This super easy pineapple fried rice uses simple ingredients to create the maximum flavor. Learn all the secrets of making perfect fried rice that tastes even better than the restaurant version, and the one secret ingredient to make the best pineapple fried rice.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that fried rice is my favorite dinner dish. In my world, fried rice should be super easy to make and require minimal prep. Because the goal of the dish is always to use leftovers from the fridge and create a hearty one-bowl meal. It doesn’t make sense to me if you need to chop and prep for 20 minutes to make fried rice. If you’ve seen my previous fried rice recipes, such as 3-Ingredient Egg Fried Rice, Vegetable Fried Rice, and Shrimp Fried Rice, you’ll find that all of them are super fast to make.
OK, I admit that I used a whole pineapple in the photos, so I would have a cool pineapple bowl. But if I was just making this dish for dinner, I’d definitely use ready-cut pineapple from the grocery store instead of dealing with a whole fruit.
Why this recipe
The traditional Thai pineapple fried rice usually contains a lot of herbs, such as green onion, ginger, and garlic to create the fragrance. I admit, all the fresh aromatics add a rich taste to the rice. But mincing garlic and ginger is the last thing I want to do if I want to quickly whip up dinner. This recipe calls for extra green onion, which is so fast and easy to chop. It creates fragrant rice all the same.
The secret ingredient
Traditional Thai pineapple fried rice uses turmeric to add a beautiful yellow color to the dish. I used curry powder to replace the turmeric. Not only does it add a beautiful color to the rice, but it also adds so much flavor to the dish without effort.
Skip the marinating, get more flavor
The recipe uses ground chicken instead of a cut of chicken (breast or thigh). Not only does it eliminate the chopping and marinating, the ground chicken creates small crispy brown bits that are evenly incorporated into the rice, making it taste even better. I personally prefer to use ground turkey, which has a richer taste than ground chicken.
It’s always a great idea to use frozen veggies in fried rice. It saves you 10 to 15 minutes of washing and prepping. And the result will be just as tasty and nutritious.
1. Leftover rice
Using overnight chilled rice is always a better option than using hot fresh rice to make fried rice. Refrigerated rice is less starchy and is easier to separate into grains. The grains will be coated with oil more evenly and cooked more evenly. Because leftover rice has a chewier texture, it won’t get mashed while stir-frying and generates a crispier result.
However, if you just made some steamed rice and want to cook fried rice on the same day, here is what you can do:
- Spread the rice into a thin layer in a big plate, so it cools off quickly.
- Once the rice is cooled, cover with it plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
The rice will be ready to use in an hour or so.
2. How to cut a pineapple
I highly recommend you buy ready-cut pineapple from the grocery store if you want to make the prep fast and easy. However, I understand that you might want to serve the dish in a cool pineapple bowl to impress your guests once in a while.
To cut the pineapple, I use a knife to cut the pineapple in half, then slice diamond patterns, and carve off the meat leaving 1” (2.5 cm) along the edge. Then I use a small sharp spoon to scoop out the pineapple meat, then chop the pieces further into smaller bite-size pieces.
I used a carbon steel skillet in this recipe, but you can totally use a nonstick pan and create the same result. When you’re using a nonstick pan, the trick is to heat up the pan very well and stir less. So the rice will heat up properly and get crispy.
If you’re using a carbon steel pan or cast iron pan, you might need to use a bit more oil because rice is quite starchy and might stick to the pan.
4. Why cook the eggs separately
You can usually cook eggs in fried rice without taking them out. I took the extra step in this recipe just so the light soy sauce wouldn’t add a brown color to the eggs. If you don’t mind the appearance of the dish, you can totally add the eggs at step two. Simply move the ground chicken to one side of the pan, add some oil to the other side and pour in the beaten eggs. Once the eggs are set on the bottom, add the rice on top of the eggs and stir. Then you can get scrambled eggs that lightly coat the rice. I love that texture very much.
The ingredient list might look a bit long. But trust me, you’ll see how easy it is to cook restaurant-style pineapple fried rice in your own kitchen once you try it. The dish is so substantial that it makes a perfect one-bowl main dish. It’s also a great dish for a dinner party or potluck because it holds up well after reheating.
More one-bowl dinner recipes
- Teriyaki Chicken
- 15-Minute Chicken Chow Fun (Chicken Fried Rice Noodles)
- Easy Singapore Noodles (星洲炒米粉)
- Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Meatballs
- Macanese Broiled Fish with Potato and Peppers (One Pan Dinner)
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Easy Pineapple Fried Rice (菠萝炒饭)
To make the dish gluten free, use tamari or coconut amino to replace the light soy sauce.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 lb (225 g) ground chicken (or ground turkey)
- 2 eggs , beaten with a pinch of salt
- 3 cups cooked rice , overnight rice works best, separated by hand (*Footnote)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (I prefer mild Madras curry powder)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
- 1/2 red bell pepper , diced
- 1 cup mixed frozen veggies (snow peas, carrots, and/or corn)
- 3 green onions , chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt , or to taste
- 1/3 cup roasted cashews
- 1 lime , cut into wedges
- Chopped cilantro leaves , for garnish (Optional)
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet (or a wok, or a carbon steel skillet) until hot. Add the eggs. Let cook without touching, until the bottom is set. Stir and chop with your spatula to separate the eggs into small bits. Once the egg is just cooked (it’s OK if some parts are still a bit runny), transfer it to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the ground chicken. Stir and chop with your spatula to separate it into small bits. Cook until the chicken turns mostly white.
- Add the rice. Stir and chop to further separate it into single grains. Cook until the rice is heated up, 2 to 3 minutes. If you’re using a wok or a carbon steel skillet, the rice might stick to the pan. You can add a bit more oil and use your spatula to release the rice.
- Add the soy sauce and curry powder. Stir to mix well.
- Add the pineapple, bell pepper, frozen veggies, green onions, and sprinkle with salt. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add back the scrambled eggs and cashews and toss again. Carefully taste the rice. Sprinkle more salt and stir to mix well, if needed. Transfer everything to a big plate.
- Serve hot as a main dish or side dish.