Stove Top or Grilled Brown Sugar Pineapple Chicken bursting with sweet and tangy tropical flavors with just the right amount of chili kick.  The Hawaiian chicken marinade doubles as the glaze for no double work!  With less than 10 minutes prep, this easy chicken is as ideal for stress free entertaining as it is for back to school dinners! 

I was scrolling through instagram and couldn’t believe how many “back to school” pics I saw – so cute – but shocking!  When I was in school, many moons ago, we always started school the Thursday after Labor Day and it still felt way too soon.  So with the hustle and bustle of of back-to-school either in full swing or coming shortly, and the accompanying moans and groans, I bring you an easy grilled Hawaiian chicken with only one dish to wash so you can escape into should-be-summer dreams with every juicy, Brown Sugar Pineapple Chicken bite.

The sticky sweet and tangy pineapple chicken is marinated in a delectable pineapple marinade that becomes the tantalizing Brown Sugar Pineapple Glaze that you brush all over your chicken after grilling OR if you are cooking indoors, you simply add your reserved marinade/glaze ingredients to the pan after you cook your chicken, let it thicken slightly, then add your chicken back to the pan to bath in all the tropical glory. This is one of my favorite methods of cooking – to reserve some of the marinade, thicken it with cornstarch and it instantly becomes your glaze – double the flavor WITHOUT double work! You can taste where I’ve done this in my: Sweet Chili Shrimp, Cajun Honey Mustard Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, and Asian BBQ Salmon – all of which would be delectable back to school meals.


Brown Sugar Pineapple Chicken


  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins OR skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup CANNED pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (like Sambal Oelek)
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, garlic pwdr, ginger pwdr
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Garnish (optional)
  • chopped green onions
  • lemon zest
  • additional Asian chili sauce to taste


  1. Whisk the Marinade/Glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add 1/3 cup to a large freezer bag and whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the chicken and marinate 2-4 hours in the refrigerator. Refrigerate the remaining marinade (will become your Glaze) separately.
  2. When ready to cook, let the chicken sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. GRILL DIRECTIONS: Meanwhile, grease and preheat grill to medium heat, 375 to 450°F. Drain chicken from the marinade and pat dry.
  4. Grill the chicken undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F when chicken is done.)
  5. Meanwhile, add reserved glaze to a small saucepan and whisk in 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Place covered saucepan on the grill (or stove), and bring to a simmer (this can be done after chicken is cooked if you don’t have room on your grill). Once simmering, remove lid and whisk until thickened. Brush cooked chicken with glaze and serve any extra as a sauce for rice.
  6. Garnish chicken with lemon zest and green onions and additional chili sauce to taste (optional).
  7. STOVE TOP DIRECTIONS: Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, drain chicken from marinade, pat dry and add to skillet. Cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 3-5 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.
  8. Whisk 2 teaspoons cornstarch to reserved Glaze and add to now empty skillet. Bring to a simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add chicken to Glaze and toss to coat. Garnish chicken with lemon zest and green onions and additional chili sauce to taste (optional).


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