How to Cut a Mango

Here, three different techniques.

October 28, 2021
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1140937057

Photo by: Thu Thai Thanh / EyeEm/Getty Images

Thu Thai Thanh / EyeEm/Getty Images

By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

Although there are many varieties of mangos, you're probably familiar with at least a couple that look quite different from each other: the Tommy Atkins variety, which is fat, round and red, and the Ataulfo variety, which is smaller, flat and golden yellow. Tommy Atkins mangoes are typically the less expensive of the two, and while both are tasty, Ataulfos are prized for their intensely sweet and silky flesh. No matter which you have, the way to cut them is the same.

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1136803041

Stack of several varieties of Mangoes of different size and colors

Photo by: Julien Viry/Getty Images

Julien Viry/Getty Images

How to Know When a Mango Is Ripe

Mangos are ripe when they feel firm but yield with gentle pressure. Testing them for ripeness is just like checking a tree fruit like a peach or a nectarine. If they over-ripen, they get mushy and can become stringy on the inside, especially the Tommy Atkins.

How to Peel and Cut a Mango

1. Set Up Your Cutting Board Correctly

Before you begin cutting a mango, set up your cutting board with a wet paper towel underneath to prevent it from slipping: a step you should take when you’re cutting anything. Gather your peeler, sharp knife and a container to put the mango in after it’s cut: you don’t want to grab something with sticky fingers, and they will get sticky when your mangoes are ripe and sweet.

2. Slice the Mango to Create a Flat End

Cutting round fruits and vegetables is easier when there’s one flat surface to keep the fruit stable when you’re cutting. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the mango so you can stand it securely on a cutting board.

3. Peel the Mango

Using a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped one works especially well here) peel the mango from top to bottom, leaving a 2-inch patch of peel on each side. These patches are your anti-slip grippers: where you’ll hold the mango as you cut its slippery flesh.

4. Cut the Sides Off the Mango

Stand the mango up on its flat end and hold it with one hand, using the patches of skin as your grip. Place the knife under the arch of your fingers and cut each side off the flat pit. Keep in mind that the pit is twice as tall as it is wide - you want to cut to it as close as possible.

5. Finish Peeling the Mango

With the mango halves flat on your board, peel the patches of skin off each side of the mango. Now is the point when you need to decide what size and shape of slices you’re going for.

6. Cut Each Mango Cheek Into Your Desired Shape

How you’ll be using the mango will determine how you make the first slices. Be sure the mango is on your board flat side down.

For a snack, cut the mango cheeks lengthwise into slices.

If you’re using the mango for a fruit platter or a dessert like Thai sticky rice with mango, you’ll want large flat pieces, so slicing the cheeks diagonally on the bias the way you’d cut thin cutlets from a chicken breast will give you the prettiest slices.

If you want cubes of mango for desserts like the pound cake shortcakes below, slice a mango cheek lengthwise, then make perpendicular cuts. Make thinner slices to achieve smaller cubes for dishes like salsa or chutney.

How to Cut a Mango Before Peeling

We call this the hedgehog cut, because when you’re done cutting, you can use a few raisins to make the eyes and nose of a hedgehog and amuse your audience, kids or adults.

1. Set Up Your Cutting Board Correctly

See step 1 of the technique above for more information.

2. Slice the Mango to Create a Flat End

See step 2 of the technique above for more information.

3. Cut the Mango Into Two Cheeks

Resting the mango on its flat end, slide the knife down the mango close to the pit to cut the flesh from the pit into two oval-shaped cheeks.

4. Score the Mango Flesh

Position a mango half on a cutting board skin-side-down. Using the tip of your knife, cut the mango just to the skin without cutting through it. Make parallel cuts lengthwise and then parallel cuts crosswise to create a grid of cubes that'll remain attached to the skin.

5. Flip the Mango “Inside-Out”

Turn each scored half inside-out so that it looks like the back of a hedgehog. Use a knife to slice away the individual pieces of mango from the peel - or don't and garnish a drink with each beautiful half.

The Wine Glass Peeling a Mango Hack

Chances are, you’ve seen the mango hack where you cut off the sides of the mango before peeling and instead of going the hedgehog route, you place a wine glass on each half and use the lip to scoop out the flesh. Does it work? Yes. Is it as smooth as using a knife? No. If you’re not the most skilled with a knife and you think this might be easier and safer? Go for it.

Is Mango Peel Poisonous?

Mango peel is not poisonous. It’s tough and doesn’t taste good, and there isn’t a reason to eat it: the best use of it is recycling it, so put it in the compost bin if you have one.

Mango Recipes

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

Sweet mango and hotter than hot habanero peppers come together with cilantro, lime and scallions to make a salsa that is a great go-with for Mexican-inspired meals.

Fresh mango, crunchy cucumber, creamy avocado and a few other ingredients bring color, flavor and punch to this bright salad. It’s the perfect side to any grilled entree.

CaribbeanChicken_0792.tif

CaribbeanChicken_0792.tif

Photo by: Charles Masters

Charles Masters

This grilled chicken has so many amazing Caribbean flavors, with fresh mango and the grilled eggplant bringing the sweetness and jerk seasoning and herbs bringing the spice.

FN0115131_MANGO GRANITA_03.tif

FN0115131_MANGO GRANITA_03.tif

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

You'll combine fresh mango, mango nectar and sugar and freeze until semi-solid. Then, shave the mixture with a fork to create a fluffy icy treat that's equal parts sweet, limey and spicy.

Strawberry Mango Pound Cake Shortcakes

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

This dessert is a tropical fruit flavor bomb: fresh mango with coconut and tropical fruit ice cream make a refreshing combo in the summer and transport you to a warm vacation spot in the winter.

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