How to Cut and Peel an Avocado

I once observed the mother of a dear friend of mine meticulously peel an avocado whole, and then cut pieces off of it to use in a salad. I hate to say there is ever any “wrong” way to do something; there are, as we know, many paths to Rome. But, the following method is easier, faster, and much less messy.

By the way, if you are buying avocados to prepare a guacamole dip, get them either ripe, with some give to the touch, or get them still firm, a few days ahead of when they are needed, and put them in a brown paper bag to ripen.

How to Cut and Peel an Avocado

  • Prep time: 1 minute

Method

1 Grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit.

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2a At this point there are a few ways you can proceed to remove the pit from the avocado half that has the pit. One way is to use a spoon to scoop out the pit.

One way is to make another cut, lengthwise on the avocado half that has the pit, cutting around the pit, exposing it so that it is easier to remove.

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2b Another method is a bit tricky, as you'll see. This method is very popular, but you must be careful lest you cut your hand. For safety, fold up a kitchen towel and use that to hold the avocado half with the pit.

Gently tap the pit with a knife with enough force so that the knife edge wedges into the pit, but not so hard as to cut all the way through it. If unsure, just tap it very gently a few times, each time with increasing pressure, until a cut is made in the pit sufficiently to twist the pit out. Getting the pressure just right takes a little practice.

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With the edge of the knife, twist the pit out of the avocado and discard.

3a At this point, you can either scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon (for making guacamole), or slice the avocado into segments.

To make it more easy to scoop out the avocado flesh, take a knife (you can easily use a dull dinner knife) and gently make cuts in the avocado flesh in a cross-hatch pattern, careful not to break through the avocado peel. Then use a spoon to easily scoop out the avocado pieces.

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If you are making guacamole, don't worry about slightly discolored or brownish sections. Scoop them up with the rest of the avocado to mash.

3b To make avocado slices, use a knife to slice the inside of the avocado halves into sections. Don't worry if you cut right through the peel.

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4 Use your fingers to separate the avocado segments from the peel.

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Links:

What's in a Name? The Avocado Story - how the avocado got its name, from NPR

Perfect Guacamole

Showing 4 of 45 Comments

  • John Koontz

    I’ve been cutting avocados this way for years. I’m glad I’m doing it correctly! Using the knife to remove the pit is the key.

  • Anna

    A small lightweight vegetable knife will do fine to remove the pit. I just lay it parallell to the avocado surface (and my hand) and press it gently into the pit, then twist and the pit pops out. No risk of cutting yourself, and if the knife was sharper than you thought and you accidentally cut through the pit and level it to the avocado, well, the spoon does it…
    An unripe avocado will be harder to peel, but can actually taste great when finely chopped into a salad. If the peel won’t come off the normal way, I simply use a potato peeler.

  • pelin

    What I would suggest is do not slice the avacado and do not peel it.
    instead serve as:
    – cut the full avacado into half
    – get the seed out
    – for 1 full avacado mix 1 table spoon of olive oil with 1 table spoon of lemon juice and pour into the round part of the avacado
    – slice some 2 leaves of lettuce (very thin)
    – mix it with a 1 table spoon of mayoneise
    – put it in the avacado (enough for 1 full avacado)
    – serve each half as a starter
    – add salt if you prefer

  • Caroline

    I prefer to peel the avocado after slicing it in half– that way, you have only two segments of peel to remove, not several. Then I go ahead and slice it. I think this method makes for neater slices, too.

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