Paleo Piña Colada Chicken

When Dave and I were fairly new to yoga, we went on a week-long yoga retreat in Mexico. Sounds like paradise, right? That’s what we thought, but then we became the jerks who complained about their beach paradise. The restaurant served only vegetarian food, the resort had no air conditioning, and at the end of the first night, we were covered in mosquito bites and tremendously sleep deprived from being woken up by the heat, the humidity, the laughing gecko lizards, the very hungry mosquitoes, and the roaring surf. Yes, we were eventually annoyed by the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. It was not like the gentle murmur of water on a meditation soundtrack—it was crashy and unnerving.

When in doubt, try coconut.

To turn our vacation around, we watched the sun set each evening with a piña colada in our hands and our feet in the sea. I recommend this Piña Colada Chicken anytime you need your own escape to a coconut-and-pineapple paradise.

FUN FACT: The pinã colada has been the official drink of Puerto Rico since 1978.

Piña Colada Chicken |

Piña Colada Chicken from Well Fed 2

Serves 2-4 | Prep 15 minutes| Cook 35 minutes  | Whole30 compliant

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium green pepper, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 medium red pepper, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

  • 1 cup canned chunk pineapple (packed in its own juice), drained

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 2 teaspoons Jerk Seasoning

  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk


Brown the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil and allow it to melt. Brown the chicken – cooking in batches, if necessary – until golden all around, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan as it browns and place in a bowl to catch the juices.


Get saucy! To the pan, add 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil. Sauté the onions, peppers, and arrowroot until the vegetables are just-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks to the pan; stir-fry until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and Jerk Seasoning, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lime juice and stir, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the vanilla and coconut milk, stirring to combine. Place the chicken in the sauce and pour in any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

You Know How You Could Do That?

Avocado: Top your plate with diced avocado and a spritz of lime juice.

Toasted nuts: Sprinkle your plate with crushed toasted pecans or macadamia nuts.

Cauliflower Rice: Serve on a bed of Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice.


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  • Catherine Hart Rebholz says:

    Mel, you spoil us! This looks delicious and is next on my list. Thanks for all the effort you put into cooking healthy clean deliciousness. LOVE IT!

  • Kari says:

    Wow, this sounds delish. Pina Colada Chicken — I love it! I'm not sure where to buy the outfit though:)

  • Melicious says:

    Here you go, Kari! You would look GREAT in this!


  • Victoria says:

    Hi Mel,
    I just made this for lunch and it is DELISH. I added a huge handful of chopped cilanto and a chunk of chopped ginger to the sauce. I could eat this every day. Thanks for the recipe.

  • georgia says:

    Ohmygosh! I made a version of this for dinner tonight (grated cauliflower by hand, even) and it blew me away. Am feeling like a domestic goddess! Learning to cook AND learning to cook healthy paleo? Can't ask for better than that!

  • Melicious says:

    Yay, Georgia! I'm glad you liked it!

    The grated cauliflower is a staple in my fridge now. Last night, I made fake Spanish rice… just onion, cauliflower, a hefty dose of olive oil so it "fried," and lots and lots of cumin. It was delish!

  • kelly alice says:

    i just made this and it came out awesome; thank you for sharing!! i made mine extra spicey and next time i'll definitely add some almonds for extra crunch.


  • Jessica says:

    I'm making this on Sunday! Yumm!!!
    Thank you for posting these awesome recipies.

  • Lisa G says:

    Making this recipe today! I have 3 people at the gym going Paleo and I need to impress them with my/your! colorful recipes!
    I will let you know how it turns out

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Awesome! Definitely keep me posted!

  • LG says:

    This was unreal Melissa. It was the sweet I was craving and kept me on track!
    Thanks so much, it easy to teach others to eat this way when the recipes taste this good and leave you feeling wonderful at the end of the meal.
    Thanks again!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    LG! I'm so glad you liked it and that a recipe could save the day. Woot!

  • Jennifer and Kevin says:

    This meal was delicious. I brought leftovers to work and everyone was jealous. Thanks for all the great recipes. I've loved every one I've tried.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Glad you liked it — thanks for letting me know! Don'tcha LOVE when co-workers eye your food with envy!

  • Emily says:

    Made this for dinner the other night,and discovered that the leftovers also make a great cold salad for lunch the next day! Yum!

  • Stacey says:

    Wow, Melissa, this was a magical meal! My family inhaled this like a pack of paleo wolves. I used your suggestion and toasted some raw macadamia nuts. Then chopped them a d sprinkled on top. My kids are waiting for me to make this again. Thank you for posting your recipes. I will be purchasing your book on kindle.

  • Aileen says:

    I made this for my husband and me tonight and he actually asked for seconds! (He is a passive participant in the Paleo diet) I added avocado and it added some bites of creamy goodness to the dish. YUM!

  • Jessica Hutchins says:

    I just tried this recipe!! I LOVE IT!! This will be a paleo fav of mine now 🙂

  • Jen says:

    This is my first recipe from your site, and I adored this! I made it for all non-paleo company. One skeptic said, “if this I’d what paleo is all about, I am in.” Thanks!

  • Made this for dinner tonight. Awesome

  • Amber says:

    I made this last night and my family loved it, ate seconds, and my hubby and I fought over the left overs for lunch! 🙂 It was SO easy to do, I had to keep telling myself it was HEALTHY. SO GOOD!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it! I’m re-working the recipe a little for my next cookbook, and I think the new version is even yummier. YAY!

  • Natalie says:

    I made this last night with the avocado and toasted pecan pieces and it was AMAZING! Thanks for the great recipe… I might have to make it again today..

  • Brian says:

    Mel, Nicely done with the recipe. The sauce was just good to sit and smell. My wife and I took your advice on adding pecan pieces, and we took it a step further and added coconut flakes. Yum! Great first “Whole 30” dinner!

  • Clover says:

    Oh man, so yummy!!! The prepping process was fun, all the kids helped out. They loved that we were making confetti to eat!! Once cooked, we set it aside, went to the gym, Rocked out a family workout. When we came home worn and ravenous, we dug in and devoured some goodness while watching a family movie. Good Times!!!

  • Nikki says:

    I just made this and I’m pretty sure I am going to tell my husband that it was terrible so that I can eat it all myself! Might be the new post-WOD go to! 😀

  • Alan says:

    I stumbled on this blog searching for very low carb recipes. I love this recipe, and experimented with additional Caribbean flavors adding allspice to the sauce, and marinating the chicken in coconut amino, fresh ginger and habañero chili before cooking.

  • April says:

    Oh yeah! Adding to this week’s menu…doing a Whole30(40, whatever) for Lent! 🙂

  • Diane says:

    Made this last night. Very yummy! Even my vegetable-hating boyfriend loved it!

  • Jen says:

    On day 4 of whole 30 with my reluctant hubby. This recipe sounds delish, but wondering if you have any suggestions on what to replace the green pepper with? (we both dislike them). I feel like it still needs something green to have the colorful confetti look…another veggie or perhaps an herb?

  • Megan B says:

    I made this today for breakfast! Oh my goodness, this is amazing (except I just realized that I forgot the carrots, whoops!) I did not use chicken since I’m out, but I served it alongside leftover coconut shrimp and it was to-die-for. Going to add this to the regular rotation! Whoop whoop! Thanks for a great recipe!

  • kristin says:

    Made this last night (from Well Fed 2) and as per usual, your recipe delivered the delish! Bonus: my 3-yr old loved it. I feel like I’m on the verge of having a girl crush. 😉

  • Stephanie says:

    Melissa thank you SO much for all you do to help us be healthy and eat DELICIOUS and good for us foods! Your recipes NEVER fail me, and always get 2 thumbs up from my hubs. I made this for dinner tonight and it was SO freaking good. The Calypso Cauliflower is a favorite of ours, it’s just so great and really curbs my desire for rice. Thank you!!!!!!

  • DJDeeJay says:

    I made this from the book and doubled this for my lunches this. So good! Love the spicy/sweet/creamy/tart combination.

    Quick question: should the pineapple be drained? It doesn’t say to (does it? did I miss that? I could’ve totally missed that) so I added it with the juice but then was confused as to how to get the pineapple chunks to brown with all that liquid. Still tastes great, though.

  • Heather Mandigo says:

    I am not sure what I did wrong,but this just had no taste. Any ideas???

    • Without being in the kitchen with you while you’re cooking, there’s no way for me to know what might the issue might be. And this is one of the first times anyone has said one of my recipes didn’t have flavor — I usually get accused of using too much spice 😉