Sweet and smoky pineapple chicken kebabs made with the most delicious chipotle marinade, juicy pineapple and bell peppers. They’re easy to put together and perfect for summertime grilling!
Meet my new favourite meal! I’ve been all about grilling lately – it’s just the best way to cook when it’s warm outside. And even if you don’t have an outdoor grill or want to fire up a charcoal barbecue (or if it’s pouring outside), you can achieve a similar effect on a griddle pan indoors!
These smoky pineapple chicken skewers are packed full of flavour and they’re really easy to make too, requiring just a quick stint in the fridge to marinate! I’m not gonna lie though, for me it’s all about those big chunks of juicy, grilled pineapple that makes these – if you haven’t ever had pineapple like this then don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! SO GOOD!
What ingredients do I need?
The chicken on these kebabs is marinated in a quick and easy sauce which is packed full of smoky flavours and plenty of sweetness too, so that they get all sticky and delicious when you grill them up! I like to use chicken breast but you could also use boneless chicken thighs if you like! Here’s what you need for the marinade:
- apricot jam – yes you read that correctly, the base of the marinade is jam! Apricot jam adds a subtle sweetness and fruity tang which pairs so well with the other ingredients in the marinade (and the pineapple!). Technically, you could use any jam you like here but I recommend apricot for it’s more neutral taste. If you don’t want to use jam, I’d recommend substituting honey, although it may char a lot more quickly on the barbecue.
- chipotle paste (chipotles en adobo) – addictively smoky and spicy, don’t skip this! I make my own chipotles en adobo and blend them up into a paste, but chipotle paste from the supermarket is great too! If you really can’t get chipotle paste, you could substitute some tomato puree/paste but it won’t be as good!
- lime juice – citrus is great in marinades as it helps to tenderise the meat. It also helps to balance the flavours in the marinade and add a nice tang.
- olive oil – essential in marinades!
- smoked paprika – we want lots of smokiness in this marinade! You could also use regular paprika and even add in some liquid smoke if you have it.
- cayenne pepper – I like to add a good pinch of cayenne pepper as the heat of the chipotle paste gets tempered by the sweetness of the jam here. Chipotle paste can be pretty spicy, though some brands less so. If you’re sensitive to spice, you might like to leave the cayenne pepper out, or taste the marinade first and add to your liking.
- cumin, garlic powder and onion powder – these spices add lots of depth and delicious savouriness to the marinade.
- salt – don’t leave this out as you need it to bring out all the flavour!
Along with the chicken, we’re adding bell peppers and pineapple chunks to these kebabs. For me, this is the perfect combination, but you could add red onions, cherry tomatoes and/or courgette/zucchini too! Whatever you do though, you must use the pineapple!
How to make kebabs
It’s so simple to make incredible chicken kebabs!
- Start by making your marinade. It’s as easy as stirring all the ingredients together!
- Cut up all of the ingredients. Cut the chicken into large, even chunks and mix with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Cut the pineapple and bell peppers into similarly sized chunks.
- Thread the ingredients onto skewers. I like using metal ones as they don’t burn on the grill; if you use bamboo ones, make sure to soak them in water before using. Alternate between chunks of marinated chicken, pineapple and bell pepper. Set aside on a plate until ready to cook.
- Preheat your grill. Get your grill on medium high heat, about 200C/400F. Alternatively, get a griddle pan over medium high heat.
- Cook the kebabs. Place the kebabs onto your grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, carefully turning every few minutes so that every side of the kebab touches the grill and gets nicely charred and the meat is cooked through – it should read 74C or 165F on a digital thermometer.
Here are some key tips for kebab success:
- cut all of your ingredients evenly – we’re going to be cooking these kebabs quickly over high heat so you want to make sure that everything is cut to the same size so that it all cooks through at the same time.
- marinade your meat – in order to get the juiciest and most flavourful kebabs, you need to give the marinade time to work its magic! I recommend at least 30 minutes but longer is better – even overnight!
- use a ripe pineapple – the sweeter the better! Give the base of your pineapple a sniff; if it smells of pineapple, you should be good!
- don’t cram the ingredients onto your skewers – make sure to leave a small gap between each individual ingredient to ensure even cooking.
How to serve kebabs
These juicy pineapple kebabs are absolutely perfect served just as they are but they are over the top delicious when served with lots of smashed avocado and lime too. Serve with fluffy basmati rice and lots of chopped coriander and you have yourself a perfect meal!
I hope you’ll give these smoky pineapple chicken kebabs a try! If you make them, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag me on Instagram! I love to see your creations!
And if you’re looking for more grilling recipes, why not try:
Smoky Pineapple Chicken Kebabs
- 500 g chicken breast (about 1 lb)
- 2 bell peppers (red/yellow/orange)
- 1 small pineapple cut into large chunks
For the marinade
- 3 tablespoons apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons chipotle paste chipotles en adobo
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- finely chopped coriander
- finely chopped red onion
- smashed avocado
- lime wedges
- Stir together the apricot jam, chipotle paste, lime juice, olive oil, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and salt until smooth.
- Cut the chicken into large, even chunks, about 1 ½ inch cubes. Cut the pineapple and bell peppers into similarly sized chunks.
- In a large bowl, mix the chicken chunks with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Thread alternate chunks of marinated chicken, pineapple and bell pepper onto metal or (soaked) bamboo skewers. Set aside on a plate until ready to cook.
- Get your grill on medium high heat, about 200C/400F. Alternatively, get a griddle pan over medium high heat.
- Place the kebabs onto your grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, carefully turning every few minutes so that every side of the kebab touches the grill and gets nicely charred and the meat is cooked through – it should read 74C or 165F on a digital thermometer when cooked.
- Serve garnished with finely chopped coriander and red onion, with smashed avocado on the side.