I can’t take all the credit for this amazing, delicious, wonderfully flavorful Pineapple Chile Chicken recipe! The original marinade ingredients came from an Instagram mutual of mine. If I remember correctly he’s a pitmaster somewhere here in North Carolina, I think in the Durham area. It was over 5 years ago (at least, because I know it was quite a while prior to starting deepfriedhoney) and I can’t find the messages in my direct messages anymore, but I do remember the main ingredients were pineapple juice, sweet chile sauce, and chipotles in adobo.
Regardless of how this Pineapple Chile Chicken came to be, I’m happy to be sharing it with you. It’s sweet, smoky, spicy, a bit tangy, and just really damn good. Pair it with all your favorite summer BBQ sides, toss it on a salad, or just eat it alone (like me). If you happen to be that old IG friend shoot me a message so I can give credit where it is due.
Pineapple Chile Chicken Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Pineapple Chile Chicken recipe:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts: The marinade will work on any cut of chicken, bone-in, or boneless. The Pineapple Chile Chicken recipe itself tho, you’ll need boneless skinless chicken to have success with. This recipe makes a lot of marinade – about 48 ounces – so if you don’t use at least 3 pounds of chicken either cut the rest of the ingredient amounts in half or save and freeze the extra marinade if you’re not using the full amount of chicken called for.
- Pineapple, chipotles in adobo sauce, sweet chile sauce: I’ve made this marinade with fresh pineapple, crushed canned pineapple, and pineapple juice concentrate. All of them work well, but I’m partial to using the flesh, not just the juice. Reduce the amount of chipotles used if you’re sensitive to spice. I use Panda Express Sweet Chile Sauce.
- Water, avocado oil: Oil and water to build out the marinade. Any oil with a high smoke point will do, and chicken broth will add an extra boost of flavor if you want to use that.
- Cilantro, crushed red pepper flakes, minced garlic, liquid smoke, hot pepper powder: These round out the Pineapple Chile Chicken marinade. I used Papa’s Powder Dragon Dust as the hot pepper powder, but any favorite even cayenne will do. Omit it, if you don’t like spice.
- Kosher salt: You can use seasoned salt or another salty all-purpose seasoning in its place, if desired. I don’t season the chicken directly, but if you like your food saltier you might want to do both.
How to Make Pineapple Chile Chicken
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Pineapple Chile Chicken recipe:
- Prepare the marinade. Grab your blender. A large food processor will do, too. Add the pineapple, sweet chile sauce, chipotles in adobo, water, avocado oil, cilantro, kosher salt, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, liquid smoke, and hot pepper powder, if using. Blend on high until the pineapple has broken down and the Pineapple Chile Chicken marinade is completely smooth.
- Turn some into basting sauce. Pour one cup of the marinade into a small saucepan. Place that saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When the marinade on the stove has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer, uncovered, until reduced and thickened into a syrupy consistency. Cool and pour into an airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
- Marinate the Pineapple Chile Chicken. While waiting for the marinade on the stove to reduce add your chicken and all of the remaining marinade to an airtight container or plastic bag. Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to add the chicken to the grill pull the chicken and marinade from the refrigerator – we want the chill to come off so it cooks evenly.
- Grill Instructions: Oil your clean grill grates and place them in the grill. Turn it on to high and close the lid. Allow the grill to preheat for 10 minutes. Place the chicken directly on them, basting the top side with the reduced marinade. Let cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, then flip. Baste the other side and continue cooking until the chicken is 165°F internally. After you have the grill lines you like, you can flip as much as you want to for the rest of the cooking, basting each time.
- Oven instructions: Place an oven rack in the highest slot and preheat your oven to 425°F. Arrange the marinated chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast the chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes – remember the internal temperature in the thickest part is the important piece. Pull the cooked chicken from the oven and switch the oven to the broiler function. Baste the chicken lightly with the reserved marinade, then place it under the broiler just until slightly charred on the edges, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can attack the Pineapple Chile Chicken with a kitchen torch. Dassit!