Fire up the grill! Sweet and smoky with a hint of spice, this grilled Pineapple Salsa Recipe is a delicious summer snack with chips, or served with tacos, grilled meats, and seafood.
The first time I had grilled pineapple, I was sold.
The balance of the juicy, caramelized fruit, against the light char from the grill was such an elegant and refreshing treat on a warm night.
It’s become a popular addition to our summer dessert rotation, usually drizzled with Nocciolata (the chocolate hazelnut spread to which I have such devotion, we should probably be taking vows).
Pairing grilled fruit with more savory flavors, such as in this pineapple salsa recipe, is a great way to enjoy the best of the season’s sweet produce beyond dessert. It’s a fun variation on the summer salsa theme.
How to Grill Pineapple
Grilled pineapple is quick and easy to make, needing only a few minutes per side to caramelize. You can brush the pineapple with butter sprinkle it with sugar for dessert recipes, but for this salsa, I just like to brush it with a bit of olive oil.
I often use a nontoxic, nonstick grill mat (shown in the photo above), which allows the pineapple and vegetables to develop great grill marks, with no sticking. When grilling directly on the grates, make sure they are well-oiled.
Since the pineapple grills quickly, you’ll want to keep a close eye on it, so the natural sugars don’t overdevelop (read: burn). The pineapple is ready when lightly-charred and tender, but still slightly crisp in the center.
You can grill cored pineapple rings or wedges; I tend to gravitate toward the former, as I find they cook just a little bit more evenly.
How to Slice a Pineapple
To make grilled pineapple, you can either buy pre-sliced rings in the fresh produce case at your market, or you can peel, core, and slice a whole pineapple at home. It’s easy to do!
- Detach or slice off the green “crown” with a sharp knife.
- Cut about a half an inch slice from the bottom of the pineapple.
- Stand the pineapple on the flat, sliced end, and use your knife to follow the contour of the fruit and cut off the skin from top to bottom.
- Use the tip of your knife to carefully cut out any “eyes” that remain.
- Cut the pineapple into slices of your desired thickness.
- Use a small round cookie cutter to remove the core from the center of each slice.
Check out this video from Martha Stewart to watch the process, step by step.
If you love kitchen gadgets as much as I do, there are some really convenient pineapple corer/slicers on the market that get the job done quite well. My favorite is the OXO Good Grips Steel Ratcheting Slicer (not an ad, just a satisfied consumer).
Turning Grilled Pineapple into the Best Pineapple Salsa Recipe
To turn grilled pineapple into a vibrant salsa recipe, I dice it and toss it with grilled bell peppers, jalapeños, and lime juice. Grilling the lime halves before juicing gives them a hint of a smoky flavor that really complements the grilled pineapple and peppers.
While most of the salsa ingredients are grilled, I like to leave the red onions raw for a fresh bite and contrast of textures.
Tossed with extra virgin olive oil, honey, and ground cumin, this pineapple salsa recipe has a somewhat unexpected combination of sweet and savory flavors. It really allows the grilled fruit and peppers to shine in a unique way.
What Goes with Pineapple Salsa?
We love to enjoy this pineapple salsa recipe with lightly-salted tortilla chips (blue corn are my favorite here, both visually and for their slightly nuttier flavor). It’s a great option for patio or poolside entertaining, with a margarita, an ice cold beer, or your favorite mocktail.
Grilled Pineapple Salsa is also an excellent accompaniment to grilled meats and seafood. Try using it to top pork chops or sliced pork tenderloin. It’s also great over grilled chicken breasts, and white fishes such as cod and halibut.
Serving carnitas tacos? This pineapple salsa recipe is the perfect accompaniment.
More Recipes for the Grill:
- Grilled Guacamole
- Bacon Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Grilled Meatball Subs
- Grilled Shrimp Scampi
- Honey Mustard Grilled Pork Chops
Cheers to grilling season!
Grilled Pineapple Salsa Recipe
This sweet, smoky pineapple salsa is a refreshing summer snack or condiment. It can be prepared a day in advance of serving and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. We enjoy this salsa best at room temperature.
Makes 3 cups salsa.
- 1 large pineapple , peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 red bell pepper , halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 lime , halved
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil , plus extra for grilling
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin (to taste)
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- tortilla chips , for serving
- Heat grill with a medium-high flame. Oil grates or line with a nontoxic, nonstick grilling mat.
Lightly brush pineapple slices, peppers, and the cut side of the limes with olive oil. Season with a few pinches of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Grill, placing limes cut side down, until grill marks appear and pineapple and peppers have begun to soften; 3-4 minutes total for the limes, 3-4 minutes per side for the peppers, and 5-8 minutes per side for the pineapple (watch the pineapple carefully so it doesn't burn). Remove from grill and let stand until cool enough to handle.
- Cut grilled jalapeño pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds (if you prefer a spicy salsa, you can leave the seeds in). Chop grilled pineapple and peppers into into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 2 cups of pineapple and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of red pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon grilled lime juice, honey, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add pineapple, peppers, red onion, and cilantro, tossing to combine. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and cumin, if desired.
Let stand, covered, for about an hour to allow flavors to meld, stirring before serving.
*The times listed reflect an hour-long rest for the flavors to meld. Grilled Pineapple Salsa only requires 30 minutes of hands-on cooking time!
Originally published May 28, 2016. Post last updated April 30, 2018 with photos and additional commentary.