Equally delicious served with chips as an appetizer or as a topping for meat, fish and tacos, this pineapple habanero salsa is the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and refreshing.

Pineapple habanero salsa in a bowl with a tortilla chip.
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It may be the middle of winter right now but this pineapple habanero salsa recipe will leave you thinking otherwise.

I love making transportive recipes like this whether it’s a specific cuisine (like chicken saag) or, something like this that skips seasons, they’re a wonderful way to get you out of a culinary rut.

And an added bonus when they’re as easy as a quick salsa!

This salsa is great because it’s not only delicious for enjoying with chips as an appetizer but it really enhances a plethora of main dishes too when used as a topping.

Spooning it on top of some cooked fish, pork, chicken or even steak will liven the meal up tremendously.

If you’re a consistent weekly taco-night kind of person, this salsa is the perfect alternative to traditional pico de gallo.

Prepped ingredients to make pineapple salsa with habanero pepper on a white plate.


  • pineapple
  • habanero pepper
  • poblano pepper
  • red onion
  • tomatillo
  • cilantro
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lime juice

PINEAPPLE – Use fresh pineapple for the recipe if you can. It’s really the best when it comes to freshness and taste. Make sure the pineapple is ripe without being overly ripe. It should be sweet but still maintain a firm texture.

Here’s how to tell if a pineapple is ripe – it should appear “yellowed” on the outside (versus overly green) and if you smell it, it will smell like a pineapple!

HABANERO – This pepper is no joke. If you don’t like heat, this salsa is probably not for you. Compared to a more “traditional” hot pepper like a jalapeño, the habanero pepper is described as being up to 100 times hotter on the Scoville scale. For this reason, it’s important to take care when prepping the pepper for the salsa. Seed it and make sure to very finely mince it. You can see the details on how to do that in this tutorial on how to cut bell peppers. Some even suggest wearing gloves when preparing this pepper. Wash your hands well after touching it to avoid any accidental contact with your eyes.

TOMATILLOS – This is one of my favorite ingredients for salsa. Tomatillos look like little green tomatoes but their taste is more tart than sweet. They’re firm and not as liquid on the inside making them a great salsa addition. They’re a staple in my mango habanero salsa as well as the plum salsa that goes with these grilled scallops.

CILANTRO – Besides the main two ingredients, fresh cilantro is arguably the next most important in a good salsa. Its freshness and brightness can’t be beat. Don’t skimp on it or try to replace with parsley. It’s worth the trip to the grocery store to buy a bunch for this recipe.

RED ONION – As someone who isn’t usually a fan of red onions, the small amount in this recipe is not overpowering. Red onions are also a bit sweeter and less pungent than yellow onions making them the preferred choice for salsa.

If you’re still worried about the raw onion taste however, feel free to quick pickle the red onions before adding to the salsa. There are directions in this creamy cucumber salad for how to easily do that.

Mixing a pineapple habanero salsa recipe in a glass bowl with a metal spoon.


Add all the ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and the salsa is ready to serve!

It can be enjoyed at room temperature or refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and serve chilled.


Looking for an easy appetizer for a crowd? This recipe is perfect. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or crackers and dig in!

Need a way to liven up dinner? This salsa is also perfect for that.

Spoon into tacos like these blackened salmon tacos or jerk chicken tacos. It also pairs well with almost any grilled meat. Steak and shrimp fajitas are also a great option.

I particularly enjoy the sweetness of the pineapple with chicken, pork and fish recipes. It’s excellent with blackened mahi mahi for a quick and easy meal.

Add a can of black beans to this recipe and it can even serve as a stand alone light meal. Check out this mango black bean salsa for a similar recipe.

Other ways to enjoy this spicy sweet salsa is on top of quesadillas or nachos. These brisket quesadillas and carne asada nachos are both great options.

It’s even delicious on top of an egg scramble for breakfast!

Seasoning pineapple salsa with salt in a bowl.


The salsa will keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week. Before using, mix together again to distribute the juices.

It can also be frozen in an air-tight bag or container for a few months.


If in a pinch, canned pineapple can be used. Fresh is definitely preferable but canned will work if you drain it and pat dry.

Make sure to buy pineapple canned in water not syrup.


Yes, the salsa keeps well in the fridge. Make it up to a day or two in advance and just toss well to combine before serving.

Habanero pineapple salsa in a blue and white howl with tortilla chips on the side.


Taste test the salsa before serving so you can easily make any adjustments needed.

-Add more habanero to make it spicier.
-Use lime zest in addition to the juice to add some zing and balance out the spice.
-Adjust salt and pepper appropriately. Salt helps balance the sweetness of the pineapple. You shouldn’t need much fresh pepper in this salsa given the use of habanero.

Scooping pineapple habanero pepper salsa with a tortilla chip.


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5 from 6 votes

Pineapple Habanero Salsa

Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Pineapple habanero salsa.
A sweet, spicy and refreshing salsa perfect for serving with chips as an appetizer or using as topping for meats and fish.


  • 2 cups diced pineapple
  • 1/3 cup diced tomatillos
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small habanero pepper, seeded and minced
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Toss until well combined.
  • Seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 89kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    We loved this salsa with blackened salmon last night! But I think it would also go wonderfully with prawns, sea bream and many other dishes! Definitely a keeper!