This Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken recipe is bursting with tropical flavor. Chicken breast and pineapple chunks are slow-cooked in a sweet and savory sauce and served over your favorite white or brown rice. This is the perfect easy, weeknight, family dinner recipe!
It’s still cold and snowy in the upper Midwest, which means warm and comforting crock pot meals are a weekly event in my home. When I’m not making one of my popular crockpot chili recipes, I’m serving quick and healthy slow cooker chicken recipes, like this Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken.
Hawaiian chicken has become one of our favorite slow cooker recipes! I use lean chicken breast to cut back on calories and fat. Bell peppers and pineapple chunks are added for extra fiber, nutrition, and flavor. They also add beautiful, vibrant color to this dish!
Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken is perfect for large gatherings, game days, or just an easy Tuesday night dinner. Hawaiian chicken is served over a hearty serving of white or brown rice, which stretches this recipe out, making it easy to feed a crowd with.
If you love this sweet and savory chicken recipe, then you also have to try my Chicken Mango Lettuce Wraps!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Quick and easy to make. Your hands-on time for Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken is only about 15 minutes. Minimal effort is needed before the rest of the ingredients are dumped into the crockpot to slow-cook for the day.
Full of flavor and texture. The chicken, pineapple, and bell peppers are slow-cooked for hours in a tangy and delicious sauce. The sauce coats the meat, fruit, and veggies as it thickens up at the end of cooking time. You’re left with plenty of extra sauce for drizzling over rice. Most Hawaiian chicken recipes only call for pineapple juice or pineapple puree. I add large, pineapple chunks so that each bite has a mouthful of sweet and fruity flavor!
Simple ingredients. This Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken recipe only calls for 3 main ingredients. The rest of the ingredients that are used to make the sauce are readily found in most kitchens.
Dump and go recipe. This is a low-maintenance, dump-and-go recipe that cooks low and slow while you’re at work for the day.
Chicken Breast. Use boneless skinless chicken breasts. Always trim any visible fat, tendons, and connective tissue. Trimming the meat will leave you with perfectly clean and tender chicken breast pieces.
Bell Peppers. Choose two different colors of bell peppers. Red bell peppers and yellow bell peppers will make the dish look as tropical as it tastes! Orange bell peppers and green bell peppers are also an option though.
Pineapple. You’ll need canned pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice. Don’t drain the pineapple juice! You’ll need to reserve some of the juice to use during the final steps in this recipe.
Brown Sugar. You can use either light brown sugar or dark brown sugar. The brown sugar will dissolve as the slow cooker warms up and will be the main ingredient that sweetens up the sauce.
Low Sodium Soy Sauce. Double-check that your soy sauce is the low-sodium variety. I’ve developed this recipe specifically using low-sodium soy sauce. If you use full-sodium soy sauce, then your sauce may turn out too salty.
Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin sauce is a sweet and salty sauce commonly used in Asian-inspired recipes. Hoisin is my secret ingredient that will deepen the rich, sweet, tangy, and umami flavors in this crock pot recipe!
Ginger and Garlic. Ground ginger (grated fresh ginger is okay too) and freshly minced garlic are added for extra flavor!
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Use different cuts of chicken. I prefer to use chicken breast because it’s one of the healthiest cuts of chicken. Boneless skinless chicken thighs or chopped chicken tenderloins would also be an option though. I suggest trimming some of the fat off of the chicken thighs if you make this substitution.
- Add BBQ sauce. Adding BBQ sauce to Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken will give the sauce a smokey flavor. BBQ sauce is a common addition to Hawaiian chicken recipes.
- Make it spicy. If you love to add a little bit of heat to your meals, then a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper powder would do the trick! Another option is to add chopped jalapeno peppers.
- Serve over different types of rice. The most common way to serve Hawaiian chicken is over white rice. You can make this dinner recipe healthier by serving it over brown rice or cauliflower rice. Cauliflower rice will make this meal much lower in carbs! If you want to stick with the tropical theme, you could serve this over coconut rice.
- Use fresh or frozen pineapple. Instead of canned pineapple, you can use fresh or frozen pineapple chunks. I prefer to use canned pineapple though because canned pineapple will supply you with the pineapple juice needed in this recipe. Canned pineapple also significantly cuts down on prep time, compared to chopping up fresh pineapple.
- Add more veggies. I really like to make Hawaiian chicken using the traditional veggie choice of bell peppers. If you want to be creative with your vegetable additions, then you could also try adding cauliflower, broccoli, onions, or carrots!
- Add some yummy toppings. I suggest adding sesame seeds and chopped green onions when you’re ready to serve your sweet Hawaiian chicken.
Step-By-Step Instructions to Make Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken
Step 1: Add chicken breast and bell peppers to the basin of a large crockpot.
Step 2: Then add brown sugar, minced garlic, and ground ginger to the slow cooker.
Step 3: Drain and reserve approximately ¼ cup of the pineapple juice from the can, and then pour the pineapple chunks and any remaining juice into the crock pot.
Step 4: Finally add the soy sauce and hoisin sauce in and place the lid onto the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Step 5: During the last 30 minutes of cooking, whisk the reserved pineapple juice and cornstarch together in a small bowl.
Step 6: Pour the cornstarch slurry into the crockpot, and stir to combine. Allow the Hawaiian chicken to cook for 30 minutes longer.
Step 7: Serve over rice of choice, with the option to add optional toppings like sesame seeds and sliced green onions, and enjoy!
Possible Dietary Restrictions?
This slow cooker Hawaiian chicken is dairy free as it’s written. This recipe can be gluten free as long as you make sure gluten hasn’t snuck into your soy sauce or your hoisin sauce!
Wheat is a common ingredient in most traditionally produced soy and hoisin sauces. Luckily you can find San-J Gluten Free Tamari Low Sodium Soy Sauce and San-J Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce in most grocery stores!
I don’t suggest trying to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan because chicken is the main ingredient.
Store leftover Hawaiian pineapple chicken in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I suggest storing the crockpot portion separately from any leftover rice.
This is also a freezer friendly recipe! You can freeze this recipe for up to 3 months. Let the Hawaiian crockpot chicken cool completely. Transfer leftovers into a freezer bag and squeeze out all of the air. Seal the freezer bag, label it with the recipe name and date, and lay it flat on your freezer shelf.
- Chop your chicken and bell peppers into equally sized pieces. Make sure they’re bite-sized as well!
- Don’t skip the cornstarch slurry! Adding a cornstarch slurry at the end of cooking time is the key step that is needed to really thicken up the sweet and sticky sauce.
- This recipe is really easy to double. All you have to do is double the ingredients. The recipe steps and the cooking time will not change.
- You don’t have to serve this recipe over rice. You could shred the chicken and serve it in soft taco shells or make sliders using Hawaiian sweet rolls.
You’ll need to use a larger-sized slow cooker to make this recipe. I love this 6-Quart Programmable Crock Pot Slow Cooker.
Hawaiian chicken sauce is made with pineapple juice or chunks, a sweetener like brown sugar or honey, a salty ingredient like soy sauce, and added flavors like garlic and ginger.
Low and slow is always recommended when it comes to cooking chicken in the crock pot. While it’s possible to cook on high, you’ll get more tender and juicier chicken if it’s cooked on low over a longer period of time.
Pineapple has a naturally occurring digestive enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme will tenderize tough connective tissue in chicken breast, resulting in fork-tender, pull-apart meat.
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📖 Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium bell peppers, de-stemmed and de-seeded, cut into bite-sized pieces (any combination of colors)
- 1 20oz can pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice (¼ C juice reserved for the cornstarch slurry)
- ¼ C low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ C hoisin sauce
- ¼ C brown sugar (light or dark)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- cooked white rice for serving
- optional toppings: sesame seeds, sliced green onions
- Chop bell peppers and chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Drain approximately ¼ cup of pineapple juice from the can of pineapple chunks and reserve for later.
- Add chicken breast and bell peppers to the basin of a large crockpot. Then add the brown sugar, minced garlic, ground ginger, pineapple, pineapple juice (except the ¼ cup reserved for later), soy sauce, and hoisin sauce to the slow cooker.
- Place the lid onto the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- During the last 30 minutes of cooking, whisk the reserved pineapple juice and cornstarch together in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the slow cooker to help thicken the sauce, stirring to combine. Allow the Hawaiian chicken to cook for 30 minutes longer.
- Serve warm over rice of choice.
- Use different cuts of chicken. I prefer to use chicken breast because it’s one of the healthiest cuts of chicken. Boneless skinless chicken thighs or chopped chicken tenderloins would also be an option. I suggest trimming some of the fat off of the chicken thighs if you make this substitution.
- Add BBQ sauce. Adding BBQ sauce to Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken will give the sauce a smokey flavor.
- Make it spicy. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper powder if you prefer spicier meals.
- Serve over different types of rice. The most common way to serve Hawaiian chicken is over white rice. You can also serve over brown rice, coconut rice, or cauliflower rice.
- Use fresh or frozen pineapple. If doing this, be sure to purchase pineapple juice too (as this comes with the canned version).
- Add more veggies. Try adding cauliflower, broccoli, onions, or carrots!