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Food & Recipes

Grilled Pineapple Is That Thing You Think You Won’t Like — Then You Try It And Fall In Love

The deliciousness is in the caramelization — here's how to get it right

Of all the foods you expect to see on a grill — hot dogs, ribs, corn on the cob — pineapple might not even make the list. But there’s a sweet reason you’ll want to toss it on your next barbecue: Grill up some pineapple, and the direct heat will caramelize the fruit’s natural sugars, mellowing out its sourness and making it extra delicious. It’s perfect for anyone who finds pineapple’s tart flavor a bit too pucker-inducing. Plus, this cooking method also gives the fruit lovely char marks that add a smoky taste. Here’s how to grill pineapple so you can enjoy it plain, with ice cream or on top of a burger.

Is it better to grill fresh or canned pineapple?

The first choice to make before grilling pineapple is whether you’re using whole or canned fruit. While it doesn’t seem like there’s a huge difference between the two, they vary in nutritional quality and preparation time. Below, you can find the pros and cons of grilling fresh pineapple versus canned fruit to see which one best suits your needs.

Whole pineapple


  • Fresh pineapple is healthier than canned or processed varieties because it contains significant amounts of vitamins A and C alongside calcium and iron.
  • You can slice whole pineapple into rings or spears so they’re ½-inch thick or your desired thickness.
  • Peak pineapple season starts in March and runs well into summer, so they’re currently at their flavor peak.


  • Fresh pineapple needs to fully ripen before grilling so it doesn’t have an intensely tart taste.
  • Whole pineapple can be time-consuming to slice as you need to remove the core and skin first.
  • If you slice the fruit into very thick pieces, they may take longer to grill than thinner pineapple rings from a can.

Canned pineapple


  • Canned pineapple already has the core removed and is often sliced into rings.
  • Pineapple rings from a can are typically thinner than freshly cut varieties, which reduces the grill time.


  • This form of pineapple may contain added sugars or ingredients to preserve its shelf life.
  • You’ll need to drain and dry canned pineapple rings to prevent flare-ups on the grill.

What ingredients can you add to pineapple before grilling it?

Cooking pineapple on the grill creates sweet and smoky flavors with the fruit, so you’ll want to add ingredients that enhance those flavors. For an extra sugary taste, brush pineapple rings or spears with 2 to 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, honey or molasses. These ingredients stick to pineapple better than brown or granulated sugar, and they form a delicious syrupy coating around the fruit. Alternatively, you can sprinkle pineapple with spices like chili powder or ground cinnamon for a warming, zesty kick. Or you can go even simpler by sprinkling salt over the fruit, which draws out its natural juices and makes it taste sweeter. Overall, getting creative with the flavors you infuse into pineapple yields yummy results every time!

How long does grilled pineapple take to cook?

The best way to grill pineapple is over medium-heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until it’s golden brown with char marks. Another indication that the pineapple is finished grilling is if the flesh is tender but not mushy. A simple way to check this is by poking the fruit with a toothpick or knife to ensure it comes out easily.

What are the best ways to enjoy grilled pineapple?

Grilled pineapple is really versatile. You can eat it on its own as a summer snack, go the dessert route by topping it with ice cream or freshly whipped cream or use it as a garnish for summer cocktails like these pineapple margaritas. Additionally, grilled pineapple is great to pair with meats such as steak, chicken, pork or shrimp. Why? Because the fruit’s sweetened taste balances the savoriness of meat and fish.

For a standout way to savor grilled pineapple, try our recipe for Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers. It places this charred fruit on top of patties seasoned with rich, aromatic Jamaican jerk spice. The result is a burger that’s sweet, smoky and juicy with each bite. Just follow the recipe below:


  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
  • 1½ pounds ground beef (preferably 80 percent meat, 20 percent fat)
  • 2 teaspoons jerk seasoning (Buy from Walmart, $2.73)
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices, drained
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Lettuce leaves (optional)


  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. Prepare grill for medium direct- and indirect-heat cooking. In bowl, combine mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce; chill until ready to serve. In separate bowl, combine beef, jerk seasoning, salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, shape into 6 (½-inch thick) patties. 
  2. Grill patties over direct heat, flipping once, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or until desired doneness. Coat pineapple with cooking spray; grill over indirect heat, flipping once, until lightly grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve burgers on buns with pineapple, teriyaki mayonnaise and, if desired, lettuce leaves.
Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers.jpg
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