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Pineapple Squares

These easy Pineapple Squares have a sweet and buttery coconut shortbread crust topped with a delicious pineapple filling (and a little more crust on top!). They’re totally irresistible!

Friends, I am so excited to share this recipe with you today! These are my grandma’s Pineapple Squares (famous in our family!), and they are one of my all-time favorite desserts – and I know you’re going to love them too!

I’m also pretty sure that they’re the reason why pineapple is my favorite fruit. It’s where I got my first taste of pineapple, and I’ve been in love with it ever since!

Grandma made these Pineapple Squares for every single baby shower, bridal shower and special occasion, and they were always a big hit (and always requested). My mom did the same, and I have been proud to carry on the tradition!

BUT I definitely don’t wait for special occasions to enjoy these awesomely delicious (and very addicting) treats. They’re just too good!

It all starts with the crust – the buttery, sweet, coconut-y, soft, shortbread crust. Next comes the filling – sweetened crushed pineapple mixed with applesauce and thickened with tapioca. Then we dot the top with a little bit more of that yummy crust.

The combination of the crust and the filling is a match made in food heaven. These babies need to go on your recipes-to-try list…like right now!

baking pan of pineapple squares

Ingredients you need:

  • Canned crushed pineapple (in pineapple juice)
  • Applesauce (sweetened but not flavored)
  • Minute tapioca
  • Sugar
  • Margarine
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sweetened shredded/flake coconut

How to make it:

two images showing the steps to make pineapple squares
two images showing the steps to make pineapple squares
two images showing the steps to make pineapple squares
two images showing the steps to make pineapple squares
two images showing how to make pineapple squares
two images showing how to make pineapple squares
two images showing how to make pineapple squares

Tips & Tidbits:

  • The biggest tip I can give you is don’t overbake these! The dough should be cooked through and firm, but should barely have any color. If you use a light-colored pan lined with parchment paper and your oven is correctly calibrated, 45 minutes at 350°F in the middle of the oven should provide excellent results.
  • I highly recommend using a light-colored pan. I use a basic aluminum half sheet pan. A dark pan will bake hotter and faster and may result in the bottom crust being overdone, crumbly and too brown. If you use a dark pan, reduce the temperature to 325°F. You may also need to reduce the cooking time.
  • My grandma’s recipe used margarine rather than butter, and that is what I use and recommend. I LOVE butter and rarely use margarine, but I tried using it once in this recipe, and the crust was different – still good but just different. I’m not sure why, but in this case, margarine produces a better crust.
  • Make the crust by hand! This dough comes together very easily, and you don’t need to lug out the mixer. Also, I have tried using a mixer to make the dough, and found that it overworks it and makes it tough.
  • Although I love fresh pineapple, I don’t recommend it for this recipe. The flavor can sometimes be hit or miss, and you would really need to chop it super, super fine to get the right consistency. Canned crushed pineapple always has a consistent flavor, and the texture is perfect. Plus, it’s easy!
  • The amount of sugar you will need in the filling can vary depending on the brands of pineapple and applesauce you use as well as your own personal tastes. The amount I use is just a guideline and is how I like my filling. Add the amount of sugar you like.
  • I cut mine into 24 3×3-inch squares, but you can cut them into any size you like.
  • Store your pineapple squares, covered or wrapped tightly, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days (if they last that long!), or you can freeze them. To freeze: wrap each square in plastic wrap and then foil, and then put them all in a freezer bag or container. They should last 2 to 3 months.
pineapple square being lifted out of the pan with a spatula

Gotta run now…I’ve got a pile of these scrumptious squares in the fridge calling my name!

I hope you try my grandma’s recipe for Pineapple Squares and love them as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Pineapple Squares

These easy Pineapple Squares have a sweet and buttery coconut shortbread crust topped with a delicious pineapple filling (and a little more crust on top). They're totally irresistible!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 24 squares
Estimated Calories: 325

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple in pineapple juice
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar applesauce, sweetened but not flavored
  • 5 tablespoons Minute tapioca
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

Crust:

  • 1 pound margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ pound sweetened shredded/flaked coconut

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the Filling:

  • In a medium sauce pot (I use a 3-quart), combine the crushed pineapple, applesauce, tapioca, and 6 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil and boil gently, stirring often, until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). Taste and add more sugar if needed.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly while you make the crust (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Make the Crust:

  • In a large bowl, cream together the softened margarine and 1 cup sugar until smooth.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract; stir until well-combined.
  • Add the flour and coconut; stir just until well-combined and a dough forms (the dough will be slightly sticky and should resemble cookie dough). Note: Don't overwork the dough, as that can make it tough.
  • Set aside 1 cup of the dough for topping the squares later.

Put It All Together & Bake:

  • Put the dough in a light-colored aluminum half sheet pan (18x13x1-inch) lined with parchment paper. Spread the dough out evenly and pat it down to fill the pan.
  • Pour the pineapple filling onto the dough.
  • Take the reserved 1 cup of dough and dot the top of the filling evenly with small pieces of dough.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until the bottom crust is cooked through (it should be firm but have barely any color – you don't want the crust to get brown – be careful not to overcook!).
  • Remove from oven and cool completely (about 2 hours) and cut into squares.

Notes

  • I don’t recommend using a dark pan because it will bake hotter and faster and may result in the bottom crust being overdone, crumbly and too brown. If you must use a dark pan, reduce the temperature to 325°F. You may also need to reduce the cooking time.
  • Store your pineapple squares, covered or wrapped tightly, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or you can freeze them. To freeze: wrap each square in plastic wrap and then foil, and then put them all in a freezer bag or container. They should last 2 to 3 months. 
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

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