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Pineapple Fried Rice

This Pineapple Fried Rice is quick and easy to make - on your table in less than 30 minutes! This healthy-ish Pineapple Fried Rice recipe is an explosion of mouthwatering Southeast Asian flavor that is a perfect balance of umami, sweet and savory. Fragrant jasmine rice is stir-fried with aromatic onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, fish sauce, oyster sauce with tantalizing bursts of buttery, crunchy cashews and balancing pops of sweet caramelized pineapple and juicy raisins/craisins. This Pineapple Fried Rice can be served as a tempting side or it makes a fabulous base to add your protein and veggies for a delectable meal-in-one (fried rice variations included). You can also amp up the presentation by serving it in a carved-out pineapple boat. No matter how you serve it, this fried rice recipe is better than takeout and destined to become your favorite way to use leftover rice!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 ripe pineapple chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 12 oz. medium shrimp peeled and deveined, with tails
  • 4-6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (or 1 ½ teaspoons fresh)
  • 4 cups cooked CHILLED long grain rice like jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 cup raisins or craisins
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 2 Roma tomatoes seeded, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste I use 1/4 teaspoon
  • 3 stalks green onions thinly sliced


  • Melt butter with 1 tablespoon canola/vegetable oil in a large wok, cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Increase to medium high and add pineapple. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the edges of the pineapple are caramelized. Remove to a plate using a slotted spoon.
  • Add 1 tablespoon canola/vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil to any juices/oil left in the pan. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook over medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes per side, or until fully cooked. Transfer shrimp to the pineapple plate using a slotted spoon and set aside (leave oils/juices in pan). You can chop the tails once cool enough to handle if desired.
  • Add onions to remaining oil and cook 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the curry powder, ginger powder and garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add rice to the pan, give it a good stir then pat the rice grains down with a spatula. Let rice cook for about 30 seconds, then fold the rice over. Repeat patting the rice down and folding over a few times until the rice grains have separated and the rice is fully coated with the curry powder.
  • Add the raisins/craisins, cashews, tomatoes, pineapple and shrimp to the pan (reserving some shrimp for garnish if desired) along with fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper etc. if needed.
  • Transfer to hollowed out pineapples or serving plate and garnish with green onions and any remaining shrimp. Serve with soy sauce and additional sesame oil if desired.


*How much rice should I cook?

You will need to cook approximately 1 1/3 cups uncooked rice to equal 4 cups cooked rice.  You can always prepare more and just use 4 cups cooked rice for the recipe. 

What Rice should I use?  

I recommend fragrant, fluffy, flavorful Jasmine rice.  I have also tried it with basmati rice which worked, but it did give it more of an Indian flair with distinctive rice grains vs. the desired southeast Asian flair with delicate clumps.  Jasmine rice is a type of long-grain white rice.  You can easily purchase it at your grocery store next to the other varieties of rice.  Jasmine rice is fragrant like popcorn, moist, and soft with a slightly sweet flavor.   Once cooked jasmine rice is slightly sticky and creates delicate clumps making it perfect to eat with chopsticks. 

Tips and Tricks for Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice is quick and easy to throw together in minutes- literally, but it does require a few non-negotiable elements and techniques.  Here are some helpful tips and tricks to achieve the perfect fried rice every time:
  • Rinse Rice well. Rice contains a lot of gluten which will cause the rice to stick together and can even make it mushy once cooked.  We want our Pineapple Fried Rice to clump slightly, but we don’t want it gooey. So, before you cook your rice, it is crucial to remove the extra starch from the rice by rinsing it with cool water in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear – don’t shortcut this process!
  • Use COLD Rice. Pineapple Fried Rice (or any fried rice recipe) must be made with cooked, chilled, preferably a day old rice - don’t even think about using fresh, warm or lukewarm rice!  Fresh rice contains too much moisture and seeps up too much moisture like a sponge resulting in a sticky, gluey, mushy mess. Cold rice, on the other hand, dries out in the refrigerator which allows the rice to fry up beautifully once it hits the hot pan resulting in just the right texture.
  • Prep Ahead. This fried rice comes together very quickly, so chop your aromatics, pineapple, tomatoes, etc. ahead of time and line up the rest of your ingredients. 
  • Use a large pan. You can use a large wok if you have one, otherwise a large well-seasoned skillet or nonstick pan will work great.  If you’re not sure your skillet is well seasoned, then add ½ tablespoon extra oil or butter to ensure the rice doesn’t stick.  Take care your pan is large enough to accommodate all of the rice so it doesn't spill as you flip and so there is enough surface area for the rice to crisp up.
  • Use a Hot Pan. Make sure you wait until your pan is nice and hot before adding your rice.  This does NOT mean high heat – it simply means the pan has had time to reach temperature.  A hot pan will help fry the rice instead of just steaming it which can cause the rice to clump together.  It will also help prevent the rice from sticking to the pan.
  • Don’t Over-Stir. In order for the rice to fry, it needs time to sizzle in one spot.  To accomplish this, we are going to pat the rice down in an even layer and let it cook, then flip over and pat down again.  Please be patient and give the fried rice time to rest undisturbed and resist the urge to stir.
  • Cook protein separately. In order for the fried rice to cook properly, it needs adequate surface area which can be inhibited if you try and cook the protein with the rice.  Instead, cook whatever protein you choose (I used shrimp), separately, remove to a plate and then proceed to cook the fried rice.
  • Sauce to Taste. This Pineapple Fried Rice boasts tons of flavor but if you want additional salty flair, add soy sauce to taste at the end of combining.

How to Chill Rice Quickly

If you haven’t planned ahead and need Pineapple Fried Rice NOW (I get you), then you can still make fried rice by drying out your rice in the refrigerator or freezer. 
  • First, cook up a big batch of rice.
  • Spread rice out in an even layer on a large baking sheet.
  • Place baking sheet in the refrigerator for 60 minutes (uncovered) OR place in the freezer for 15 minutes or until chilled and dried out (not frozen).
  • Proceed with the recipe as directed.

How to Make pineapple bowls

This Pineapple Fried Rice is delicious served on a plate or in a bowl – but it’s so much more fun served in a pineapple bowl - and it' so easy! To make Pineapple bowls/boats:
  1. Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise.
  2. Run a knife around the inside edges leaving at last ½-inch from the edge.
  3. Cut the pineapple flesh three to four times across and once down the center.
  4. Scoop out the pineapple chunks using a spoon.
  5. Smooth out the bottom surface of the bowl.
  6. Drain any remaining juices and pat the inside of the pineapple dry.
  7. Cut the pineapple you sliced into chunks and use in the making the fried rice.
  8. Place the fried rice inside the cut-up pineapple just before serving.


With this basic Pineapple Fried Rice recipe, you’re ready to get creative! 
  • Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice:  sauté bite-size pieces of chicken with butter or olive oil before making the rice.  Remove chicken from the pan before cooking the rice.  Make sure not to overcook the chicken so it remains juicy.  You may also use shredded rotisserie chicken and stir it into the fried rice at the end.
  • Pineapple Pork Fried Rice: Sauté bite-size pieces of pork tenderloin with butter or olive oil before making the rice.  Remove pork from the pan before cooking the rice.  Make sure not to overcook the pork so it remains buttery tender.
  • Pineapple Beef Fried Rice:  Sear bite sizes pieces of steak in butter and olive oil until browned then stir fry just until cooked.  Remove steak from the pan before adding the rice, then stir together to combine at the very end of cooking.
  • Pineapple Ground Protein Fried Rice:  brown ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey before making the rice, then remove to a separate plate. Just be aware that ground proteins will dramatically change the texture of the dish.
  • Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice:  This is what I’ve included in the recipe and is SO GOOD!  I recommend purchasing shrimp that is peeled and deveined to make your life easier.
  • Vegetarian (More Veggies) Fried Rice:  you can eliminate the protein to make vegetarian Pineapple Fried Rice or when serving as a lighter side.  You can also add any stir-fry veggies your heart desires such as broccoli, carrots, snow peas, peas, bell peppers, mushroom, zucchini, cauliflower, eggplant, spinach, etc.  You will want to stir fry the veggies separately from the rice then stir them all together at the end.
  • Pineapple Fried Rice with Egg. This Pineapple Fried Rice recipe does not contain egg per Abigail's recipe which is authentic to Southeast Asia. If you would like to add egg, then lightly beat 4 eggs in a bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium heat and swirl around the pan. Add lightly beaten eggs, and cook without stirring just until they barely start to set. Next, scramble the eggs while breaking up into bite-size pieces, just until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and add back in at the end of cooking.

How to Store Leftover Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice is fabulous the next day! The flavors build and meld and become even more tantalizing!
  • To Store. Let fried rice cool to room temperature then transfer to a tightly covered airtight container or to several small containers for meal prep. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The rice will seam extra crunchy after chilling but will soften upon reheating.
  • To Reheat. For small portions, microwave fried rice in a microwave safe container for 60-90 seconds or until warmed through. For larger portions, transfer to a lightly greased skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring often until warmed through.
  • To Freeze. You should NOT freeze your Pineapple Fried Rice if it contains shrimp that has been previously frozen as seafood should not be frozen twice. If your homemade fried rice doesn't contain previously frozen shrimp, then you may freeze it. To freeze, let fried rice cool to room temperature. Transfer it to a freezer safe bag and squeeze out as much excess air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Let fried rice thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or stove as directed.