Caramelized pineapple is the perfect topping for pancakes and waffles! Cooking the pineapple in a buttery brown sugar and cinnamon sauce makes it ultra tender and mellows some of its natural tartness.
Isn’t it amazing how cooking fruit completely transforms it? Fried apples go from crisp to soft, fresh berries cook down into spreadable jam, and when you make caramelized pineapple, you’re treated to tender chunks of pineapple without the bite of acidity you get from the raw version.
You can eat caramelized pineapple as-is, or spoon it over a scoop of ice cream bananas Foster style. But we love it for breakfast! It’s a delicious addition to a bowl of oatmeal or chia pudding, you can layer it with yogurt and granola to make it a parfait, or try it as a topping for pancakes.
About this caramelized pineapple recipe
Caramelizing often means a lengthy cooking process, but luckily that’s not the case with caramelized pineapple! Place the fruit in a pan with butter, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon and it softens and caramelizes on the edges in a matter of minutes.
You’re left with pineapple that’s sweet, cinnamon-spiced, sticky, and saucy. It’s pretty much irresistible, and trust us when we say you’re going to want to put it on everything!
What you need
- Butter – You can easily make dairy-free caramelized pineapple by using a plant-based butter.
- Brown sugar – Light brown sugar has a milder flavor, while dark brown sugar has a deeper, more molasses-y flavor. Either option works for this recipe.
- Ground cinnamon – Try switching things up with ground ginger, apple pie spice, or freshly grated nutmeg.
- Diced pineapple – Fresh pineapple or frozen (thawed) both work, but don’t use canned—it’s too soft and since it’s already sweet because it’s in juice or syrup, the finished dish will have a cloying sweetness to it.
How to make it
Start the caramel mixture. Melt the butter in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Add the pineapple. Place the pineapple in the skillet.
Cook until the fruit is glazed and the sauce has thickened slightly, stirring frequently. The pineapple should caramelize after 5 or 6 minutes.
Finish. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the pineapple cool slightly before serving on waffles, pancakes, ice cream, or whatever you like!
That’s up to you! Some people love the sweet-tart flavor of fresh pineapple, but others prefer it cooked because it’s softer and the acidity mellows out, making the pineapple sweeter.
Pineapples should have green leaves on top (not dry or brown!), feel heavy for their size, and give just a little bit when squeezed. The bottom of the pineapple should be fragrant when you smell it.
More serving suggestions for caramelized pineapple
Wondering how to use your caramelized pineapple? Here are some of our favorite ways to put it to use!
- Spread plain cream cheese onto an English muffin and spoon caramelized pineapple on top.
- Use it as a topping for toast, banana bread, or muffins!
- Upgrade pound cake with caramelized pineapple and a dollop of whipped cream.
- Add it to a stack of banana coconut pancakes, brown sugar pancakes, or crème brûlée French toast. It would contrast nicely with savory cheesy cornmeal pancakes.
- Spoon it onto rice pudding, chia pudding, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
Caramelized pineapple will last for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months, either in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Let frozen caramelized pineapple thaw in the refrigerator; it can be eaten cold or warmed up in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop.
More topping recipes
- Strawberry Sauce (Topping)
- Chocolate Syrup – FIVE ingredients!
- Orange Honey Butter
- Peach Sauce
- Blueberry Sauce – fresh or frozen berries
- Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
Get the Recipe: Caramelized Pineapple
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups diced pineapple (fresh or frozen)
- Melt butter in medium sized skillet over medium high heat; stir in brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Add pineapple; cook until pineapple is glazed and sauce has thickened slightly, stirring frequently, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Remove from heat; cool slightly before serving.
- Makes about 2 cups.