13 Ways To Use Canned Pineapple

Pineapples are a delicious and versatile fruit that can be made into anything from sweet desserts to savory side dishes. Thanks to the convenience of canned pineapples you can completely eliminate the messy chopping process that comes with fresh pineapple. No more spikes or extra waste, just grab your can opener and dump the contents out. You likely have a can of pineapples in the back of your cabinet somewhere. Now's the perfect time to use it. They can be added to foods and beverages such as cocktails, cakes, and casseroles.

Canned pineapple also comes in an array of options that can influence how you end up using them. There are the larger circular pineapple slices, bite-sized pineapple chunks or tidbits, and then crushed pineapple. You can also find canned pineapple in pineapple juice or heavy syrup. Each of these options allows for different sizes, textures, and tastes. The easiest thing to do is pop open the can and eat it right then and there as a sweet fruit snack, but keep reading if you're looking for inspiration on interesting ways to use up your canned pineapple. You'll be able to include the ingredient in side dishes or as the main attraction in a meal.

1. Top fresh or frozen pizza

While there might be some discourse on whether pineapple belongs on pizza, we've likely all seen the combination of pineapple and Canadian bacon. For those who vote pineapple is good on pizza, then you can easily spruce up frozen pizza with canned pineapple. Use tidbits, chunks, or the sliced variety, depending on how big you want your pineapple to be. You can sprinkle it on fresh or frozen pizza, whatever your heart desires. The contrast between savory pizza and sweet pineapple makes each bite a distinctive delight.

Mix up your pizza toppings. You don't have to exclusively use Canadian bacon and pineapple. Give it a spicy kick with chopped jalapeños or swap the Canadian bacon for grilled chicken. Pair the pineapple with other proteins like crumbled bacon, pulled pork, shrimp, or pepperoni. Top it with caramelized onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, oregano, red chili pepper flakes, walnuts, or even honey. Try canned pineapple, grilled chicken, and onions with barbeque sauce drizzled on top. Any sweet and salty or sweet and spicy combination will do.

2. Add to a smoothie

Smoothies are amazing. They can come in a range of colors based on the fruits, vegetables, or juices you put in them. You can keep it simple with just a couple of ingredients or get creative with a wide variety of components. If you're on the hunt for smoothie ideas, there are a few ways to use pineapples and pineapple juice in smoothies. Use your canned pineapple and its juice in a creamy smoothie with banana, mint, yogurt, and lime zest. For a fruit-only smoothie, try canned pineapple with pineapple juice, coconut, mango, and papaya. Make it a green smoothie with pineapple, spinach, and coconut milk. Since it's getting blended up, it doesn't matter what canned variety you use — slices, chunks, or crushed will all work. The shape only plays a factor if you'd like to garnish your glass.

Smoothies are popular for breakfast, but you can truly sip on them any time of the day. People often drink them on hot days thanks to the cooling factor when you use frozen fruits. However, that does not have to be the case. If you use canned or fresh fruits, your smoothie might be room temperature, so you don't necessarily have to associate it with exclusively being a cold beverage. Try a room-temperature banana and pineapple smoothie using the liquid of the canned pineapple.

3. Make a poke cake

Poke cakes were all the rage a few years back on TikTok and cooking shows. Some recipes are super simple with a dump-and-bake vibe with boxed cake mix while others require all the ingredients of a standard cake recipe. Usually, you'll bake the cake first, poke the holes, and then add some type of liquid. Poke cakes allow the flavors from whatever liquid you're using to fully absorb, so the cake remains moist and practically melts in your mouth. Get your can of crushed pineapple out and try a tropical pineapple coconut poke cake. You'll need standard cake ingredients, such as eggs, sugar, and flour as well as additional flavors from coconut, crushed pineapple, and coconut cream pudding. Top with pineapple slices to give it a burst of color.

You can find fancy options like champagne poke cake to celebrate your next big moment. Swap the strawberries in the original recipe for canned pineapple tidbits but be sure to strain the excess liquid. Set the juice aside to use in a smoothie or pineapple iced coffee, no need to waste it. You won't need the pineapple juice for this cake since the champagne-infused pineapple sauce adds moisture and flavor. You will need to puree the pineapple for the sauce but set some of the tidbits aside to garnish the cake.

4. Place on smoked ham

Use canned pineapple slices and their natural juices to give your ham a burst of fruity flavor. The ham and pineapple combination goes along the same vein as a Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza. It's a drool-worthy sweet, smoky, and salty pairing. Smoked pineapple ham is great for holidays, family gatherings, or a weekend meal since it takes a few hours to cook in the smoker. Get your canned pineapple slices and apply them evenly to the ham with toothpicks. They not only flavor your meat but make it look beautiful too. You'll also need the remaining pineapple juice to create a glaze for the ham. 

Depending on how large your cooking dish is, in the last 30 minutes, you can add some veggies to cook in the juices such as carrots, broccoli, or onions. Pair this meal with mashed or roasted potatoes. Slice any leftovers from this ham dish to make a scrumptious grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The sweetness and acidity of the pineapple complement the ham's richness to create a mouthwatering flavor that your family will love.

5. Cook in fried rice

Not only is it yummy, but fried rice can be made in so many ways. Mix and match based on ingredients you have on hand or recipes you want to try out. For protein, you could use chicken, shrimp, bacon, ham, egg, or nuts like cashews or peanuts. You can add just about any vegetable such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, or carrots. To flavor it, add oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, scallions, garlic, onion, salt, or pepper. Don't forget about canned meats if you want to pop in some added protein. 

You could do canned ham or Spam, peas, carrots, and pineapple chunks, or try shrimp fried rice with canned pineapple chunks, frozen peas, and red bell pepper. You'll just need to cook your shrimp and veggies and then mix them with your leftover rice. It's a pretty quick and colorful meal. For the sauce, you only need the pineapple, juice, vegetable stock, and soy sauce. Fried rice is always a great way to finish up the day-old rice that you have in the fridge. You certainly won't have any more leftovers after you make a pineapple fried rice.

6. Tenderize your meat

There's a reason why pineapple and meat often go together: pineapple makes a good meat tenderizer. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain that helps tenderize meat by dissolving the collagen fibers, leaving you with perfectly juicy, supple meat. Tenderize various types of meat, such as pork ribs, steak, or seafood like shrimp or salmon. While many marinade recipes focus on solely using the juice, there's no reason to waste a pineapple. Make a marinade with the juice, then grill or cook the pineapple with the meat. 

You can use pineapple slices, chunks, or tidbits to grill with your meats. Unless you're using it in the marinade, we wouldn't recommend crushed pineapple since it won't stay together or grill well without falling through. For a marinade, you could use pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar, honey or brown sugar, and garlic. Mix around ingredients and try fish sauce, cayenne, black pepper, hot sauce, butter, or olive oil in your pineapple marinade. Grill, bake, roast, or broil your marinated meat of choice for an extraordinary and unforgettable meal. It'll be a crowd-pleaser for sure.

7. Include it in a cocktail

The versatility of canned pineapple allows you to add depth to various cocktails. It can be the star of the show in beverages like a piña colada or it can be one of many ingredients in a more complex mix. If you are muddling or blending the pineapple into the beverage, it doesn't really matter what size you use as far as slices, chunks, tidbits, or crushed pineapple. A cool and refreshing piña colada made with white rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, and ice can be enjoyed on hot days. 

If you'd like to freestyle your own cocktails, keep things simple by muddling the pineapple tidbits or using crushed pineapple then pouring in your liquor of choice such as vodka, rum, or mezcal. Add in some remaining pineapple juice for extra flavor and serve over ice in your favorite glass. The rich notes of canned pineapple provide a tropical twist to any cocktail. For blended cocktails, you can use any type of canned pineapple, but when it comes to garnishing, pineapple slices are your best bet since you can cut them to size. No matter what your drink of choice is, canned pineapple will get plenty of use in libations.

8. Sweeten a pork loin

Try a sweet and sour pineapple pork loin using pineapple chunks and juice. The main ingredient is a boneless pork loin that acts as a blank slate and transforms once you begin adding all your ingredients. You'll need some herbs and spices such as paprika, garlic, onion powder, and salt, as well as brown sugar and cornstarch. You'll use the canned pineapple chunks and juice, but you'll have to pick up a couple more cans of pineapple juice to have enough liquid for the roast and sauce. The pineapple and pork loin transform as it bakes in the oven, but it's the sweet and sour sauce that ties the entire dish together. 

Alternatively, marinate the pineapple chunks and pork loin then put them on skewers to grill. Apply the sweet and sour sauce as you're plating the dish. This succulent pork loin is perfect for family gatherings, entertaining with friends, or just a really amazing dinner. It'll hit various parts of your taste buds in such a memorable way. 

9. Blend into popsicles

It's time to bust out your blender for some delectable iced treats. Canned pineapple and its juice are ideal for making homemade popsicles. When blending the pineapple, you are free to use crushed pineapple, tidbits, slices, or whatever canned pineapple variation you have on hand. It all gets mixed up anyway. These treats are perfect to make with children because they can assist in what flavor pairings they want in their frozen dessert. Pineapple goes well with coconut, mango, banana, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, passion fruit, blueberries, coconut milk, vanilla, lime juice, orange juice, mint, basil, and much more. Add some texture with chia seeds or use vanilla or fruit yogurt to give it creaminess and protein.

Simply pick your fruits, choose a liquid such as pineapple juice or juice of choice, blend it all together, add to your molds, and freeze. Chop up additional pieces of fruit to plop into your popsicles for added color and texture. If you choose this route, go for smaller bites of pineapple so you're not gnawing on huge, frozen pieces of pineapple. If you have a little bit of extra time, blend different color combinations then freeze in layers so you have some fun stripes. 

10. Prepare in a casserole

While cheese and pineapple might seem like an odd combination at first, upon further reflection we already know they go together thanks to pineapple on pizza. Give a pineapple cheese casserole made with canned pineapple, cheddar, and Ritz crackers a shot for your next gathering. You'll need two types of canned pineapple to create this: pineapple chunks and crushed pineapple. 

This dish strikes a distinctive balance of sweet and savory using the pineapple's natural sugars with the sharp cheddar, while the buttery crackers and melted butter give it texture. Plus, it makes an enticing weeknight meal because both the prep time and cooking time are quite short. All you have to do is preheat the oven, combine the ingredients, and then bake it. You don't have to babysit it or constantly stir or keep the oven on for hours at a time. That's more time you get to spend with family or winding down for the evening. To get additional protein, include some chopped ham or bacon. Serve with your choice of vegetables as a side; this would go great with broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, or spinach. 

11. Mix into a sweet dessert salad

It's easy to whip together sweet and fruit-forward dessert salads using canned pineapple. You'll need a can of crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks for ambrosia salad. Use the crushed pineapple if you want a dense ambrosia salad or opt for larger chunk pieces if you prefer bigger bites. Aside from the canned pineapple, you also need mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, shredded coconut, mini marshmallows, sour cream, and whipped topping. There's no rule saying you can't put in additional fruit such as chopped grapes, kiwi, mango, apples, strawberries, apricots, or blueberries too. The whole point of canned fruits is affordability and convenience, so you can feel free to use what you have on hand without feeling pressure to go out to purchase specific fruits for this dessert.

You can also go an alternative route with a pistachio and pineapple dessert like Watergate salad, a dish that has been around since the early 1900s. For this fruit dessert, gather your canned crushed pineapple, instant pistachio pudding mix, whipped topping, and mini marshmallows. Top with or mix in maraschino cherries and nuts such as pecans, walnuts, or cashews for added texture. Ambrosia salad and Watergate salad will make an impression as must-have creamy, sweet fruit-based desserts.

12. Serve with baked beans

Impress guests or your family with zesty and sweet baked beans using pineapple as a secret weapon. It's a unique combination that'll surprise and delight even the most nuanced taste buds. Utilize canned foods from your pantry with a canned pineapple and baked beans dish. Use pineapple chunks or tidbits if you want visible pineapple pieces or try crushed pineapple if you want it to be a bit more under the radar. You'll also need peppers, chili powder, and minced garlic — or you could add a touch of paprika, chipotle, or BBQ sauce. Cut the sweetness by dropping in mustard or jalapeños, or lean further into the sugariness with some maple syrup, molasses, or brown sugar. 

This side dish perfectly complements other dishes at a potluck or a dinner if you keep the recipe as is. Alternatively, you can beef it up with more protein and veggies and eat it as a main course. As a legume, baked beans already contain protein but you can integrate sausage, ham, or bacon for a heartier dish. Add bell peppers, green beans, mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, or broccoli for a vegetable element. This quick and flavorful side will enhance any barbecue.

13. Use as a taco topping

Pineapple with tacos adds a sweet element that'll leave your mouth watering. Tacos al pastor, which were created in the 1930s by Lebanese immigrants in Mexico, are known to have grilled pineapple. Traditionally, these tacos are made with pork that's cooked on a spit like shawarma. They also include pineapple, cilantro, chopped onion, and salsa, all enveloped in a corn tortilla. Try out a modern slow cooker al pastor using canned pineapple slices or chunks. Slow-cook the pineapples with the pork, canned chipotles, and other ingredients to release layers of flavor over time. This dish is perfect to start in the morning to have it ready in time for dinner. 

If pork isn't your jam, you have to give tri-tip steak tacos a shot. You'll need a tri-tip roast, avocados, a can of crushed pineapple, limes, garlic, red onion, and cilantro. These tacos are colorful and incredibly tasty. This taco is a bit more approachable since everything will be ready in under an hour. Grill up some canned pineapple, chop it finely, and top on your taco of choice. Use your imagination. The fusion of flavors makes a scrumptious addition to any taco.