chicken pineapple stir fry served on a white plate


Chicken Pineapple stir fry with vegetables

A quick sweet and savory dinner

Want something fresh and colorful for dinner? Looking for another way to fix chicken? Our chicken pineapple stir fry fits the bill on both counts. This recipe is a new and improved version of one we posted a few years ago. It got better with age. All good home cooks allow a recipe to evolve over time.

This dinner recipe is good any time of year, but particularly good in the warm weather months. The pineapple gives it a fresh bite of sweetness. It’s cooked in a skillet on the stove top so you are not heating up your kitchen and it’s done in less than a half hour. It has only a few ingredients, and preparation is a cinch.

You can make it meatless

If you are looking for a delicious and different meatless meal this stir fry may end up a favorite of yours. Just leave out the chicken and swap the chicken broth with your favorite substitute.

Using corn starch to thicken a sauce

We are using corn starch to thicken this stir fry sauce. We will include some tips to making the sauce lump free.

If you are beginning your journey into dinner making, knowing how to thicken a sauce or gravy is going to serve you well. Even if you are not new to making dinner, you may not have discovered how to make this process easy.

That’s what our blog is all about. Sharing information we have found helpful. If we have found these ideas helpful, you may too.

Here’s what YOU WILL NEED:

For the sauté ingredients:

chicken pineapple stir fry ingredients  chicken pineapple scallions red pepper pea pods and ginger
1/3 cup sesame seed oil for sautéing
4 scallions
1 red pepper
1/3 pound of snow pea pods
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 whole chicken breast if small, or 1/2 of a large breast
1 can of pineapple tidbits 20 ounce can drained with juice reserved
1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil (optional)
rice or noodles
Ingredient tidbits: Snap Pea Pods vs Snow Pea Pods, Scallions, Using Ginger fresh and ground, Using Sesame Oil

About the sauté ingredients

Sesame seed oil

Using sesame seed oil to sauté (often just marked sesame oil on the label) makes a noticeable difference in the taste of this pineapple chicken recipe. Specialty oils are not cheap, but they can change the overall flavor profile of a dish. Regular sesame oil it is not one of the more expensive oils, but quality toasted sesame seed oil is pretty pricey. As you would expect, the oil from a toasted seed is a deeper flavor than the oil of a raw seed.

Toasted seed oil has a much more prominent taste in a dish. We use the raw seed oil (the less expensive of the two) to sauté our recipes, but sometimes add a tablespoon or two of the toasted seed oil at the end to get that extra flavor. That’s what we did in this recipe. I keep a small bottle of the toasted seed oil on hand. A little goes a long way.

We have more about sesame oil in our COOKING TIDBITS section Using Sesame Oil.

You can use fresh ginger or dried

We are using fresh ginger which has already been cut and bottled. I find it in the produce section where the chopped and minced bottled garlic is located. You can use any form of ginger.

Have you ever used fresh ginger? Its worth discovering if you haven’t. More commonly, ginger is used in a dried and ground up form that you buy in the spice section. Fresh ginger is an entirely different flavor from dried. It adds a fresh zip to a dish. Think ginger ale, and that is the taste of fresh ginger root.

Ginger, in dried form, is a strong deep flavor, and can be substituted for fresh in this recipe, but you need a lot less of it. Dried ginger from the spice section is a deep earthy taste. It is the taste most prominent in gingerbread or gingersnaps.

Ginger root in it’s unprocessed form, if your store carries it, is in the refrigerated section of the produce department along with celery, carrots, unpackaged greens and the like. We have a picture of a ginger root in our cooking tidbit post Using Ginger fresh and ground

For me, the jarred pre-chopped fresh ginger is the easiest way to get the fresh taste of ginger. I keep it on hand in the refrigerator. It lasts quite a while. I use it in tea with lemon so it never sits around too long anyway.

We have posted a COOKING TIDBITS about ginger so you can get a look at it in all forms Learn About Using Ginger.

Pea pods

We are using snow pea pods in this sauté. They are mild in flavor. They don’t taste much like mature peas out of the pod. Because of their mild flavor they can compliment a lot of different recipes. They are commonly used in Asian dishes.

Even though they are mild in flavor they can add to a freshness to a dish. Even when they are cooked to tender they have some texture to them. They are also great when they are cooked to crisp tender.

The pea pods most often found in the stores I shop at are snow peas and snap peas. If you want to see the difference in them you can check out our short cooking tidbit Snap Pea Pods vs Snow Pea Pods. Either will work in this recipe.

Boneless skinless chicken breast

At one time it was fairly easy to know how much chicken was being called for in a recipe when it was stated in simple terms. If a recipe called for a chicken breast, such as this recipe does, most whole breasts were similar in size. These days most of the chicken breasts I see in grocery stores are huge. These must have come from one gigantic chicken! I have been around chickens my whole life but never seen any large enough to carry a two pound breast. Some grocery store chicken breasts are larger than a small turkey breast.

Those HUGE chicken breasts are usually already cut in half like the one in the ingredient shot used in this post. If you are using one of the oversized chicken breasts, you will only need a half breast. They usually have even more meat than a standard sized whole chicken breast.

Now one might wonder 🤔 why are chicken farmers growing such huge chickens. It’s not for the quality of the meat, that’s for sure. There’s a one word answer. Wings. If you want a larger wing, you have to grow a bigger bird.

Sauce ingredients:

sauce for chicken pineapple stir fry chicken broth soy sauce pineapple juice corn starch
1 cup chicken broth
the juice from your can of pineapple
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons corn starch

Why the empty jar?

The jar at the top of the picture is empty. We are going to use it to shake up the sauce ingredients to blend/emulsify them. Having the corn starch fully integrate with the liquid is call emulsification. Emulsifying these ingredients before we add them to our skillet is going to help make our sauce lump free when we cook it. Using a covered jar and shaking the ingredients is an easy way to get the emulsification you need.

Pineapple juice from the can

I use pineapple tidbits that are packed in 100% fruit juice. If you prefer using pineapple in light or heavy syrup that’s fine. The sauce will be a little sweeter but this recipe is fine with a little more sweetness.

Your choice of rice or noodles

a bowl of medium sized egg noodles

This is WHAT TO DO:

Don’t underrate being prepared

Preparation is the key to success in cooking, particularly in a quick cooking recipe like this one. If you have not prepared your ingredients ahead of time it’s very difficult to get a recipe right. Instead of paying attention to the cooking process, you are busy haphazardly gathering and preparing your ingredients. You end up creating a lot of unnecessary chaos and stress for yourself.

Cooking can be a lot easier than many make it out to be. Preparation is the best way to achieve a good outcome when cooking or baking and success will help improve your confidence as well as your skills.

We have some short posts about the benefits of preparation in CLAUDIA’S COOKING TIPS. Preparation is not an extra step, you are just making cooking easier. You are going to have to chop the red pepper at some point anyway. Doing it before you start cooking will pay off. If you want to read more about the advantages to being prepared click on Ready….Set….Prep, Get Ready to Be Ready and Our Formula: Prep time = Time saved.

Time the cooking of your bed of rice or noodles

If you are serving this stir fry over a bed of rice or noodles now is the time to consider when you should start cooking it so it is done relatively close to when the sauté with sauce is done. Once your preparation is done and you have started cooking, your stir fry will be ready to serve in about 15 minutes.

Drain and chop

Drain the juice from the can of pineapple into a small bowl or cup. Put it aside. We are going to use it in the sauce.

Chop the vegetables

chopped scallion and red pepper trimmed snow pea pods

Chop the red pepper into bite sized pieces.

Pea pods usually come in varying sizes. Use the smaller ones whole and cut larger pods in half or thirds with kitchen shears.

Chop the chicken

boneless chicken breast cut into small pieces

Make the sauce

Shake the sauce ingredients in a jar

We are using corn starch to thicken the sauce by first making a slurry. Making a slurry is a method of thickening sauces and gravies. Basically a slurry is a mixture of a thickening agent incorporated with a liquid until it is fully emulsified. Slurry and emulsify are fancy words for a simple process. Before you are done with this section you will know what both mean.

Emulsify the Slurry – Explained

Using a covered jar to emulsify a thickening agent such as corn starch with liquid(s), is an easy way to achieve smooth, lump free sauces and gravies. While being shaken, the corn starch and liquids are mixing together. When there’s no dry corn starch remaining, the mixture has been emulsified. The emulsified mixture is called a slurry.

When making a slurry you need to have the liquid cold or at least room temperature, definitely not hot. Adding the corn starch to warm liquid is asking for a lumpy sauce or gravy.

Emulsifying isn’t just for slurries. Salad dressings are usually emulsified and using a jar works great for that too. In the case of salad dressing you can be emulsifying two liquids together such as oil and vinegar.

Other common thickening agents

Corn starch is a lot easier to emulsify in liquid than flour. It makes a translucent sauce and it thickens quicker than flour when cooked. Flour makes a heavier more dense sauce like a meat gravy. Flour takes longer to cook. If it’s not cooked long enough you get a raw flour taste.

When you are using flour as a thickening agent, sometimes you will make a roux instead of a slurry. But we will leave that for another day.

Another method of thickening is using egg yolks. Sauces thickened this way are usually pretty fancy like homemade mayonnaise, béarnaise or hollandaise sauce.

chicken pineapple stir fry sauce in covered jar

Add the chicken broth, pineapple juice, soy sauce and corn starch to the bottle, put the lid on the jar and shake it up until all the corn starch has emulsified/incorporated (with no dry corn starch remaining).

Time to start cooking

Now that the ingredients are ready, it’s time for the quick cooking process

Here are some things to know before you start cooking. For the most part you should be cooking on medium high heat. As ingredients are added to the skillet the temperature of the pan will vary. Your goal is to cook quickly, but not to brown or fully cook any of the ingredients (except for the chicken added at the end). We want all the vegetables to be done the way we like them when the meal is served. That is why we are adding them in a certain order according to how long each will take to cook.

This stir fry is only going to be on stove for about 15 minutes, stay there. The ingredients need to be moving in the skillet so they cook evenly without burning.

During the cooking process there will be times you will need to turn the heat up or down. You want to keep the ingredients steaming hot and cooking, but not browning or burning. Don’t hesitate to turn the heat down while you are cooking the vegetables if it looks like they could be browning. On the other hand, when you add the chicken the temperature of the skillet is going to go down quite quickly, so it’s a good idea to turn the heat up. You want the chicken to come up to temperature quickly. Adjust the stovetop temperature as you go along to maintain a steaming hot skillet.

Whenever you are cooking, it’s the end result that counts, not weather or not you followed the recipe exactly. No two stoves or any two cooks are the same.

Line up the ingredients and put the skillet to work

Use a 10 or 12 inch skillet with a heavy bottom. Set your stove to medium high heat.

Cover the bottom of the skillet with about half of the sesame seed oil you measured out. Add the chopped scallions.

Each of these steps is only going to take 1 to 3 minutes.

First sauté the vegetables. Add the salt when you add the pea pods.
skillet with sesame seed oil and scallions
Warm up the chopped scallions. Move them around to infuse the oil with flavor. It will take less than a minute.
Add the chopped red pepper and cook until it starts softening just a bit. It will take 1 or 2 minutes. The skillet is steaming hot.
adding snow pea pods to the skillet
Add the pea pods and salt to the hot skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Timing the vegetables

If you like your vegetables to be on the crisper side in your finished dish, use the shorter time frames given. If you use the longer time suggested your vegetables in the finished dish will be more on the tender side. We still have a few minutes of cooking time left so they are not going to be fully cooked at this point either way.

We are ready to add the chicken or make it meatless

If you want to make this a meatless stir fry ignore this section and go right to adding the sauce.

Adding the chicken to the skillet

We are going push the vegetables to the sides of the skillet so we can add the chicken to the middle where it is the hottest. We are going to be turning the chicken frequently. Having the vegetables off to the side will help to avoid them being overcooked and mashed up.

Add the remaining half of the sesame oil to the middle of the pan. Turn the heat up a little. The chicken is going to bring the temperature down in the pan so we want to get it back up as quickly as possible.

Add the chicken

We are not trying to brown the chicken, we are just cooking it through until there is no more pink. Keep it moving in the pan so it cooks evenly.

It will take about 3 minutes to cook the chicken through.

adding chopped chicken to the vegetables
Push the vegetables off to the side, add the remaining oil and then add the chicken to the middle of the skillet.
cooked chicken mixed in with vegetables
When the chicken is no longer pink stir you ingredients together.

Add the pineapple and ginger

You don’t need to cook the pineapple or the ginger. They will get up to temperature when they start warming in the sauce. You are just mixing them in with the other ingredients.

add pineapple and ginger to the skillet

We are ready to add the sauce

Shake your jar with the sauce ingredients (the slurry) again before adding it to the skillet. The corn starch will probably have settled to the bottom. You want it fully incorporated/emulsified before you add it to the skillet.

Adding the sauce to the sautéed ingredients

Once again, push the ingredients off to the side of the skillet like we did before we added the chicken. We are doing this so we can use the direct heat of the hottest part of the skillet to quickly thicken the sauce.

The skillet is still very hot so the sauce will start boiling soon after adding it. It will be thickening as it boils. You have to continuously stir it or the cornstarch may burn on the bottom of the pan.

Once the sauce is at a full rolling boil as shown in the picture below, you can start stirring the ingredients back into the middle with the sauce.

Once you have mixed all the ingredients into the sauce, turn your heat down to medium for about 4 minutes to let the sauce thicken and the flavors meld together.

boiling the sauce in the stir fry

Add the toasted sesame seed oil

If you want to add toasted sesame seed oil to get that deep sesame taste into the sauce, add it as you thickening your sauce. This is completely optional but it does give the dish a flavor boost. Add 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil or 2 if you want that deep flavor to shine.

Take the skillet from the heat

Your chicken pineapple stir fry is ready to eat. The sauce is a savory version of caramel. It’s delicious.

Your chicken pineapple stir fry is done

serving bowl full of chicken pineapple stir fry

Your chicken pineapple stir fry is ready to serve

chicken pineapple stir fry on single serving plate side view
Sweet and savory Chicken Pineapple Stir Fry
chicken pineapple stir fry served on a white plate


With a colorful mix of fresh vegetables and pineapple, this chicken pineapple stir fry recipe is a real eye catcher. Adding chicken provides additional protein, but this recipe is delicious as a meatless meal also.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner, kids meal, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 280 kcal


Sauté ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sesame oil for sautéing not toasted sesame seed oil
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 red pepper can be any color
  • 1/3 pound pea pods (about 6 ounces) snow pea pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 chicken breast (or one half large breast) boneless skinless
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits 20 ounce packed in fruit juice or syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil optional

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • reserved pineapple juice from can
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Rice or noodles of your choice to serve the stir fry over


Prepare Ingredients

  • Chop the red pepper, trim the pea pods, trim and slice the scallions
  • Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and salt lightly
  • Drain the juice from the can of pineapple into a small bowl or cup and reserve for sauce
  • In a covered jar, shake up chicken broth, soy sauce, ginger and corn starch for the sauce.
  • Cook rice or noodles as a bed to the stir fry.

Cooking Instructions

  • For most of the cooking you will use medium high heat. But if your pan is getting so hot it is going to brown the ingredients or the pan has cooled down so you no longer have steam coming from the skillet, adjust accordingly.
  • Use a 10 or 12 inch heavy bottomed skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the 1/3 cup sesame seed oil you have measured out and the sliced scallions. Stir for 1 minute to flavor the oil.
  • Add red pepper and cook for two minutes to soften the red pepper.
  • Add the snow pea pods and the salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your stir fry vegetables.
  • Add drained pineapple and ginger. Mix them into the other sautéed ingredients.
  • Push everything to the sides of the skillet so you can cook the chicken in the middle. Add the remaining half of the sesame oil. Add the chopped chicken to the middle of the skillet and cook until no longer pink (about 3 minutes). Then mix the chicken in with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Once again, push the ingredients to the sides of the skillet so you can use the middle for thickening the sauce. Add the shaken sauce ingredients (the slurry) to the cleared middle of the skillet.
  • When the sauce has come to a full rolling boil start mixing the sautéed ingredients into the sauce. Cook for another 4 minutes on medium heat to incorporate the flavors and thicken the sauce.
  • Optional: Add 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil before taking it from the heat. If you really want that flavor to shine, use 2 tablespoons.
  • Remove from heat and serve over rice or noodles.


Nutritional values do not include the rice or noodles you may use as a bed for the stir fry.
This is great as a meatless meal. Leave out the chicken and use your favorite substitute in place of the chicken broth in the sauce. 


Calories: 280kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 15gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 1389mgPotassium: 422mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1480IUVitamin C: 64mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 2mg
Keyword 30 minutes or less, asian flavored stir fry, can be made meatless, chicken stir fry with vegetables, cooking with pineapple, dinner recipes with fruit
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Claudia, I followed your instructions to the letter. Excellent job! However…….


    1. Ricky & Claudia

      Thanks for writing Richard. And for letting us know you liked our post and the recipe. Perhaps you, me and Ricky can discuss the however…at another time 😊 We are always open to suggestion. Hope to see you soon! Claudia

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