Pineapple Filling

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This easy pineapple filling for cakes or tarts is made with canned pineapple in just minutes. Pair it with a coconut cake mix and cream cheese frosting for a deliciously easy coconut cake with pineapple filling!

A slice of coconut cake with cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut has a layer of bright yellow pineapple filling.

Here's a secret: I actually really love using boxed cake mixes for birthday cakes and special celebrations.

As long as the frosting is made from scratch, no one can tell the difference!

My other great secret is to add a homemade filling to spice things up a bit.

This super easy pineapple filling is perfect for adding to a boxed cake mix cake with homemade cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

With just 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of your time, you can have a rich and juicy pineapple filling that adds a burst of fresh fruit flavor to your layer cake or sheet cake.

My recipe is the best because it uses canned pineapple tidbits instead of crushed pineapple. The tidbits shape has a much better texture and will give your cake a lovely taste of pineapple in every bite.


The ingredients to make pineapple filling for cakes.

You only need these 3 ingredients to make homemade pineapple filling:

  1. Canned Pineapple Tidbits: SO much better than crushed pineapple.
  2. Sugar
  3. Cornstarch

That's it! Easy peasy.

How to Make It

To make the pineapple filling, simply add all 3 ingredients to a small saucepan and stir them together.

The pineapple filling ingredients are all added to a small saucepan.

Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir it as it cooks.

When the pineapple juices come to a boil, cook for just 2 minutes longer or until it thickens.

The pot is on a burner and the pineapple filling mixture is coming to a boil.

Transfer the pineapple filling to a clean mixing bowl to let it cool before using on a cake.

At this point, the pineapple is nice and softened and is easy to break up a bit with a spoon or food chopper tool right in the bowl.

I hand crushed my pineapple tidbits just a little so that the chunks of pineapple were just a bit smaller but there was still a nice bite of pineapple in my cake.

A crushing tool is used to break up the pineapple chunks.

How to Use the Filling on a Cake

Be sure to completely cool the pineapple filling before trying to spread it on a layer cake or sheet cake.

You can still use it in a 9 x 13-inch sheet cake with cream cheese frosting if you spread the filling evenly over the cake like this:

The sheet cake has a layer of pineapple filling before frosting.

Then put the cake pan in the freezer for one hour. This will help stabilize the pineapple filling layer.

Drop large spoonfuls of cream cheese frosting over the top of the chilled cake and then carefully spread them evenly over the top.

I added shredded coconut over the frosting layer for a delicious pineapple coconut cake that tasted amazing chilled in the fridge.

A coconut sheet cake has a layer of pineapple filling under the cream cheese frosting.

Pineapple Cheesecake Variation

This method would also work great with a store bought cheesecake.

Spoon this pineapple cheesecake topping over the entire top of the cheesecake.

You could frost it with Cool Whip and toasted coconut.

More Canned Pineapple Recipes

Looking for more easy ways to use canned pineapple?

You'll love my pineapple marshmallow salad or pistachio fluff for a no bake dessert.

The creamy pina colada fruit dip is a delicious treat for a party, too!

📖 Recipe

A slice of coconut cake with cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut has a layer of bright yellow pineapple filling.

Pineapple Filling

5 from 29 votes
This easy pineapple filling recipe uses canned pineapple tidbits for a burst of pineapple flavor in a rich and decadent cake. Pair with a boxed coconut cake mix and cream cheese frosting for a simple dessert.
TOTAL TIME 6 minutes
PREP TIME 1 minute
COOK TIME 5 minutes
YIELD 1 Filling for 9x13-inch cake or 2-layer cake


  • 1 (20 oz) can of pineapple tidbits
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  • Add the entire contents of the canned pineapple to a small saucepan. Add the sugar and cornstarch and stir everything together.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until the juices begin to boil. Cook for 2 minutes longer or until thickened.
  • Transfer the pineapple filling to a mixing bowl and use a spoon or chopping tool to roughly break up the pineapple chunks a bit.
  • Cool the filling completely before adding to a cake.

Recipe Notes

To Use the Filling on a Sheetcake:

If you want to add the pineapple filling to a sheet cake in a 9 x 13-inch pan and add frosting over the filling, spread the completely cooled pineapple mixture evenly over the sheetcake and freeze for 1 hour.
This helps the pineapple mixture stabilize so that you can easily drop large spoonfuls of frosting over the filling and spread it into an even layer without mixing it into the pineapple.

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A photo collage shows a piece of coconut cake with pineapple filling next to the cake pan with the filling spread over the top.


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