I set out to make the best caramelized pineapple in the air fryer and you might be surprised by my discovery. After testing 6 sugars/sweeteners, there was a clear winner. No fat or butter is needed in this low-calorie air fry recipe.
I decided to hold a contest after looking at several other posts on Caramelized Pineapple in the Air Fryer. Most of the recipes used either maple syrup or brown sugar. I wanted to determine which sweetener would give the best gooey brown caramel return.
I used canned pineapple rings, JUST for the testing part of this blog post, to assure fairness among the contestants. Each slice has an equal amount of juice from the uniform slicing and size. But mostly, to not waste my fresh whole pineapple on testing.
Contestant # 1: White Sugar - She's the Go-To in all cooking. We know what to expect from her. But will she caramelize in the Air Fry method?
Contestant #2: Maple Syrup - Pure maple syrup has a flavor compared to none and is the favorite way with other food bloggers. Her high price and fancy shoes are sure to please the judges but will the thin dark syrup stick to the pineapple to produce the gooey sweetness against the acidic juice?
Contestant # 3: Dark Brown Sugar -Oh her beauty and depth. She will surely answer the question correctly and she is a good contender because she enters with the richness and color on her side.
Contestant #4: Molasses - An unexpected last-minute appearance. Used in many desserts as a sweetener. When exposed to heat, molasses can undergo caramelization, adding a rich and caramel-like flavor to dishes. But will the flavor of this syrup over-power the fruit?
Contestant #5: Coconut Sugar - Only 15 calories per teaspoon, nutrient-rich, with a lower glycemic index, and a good pairing for the crown. Can she take a top spot in the Final Tasting?
Contestant # 6: Light Brown Sugar - A younger version of Dark Brown sugar that offers a subtle, sweet flavor with a hint of molasses. It is often preferred in recipes where a milder sweetness is desired.
And The Winner is..... For Best Caramelized Pineapple...
Coconut Sugar!!!! Wooo Hooo!
She is amazing and won by a landslide. Coconut sugar mixed with the natural juice of the pineapple developed into a luxurious caramelized sauce that bubbled on the tops and hardened into candy on the tray.
This is the sugar I will use to coat my fresh pineapple slices. It's the best way and no butter is needed. The natural sugars and juice from the pineapple do all of the work for you in 15 minutes or less and is an easy way to make caramelized pineapple in the air fryer.
What is So Great About Coconut Sugar?
- Less Processing: Coconut sugar is often considered less processed compared to white sugar. It is usually made by evaporating the sap from the coconut palm flowers, while white sugar undergoes extensive refining and processing.
- Taste and Flavor Profile: Coconut sugar has a distinct flavor that some people find appealing. It has a caramel-like taste, which can add a unique and rich flavor to dishes and beverages.
- Sustainability: Coconut palm trees are considered sustainable crops, as they require fewer resources and can thrive in diverse ecosystems. This aspect appeals to individuals who prioritize environmentally friendly and sustainable food choices.
Does Coconut Sugar Taste Like Coconut?
No. It does not taste like coconut at all to me. It's similar to the taste of brown sugar but less sticky in texture and has more of a caramel and slightly earthy taste.
Then & Now
Just a little note about the Air Fryer. This is only my second Air Fryer post on the blog. I've been using the Air Fryer since they came out but have just never dabbled much beyond corn dogs, pizza, and french fries. I'm on my 4th air fryer. The last two have been the oven-style Cuisinart with the turn dial. I like this one because I don't have to put my glasses on to use it! The Air Fryer is about as exciting as the microwave was when it first came out.
New Cooking Appliances
When a new cooking appliance hits the market, you have to consider how the device heats. Recipes and ingredients that work in the regular oven or on the stovetop, might not be the best choice for the Air Fryer. It's fun to experiment and learn. I will bring you more great Air Fry recipes in the future.
How to Make the Best Caramelized Pineapple in the Air Fryer
- Peel and Slice your ripe pineapple (Coring is optional). Line the tray part of your air fryer with Non-Stick Foil.
2. Sprinkle coconut sugar on top of each slice. (Do not pat dry, leave the juices.)
3. Place pineapple onto non-stick foil with sugar side down in a single layer. Coat the sliced pineapple on the other side with sugar as well.
4. Turn on Air Fry Setting to 400 degrees and cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown but not burning. No need to turn them over. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature.
Ideas For Caramelized Pineapple
Air Fryer Caramelized pineapple is so versatile it can be served as part of breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. It can even stand alone as a delicious snack. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Breakfast - Alongside any breakfast, in muffins, pancakes, french toast, crepes, or oatmeal.
- Lunch - On a burger, with any type of rice, on a salad, in a wrap. Use as the base for pineapple salsa.
- Dinner - Fried Rice and other rice dishes, alongside kebobs, on grilled chicken, pork chops, with any fish, or on a salad. A perfect side dish for any meal.
- Dessert - On Ice Cream, yogurt, with bananas, in a dessert crepe, drizzled with a fruit sauce. All by itself with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
If you have some extra pineapple, take a look at my most popular pineapple recipe on the blog. The best way to make a Real Pina Colada with COCO Lopez Recipe. If you want to juice your sweet pineapple, see How To Juice A Pineapple which gives great tips for cutting pineapple too!
Easy Air Fry Caramelized Pineapple - 2 Ingredients
- 1 Air Fryer
- Non-Stick Foil
- 4 slices fresh pineapple, peeled sliced into ½ inches each
- 8 teaspoons organic coconut sugar
- Place prepared pineapple on a plate and coat each top with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- Flip each slice, sugar side down, onto non-stick foil lined baking tray of the air-fryer. If your air fryer only has a basket, you can make a bowl with the foil and lay it right in there.
- Then coat top side of slices with another teaspoon of sugar.
- Place tray into cold air fryer and turn on at 400 degrees Air Fry Setting. Cook for 8-10 minutes until desired caramelization.