How to Cut a Mango

Mangos, delicious in smoothies, luscious in salsa, can be a slimy, slippery challenge to cut. The best way to go about it is to start first with a ripe, but still firm fruit. If the mango is too ripe, it will be a mushy mess, and hard to cut into pieces, though easy enough to scoop out for pulp.

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How to Cut a Mango

  • Prep time: 1 minute

Method

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1 The mango has a flat-ish oblong pit in the center of it. Your objective is to cut along the sides of the pit, separating the flesh from the pit. Holding the mango with one hand, stand it on its end, stem side down. Standing up the mango up like this you should be able to imagine the alignment of the flat, oval pit inside of it. With a sharp knife in your other hand, cut from the top of the mango, down one side of the pit. Then repeat with the other side. You should end up with three pieces - two halves, and a middle section that includes the pit.

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2 Take a mango half and use a knife to make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in it, but try not to cut through the peel.

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3 At this point you may be able to peel the segments right off of the peel with your fingers. Or, you can use a small paring knife to cut away the pieces from the peel.

4 Take the mango piece with the pit, lay it flat on the cutting board. Use a paring knife to cut out the pit and remove the peel.

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Links:
Wikipedia on mangoes

35 Comments

  1. T

    Here is my Thai mother’s way to slice up a mango: peel it with a vegetable peeler–taking off another layer if you don’t like the slightly sour outer layer (which adds a beautiful tang, really) then slice the flesh away from the seed in whatever sliver width you prefer.

  2. A

    I was taught, by my boyfriend who introduced me to mangoes and taught me to slice them as above, that the best way to deal with the flesh remaining on the seed was to retreat to the kitchen (either before the brunch guests arrive or after they leave), and gnaw it off like a very awkward corn-on-the-cob.

    Yes, it’s ungraceful, but to waste mango would be a greater sin. And if one can’t be a hedonist with one’s lover, with whom can one be a hedonist?

  3. PV

    I’m from India, and we know how to eat mangoes there. We don’t bother to peel them (unless we want to be fancy and serve it cut into little cubes with a fork, but that really goes against the grain). What my mom taught me is:
    (1) Make 2 lengthwise cuts on the wide side of the mango, and then slice down the side so you get 3 long slices.
    (2) Repeat on the other wide side.
    (3) Slice off the skinny slices left on the two narrow sides.
    (4) To eat, hold a slice by one end, and place the other end in the mouth, skin side up. Use the lower front teeth to remove the flesh as you pull the slice out. Turn the slice around to get at the flesh on the other end.
    (5) When done with the slices, enjoy the flesh around the seed by holding it in the hand and eating all around it. Yes, it’s a messy business, but oh, so delicious and satisfying!
    The seed is the best part, and kids usually fight over it if there aren’t enough to go around. Though in high season, each person typcially gets a whole mango. I’m appalled to read that there are folks who toss the seed out with all that yummy flesh on it!!
    Trader Joe’s frozen mango chunks are all right, in a pinch, but if you ever get a chance to visit an Indian grocery store, see if you can get frozen Alphonso mango slices – you can’t beat the flavor. You also get frozen mango pulp from Indian mangoes, very convenient for smoothies or mango lassis.
    Sorry about the long post, I’m just very passionate about mangoes :-)
    (The above technique is best for “cutting” mangoes, which are usually not fibrous at all. The “juicing” mangoes are a different story altogether, and maybe I’ll post another comment if I find that I didn’t put all readers to sleep with this one!)

  4. Brent

    Elise
    I have been using your method for a while and it is easy and clean. We refer to it as “Hedge Hogging a Mango”.
    With regard to step 4, frankly it is the cooks “duty” to eat the flesh from the seed.

  5. Gautam

    Am from India too – but don’t like getting my hands dirty (sticky) with all the juice..or wait until the mango is peeled and diced..

    So an alternative way to cut is to cut the mango in the center in a circle around it

    Then hold both ends and twist gently and pull – this should give you two pieces one shaped like a cup and the other a cup with the seed (alternatly, stretch your imagination and think of it as a rowboat and a sailboat)

    Its easy to use a spoon to scrape out the flesh; for the seed scrape the flesh off; twist and it pops out; repeat and then continue to the cups

    The above technique is best for “cutting” mangoes

    Enjoy! :)

  6. TR

    My filipino step family (and I) cut it the “thai” way. I like it in long slivers rather than cubes.

  7. georgia

    Excellent guide. I learned the very same style of mango cutting while I was living in Taiwan and when I moved back to the UK last year I was amazed how few people there knew how to do it. My skills were so prized that they got me to do a demonstration in front of the entire staff at the office where I worked part-time! Everyone was delighted to learn the method and we all got to eat mango afterwards so it worked out rather well.

  8. Cat

    I use Zyliss tomato peeler to peel mangos….it is very useful…….

  9. Nancy Friedman

    Simplify your life: buy the nifty single-purpose mango slicer made by Good Grips! About seven bucks on Amazon and at kitchen stores and supermarkets.

  10. ktj

    I cannot imagine bothering to cut a mango to do anything with it but eat it on the spot….in private I guess……..lol……first I cut the big pieces from either side and eat those…including the peel, then I eat as much of what;s left as the seed will allow me. If I need to use mango in a recipe I have to confess that I will have to get the frozen kind or maybe the kind that is in the jars, cause fresh mango does not make it far enough to get used in anything.
    I must be a true mess on the mango question…lol…
    ktj

  11. PV

    OK since nobody asked, I’m going to write about juicing mangoes anyway, maybe because I’m a tad homesick right now. Juicing mangoes are too fibrous to eat directly. One way to enjoy these is to obviously extract the pulp from several mangoes, strain it and then enjoy it from a bowl. We have this as an accompaniment with a regular meal, typically at lunchtime.

    But a more expedient method (if you just want a mango snack) is this: take the whole mango in your hand and gently begin squishing it all around. Don’t be too forceful or you may end up squirting mango pulp all over yourself. You can hold the mango with one hand, two fingers holding down the stem end and the thumb supporting the bottom, and use the other hand to rotate the mango along the axis while gently squishing it continuously. Pretty soon you’ll have “pureed” all the pulp in the mango without extracting it (if you’ve done it right). Then you take off the little stem bit at the top and suck the pulp right from the mango. When you’ve got most of it out, you press the seed out and eat all around it. And you’re still not done yet (we don’t waste anything in India!) – you turn the skin inside out and make sure you get all the bits sticking to it. The fibres remain attached to the skin and seed for the most part, and don’t get embedded in your teeth as they would if you tried to eat this mango like a “cutting” one. An experienced person can do it without making a huge mess, but for kids, the mess is an integral part of the summer mango experience. They’re made to sit down with very little on by way of clothes, when they’re going to eat mangoes, and then it’s directly to the bath afterwards :)

  12. sweetperceptions

    I am Filipino and we use to cut mangoes this way. I just didn’t know some have different ways of having their mangoes cut. =)

    At any rate, they are still sweet edible mangoes in the end. =)

    PS: I like your blog and I visit it a lot! Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  13. Jayantilal U Panchal

    I like mango very much. In my village mango is available not in pcs but in weight measure in Mun. One mun is equal to 20 kg. I alone eat 15 to 20 mun in season.

    Usually I use to remove mango skin manually and then eat straight away or cut in to pcs if required to be shared. Second method is hold vertical betwwen two fingers and with other hand press mango and do it from all side by rotating, after that remove stem portion and start suck the pulp till skin and seed remains.

    I have learn the new method which I have to try and see.

  14. MsTriste

    Lots of great info! I live in Hawaii and my mango tree is now dropping them by the hundreds. I’m trying to figure out how to process them all and what to make with them, and will go through these suggestions one by one!

    By the way, I didn’t like mangoes till I had one fresh off the tree. Kind of like the difference between a ripe, just-picked tomato and the kind you buy at the store. There’s no comparison.

  15. Sharon

    Can someone tell me how to tell if a mango is the cutting kind or if it is the fibrous mashing kind? I love mangoes, but it seems that when I want to cut one, it is too fibrous. I love the method that PV from India describes how to eat a fibrous mango!

  16. gretchen

    I was amazed at how avocado like a mango is. I was trying to peel one with no previous experience EVER and never had bought fersh before. Trying to be as healthy as possible and cant imagine that these are anything if not good for you. I did pretty good with cutting it in half and then using a grapefruit spoon to scrape out the flesh, but the results arent that attractive- but I did get most of the flesh.
    I am going to definitely try the above method of cutting it- it looks like it has got to work. I am also glad to see that people eat around the pit- I don’t like to waste any part of food, and you’ll see me doing that now.
    Cheers!~

  17. John

    When I lived in Sudan with my family, we learned to cut mangoes in the method shown in the photo demonstration. We took each half, with the criss cross cuts, turned it inside out so that the little squares protruded, and gave them to our toddlers to eat out of hand. We also called them ‘hedgehogs’–don’t remember where we got that name, but was interested to see the term used by Elise. And yes, the cook (me) always took the seed back in the kitchen to gnaw the flesh off.

  18. Scott

    Mangos are the best fruit messy but a real treat! I usually cut them this way but will try the “Indian” method around the seed and scoop out the flesh to see if that works better. Now I just wish we could grow a mango tree in California.

  19. Rushi

    Mango is the most beautifull (in terms of taste and aroma) fruit in the world.
    But don’t fool your self into thinking what you buy in the superstore (in UK and US) is a mango, it is just a enginered fruit which has resitance against long transport periods and some more stuff…….
    When I was a kid I used to eat mangoes (off my backyard tree) in the messy way, But now the kid in me is gone
    If you ever get the privelige to try a fresh mango which has ripened on the tree, you would understand the term Gift from the Gods
    do eat it alone (I’m telling you would’nt want to share) and whole heartedly and may be in a way a kid would.

  20. Anonymous

    Another way to peel a mango:
    Score the mango all the way around from top to bottom, twice so that it’s scored in quarters. Peel only one quarter. Cut slices down through the exposed flesh until you hit the stone. Then cut horizontially across the stone to release the slices. Do this with each quarter until all 4 quarters are peeled, sliced, and released from the stone.

  21. Levetta

    I go to Anguilla every summer to eat mangoes. And how we do it. We bite the top of it to make a hole in it and we squeeze the mango from the outside like you do a toothpaste tube to get the toothpaste. That way we don’t get our hands dirty. The only time we peel is when we get to the end and we want to get the “good” part of the mango and we eat the remainder of the mango from off the seed.

  22. Nina

    I use a technique similar to Rushi above, except I start at the top and cut through to the pit in about six “seams” like a basketball. The knife will cut deep where the pit is narrow, and shallow where the pit is wide. Then, I use my finger to slide the first slice off the pit. After that it’s easy, the others can be separated from the pit with a finger or knife. I then take each crescent and score through to the peel to make little squares similar to the “hedgehog” shown above, but only one square wide.

  23. RachelLeRoy

    Levetta said in Anguilla they squeeze like toothpaste “That way we don’t get our hands dirty.” But there is another reason.

    I believe there are chemical properties on the inside of mango skin that are similar to poison ivy – some people react to it – some don’t.
    Not touching it is a good way to NOT have to find out!

  24. m-vic

    Half Filipino here … and I would never eat a ripe, squishy mango. I much prefer them green, hard, and sour. My mom taught me to peel it with small knife, then cut it into slivers as some have already mentioned – then my brother and I would fight over who gets to gnaw on the seed. No mess, because it’s not juicy – it’s delightfully crisp, sour, and subtly sweet. Sometimes I peel it with a vegetable peeler, then make thin slices with my mandolin. Either way, we sprinkle it with coarse salt or eat it with bagoong (a salty shrimp paste). Sometimes I also sprinkle them with pepper or chili powder. It’s delicious, I swear!

  25. Bonnie H.

    My husband’s nephew had a severe allergic reaction after eating a mango. He had seeded it and then was eating the fruity flesh off of the peel. It is not the fruit that caused the allergic reaction but something in the peel. From what I remember reading it was something like the toxin in poison ivy, but it may not affect everyone the same.

    Some people are allergic to mango skin. ~Elise

  26. MartyV

    When I peeled some recently purchased mangoes, I found dark stripes in the fruit. Is this commom? Is the fruit safe to eat?

  27. MaryLois

    I like my mangoes sliced against the grain, because sometimes even “cutting” mangoes are fibrous. So I peel it with a carrot peeler, then score it to the seed all around horizontally, and finally cut the flesh off the seed into a bowl. For beginners, this way also helps you feel how the seed is aligned. Of course I still wind up with strings in my teeth because I can’t resist gnawing on the seed!

  28. kydo

    I’m so glad I clicked onto this site as I have a mangled mango in the kitchen right now, but ohhh so delicious. The best part is that I have another whole one! Yippee!!!!

  29. Scott (one food guy)

    This is a great technique for cutting mangoes, I also like using OXO’s mango slicer, it makes quick work of removing the pit.

  30. Stacy

    Thank you! This was helpful for a mango salsa recipe I’m making tonight. :)

  31. TiN

    You can also scooped out the mango flesh using a drinking glass.Just slice the mango then slide it into the glass and cut it. =)

  32. DONNA

    Can’t wait to try this recipe…I live in the Dominican Republic in a pueblo that has as many mangos (and limes) as cities have cars.

    Cut and peel?…no no no… they pick them up off the ground or knock one off a tree by throwing a rock at it and then dig thier teeth in and pull the skin back, now the juicy fruit is exposed for eating.
    Hey what’s the matter with getting your hands dirty that why we have the expression “it is finger licking good!”

  33. Anna at the Good Food Room

    Great description of a slippery process :) I have used your guidance and advice for my today’s recipe. Thank you!

  34. Caleb Van Horn

    I have always had a hard time figuring out the best way to cut a mango. However, this method works great, thank you for the tip!

  35. Angeline

    The bast way to eat a mango is in the bath! That way you can get all that lovely flesh, including all the yummy stuff around the pip. You can be safe in the knowledge that no one will see you and therefore not care how messy it gets. Totally deluxe, everyone should try it.

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