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Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts with Pineapple Salsa is such a simple dish that it boggles the mind it could pack such a punch of flavor.
Nutty, chewy brown rice forms a delicious bed for the spicy, lightly sweet, but deeply savory sauce and the tender juicy chicken. (To change up the flavor profile, you can serve Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken over a bed of my Easy 10-Minute
Mexican Rice.) Delish!
Fresh pineapple salsa on the side adds the perfect contrast of temperature, texture and acidic sweetness. Chicken rice bowls never tasted so good! Add this to your list of favorite healthy recipes.
This melt-in-your-mouth tender pineapple chicken is easy to prep. Toss the ingredients for the sauce into the slow cooker. Nestle the boneless skinless chicken breasts down into the sauce. Set the slow cooker chicken with pineapple sauce on low and let the crock pot do the work.
You’re only two and a half hours from a slow cooked chicken sensation!
The pineapple sauce is slightly sweet, but mostly savory and picks up heat from the more mildly spiced poblano, some ginger and a serious kick from Asian chili garlic sauce.Just adjust the heat up or down by adjusting the amounts.
Cooking the chicken directly in the sauce ingredients helps make the it super flavorful and tenderizes the meat. Adjusting the slow cooking time to be perfect for chicken leaves the chicken juicy.
My slow cooker pineapple chicken ticks off every box for healthy recipes and being a winning chicken dinner! I know you and your family are going to flip for this delicious chicken rice bowl recipe!
Multiple Serving Possibilities
We love Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken in a chicken bowl with rice and pineapple salsa (recipe in recipe card notes), but the recipe cooks up beautiful, whole boneless skinless chicken breasts that can be sauced and served as the main dish next to any of your favorite sides.
It would be great with
, noodles or cauliflower mash. Or, oh my holy heaven! !t would be scrumptiously complemented by mashed potatoes . sweet potatoes
A chopped veggie salad,
or a broccoli ramen coleslaw would be delicious, too. cranberry apple salad
Plus, the leftovers would seriously make a pizza that your family would swoon for. Delish!
No matter how you slice it, you’re going to be blown away by this juicy, tender and taste-bud tantalizing Hawaiian chicken style dish.
Use it as a main with different sides. Or serve it as a complete meal in a scrumptious chicken rice bowl. Add slices to your favorite green salad for a hearty and satisfying lunch. Or even chop some pineapple chicken and add it to quesadillas to serve with pineapple salsa.
You could also chop the chicken breast and mix it with the pineapple salsa and a little Greek yogurt or mayo for some out-of-this-world chicken salad sandwiches! You’re only limited by your imagination with the serving possibilities when using my new slow cooker chicken with pineapple salsa recipe.
For the Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken
Raw Unfiltered Honey
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fresh Minced Garlic – you could sub garlic powder.
optional, 1 – 2 teaspoons Vietnamese chili garlic sauce
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
For the Rice
Quick Cooking Brown Rice (see below) water
optional, reserved pineapple juice from salsa
For the Pineapple Salsa
Canned Pineapple Tidbits – can sub in fresh. See note below.
English Cucumber or Mini Cucumbers – a thin skinned variety that won’t need peeled or have a lot of seeds
Red Bell Peppers
Minced Garlic – I prefer fresh, but you could sub garlic powder.
Fresh Lime Juice and Zest
Salt and Pepper
Long Cook Rice vs Minute (Quick Cook) Rice
I serve my Pineapple Chicken Rice Bowls on brown rice. If I’m going to eat the carbs, I want the nutrient and fiber benefit. If you prefer white rice, it would definitely work in this recipe.
The debate over long cook or quick cook (minute) rice is one that’s settled for me. The consensus, after an independent study, is that there is no appreciable nutritional difference between long cooking brown rice and quick cooking brown rice. See more info
here and here.
Quick Cook Rice is regular rice that has been
parboiled, meaning partially cooked. Then it is dehydrated again. This allows us to be able to complete the cook in about 1/4 of the normal time! The nutritional loss is negligible and the time gain is HUGE! That’s an easy decision for me.
What is Tamari Sauce?
Tamari is a Japanese sauce made from fermented soybeans. It is essentially a premium soy sauce.
Tamari is thicker and has more balanced, deep flavor than traditional Chinese soy sauce. It’s vegan AND allows me to make my chicken rice bowl recipe 100% gluten free.
You can find tamari in your local grocery stores in the ethnic food aisles or you can
order it online [affiliate link].
What is Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce?
Chili Garlic Sauce usually contains chilies, salt, garlic and distilled vinegar. The exact ingredient list may vary slightly from brand to brand. Some may include ginger or vegetable oil. Commercial brands usually contain some sort of thickener and a preservative.
It adds a very spicy kick to chicken rice bowls recipes. It only takes a small amount. I use two teaspoons because we enjoy the heat. Use less for milder kick.
If you’re looking for a recipe to make it homemade, try this
Homemade Chili Garlic sauce recipe.
Fresh Ginger vs Ground Ginger
It boils down to a matter of preference. I had fresh ginger on hand and used it to create this recipe. You could substitute a scant 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger in this recipe, if it’s more convenient.
Since it’s dried, ground ginger has fewer essential oils than fresh.
Fresh ginger has more sweetness than dried.
Dried ginger contains more shogaol, which is what makes ginger spicy and pungent.
Ground ginger is more shelf stable and can withstand higher temperatures than fresh.
Powdered ginger is more often used in baking and fresh ginger in savory dishes, though that is not always the case.
Canned Pineapple vs Fresh
Again, this is determined mostly by preference and convenience. I used canned pineapple in the pineapple salsa recipe. That wouldn’t be my normal go-to.
However, because the fresh pineapples available to me in Nebraska this time of year are simply awful, I opted for juicy, flavorful canned pineapple tidbits.
Be sure you
get the ones packed in 100% pineapple juice. If you have access to ripe, in-season pineapples, you can easily substitute 4 cups of diced fresh pineapple.
FAQs About Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken Rice Bowls
Is there a substitute for tamari in this chicken rice bowl recipe?
Yes. If you don’t need the recipe to be gluten free, you can use soy sauce. If you need a different gluten free option, you can try coconut aminos.
Can I leave out the poblano peppers so the dish isn’t spicy?
You can definitely omit the poblano pepper from the dish, though they are generally fairly mild. The real heat in the dish comes from the Asian Chili Garlic Sauce. If you want milder chicken, I would omit the garlic sauce and leave in the poblano. If you want no spice at all, eliminate them both.
How to Make the Chicken
Grate the ginger. Mince the poblanos and garlic.
Add all the sauce ingredients for the Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken to your slow cooker.
Arrange the boneless skinless chicken breasts in the sauce.
Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 2 1/2 hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker to a plate, so that it can rest. From the residual heat, it will continue cooking until it reaches the safe temperature of 165° recommended by the USDA. This will give juices time to redistribute, as well, so your chicken is tender and juicy.
Mix the cornstarch with cold water and whisk the slurry into the sauce left in the crockpot. Turn the slow cooker to high and allow the sauce to cook and thicken for about 5 minutes. This is the scrumptious gravy/sauce you will use in your chicken rice bowls or for drizzling over slow cooker pineapple chicken used as a main dish.
How to Make the Salsa
(Full Recipe in NOTES section of Recipe Card.)
Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice.
Chop all the fresh vegetables for the salsa.
Mix the drained pineapple, chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, onion, poblano, parsley, lime zest and lemon juice in a large bowl.
Add salt and black pepper, to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Making the Rice
Place the reserved pineapple juice from the salsa into a liquid measuring cup and fill with water to bring the level to 4 cups.
Add the pineapple water, with a pinch of salt, to a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Once boiling add 4 cups of quick cooking brown rice, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for ten minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and serve.
To Assemble the Pineapple Chicken Rice Bowls
Place a serving of rice in each individual serving bowl just like you would when you serve teriyaki chicken.
Top the rice with a generous amount of the pineapple chicken thickened sauce.
Slice each chicken breast into thin slices, cutting across the grain.
Place 1/2 of each breast on top of the rice in each bowl. Drizzle the chicken with more sauce.
Add a generous serving of pineapple salsa along the side of the bowl.
Serve the chicken rice bowls.
If you love rice bowls, be sure to check out my
, too. Easy Egg Roll Bowls recipe
The Recipe Print
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For the Chicken:
2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup tamari sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 Poblano pepper, minced
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated (or scant 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt optional, 1-2 teaspoons Asian chili garlic sauce
4 – 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts ( 4 – 5 pounds)
To Thicken Sauce:
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
5 Tablespoons water
Grate the ginger and mince the garlic.
Add all the sauce ingredients (except corn starch and water) to the slow cooker.
Submerge the chicken breasts into the sauce.
Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 160° in the thickest part. While chicken is cooking,
make the pineapple salsa. Refrigerate until serving time. (Recipe in Notes, below.)
Remove chicken to a plate to rest.
Whisk cornstarch and cold water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce in the slow cooker.
Turn the slow cooker to high and allow to cook for 5 or 10 minutes while the chicken rests and you making the quick cook rice.
Make the rice. Cook according to pkg. instructions. I use the reserved pineapple juice and water to cook my rice. I use 4 cups of liquid and 4 cups of quick cooking brown rice.
Assemble the Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken Rice Bowls and serve.
Pineapple Salsa Recipe
2 (20 oz.) cans pineapple tidbits, drained (juice reserved)
1 English cucumber or 3 mini cucumbers, diced small
1 large red bell pepper, diced small
1 small red onion, minced
1/2 Poblano pepper, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
3 limes, juice and zest (1/4 to 1/3 cup of juice)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the pineapple, cucumber, bell pepper, parsley, red onion, minced poblano, garlic, lime zest and juice in a mixing bowl.
Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Use the reserved juice to cook the rice for rice bowls or freeze to use in recipes, later.
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 2 hours 30 min Category: Chicken, Main Dish Method: slow cooker Cuisine: American
Mexican Shredded Beef