How to Cut a Pineapple

Step by step instructions on how to cut a pineapple, so you keep the sweetest and juiciest parts.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: One pineapple yields about 4 cups of cut pineapple chunks.


  • One ripe pineapple


1 Slice off the top: Place the pineapple on its side on a cutting board. With a sharp chef's knife, slice off the top green crown and about a half inch of the top of the pineapple.

lay pineapple on its side and cut off the top stand the pineapple upright after cutting off the top

Stand the pineapple upright on the cutting board.

2 Cut away the outer peel: Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away the outer peel, from top to bottom, following the contours of the pineapple.

cut off the outer skin of the pineapple close to the edge cut off the outer skin of the pineapple all the way around

Do not cut so deep as to cut away the eyes. The outer edge of the pineapple has the sweetest flesh, so you want to retain that if you can.

Cut off the bottom half inch or so of the pineapple.

slice off the bottom of the pineapple

3 Make diagonal cuts to carve out the pineapple eyes: Now you have a pineapple dotted with eyes which must be removed. You can use a small paring knife to carefully carve out each one, but there is an easier way.

pineapple with skin cut, eyes still need to be removed

Notice that the eyes all line up on a diagonal! Make a diagonal cut across the side of the pineapple, like a V-shaped trench, and more easily cut out all of the eyes that are on that diagonal.

make V trenches with your knife to cut out the eyes in spiral around the pineapple a cut pineapple with eyes removed, ready to slice

Continue to work your way around the pineapple. You do waste a little bit of good pineapple this way, but not much, and it is a lot faster than trying to carefully cut out each eye.

4 Make the final cuts: Now the pineapple is ready to cut further. There are several ways to make the final cuts of the pineapple, depending how you are serving it.

If you want rounds, just lay the pineapple on its side and cut it into 3/4 inch rounds. For rings, cut out the tough core.

spear pineapple round core with fork cut out pineapple core

When we were kids we preferred to keep the core in. We liked to spear the core in a solid pineapple round with our fork, and then hold up the pineapple round to eat the ripe edges.

If you just want chunks, cut the pineapple lengthwise into quarters.

Cut out the tough core, then cut each quarter lengthwise again. Then cut crosswise into chunks.

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  • [email protected]

    Thank you, this was so helpful! I would have never thought of removing the eyes this way!


  • Yvonne

    Love fresh pineapple but always struggled with the prep, not anymore. Thanks :) :)


  • Margaret Fanney

    Thank you so much! This is a great family story. And now I no longer have to struggle while trying to remove the brown spots.


  • Susie Q

    I buy a nearly golden one that smells good and leave for a couple of days, upside down if I can. They do seem to sweeten a bit, turning more golden, and not so itchy when perfectly ripe. 10 for 10? Production line and chop chunks into freezer bags for smoothies or fruit salad. I hear you can grow another pineapple from the top part!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Susie, according to the experts (and the growers themselves), pineapples do not actually get any more sweet after they are picked (unlike bananas). They will soften though, and turn more yellow over time.

    • Cera Osterhout

      Yes you can grow it from the top — I have one that is about 1-1/2 years old now, and it is HUGE!

  • Sophie

    I’m Cambodian and this is how my mom has taught me how to cut a pineapple. Sure, it takes a while to get it done but you waste hardly anything. My daughter is currently 4 months old. You bet I’ll teach her how to do this one day when we start cooking together.


  • Margo

    Our market has 10 for 10.00 right now, how do you keep 10 pineapple!

  • Angela Pender

    I worked over in China several years back. When we would buy pineapple from a street vendor, they would shave it right there, then pull out a V-shaped knife and cut the eyes out in this spiral fashion. My coworkers and I would just take the big chunks of pineapple and eat them as we walked home. I really wish I could find one of those knives over here! Those spiral corers don’t get to the really sweet part very well.

    • ggqq

      you can probably just use a lino cutter found at an art supplies shop. That’s probably what they use TBH. Careful though, those are sharp.

    • Barbara Turek

      Try Chinatown

  • Bob B

    I just bought a pineapple to add to my smoothie. I’ve never cut a fresh one before. Thanks for the tips on how to cut a pineapple. It worked great!


  • HuanYa

    This is the correct way! Everyone in Thailand & China knows this, everywhere you go to buy a pineapple they will cut it this way for you. It is common knowledge, but I have never seen it in the west.


  • Tish

    I’ve been cutting pineapple your dad’s way for the last 30 years. Learned it while working for a fruit and veg auction house and importers. You get a lot more pineapple this way and it is sweeter.


  • Anna Frederiksen

    I LOVE my fresh pinapple from the local farmers market here in Atenas, Costa Rics. I try to use the WHOLE thing – I cut off the top, peel away some of the leaves at the bottom, then plant it; I cut out the center, hard part and puree it in my blender then make fruit leather from it – yum and easy to do in an oven!; AND i will now use your spiral method to cut out the eyes – even though the goats here on my finca (ranch) will not be as happy (they get all the left over stuff!)

  • Monica

    This is how we cut pineapple in Southeast Asia. We rub the pineapple with salt then rinse it clean before eating, to get rid of “bromelain” (pineapple enzyme) that cause itching on the tongue.

  • Andrew

    My sister does not like pineapple, so that is more for me! Mom peels it, and cuts out each eye and she is fast at it. She also saves the peel of many fruits to flavor baked goods. Right now there are strips of lemon out on a rack to dry. She chops them, or lets them get really dry and put in spice grinder. Yummy to the tummy!

  • Brenda

    Will definitely try this method for cutting pineapple. I find if I buy green pineapple, it will eventually ripen if left on the counter. Pineapple is very high in digestive enzymes. Most of those are in the core. The core becomes very edible the riper the pineapple gets so don’t throw it away!

    Hello Brenda, as mentioned in previous comments, a green pineapple left to sit will eventually change color and get more soft, but it will not get any more sweet than it was when it was picked. ~Elise

  • Quirky Mon

    Watch the movie “Only Yesterday” by Studio Ghibli…the pineapple scene will strike a chord :)

    What? A Studio Ghibli movie I haven’t seen? Yikes, will put it on my must see list! ~Elise

  • Alice Paige

    Just a couple of weeks ago I read to store the pineapple upside down, a bit difficult to do, and it turns golden. Works. We buy fresh pineapple often.

  • JUM

    Planting the pineapple top is one of the best ways to gain an immediate new plant in your garden (have done it with success in Florida). Even if it does not bare fruit, it is a nice bromeliad garden addition that requires little care. Another suggestion I learned when in Peru: boil the pineapple skin and all the eyes, basically all the trimmings that you would discard in a pot with water that covers all by one inch, once boiled for about 10 minutes, strain, sweeten with sugar to your liking, cool and you have a delicious pineapple flavored beverage that extracts all the flavor of the fruit (agua de piña). No waste.

  • Fey

    this is how we peel pineapples in the philippines, but when i am lazy i just do it the quick and easy way. one thing i always do though is to rub the whole pineapple with salt then rinse it. it helps get rid of that slimy thing that causes itch.

  • ~Nancy

    I was lucky enough to travel and live abroad for almost 4-years in my mid twenties. I spent a good chunk of that time in Thailand where they had the most wonderful, luscious fruit. I learned how to cut pineapples by watching the Thai fruit sellers and loved that they managed to preserve much of the coveted flesh. It’s nice to see you passing the information on. Makes for a much prettier presentation too!

  • Alicia

    And now for something completely different… I give the pineapple handle to the dog. He thinks it’s a demon monster and it keeps him entertained and out of the kitchen for several minutes and out from under my feet. It gives me time to try the “barber pole” technique to remove those eyes. Great tip! I always hated cutting up pineapple as I felt I was wasting too much of the outer goodness. Now I know I was right.

  • Brandon

    I second that a pineapple will not ripen after picked. In fact after being picked, the pineapple starts to go downhill. I received this information from the Maui Gold pineapple tour. So picking the ripest one (yellow, not green) and eating it soon is the best bet.

    I stand corrected. From the Hawaiian Crown, “Pineapples are individually hand-picked when they are fully ripened. Once pineapples are harvested they do not continue to increase the sugar content internally but the shell color will turn more yellow or golden.” This explains why they continue to change color, but they do not get more sweet. ~Elise

  • Shaz

    Coming from Australia ( the home of the “Big Pineapple”) we always cut our apples this way….time consuming, but rewarding with so much more fruit….My tip for ensuring you are buying a “ripe” apple….pull the center leaf. It should pop out easily, and when you bite the end (the white bit) it should taste crispy & a little sweet…a sure thing every time! If the leaf feels like you need to “tug” it…it’s not ripe! It should just “pop” out. Never fails. BTW. Yes people are going to look side-ways at you in the market,as you are chowing down on pineapple leaves, but “hey” I just got the pick of the crop in the pineapple bin :-)

  • Heather

    Awww…that’s how my momma always does it. She’s from Vietnam. :)

  • Paul

    I never noticed the barber-pole arrangement of the eyes but now I see it. Great carving tip.

    Ever wonder about the name pineapple? The British first discovered them in the 17th century while exploring Honduras. They knew it was edible and it looked like a pine cone so they called it a pineapple.

    Your useless bit of food trivia for the day.

    Cool, thank you! ~Elise

  • Sylvia G.

    I was told that if you want a ripe pineapple just press on the bottom and it should be just a “BIT” soft and it always worked for me!

  • Art Hahn

    I am diabetic. Dr. told me to always carry a 6 oz can of pinapple juice in case I bottom out with low blood sugar. I have a can in each car, golf bag, lunchpale, frig, etc. Gives one a sense of security.

  • Ray

    Regarding how to pick a ripe pineapple: When I visited a pineapple plantation in Costa Rica we were told that every pineapple picked is ripe, and that once picked a pineapple will never ripen any further. Looking for color, scent or tender leaves were all meaningless. Their advice: take the greenest pineapple on display; it likely has been squeezed and handled the least.

    Well that is strange. What they told you flies in the face my own experience. I often let green pineapples sit for a few days to get less green and more ripe. I have one sitting on my counter doing just that, and it is much less green than a few days ago, and much more golden. Green pineapples are not as sweet and not as ripe. Update: I stand corrected. Apparently the pineapples will change color if you let them sit around, but they will not get more sweet (source). So they do not get more ripe after they are picked. ~Elise

  • red sweater

    I’m quite late to this post, but I wanted to second the using of the top as a handle. Cut it off last.

    I work with a man who, as a teenager, spent a summer in Hawaii picking pineapples. Throughout our conversation about it, he always referred to the top as a “handle.”

  • Unk Wes

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the pineapple cutters they sell on Amazon for under $10. They cut the pineapple into slices and core it at the same time, all in under a minute. Takes 10 seconds to wash tool !

    I’m guessing that these cutters aren’t able to extract as much pineapple as this method, but I bet they’re faster. ~Elise

    • Brittany

      Yeah those cutters take 10 seconds and waste about half of your pineapple in the process! :( It takes more time to cut it but it’s worth it!!

  • Audrey

    Once you have twisted off the leaves, plant them in a pot. When they root you can plant them outside and maybe get a pineapple or two. They do need a warm spot and I am sure they won’t manage snow and frost.

  • Frank Woelke

    Now I have to go open a can of Pineapple. I like the fresh but I can’t wait that long after reading the article above. LOL I have a can of chunks in the frig and I will open that up and drink the cold sweet juice down and then take my toothpick and spear them right in the can. MMMMmmmmm :O)

  • tempy

    I remember my own father doing this when I was younger. He would get a fresh pineapple, stuff it in the freezer alongside hotdog packs and ice cream boxes and peel it later on that day, when it was nice and chilled. It is one of those childhood memories that only gets stronger with time.

  • Ronster

    An efficient and easy way to determine if a pineapple is ripe is find the small center most leaf and give a gentle tug. If this leave doesn’t budge it’s not ripe, if it comes out, it’s ripe.

  • Sandra

    Another easy way to tell if the pineapple is ripe is to pull out a leaf – it comes out, it’s ripe, if it sticks, it isn’t.

    I’ve been cutting a pineapple by cutting off all the skin then find that the eyes run up and down so just make a cut straight down to remove. I can’t wait to try your dad’s “spiral” method, I always wondered how they did that!

  • Renée

    My mother taught me that the best way to pick a ripe pineapple is to pull its leaves off. If you can pull off 4 or more leaves, then it is pretty ripe. This method hasn’t failed me yet!

  • Susan

    I learned this method of cutting pineapple when I lived in the Philippines. It is tedious to trench out the eyes but it’s so pretty once it’s done! I never buy a pineapple that has a mostly green shell. They do sweeten somewhat if you grill slices of them as it concentrates the sugars but I still prefer to buy them when golden. It takes all my restraint not to grab people in the grocery store who pick up the green ones so I can tell them how to choose. I am glad you are educating people here.

  • tthomas

    I can’t believe the good timing of this tip for me. We’re making 200 portions of grilled pineapple and mango salsa tonight, and I was thinking bout how best to skin a dozen pineapples. Thanks to you, problem solved.

    Now, about those two dozen mangos …



    If I were prepping a dozen pineapples for a large event I think I would just skin them the easy way, skinning them deeper. Our method takes a bit more finesse and time, and is great when you are trying to extract the most out of one pineapple, but probably not the best way if you are in a big hurry or have a lot of them to do. That said, if you do it this way, all power to you! ~Elise

  • Charlene

    How clever! I use a 1/4″ measuring spoon to scoop out the eyes but then I do slice farther away from the skin. I will give your Dad’s way a try so I can keep more of the sweeter edges.

  • Chungwan

    We never really know any other way to skin pineapple except this way. Also, you could trim the prickly leaves a bit and use the top as “handle” while you remove the eyes, then cut it off last.

    Great suggestion, thanks! ~Elise

  • Mike

    Now that Larry Ellison has bought Lanai, does that mean he’s cornered the pineapple market?

  • Annemarie

    I have been obsessed with pineapple this year.

    I found out (purely by accident) that you can twist off the green leaves. It makes it a little easier to cut off the top. I think I’ll give this a try on my next pineapple. :)