There is no shortage of ways to enjoy pineapple—its sweet-tart flavor is equally at home in savory dishes, desserts, and drinks. Nowadays, fresh pineapple is available year-round, so if you’re ever stuck in a cooking or drinking rut, look to the tropical fruit to switch things up. To that end, we’ve roundup of 24 of our favorite pineapple recipes, from tacos al pastor and mango pineapple upside-down cake to a piña colada done right.
Cutting a pineapple might seem simple, but just hacking off the sides wastes a lot of fruit. Before you get cooking, take a second to check out our guide to the most efficient way to cut pineapple.
Real Tacos Al Pastor[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]
Making tacos al pastor at home requires a little creativity since you probably don’t have a giant trompo like your favorite taqueria. The easiest alternative at home is to roast the meat—we use pork loin or sirloin and bacon—in the oven before crisping it up in a pan. As the pork cooks it releases lots of fat, which we brush onto pineapple before roasting until tender. Charred salsa verde, crumbled cotija cheese, sliced red chilies, and cilantro round out the tacos.
Slow-Roasted Bacon-Wrapped-Pineapple Tacos
In tacos al pastor, pork is the star and pineapple plays a supporting role. This recipe flips the script, draping big chunks of adobo-marinated pineapple with a couple strips of bacon to give the fruit the lead. As the bacon fat drips into the pineapple it causes the edges of the fruit to caramelize and intensify in flavor.
Pineapple and Bacon Nachos With Brie and Chipotle-Orange Salsa
It’s not a stretch to put pineapple and bacon on nachos, but this recipe turns to an ingredient you probably wouldn’t expect: Brie. It might sound weird, but the nuttiness and funk of the cheese pair well with the sweet pineapple and smoky bacon. We top the nachos with salsa verde, red jalapeños, cilantro, and a simple sauce made by blending chipotle chilies, adobo sauce, and orange juice.
Hawaiian Huli Huli Grilled Chicken Wings
These sticky, sweet, smoky, and tangy wings get their flavor from a mixture of pineapple juice, soy sauce, light brown sugar, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, and Sriracha that we use as both a marinade and a glaze. Serving them with grilled pineapple is technically optional, but you’d be missing out to skip it.
Mini Pineapple-Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon Burgers With Avocado
These salmon burgers—made by chopping fresh salmon fillets and mixing in scallions and mayonnaise—come to life with the addition of a sweet pineapple-teriyaki glaze, tender caramelized pineapple, and creamy mashed avocado. Feel free to cook the salmon to your preferred doneness, but I would recommend aiming for 115°F to keep them medium-rare.
Ginger-Teriyaki Beef Kebabs[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]
Teriyaki is delicious with beef, too, so here we mix it with ginger, garlic, red pepper, pineapple juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar to make a marinade for beef sirloin tips. It’s worth using homemade teriyaki sauce here, which is super easy and tastes much better than what you can buy at the supermarket.
Sweet and Spicy Apricot-Glazed Pork and Pineapple Kebabs[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]
These sweet-and-spicy pork kebabs are tossed with a classic barbecue rub and glazed with a mixture of apricot preserves, honey, rice vinegar, and smoky chipotle peppers. We brine the pork to keep it juicy on the grill and skewer it with pineapple for a little extra sweetness.
Fresh Pineapple Ice Cream
This ice cream made from fresh pineapple is as refreshing as a sorbet, but super creamy. With a few tricks, like adding a bit of lemon juice for brightness and a bit of vanilla extract, the fruit’s flavor shines through the dairy element bright and clear.
Hummingbird Skillet Cake
Some people say this cake derives its name from the approving sound people make while they’re eating it, and while that may not be 100% true, it’s such an appropriate reaction that it might as well be. Kind of like a carrot cake, but a purée of banana and pineapple takes the root’s place. Usually, hummingbird cakes are a three-tiered fancy affair, but in this recipe we keep it simple with a single layer topped with tangy cream cheese buttercream (or quick and easy cream cheese frosting, if you’re pressed for time).
Grilled Pineapple With Coconut-Condensed Milk-Butter Sauce[Photograph: Leela Punyaratabandhu]
Grilled pineapple doesn’t just belong in savory dishes—the rich, caramelized sweetness makes it perfect for dessert. Inspired by a Thai street snack of grilled bananas drenched in a creamy sauce, here we serve pineapple with a sauce made with condensed milk, butter, coconut milk, and salt. Under-ripe pineapple works best because it stays intact on the grill and provides enough tartness to cut through the sweetness.
Tropical Pineapple, Mango, and Coconut Fools
This summery take on a British fool replaces the traditional custard and stewed fruit with a light pineapple cream made by whipping a pineapple compote with heavy cream, Greek yogurt, and shredded coconut. We layer the cream into individual glasses with fresh mango and top with more coconut to make a tropical dessert that only takes about half an hour of active time.
Mango Pineapple Upside-Down Cake[Photograph: Carrie Vasios Mullins]
A classic pineapple upside-down cake puts the fruit on top of the batter, but here we mix it in to keep the crumb moist and top with sliced mango. The mango caramelizes in butter and sugar, joining with the pineapple to create a one-two punch of tropical flavor. A scoop of coconut ice cream would be very much at home on top of the cake.
Spicy Pineapple and Tequila Sorbet[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]
This simple sorbet pairs pineapple with tangy aleppo chili and vegetal tequila (go ahead and leave out the booze if you don’t drink). The chili might sound odd, but a touch of heat balances out all the sugar. If your pineapple isn’t as ripe as you would like, baking it for just a minute or two will bring out its sweetness.
Fresh Pineapple Syrup
If you throw out pineapple cores after cutting up the fruit, you’re missing out. To remedy the situation check out this variation on our no-cook lemon syrup, which is made by macerating pineapple cores and juiced lemon rinds in sugar for several hours. The resulting syrup can add a tropical twist to waffles or stand in for simple syrup in cocktail recipes.
Ultra-Tropical Piña Colada
Despite what spring break beach bars might have led you to believe, piña coladas don’t have to taste like tanning oil. Our recipe ditches the canned pineapple juice and sickly sweet Coco Lopez for fresh pineapple and unsweetened coconut cream. The simplest part of the recipe is the rum—as long as you use a decent bottle, pretty much any variety will work.
Frozen Jungle Bird Cocktail
The Jungle Bird is an old-school tiki drink with an unexpected ingredient: Campari. The bittersweet aperitif has enough of an edge to stand up to the sweet pineapple juice and bracing mix of blackstrap and Navy-strength rums. This recipe, inspired by one from Chicago bar Three Dots and a Dash, gives the cocktail the blender treatment for an even more refreshing drink. Chilling all the ingredients well in the freezer keeps the ice from melting too much as you blend it up.
Peach and Tequila Frozen Blended Cocktail
There comes a time in a peach’s life when it’s too ripe to eat raw, but still tastes great. Rather than tossing overripe peaches into the compost, try blending them into a frozen cocktail with pineapple (fresh chunks and juice), mint, blanco tequila, and the earthy French aperitif Suze.
Isla Bonita Punch (Sparkling Pineapple-Rum Punch)
Looking for a more elegant alternative to a simple punch? This fancy—but easy—cocktail pairs white rum with fresh pineapple and lime juices, homemade vanilla simple syrup, fizzy dry sparkling wine, and tons of fresh mint. It’s important to use fresh pineapple juice—if you don’t have a juicer then a blender and a fine-mesh strainer will get the job done.
El Gallito (Pineapple-Chipotle Pitcher Cocktail)
Another cocktail for a crowd, this drink gets a savory, umami-rich flavor from tomatoes, scallions, cilantro stems, and adobo sauce from canned chipotles. Sweet pineapple juice and agave nectar and tart lime juice round it all out. The recipe calls for vodka, which lets the vegetal flavors shine, but reposado tequila is a nice choice as well.
Sergeant Pepper (Pineapple-Gin Cocktail With Cumin)
To keep the savory theme going, try this mellow cocktail made with juniper-heavy London Dry gin, tropical orgeat, lime juice, and an earthy simple syrup spiced with cumin and black peppercorns. It might sound fussy, but we shake the drink with two different kinds of ice cubes—one large one for maximum foam and two small ones for proper dilution.
Spicy Pineapple-Cucumber Sangrita
Sangrita—a fruity chaser for tequila—comes in many forms. While many modern recipes are tomato-based and the original version was probably made with orange and pomegranate juices, this variation uses pineapple, lime, and cucumber juices and a pinch of Pequin chili powder.
The Pineapple Hop
The combination of pineapple, orgeat, and rum can be overwhelmingly sweet, but we keep this cocktail balanced by turning the pineapple into a tangy shrub and cutting the drink with bitter IPA. The shrub—nothing more than a mixture of pineapple, sugar, and vinegar—will keep for months, so make a big batch and you’ll be set all summer.
Avocado, Mango, and Pineapple Smoothie
Looking for something nonalcoholic? This smoothie is wonderfully tropical thanks to mango, pineapple, and coconut water, and super creamy (but totally vegan) thanks to ripe avocado. Don’t worry about this tasting like liquid guacamole—the avocado is just there for texture.
Spicy Chard and Pineapple Smoothie
Kale smoothies are packed with nutrients, but can have a bitter flavor that is something of an acquired taste. To ease yourself into the world of green smoothies try this recipe made with chard, which is a little milder. Don’t think that the drink is boring, though—a little fresh jalapeño gives it just enough of a kick.
This content was originally published here.