This authentic better-than-takeout Thai Pineapple Fried Rice is the perfect savory/sweet recipe to satisfy your cravings. Adding succulent shrimp to this colorful concoction provides a boost of protein and tons of flavor. Serve it in a pineapple bowl for a fun presentation!
(This recipe was originally published in March 2016, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020).
Of all the fried rice dishes I’ve ever eaten in my life, I’d say that Thai pineapple fried rice is probably my overall favorite. The charm isn't simply the savory and sweet combination, but also the use of fragrant curry powder.
This isn't your standard soy-laden fried rice. The flavoring mixture combines chicken broth, fish sauce, curry powder, and sugar. That combination is what really sets this fried rice apart from others. You blend the plethora of spices in the curry powder with the funkiness of the fish sauce. It’s basically magic.
Add juicy, sweet pineapple chunks and plump raisins, in addition to bright green peas, and crunchy, nutty cashews. This is an unusual marriage of flavors that simply works.
Dry, day old rice makes the best fried rice. After cooking your rice, spread it out on a baking sheet or plastic cafeteria trays. This will help the rice cool and dry out. Then store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it.
Jasmine rice is an ideal option for fried rice. I have used both brown and white jasmine rice varieties for fried rice, and both work great! The brown rice will generally be higher in fiber than the white. But with all the flavor added in this recipe, you won’t be able to tell the difference once you dig in.
You can absolutely use fresh pineapple for this fried rice. I often use canned pineapple chunks just to simplify my life. I always make sure they are packed in pineapple juice, and not in any kind of syrup. You could also use thawed frozen pineapple chunks.
For the shrimp, it’s up to you if you’d like to leave the shell on the tail or peel the entire shrimp for ease of eating. I recommend at least peeling most of the shrimp so you can easily devein it.
How to make it
This shrimp pineapple fried rice is a quick-cooking recipe! It will benefit you to prep your ingredients in advance, and set them out in small bowls or ramekins if possible. I even line up the bowls in the order I need to use them next to the stove. This will make it super fast and easy to put everything together when you’re ready.
First, add oil to a wok or nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add sliced shallots, minced garlic and chile (PHOTO 1). Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant, and then add the shrimp (PHOTO 2).
After tossing the shrimp a few times so they are partially cooked through (they will continue to cook in the following steps), push them to the side and add 2 beaten eggs (PHOTO 3). Cook them off to the side like you would scrambled eggs (PHOTO 4). When the eggs are cooked, mix them into the shrimp and shallot mixture.
Next add your seasoning sauce, a combination of chicken broth, fish sauce, curry powder, and sugar (PHOTO 5). Add cashews and cook for about 30 seconds (PHOTO 6). Add the leftover rice, breaking it up with the side of a wooden spoon as needed (PHOTO 7).
Stir-fry the mixture until all the rice is a uniform color from the sauce (PHOTO 8). Use a scoop and lift method rather than simply stirring. Add pineapple chunks, peas, and raisins (PHOTO 9).
Toss and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, and then finish by tossing in some sliced scallions (PHOTO 10). Serve on a platter (or in a pineapple) topped with more scallions as a garnish.
I'm proud to say the finished product tastes just like the shrimp pineapple fried rice I've gotten at Thai restaurants! There is so much flavor from the curry-infused sauce, tart bites of pineapple and raisins, crunchy cashews, and succulent sweet shrimp, that the rice just becomes a canvas for all the other ingredients to shine.
Making your own takeout is totally worth it when you can control the quality of all your ingredients, and even tweak recipes to make them to your preference.
To yield 4 cups of cooked rice, plan on cooking 1 cup of dry jasmine rice (brown or white). If you use another type of rice (not jasmine) you may have a slightly different yield, so make sure you review the package instructions.
If using fresh pineapple for this shrimp pineapple fried rice, I recommend reserving the pineapple skin as an entire half, and then serve your rice inside the hollowed out pineapple!
You can make authentic Thai pineapple fried rice with a variety of proteins. Shrimp, chicken, and tofu are common inclusions. This recipe uses shrimp, but you can easily swap that out for thinly sliced chicken breast or cubed tofu if you prefer.
You can even combine 2 or 3 in a single recipe if you would like. If you want to include multiple proteins, I would cook the chicken first, push it to the side, and then add the shrimp and/or tofu before proceeding with the eggs as directed.
If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, in addition to omitting the shrimp (and possibly the egg depending on the type of vegetarian) and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth or water, you'll also need to replace the fish sauce with a vegetarian substitute. You can try a vegan fish sauce, coconut aminos, or a combination of soy sauce and vinegar, although the flavor will be slightly different in each case.
Other recipes you may like
- Tom Yum Gai (Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup)
- Shrimp Pad Thai
- Pomegranate Sriracha Shrimp
- Chinese Shrimp Toast
- Chicken and Thai Basil Dumplings
- Chive and Shrimp Dumplings
- Spicy Vegetable Fried Rice
- Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)
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Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small red or green chili, minced (de-seeded for milder rice)
- 12 fresh extra-large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 8 ounces depending on their size)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 tablespoons chicken broth or stock
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup roasted unsalted cashews
- 4 cups cooked rice (preferably at least 1 day old)
- 1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh is better, but canned works too–about half a 20-ounce can)
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- ¼ cup raisins or currants
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- Add oil to a wok or large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and chili, stir-frying for one minute, or until fragrant. Add the shrimp and toss a few times. If the wok becomes too dry, add a little broth or water.
- Push the mixture aside to make room for the eggs. Add the beaten eggs to the wok, and stir fry quickly to cook, as if you are making scrambled eggs. Mix the cooked eggs into the shrimp and shallot mixture.
- Combine the chicken broth, fish sauce, curry powder, and sugar in a small bowl, and add to the wok.
- Add the cashews and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Next add the rice to the wok, breaking it up if there are any chunks. Stir-fry until all the rice has mixed with the sauce and is a uniform color. Make sure you continually scoop the rice from the bottom of the pan, tossing like a salad rather than stirring it.
- Add the pineapple, peas, and raisins. Toss to combine, and taste for seasoning. Continue stir-frying for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add half the scallions and toss.
- To serve, sprinkle with the remaining scallion. Serve on a platter or in a pineapple, like they do in Thailand.
- I use Trader Joe’s white or brown jasmine rice. 1 cup dry jasmine rice (white or brown) will yield about 4 cups cooked.
- Thai bird's eye chiles would be most authentic for fresh chiles, but you can use whatever is available, like a jalapeno for example. If you don't have fresh chilies you can simply added a bit of chili paste/sauce to your sauce mixture. You can also omit the chiles for no spice in your rice.
- If using canned pineapple chunks, make sure they are packed in pineapple juice and not syrup. Also strain them well before using to remove excess juice before adding to the rice.
- You can swap out the shrimp for thinly sliced chicken breast or thighs, or cubed tofu if you prefer. You can also do a combination of 2 or 3. In this case, I would cook the chicken first, push it to the side, and then add the shrimp and/or tofu before proceeding with the eggs as directed.
- If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, in addition to omitting the shrimp (and possibly the egg depending on the type of vegetarian) and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth or water, you'll also need to replace the fish sauce with a vegetarian substitute. You can try a vegan fish sauce, coconut aminos, or a combination of soy sauce and vinegar, although the flavor will be slightly different in each case.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*