to do with it, you’re not alone. In the past, I’ve tried to cut it every which way and usually ended up with a mess and a whole lot of work. This is a much easier method.
Place the pineapple on a cutting board, on its side. Cut off the top and bottom caps about 1/2 inch thick.
There are two ways you can proceed with removing the skin. If you want to preserve the outer shell, cut the flesh out and slide it out. If you don’t care for preserving the outer shell, simply slice it off the flesh. (I often use the pineapple shell to decorate the table by combining the top and bottom caps with the preserved outer skin shell.)
To slice the skin off without preserving the pineapple shell, stand up the pineapple on the cutting board, and trim off the thick skin with a sharp knife.
To cut out the pineapple flesh and save the outer shell, I like to use a sharp, long paring knife because the blade is thin and it’s easier to cut around in a circle. Stand the pineapple on the cutting board and cut the inside, along the edge of the skin, in a circle. Flip the pineapple onto the other side and do the same to the bottom. You will be able to slide the pineapple flesh out of the skin.
Cut the pineapple flesh in half through the center and then cut each half in two. Slice off the inner hard rind off the flesh and finally, cut each quarter into about 1-inch chunks.
Store cut pineapple in a container with a lid, in the refrigerator, until ready to use.
HOW TO GRILL PINEAPPLE CHICKEN KEBABS
To cook chicken kebabs, you can use either metal skewers or wooden skewers. If choosing to use wooden skewers, make sure to soak them for an hour before using.
Prepare the coals and preheat the grill.
Take the chicken out of the marinade but save the marinade to cook and use as sauce. Skewer chicken pieces and pineapple chunks, alternating 1 piece of pineapple to 2 pieces of chicken. It’s best to fold or roll each piece of chicken thigh meat.
Spray each skewer with some cooking oil all around and place skewers onto the grill grate. Cook the skewers turning them a quarter of the way every 4-5 minutes. Use meat thermometer to take the temperature of the thickest part. Chicken is safely cooked when reaches 165° internally.
You can simmer the leftover marinade right on the grill in a metal sauce pot. Or, you can simmer it on stove-top in a sauce pot. Brush cooked chicken kebabs with the sauce.
Leftover pineapple chunks can be cooked along the side of the skewers. If the slices are large enough, place it directly on the grill grate. If the slices are too small, use a vegetables basket. Grilled pineapple is amazing in fruit salads or on top of ice cream.
SOME MORE BBQ RECIPES
Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken Wings
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Pineapple Grilled Chicken Kebabs
- 3.5 - 4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 pineapple
- 1 cup pineapple juice canned or jarred
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 small onion
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
Cutting the pineapple:
- Place the pineapple on a cutting board, on its side. Cut off the top and bottom caps about 1/2 inch thick.
- Stand up the pineapple on the cutting board, and trim off the thick skin with a sharp knife.
- Cut the pineapple flesh in half through the center and then cut each half in two. Slice off the inner hard rind off the flesh and finally, cut each quarter into about 1-inch chunks.
- Store cut pineapple in a container with a lid, in the refrigerator, until ready to use.
- Combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, pressed garlic, sliced onion, and brown sugar in a bowl and whisk well.
- Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs in half and add it to a large zip-lock bag.
- Pour the marinade into the bag, close it well, and lay the bag on a large plate. Place chicken into the refrigerator to marinate overnight (or for at least 2 hours).
Grilling chicken kebabs:
- Prepare the coals and preheat the grill.
- Take chicken out of the marinade but save the marinade to cook and use as sauce/glaze. Skewer chicken pieces and pineapple chunks, alternating 1 piece of pineapple to 2 pieces of chicken. It’s best to fold or roll each piece of chicken thigh meat.
- Spray each skewer with some cooking oil spray all around and place skewers onto the grill grate. Cook the skewers turning them a quarter of the way every 4-5 minutes. Use meat thermometer to take the temperature on the thickest part. Chicken is safely cooked when reaches 165° internally.
- Simmer leftover chicken marinade either right on the grill, in the metal sauce pot, or on stove-top until about half the amount while chicken is cooking.
- Brush cooked with chicken kebabs with some of the sauce.
Very tasty also had fennel potato salad with it delicious thank you
So glad you liked it, Norm!
Can I use cut up chicken breast instead of thighs??
Yes, you can use breast and it will be still be good!
We have been making this recipe for months now and absolutely love it! We double the recipe so we can have leftovers to eat the rest of the week. So good!
SO glad you like it, Kara!
Thanks for sharing! How far ahead of time can I I start marinading?
I wouldn’t do it more than the night before because the pineapple could break the chicken down too much if it is much more than that.
This looks so good! I love that it’s such a simple list of ingredients! Kids would like to help make it too!
Can canned pineapples instead of fresh?
Yes you can, just make sure you drain the excess juice off them first. Enjoy!
I learned the hard way…do not use fresh pineapple juice to marinate the chicken. There is an enzyme that makes the chicken mushy! Apparently it is not in canned pineapple juice.
I’m sorry, I didn’t think about some people juicing a fresh pineapple. You would want to use jarred or canned pineapple juice and I will make that more clear in the recipe. Sorry it didn’t turn out, I hope you will give it another shot with canned juice.
I used your recipe as a jumping off point for the most amazing kebabs.
To the marinade I added fresh minced ginger and a Tablespoon of sesame oil.
I made the skewers up with chicken, pineapple, red onion, sliced mushrooms and sliced orange bell pepper. I marinated the assembled skewers one hour, then turned them over and marinated them for a second hour.
Cooked them on our grass grill and made some jasmine rice cooked with coconut oil, pineapple juice and chicken broth. SO GOOD!
Thanks for an awesome starting point.
Glad you liked them! 🙂
Can this be made in the oven or over the range? I don’t have a bbq grill.
Hi, Michelle! Yes, you can make this in the oven! I would cook them at 450 degrees on a foiled lined baking sheet for 17 to 20 minutes depending on how thick you cut it.
Nancy W says
This recipe is fabulous, made it Saturday for a family gathering and there was nothing left, so good!
– Nancy (Nancy On The Home Front )
Thank you, Nancy!
Hi Michell! Can’t’ wait to try this. It’s okay to use the leftover marinade? Usually marinades are tossed. Thoughts??