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A variety of fruits and vegetables are an important part of our diets, and we’re especially fond of fruits. Sweet, tart, and juicy, fruit is delicious as is, but if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy fruit, consider grilling it.
When sugar is caramelized, it creates these lovely crunchy bits that taste like, well, caramel. Fruit is full of sugar, and when it meets the grill, those sugars brown up and create a whole new world of flavor.
Go beyond pineapple on kabobs and add some grilled fruit to your next summer BBQ menu.
What fruits can you grill?
Generally, fruits that are firm and don’t easily squish are best for the grill. That being said, you can get creative and grill whatever fruit you have. For a little inspiration, we have some suggestions for fruits that are great on the grill.
Skip the fancy restaurant and bananas flambe -- just peel and slice a banana lengthwise. A quick sear on the grill, and dessert will be ready in no time!
Add a sprinkle of brown sugar to the cut side of half a grapefruit. Grill it for a few minutes, and you’ll have a special dessert-like breakfast.
Grilled nectarines are a healthy dessert with a little bit of honey drizzled over the top and a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Give a mango salsa some smokiness by grilling the fruit first. Slice your mangoes, and skin them after you grill them (let them cool a bit first). It makes a sweet accompaniment to fish, pork, or tacos.
If you have a grill basket, give it a job other than holding veggies on the grill. You’ll have to pit fresh cherries, but they’ll char quickly on the grill. The basket will keep them from falling between the grates.
A good pear is creamy and sweet at the peak of ripeness. Now imagine how yummy it would be if you seared it on a grill and then topped it with a spoonful of rich caramel.
Peaches are a sweet southern delight, and they’re delicious grilled. A small scoop of vanilla ice cream creates a perfect blend of warm and cool; sweet and smoky.
Cantaloupe is packed with water and sugar, so when you grill slices of this fruit, expect it to shrink a little as the water evaporates.
Add a little oil, salt, and pepper, and then grill watermelon quickly, just enough to add charred stripes on each side. Then enjoy straight off the grill, or cube it and toss it with a bit of feta and balsamic glaze for a salad.
Pineapple is often paired with pork or chicken, but it doesn’t need to be a side dish. Grill pineapple and serve it as the star of your dessert. Add a little lime juice for brightness, and enjoy!
Tips for grilling with fruit
The best tip to grilling with fruit is to use a light, flavorless vegetable oil on the flesh of the fruit before you add it to the grill. Just a brush of it is enough, and it’ll help prevent any of that caramelized goodness from sticking!
Other tips for grilling with fruit include:
- Use a low flame or coals that are dying out to prevent burning fruit
- Leave the skin on softer fruits to make them easier to flip and transfer
- Don’t leave on too long -- you want the fruit charred, but not overcooked and mushy
Grilled fruit recipes we love
Some of our favorite grilled fruit recipes are simple, but pack a lot of flavor in each bite. Try these at your next cookout!
- Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Burrata and Basil -- Sweet and savory? Yes, please! These are perfect for summer appetizers.
- Cinnamon Grilled Pineapple with Bourbon Glaze -- Break out the skewers for these spicy, sweet fruit kabobs! Even if you skip the bourbon glaze, the charred pineapple chunks are still delicious over vanilla ice cream.
- Grilled Banana Pudding -- Turn the familiar favorite into a smoky, summer dessert by grilling the bananas, replacing vanilla wafers with pound cake, and adding a caramel sauce.
Need another way to get your fruit fix? The Cookie Cups offers fruit-flavored cups like banana chocolate chunk, apple pie, strawberry, and lemon drop, all made with fresh produce. These sweet treats make a great addition to your grilled fruit dessert spread!