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.

At 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 make sure 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 tons of conversion charts for high and low temperature settings on a slow cooker, chicken is best cooked on low temperature, 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

Just keep in mind 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

2½ lb. 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.

2 cups canned pineapple chunks – You can certainly use fresh pineapple if you prefer, but keep in mind 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)

2 cups chopped red bell pepper – Here again, these will shrink durning cooking. So cut these about the same size as you cut the chicken.

Sauce

½ cup soy sauce – You can use either regular or low sodium soy sauce, whichever you prefer. Coconut aminos are also a healthy option here.

½ cup 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.

¼ cup 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.

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

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

Slurry

2 tbsp. 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.

2 tbsp. 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

2 tbsp. 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

Copyright Button.
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
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: The Gracious Pantry

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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111 Comments

  1. Pingback: Clean Eating Slow Cooker Recipes
  2. graciouspantry says:

    Christinamarth – I hope you enjoy it!

  3. controllerofchaos says:

    what would you serve this with?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      If you want carbs, I would serve it with some brown rice. A green salad on the side is always nice too.

  4. graciouspantry says:

    Rhbutterfly – Oh yummy!

  5. Thismay be a stupid question, but when you say 2 large chicken breats, do you mean 2 large chicken breast halves? or is it actually 4 halves?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Laruick – I purchase frozen chicken breasts at Costco. They are about 7-8 ounces each. I hope that helps.

  6. graciouspantry says:

    Njshery – That’s fabulous! Welcome! I know you’ll do great. 🙂

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  8. Bridget Early says:

    I would love to make this for dinner for the week for myself, but work has put a crunch on my schedule. Is there a way to convert it to the High setting and cut down on cook time? Thanks!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Bridget – It might get done a little sooner, but not much. Generally speaking, you don’t typically want to cook less than 4 hours in a slow cooker unless you are making a pasta or grain.

  9. We will be having this for supper tonight.. thanks for sharing clean recipies with us.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Awesome! Enjoy!

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  11. Kacie Jackson says:

    I just put the chicken and salsa in my crock pot, and plan on eating it for lunch this week – along side some brown rice or whole wheat couscous. I usually take a frozen meal for lunch out of convenience (when they are on sale for cheap), but wanted to focus on eating more clean in September. After reading the reviews, I am excited to try it out, as well as your other ideas for the remainder of the month!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy it!

  12. graciouspantry says:

    Many salsas on the market are clean. But you do have to read labels at the store. I believe Pace has a few clean varieties.

  13. Pingback: Slow Cooker Chicken and Pineapple Rice Bowl | total noms
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  15. graciouspantry says:

    Just to be clear, the chicken was no longer cooking when you added them, right? It could have been the chicken you used, or maybe, if the chicken was very hot, the zucchini cooked down a bit. Could be a lot of things. I’m glad you were able to still enjoy it though!

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  17. I have the chicken and salsa in there right now. Have you tried cooking the pineapple and zucchini and if so at what point would you add them into the crock pot? Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      I don’t recommend cooking the pineapple and zucchini. I think you’d have a mushy mess on your hands and it wouldn’t be as flavorful.

  18. Just got a crockpot and this was my first receipe I used with it!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Awesome! Hope you liked it. 🙂

  19. This might sound silly, but what is clean salsa?

    Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jody – Salsa with just recognizable ingredients in it. So tomatoes, garlic, peppers, etc. No dextrose, sugar or other additives.

      1. Rob Swartz says:

        What about the ingredient ‘natural flavors’ – like in Pace?

        1. The Gracious Pantry says:

          Rob – I have tried to look into that on a few occasions. From what I’ve read, manufacturers can hide a lot of not-so-great stuff under that term, so I tend to avoid it. That being said, there is really no way to know what they include under that label as they are not legally required to say. So it’s kinds of a gamble and totally a personal decision. The way I think about it is, if you are eating really clean, then that little bit probably would not be an issue (80/20 rule). You don’t use that much with spices anyway. But it totally depends on how strict you want to be.

  20. When is the zucchini and pineapple added? An hour before meal time?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Cassie – You can toss them in right before serving if you like. I added mine right after cooking because I served it right away. But it’s pretty flexible.

  21. I want to make this tonight. Is it just as good without the zucchini?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Karen – Sure!

  22. Sounds yummy!
    Can I use frozen chicken? Or is that not considered “clean”?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brenda – You’d have to read the ingredient list. The thing is, you want to thaw it first. It’s not recommended to put frozen foods in a slow cooker. Aside from that, it should be clean if it’s just chicken with nothing added. Freezing doesn’t make something “unclean”.

  23. Tracy | Pale Yellow says:

    I made this last night for dinner and threw the zucchini and pineapple (I used a 20 ounce can in pineapple juice) in with the chicken and salsa. After cooking for 3 1/2 hours I shredded the chicken and added it back to crock pot to simmer for another hour. Probably not as clean, but super tasty, easy, and filling! Great recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tracy – If there was no added sugar in the pineapple, it sounds clean to me! Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  24. If I do not like eating raw zucchini, could I put that in with the chicken? at the same time, or more towards the end? thanks! xo

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tara – I would cook the whole thing, and then when it’s done, toss the zucchini in and let is sit in the hot food. That should cook it just fine without it turning to mush.

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