How to Cut a Mango | Yummly

How to Cut a Mango

With its giant, mysterious pit, this tropical fruit can seem daunting to cut up. Follow our easy steps for mango-cutting perfection and you’ll be snacking on juicy mango flesh, or cooking with it, in no time.

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Around the corner from my first apartment in Chicago, in front of the Supermercado Jalisco (“Productos Importados y del Pais”), there was an elotero/frutero, a corn and fruit street food vendor operating out of a homemade cart. When the hot wet blanket of July descended, I’d head over for a fresh cut mango. He’d skewer the fruit whole, remove its skin with a vegetable peeler, and then, with a few swashbuckling swipes, deftly separate the sweet flesh from the fibrous seed, his knife-hand moving with the same grace and efficiency you see displayed by career meat-cutters. With two lime halves squeezed over top, a dash of salt, and an onslaught of red chili powder, it was a cooling treat fit for a summer king. 

When I moved away from the frutero, I had to make do and cut mangoes on my own. I envied his economic cutting motions, so I practiced peeling and cutting mangoes on my own. The good news is you don’t need a lifetime of experience to make the most of a fresh mango. You don’t even need a vegetable peeler! Follow the instructions below and you’ll be your own frutero in no time. 

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FAQs: Mango management >>

Step-by-step guide: The best way to cut a mango >>

The best mango recipes >>

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FAQs: Mango management

Please step into the mango chat! 

How do you peel a mango?

Good news! You don’t need to peel a mango before cutting it. This article will show you how that’s possible.

But I like to peel the mango before cutting it. Can I do that?

Yes, jeez, ok, go for it. The trick is to hold onto the fruit by the skin with your non-dominant hand for as long as you can while you work the vegetable peeler. As soon as you try to grab a mango by its slippery exposed flesh, it’ll squirm out of your hand like a moray eel. 

How do you slice a mango?

The most important thing is to start with a very sharp knife and to visualize the interior of the mango, so your cuts avoid the pit and get the most fruit in the fewest cuts. (See more below, and just score long slices into the mango cheeks instead of cross-hatch cubes, if that's what you're looking for.)

What’s the best way to store fresh mangoes?

Unripe mangoes will soften at room temperature if left on the counter in a paper bag for a few days. Keep an eye on them though — once they start to soften and hit peak ripeness, you’ll need to eat them quickly or move them to the fridge. Once you’ve cubed them, you can puree them or store the chunks whole in a zip-top bag (squeeze out the extra air) and freeze them for use later in smoothies and the like where the texture is not as important. 

How long do mangoes last?

The kind people of the National Mango Board advise that whole ripe mangoes can be kept for up to five days in the refrigerator. Peeled and cubed in an airtight container, you can keep mangoes for a few days in the fridge or for as long as six months in the freezer. 

How do you know when mangoes are bad?

You hate to see it, but sometimes even the best fruit can break bad. Look out for very soft, mushy flesh, brown or black spots on the mango skin, and a sickly sweet fermented smell.  

Step-by-step guide: The best way to cut a mango

Follow these easy steps to cut a mango. It’s not as hard as you think.

Step 1: Visualize your mango’s geometry, inside and out  

The pit of a mango is a flat oblong shape, almost like an egg that’s been squeezed from the sides. The fruit itself surrounds the pit entirely, but it’s thickest along the two flanks of mango, what some people call the cheeks. The goal of our method is to remove the mango cheeks and end up with two thick filets of ripe fruit, following the contour of the pit.

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 1a: (Optional) Make a flat side

If you are nervous about cutting a wobbly mango, take a teeny sliver off the “belly,” the narrowest edge, in order to make a flat side that you can rest on the cutting board as you slice. 

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 2: Remove the cheeks

Slice off the cheeks with a very sharp chef’s knife. Starting just off center to the right of the top edge of the pit, make one clean slice, guiding your knife down and around the pit, as close to the pit as possible. You should end up with a slightly concave filet of mango. Do the same on the other side to remove the other mango half. 

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 3: Crosshatch the flesh

With the tip of your knife, score the cut side of each cheek in a cross hatch pattern, cutting down into the flesh as far as you can without piercing the peel.

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 4: Invert each cheek

Push on the center of the peel side to push the cheek inside out, exposing the cubes of fruit you’ve made with your crosshatch cuts. 

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 5: Remove the cubes

Pop off the cubes with your fingers or a spoon or a paring knife (or your teeth)! 

Removing the cubes with a spoon; photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Removing the cubes with a knife; photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 6: Peel what’s left

What’s left of the pit will have a ring of peel and some thin wedges of fruit still attached. Use a paring knife or your chef’s knife (or even a potato peeler) to remove the remaining skin. 

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 7: Get the last scraps!

You can shave off a few wedges of mango from each side of the pit, again getting as close as you can with your blade without cutting into the seed.  

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

Step 8: Gnaw on the pit 

It is tradition in my house to gnaw on whatever fruit is left on the pit while hunched over the kitchen sink like a raccoon on the edge of a dumpster. That is your right, as chef. Or you can offer the pit with its precious scraps as a lagniappe to a favorite nephew or child. That’s your business. 

Step 9: Enjoy!

The cubes of fresh diced mango are ready to use.  

Photograph by Rachael Nusbaum

The best mango recipes

Congrats! You cut a mango! Now what? Here are a handful of ways to put a handful of mango chunks to good use! 

Grilled Chili-Lime Chicken Breasts with Mango Salsa

Yummly Original

Fire up the grill, charge up your meat thermometer, and dice up some mango. Nothing quite captures summer like this fresh and fiery chicken with mango salsa. 

Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

I love this Thai dessert. It couldn’t be simpler (once you master steaming sticky rice!). Sweet tart mango with rich coconut cream on tender toothsome sticky rice. 

Mango Lassi

Mango and yogurt are a tangy match made in heaven — add a little crushed pistachio on top for texture and contrast.

Mango Roobios Bubble Tea

Boba tea? Yes, please! Chewy tapioca pearls, sweet mango, tart pineapple, and the pleasant astringency of roobios tea are a winning combination. 

Mango Chia Pudding

It took me a while to come around to Chia seeds but now I have the zeal of a convert. This chia pudding will make a chia lover out of you, too, if you’re not already. 

Spiced Crusted Ribeye Pork Chop with Mango Sauce

Pork and mango go together like … porkchops and applesauce. Or mangosauce. Don’t overthink it! Just eat it! 

Mango Jicama Cucumber Salad

Here’s a spin on my frutero’s menu — silky mango, crunchy jicama, and refreshing cucumber bound together in a simple lime chile dressing. 

Mango Chutney

Some of the most incredible mangoes are from south Asia, so it’s no wonder this Indian mango chutney is so delicious. Try it with yogurt on rice, as a relish for grilled meats, or spread on avocado toast. It’s good!

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