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What food goes good with pineapple?

Pineapple is a delicious and versatile fruit that can be paired with a variety of foods and ingredients. The sweet and tangy flavor of pineapple complements both savory and sweet dishes. When preparing recipes with pineapple, there are many complementary flavors and foods to consider.

Savory Dishes That Go Well with Pineapple

Here are some savory dishes and ingredients that pair especially well with the tropical flavor of pineapple:

  • Ham – A classic pairing, the sweet and salty flavors complement each other perfectly. Think ham and pineapple pizza or a pineapple glazed ham.
  • Pork – Pork and pineapple is another classic combination. The fruit’s acidity cuts through the fattiness of pork. Try pineapple fried rice with pork or pineapple pork chops.
  • Chicken – Grilled or baked chicken pairs well with pineapples. Use pineapple in the marinade or sauce, or serve grilled pineapple slices alongside chicken.
  • Fish – The tanginess of pineapple works well with richer fish like salmon, mahi mahi, tuna, etc. Make a pineapple salsa to top fish tacos or fillets.
  • Shrimp – Shrimp and pineapple is popular in tropical cuisine. The sweetness balances well with the brininess of shrimp. Use in shrimp skewers, stir fries, or ceviche.
  • Spicy foods – The sweet juiciness of pineapple helps counterbalance spicy heat. Add it to curries, chilis, jerk dishes, etc.
  • Citrus flavors – Pairing pineapple with other citrus fruits like orange, lime, lemon can really make the flavors pop. Use in a fruity salsa or salad dressing.
  • Herbs – Fresh herbs like mint, basil, cilantro nicely complement the tropical flavors of pineapple. Use as a garnish or in a salad.
  • Nuts and seeds – Pineapple’s sweetness pairs nicely with salty, crunchy nuts and seeds. Use in a trail mix, salad topping, or granola. Try pecans, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Salty foods – The juiciness and sweetness of pineapple balances well with salty ingredients like ham, prosciutto, olives, feta, etc. Use in appetizer skewers or salads.

When using pineapple in savory dishes, fresh, ripe pineapple has the best flavor. Canned pineapple works as well but may have a more processed flavor.

Sweet Dishes and Desserts with Pineapple

Pineapple also pairs deliciously with many sweet ingredients and desserts:

  • Vanilla – A simple but classic pairing, the sweet flavors complement each other perfectly. Enjoy pineapple with vanilla ice cream, yogurt, chia pudding, etc.
  • Chocolate – The sweet tanginess of pineapple balances the richness of chocolate. Try a pineapple chocolate cake, brownies with pineapple, or chocolate pineapple kebabs.
  • Caramel – Caramel and pineapple is a match made in heaven. Use in caramel pineapple desserts like flan, creme brulee, or cheesecake.
  • Coconut – This tropical combination is delicious in desserts like pineapple coconut cream pie, pudding, or macaroons.
  • Whipped cream or frosting – The cool, fluffy sweetness pairs nicely with the tropical pineapple flavor. Use atop cakes, tarts, pancakes, waffles, etc.
  • Nuts – Walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, etc. add a nice crunch and flavor contrast with pineapple. Use in a fruit and nut salad.
  • Spices – Warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg complement the sweetness of pineapple. Bake into pineapple upside down cake or bread pudding.
  • Mint – Fresh mint leaves add a bright pop of flavor and aroma to pineapple desserts. Garnish fruit salads, pies, sorbets, and other chilled pineapple desserts.
  • Lime or lemon – The citrus cuts through the sweetness and enhances the tropical flavors. Use in fruit tarts, salads, or marinades.
  • Berries – Mix pineapple with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries for a sweet and tangy fruit salad. The vitamin C in both makes them the perfect healthy dessert.

For the best flavor in desserts, use fresh ripe pineapple. But canned pineapple also works well, just drain it first to remove excess syrup.

Drinks to Pair with Pineapple

Pineapple’s bright, refreshing flavor also makes it a tasty addition to drinks. Here are some beverage options to consider:

  • Pina coladas – This tropical rum cocktail is a classic pineapple drink. The fruit pairs well with the coconut milk and rum.
  • Fruit juice – Mix pineapple juice with orange, mango, guava or other tropical juices for a refreshing drink.
  • Sparkling water – Add chunks of pineapple and mint to sparkling water for a fizzy, fruity beverage.
  • Tea – Brewed black, green or herbal tea paired with chunks of pineapple or pineapple syrup makes a tangy flavored drink. Consider Thai iced tea.
  • Lemonade or limeade – Adding pineapple enhances the citrus flavors and makes lemonade even more refreshing.
  • Fruit smoothies – Blend pineapple with banana, mango, berries and milk or yogurt for a creamy, frozen fruit smoothie.
  • Cocktails – The sweetness of pineapple works in many cocktails beyond pina coladas. Try pineapple margaritas, daiquiris, mojitos and more.
  • Beer or wine – Pineapple pairs well with many white or wheat beers. It also complements sweeter wines like Riesling, Moscato or Champagne.

For the best flavor and texture, use fresh pineapple in drinks. But canned or frozen pineapple works too if fresh isn’t available.

Benefits of Pineapple

Beyond its vibrant flavor, pineapple offers many health benefits as well. Here are some of the top nutrients and compounds found in pineapple:

  • Vitamin C – Pineapples are high in vitamin C, providing 131% of the daily value in one cup. Vitamin C boosts immunity and acts as an antioxidant in the body.
  • Manganese – Pineapples contain over 70% of the daily value of manganese per serving. Manganese is important for bone health and metabolism.
  • Bromelain – This group of enzymes has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce swelling and bruising.
  • Fiber – With 2.3 grams of fiber per cup, pineapple supports healthy digestion and gut health.
  • Copper – Pineapples provide cofactor copper, which helps form red blood cells and keeps the immune system healthy.
  • Vitamin B6 – This vitamin is needed for over 100 enzyme reactions in the body including metabolism and nerve function.

So enjoying pineapple not only satisfies your tastebuds, but also provides valuable vitamins, minerals and compounds that benefit your overall health.

How to Select and Store Pineapple

Follow these tips for choosing fresh, ripe pineapple and keeping it fresh:

  • Look for pineapples that are heavy for their size with firm, green leaves.
  • Avoid pineapples with soft spots or areas of dark brown bruising.
  • Smell the base of the pineapple – it should have a sweet, tropical aroma if ripe.
  • Choose pineapples with golden yellow skin – some brown spots are okay but avoid large areas of green.
  • Gently twist off one leaf from the top – it should come off easily if the pineapple is ripe.
  • Check the bottom – it should smell sweet and be free of soft spots.
  • To store, keep whole fresh pineapples at room temperature for 1-2 days.
  • Refrigerate cut pineapple in an airtight container for 4-5 days. The cold prevents further ripening.
  • Freeze pineapple chunks for later smoothies, juices, etc. Just slice, pack in airtight bags or containers, and freeze for 2-3 months.

Avoid leaving fresh, cut pineapple out at room temperature too long. The moisture and sugars can quickly lead to mold growth.

How to Cut and Prepare Fresh Pineapple

It takes a few extra steps to prepare a fresh pineapple, but it’s worth it for the superior flavor and texture versus canned. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Twist off the leafy crown and bottom stem.
  2. Place pineapple upright and carefully slice off the skin from top to bottom removing the eyes.
  3. To core, slice diagonally down around the core to remove it.
  4. Slice the pineapple into rounds or chunks as desired.
  5. Use a knife or pineapple corer to remove any remaining core fibers.
  6. Cut pineapple chunks into smaller pieces for eating raw or adding to recipes.
  7. Juice or blend for smoothies, salsas, sauces, etc.
  8. Enjoy fresh pineapple within 1-2 days for peak flavor and texture.

The fibrous core of a pineapple is not edible raw. But you can add it to a blender when juicing to obtain all the nutrients and enzymes.

Tips for Cooking with Pineapple

Here are some top tips for preparing recipes using fresh, canned or frozen pineapple:

  • If baking, reduce oven temperature by 25??F as pineapple can burn easily.
  • For roasted or grilled pineapple, cook over medium heat until lightly browned.
  • Saute chunks in a pan with butter and brown sugar for a quick dessert topping.
  • Use crushed pineapple from the can to make quick breads, muffins, cakes or pies.
  • Puree chunks in a blender for a tropical sauce for meat or veggies.
  • Simmer pineapple rinds in water to make a tangy vinegar substitute.
  • Grill pineapple rings and serve over ice cream for a hot, cold contrast.
  • Bake into casseroles, savory pies like pizza or quiche, or on top of baked ham.
  • Skewer pineapple chunks with other fruit or meat for colorful, flavorful kabobs.

Pineapple pairs especially well with pork, shrimp, chicken, and spicy foods due its sweet flavor and tenderizing effect.

Popular Pineapple Recipes to Try

Here are 10 delicious ways to use pineapple in appetizers, entrees, salads, desserts and drinks:

Recipe Ingredients
Pineapple chicken tacos Chicken, pineapple salsa, corn tortillas, avocado
Pineapple fried rice Rice, pineapple chunks, pork or shrimp, peas, eggs, soy sauce
Pineapple coconut smoothie Pineapple, coconut milk, banana, Greek yogurt, ice
Grilled pineapple and Halloumi skewers Pineapple, Halloumi cheese, red onion, bell pepper
Pineapple upside down cake Pineapple rings, yellow cake mix, brown sugar, butter, cherries
Pineapple mojitos Light rum, lime, pineapple, mint leaves, simple syrup, club soda
Pineapple curry shrimp Shrimp, pineapple chunks, curry powder, coconut milk, pepper, cilantro
Grilled Hawaiian pizza Pizza dough, pizza sauce, mozzarella, pineapple, ham, bacon
Pineapple berry salad Mixed greens, pineapple chunks, strawberries, feta cheese, nuts, poppyseed dressing
Pineapple Limeade Pineapple juice, lime juice, lime slices, simple syrup, sparkling water


With its sweet, tart and refreshing tropical taste, pineapple is one of the most versatile and flavorful fruits you can keep on hand. It pairs wonderfully with both sweet and savory ingredients from shrimp, chicken and pork to chocolate, caramel and coconut. Try using fresh pineapple to add a pop of color, nutrients and tangy flavor to salsas, salads, marinades, desserts and tropical drinks. Just remember to store it properly and enjoy within a couple days of slicing for the best texture and flavor.