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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken
CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!
- Slow Cooker
- 2½ 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)
- 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)
- 1½ tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)
- 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 whisk well to combine.
- 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.
Original recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 7/10/11. Recipe has been updated.