Ultimate Guide to Korean Pineapple: Recipes, Pairings & Serving Tips

Imagine biting into a juicy, tangy slice of pineapple, but with a twist that transports you straight to the streets of Seoul. Korean pineapple isn’t your typical tropical fruit; it’s a popular snack found in South Korea, often enjoyed grilled or fried, and seasoned with flavors like chili, salt, and sugar. This unique take on a familiar fruit perfectly balances sweet, spicy, and savory, making it an irresistible treat.


Ready to dive into the flavorful world of Korean pineapple? Gather these ingredients to start your savory and sweet culinary adventure.

  • 1 medium pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chili, thinly sliced (optional for extra heat)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Required Tools and Equipment

To perfectly prepare the Korean pineapple following the described recipe, it is essential to have the right tools and equipment on hand. This will ensure ease during preparation and contribute to achieving that delightful balance of flavors and textures which make this dish uniquely appealing.

Grilling Equipment

Depending on your preference and available resources, you’ll need:

  • Outdoor Grill: Ideal for a smoky flavor, if you have access to an outdoor space.
  • Grill Pan: A good alternative if you prefer or need to cook indoors. Ensure it’s heavy-duty and has ridges for those perfect grill marks.

Kitchen Utensils

Here are the main kitchen tools you will require:

  • Knife: A sharp chef’s knife to efficiently cut the pineapple into even rings or pieces.
  • Cutting Board: Opt for a large one, so you have plenty of space to work on.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: For accurately measuring your ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey.
  • Mixing Bowls: Needed for mixing the seasonings and marinades.
  • Spatula or Tongs: Essential for flipping the pineapple rings safely and easily while grilling.
  • Brush: For evenly applying oil or marinades on the pineapple.
  • Serving Platter: Once cooked, you will need a platter to serve the delicious Korean pineapple.
  • Paper Towels: Handy to maintain cleanliness and handle any spills or drips.

With these tools and equipment ready, you’ll be well-prepared to dive into cooking and enjoy the flavorsome experience of Korean pineapple. Remember, having everything prepared beforehand not only makes the cooking process smoother but also more enjoyable.

Prep Work

Before you start cooking, make sure your pineapple and other ingredients are well-prepared. Proper preparation is key to enhancing the flavors and ensuring your Korean pineapple dish turns out perfectly.

Cutting and Peeling Pineapple

First, lay the pineapple on its side on your cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice off both the top and the bottom of the pineapple. This creates a stable base and top, making it easier to handle. Stand the pineapple upright on the base you created. Carefully slice down the sides, following the contours of the fruit, to remove the skin. Make sure to cut deeply enough to remove the tough outer skin and the eyes but not so deep as to waste the juicy flesh. Once peeled, slice the pineapple into half-inch rings, removing the core from each ring with a small circular cutter or knife.

Preparing Additional Ingredients

Gather the green onions and give them a good rinse under cold water. Pat them dry with paper towels before chopping them into small pieces; these will be used for garnishing. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey. This mixture will be brushed on the pineapple during grilling. Lastly, measure out the chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Keep these spices handy, as you’ll use them to season the pineapple rings before they hit the grill. Gather the sesame seeds as well; you’ll sprinkle these over the finished dish for an extra touch of crunch and flavor.

Marination Process

Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients and tools, you’re ready to create the flavorful marinade that will bring your Korean pineapple to life.

Making the Marinade

Begin by whisking together 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon of honey in a medium bowl. Ensure these liquids meld together smoothly to form the base of your marinade. Next, add 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, a pinch of salt, and a half teaspoon of black pepper. This mixture should have a rich, glossy appearance and a spicy, sweet aroma that tickles the senses. For a final touch, stir in a tablespoon of finely chopped green onions. This will introduce a hint of freshness to the marinade, enhancing the overall flavor profile.

Marinating the Pineapple

Take your prepared pineapple rings and place them in a large, shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag for easier cleanup. Pour the marinade evenly over the pineapple rings, making sure each piece is well-coated. For optimal flavor infusion, let the pineapple marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator, turning the slices halfway through the marination time. This duration allows the pineapple to absorb the delightful blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors, making each bite a delicious experience. Before grilling, allow the marinated pineapple rings to reach room temperature to ensure even cooking.

Cooking Instructions

Now that your pineapple rings are marinated and ready, it’s time to cook them to perfection. Follow these steps to bring out the rich flavors and achieve that delightful char.

Cooking on the Grill

  1. Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat. This will ensure your pineapple gets those beautiful grill marks without burning.
  2. Lightly oil the grill grates to prevent the pineapple rings from sticking. Use a brush or a paper towel dipped in oil to coat the grates evenly.
  3. Place the marinated pineapple rings on the grill. Lay them flat to ensure even cooking.
  4. Grill the pineapple for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Look for the pineapple to start caramelizing and grill marks to form. This not only enhances the aesthetic but also deepens the flavor.
  5. Once grilled to your liking, remove the pineapple rings from the grill and let them rest for a couple of minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, making each bite succulent.

Alternative Cooking Methods

If you don’t have access to a grill or prefer a different method, here are two excellent alternatives:


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a small amount of oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the pineapple rings in the skillet and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden and caramelized.

Oven Broiling:

  • Preheat your oven’s broiler on high and position a rack close to the top.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the pineapple rings in a single layer.
  • Broil for about 2-3 minutes on each side, watching closely to prevent burning. This method will give you a slightly different texture but similar flavorful results.

Whether grilled, pan-fried, or broiled, these cooking methods will enhance the unique sweet and savory blend of your Korean pineapple, making it a delightful treat to enjoy.

Serving Suggestions

Transform your grilled Korean pineapple into a stunning meal or an appealing side dish with these easy-to-follow suggestions.

Sides and Pairings

Pair your Korean pineapple with a variety of dishes to enhance its unique flavor. For a complete meal, serve it alongside grilled meats such as chicken or pork, where the fruity sweetness can balance the savory notes of the meat. It also pairs splendidly with seafood; imagine a seared scallop or shrimp dish complemented by the tangy and sweet pineapple.

For a vegetarian option, combine it with stir-fried vegetables and a serving of steamed rice or cold noodles to soak up the marinade flavors. If you’re enjoying the pineapple as a snack, consider pairing it with a crisp, dry white wine or a cold glass of soju to cut through the richness.

Presentation Tips

Presentation can significantly enhance the eating experience, especially when serving something as visually appealing as Korean pineapple. Arrange the grilled pineapple rings on a platter, and garnish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro or mint to add a pop of color and freshness.

If serving as a dessert, you might want to place the grilled pineapple slices atop a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream. Drizzle a little of the reduced marinade over the top for an extra flavor boost. For a festive look, skewer the pineapple rings with bamboo sticks and serve them as pineapple pops — perfect for parties or gatherings.


Exploring the unique twist on a familiar fruit like pineapple can truly elevate your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re grilling up a storm or simply looking for a new snack to enjoy with your favorite drink Korean pineapple offers a delightful combination of flavors that cater to a variety of tastes. Don’t forget to experiment with the presentation and serving suggestions to make your dish not only delicious but visually appealing. So next time you’re looking to impress at a dinner party or just spice up your mealtime consider adding this zesty snack to your menu. Your palate and your guests will thank you!

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