Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

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If letting dinner cook itself so you can come home to a delicious-smelling house and a warm dinner sounds good to you, then this slow cooker Hawaiian chicken (or slow cooker pineapple chicken) recipe might be just the recipe you’re looking for.

This delicious meal is great all by itself or served over rice.

And up close shot of this Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken being served over rice.

Mini Chef is going through a phase where he will only eat white rice. I don’t have a problem with it, so white rice is what he got. If you don’t eat white rice, feel free to use brown rice, quinoa, millet, or any other grain you enjoy. You’ll be cooking it separately in its own pot to package directions.

This meal is so satisfying and filling, and it’s made from scratch with real food ingredients. You can’t beat it! It’s mildly sweet, and its flavors can easily be intensified with the addition of salt and a little extra maple syrup at serving. This is easily adjustable to your own tastebuds. So enjoy!

What Is Hawaiian Chicken?

Traditionally, it’s a dish made with chicken, pineapple, bell peppers, and brown sugar. The liquid component is meant to be a glaze, with the whole thing being served over a serving of rice.

Typically, this dish will be dairy-free and can be easily made gluten-free as well. And in this case, it’s made without refined sugar as well.

How Do You Make Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken?

The base is made in a slow cooker. The chicken, peppers, and pineapple get cooked together for several hours until the chicken is cooked through.

All the sauce components, except for the starch, are cooked in the slow cooker as well.

In the end, the starch is stirred into the sauce in the slow cooker to help thicken it into more of a glaze.

This is then served over rice.

Why Is My Slow Cooker Chicken Tough?

Keeping in mind that every slow cooker cooks just slightly different from the next one, generally speaking, chicken becomes tough in a slow cooker when it is overcooked.

Chicken also has less fat than most other meats, so it’s a good idea to ensure that any chicken dish you cook in a slow cooker has at least a little bit of added fat. Not all recipes will call for this, and you can certainly slow cook tender chicken without it. But if tough chicken is your problem, those are the things to look at in addition to your particular slow cooker possibly not needing to cook as long as the recipe calls for.

A good rule of thumb? Cook your chicken to 165 F. and no more.

Does Slow Cooking Chicken Make It More Tender?

Chicken cooked in a slow cooker CAN be tender, but that doesn’t mean it always is. Some of that will depend on your recipe, and some will depend on your appliance and how it cooks. Slow cooker chicken is most tender when there is some added fat and the chicken is only cooked to 165-170 F. Longer cooking times will dry the chicken out.

Is It Better To Cook Chicken On High Or Low In Crockpot?

While there are many conversion charts for high and low-temperature settings on a slow cooker, chicken is best cooked at low temperatures, regardless of adjusted times for high-temperature cooking.

Can you put raw chicken in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! That’s the best way to cook it! If your chicken is pre-cooked (like a shredded chicken dish), consider cooking everything else and stirring the cooked chicken in about 30 minutes before the cooking time is up

Remember that each time you lift the lid on a slow cooker, you’ll want to add about 15 minutes to your total cooking time.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken Ingredients

Base

Raw chicken breasts, boneless and skinless – You’ll want to cut these into small, bite-sized pieces. They will shrink slightly during cooking, however, so don’t cut too small either. A good stew meat size is about right.

Canned pineapple chunks – You can certainly use fresh pineapple if you prefer, but remember you’ll have to purchase some extra juice. Make sure that you find pineapple without added sugar. (Dole has a good selection (not paid to promote them)

Red bell pepper – Here again, these will shrink during cooking. So cut these about the same size as you cut the chicken.

Sauce

Soy sauce – You can use either regular or low-sodium soy sauce, whichever you prefer. Coconut aminos are also a healthy option here.

Pineapple juice – I used the juice from the canned pineapple I bought. However, if you are using fresh pineapple, you’ll want to purchase some extra juice. Just make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar. 100% juice is what you’re looking for.

Granular sweetener – I used xylitol because that’s what is easiest on my blood sugar. But Xylitol is processed. If your goal is clean eating, then opt for sweeteners such as Sucanat, coconut sugar or monk fruit.

Garlic granules – I used granules, but garlic powder in equal amounts is fine too. Just don’t use garlic salt.

Ground ginger – I used dried ground ginger, but you can also use fresh. If you opt for fresh ginger, then go for about ½ tsp. grated on a zester or extra fine grater.

Slurry

Arrowroot powder – I try to avoid corn, so I use arrowroot powder. But you can also substitute cornstarch if that’s what you have. Either will work. You’ll want to play with this amount a bit. 2 Tbsp. is just a jumping-off point. You may need more or less depending on how much of your liquid cooked out.

To use arrowroot powder, whisk it together with the vinegar in a separate bowl to make a slurry. Then stir the slurry into the slow cooker 30 minutes before the cooking time is up.

Rice vinegar – You can also use regular, white vinegar is that’s what you have on hand. The rice vinegar just gives it a little something extra.

Garnish

Sesame seeds – these are optional but tasty!

How To Make Hawaiian Chicken In A Slow Cooker

Place the chopped bell peppers, pineapple, and cut chicken breasts into a slow cooker and stir to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and stir.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Secure the lid on your slow cooker.

Set to cook on low for 5 ½ hours.

Whisk together the slurry, and pour it into the slow cooker.

Continue cooking for 30-45 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F.

When finished, cool slightly and serve over cooked rice or on its own.

Video Notes

When I first made this recipe, I added the starch to the slow cooker at the beginning. After making this a few times, I discovered the sauce gets much thicker if you add it towards the end. So please disregard that one oops in the video. The written recipe is correct.

Slow Cooker

If you are in need of a good slow cooker, this one is a good one to consider.


All-Clad Gourmet Slow Cooker, 5 quarts, Silver,SD492D50

This slow cooker has a 5 quart capacity, a 5 star rating on Amazon, and 4 programs that will do the job of 4 different appliances.

Functions: Slow cooker, steam, brown and rice

Cleaning: Hand wash the crock

Warm Timer: Up to 6 hours

Program Timer: Up to 20 hours

Accessories: Steam container and rice measuring cup

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

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Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken Recipe

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Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken served in a wood bowl over rice, sitting on a table.

Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken

This might just become a favorite in your house. Simple and delicious, you’ll make this again and again!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 261kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • lb. raw chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (cut into small chunks)
  • 2 cups canned pineapple chunks (no sugar added)
  • 2 cups chopped red bell pepper (about a ½ inch cut)

Sauce

  • ½ cup soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • ½ cup pineapple juice (from the canned pineapple chunks – no sugar added)
  • ¼ cup granular sweetener (Sucanat, coconut sugar or monk fruit work great)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic granules (or garlic powder)
  • tsp. ground ginger

Slurry

  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  • Place the chopped bell peppers, pineapple and cut chicken breasts into a slow cooker and stir to combine.
    The chicken, peppers and pineapple mixed together in the slow cooker crock.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk well to combine.
    The Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken sauce being whisked together in a small, white mixing bowl.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken. Secure the lid on your slow cooker. Set to cook on low for 5 ½ hours.
    The lid placed on the slow cooker, preparing to cook this Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken Recipe.
  • Whisk together the slurry, and pour it into the slow cooker.
    Continue cooking for 30-45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches 165 F.
    When finished, cool slightly and serve over cooked rice, or on its own.
    The finished Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken, served over rice in a wooden bowl. The bowl sits on a red and white checkered towel.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 978mg | Potassium: 754mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1239IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

Original recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 7/10/11. Recipe has been updated.

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I'm Tiffany, a writer for MSN and the AP Newswire, a cookbook author, digital publisher, food lover, and mom. I create healthy, clean eating recipes for everyday living.

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111 Comments

  1. I would like to cook the zucchini… I don’t like it raw… when should I put it in? I’d also like to cook the pineapple. When should that be put in? Who makes a clean salsa?

    1. Lauren – You can put them in any time you like, but you will lose some of the overall flavor. As for salsa, that depends on what you have available to you. I shop at Trader Joe’s and I get the Salsa Authentica. You just have to read labels at the store.

  2. Just wondering…how long do you cook it after you add the pineapple and zucchini?? Thanks!

  3. What type of sides would you serve with this delicious meal..
    Brown rice. .. ?

  4. Delicious! I put it over quinoa…we will be having this again for sure!

  5. Corey Dunn says:

    This is a great recipe! I even included it on my on my 30 Whole30 Recipe Round up. Thanks for sharing!

  6. elizabeth says:

    This might be a silly wuestion but after adding the raw zucchini and pineapple how much longer should it cook?

    1. Elizabeth – You don’t. You add those in when you are done cooking. It’s great with the raw zucchini! Promise!

  7. If you have access to a Wegman’s grocery store, they make a fresh, clean pico digallo that is delicious. Use it for the salsa. It is in the produce section, not on one of the inside aisles where the processed foods are. I started Paleo 4 weeks ago and I am a changed person. Feel wonderful, more energy, pain gone and sleeping great. This looks so good, can’t wait to make it.

  8. Do you use frozen chicken or thawed?

    1. Kristin – It doesn’t matter how you buy it as long as it’s thawed/raw when you put it in.

  9. Did you drain all of the juices after cooking? When I cook chicken in my crock pot there is a lot of liquid at the end.

    Thanks!

    1. Kelsey – Ya, I just leave it behind when I scoop everything out, then discard it if there is a ton. If these isn’t too much, I just mix it in when I shred everything.

  10. I made this a couple of days ago it was great.

  11. How Much longer do you cook once you add the zucchini and pineapple? Thanks

    1. Monica – You don’t. 🙂 If you prefer the zucchini cooked, then add it about 20 to 30 minutes before the cooking time is done. But I love it raw.

  12. Delicious and so easy to make! We sometimes opt for canned pineapple in a pinch or a hurry, and it’s still fantastic. Also great with boneless skinless thighs if you’re not excited about white meat

  13. Hi! Trying this for tonight. How much is considered a serving size? Thank you!

    1. Jess – I didn’t measure, I just divided it all into four equal portions. Sorry, wish I had measured…

  14. Is it possible to cook this on high for a shorter amount of time?

    1. Molly – Sure! I think there are conversion charts online. I’m not sure what the difference in time would be.

  15. 5 stars
    Loved this!! It was easy and a perfect combination of sweet, tangy and crunchy! ?

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